Thursday, June 9, 2016

How I Cleared Up My Skin

Since I hit puberty, I've had nothing but trouble with my skin. I was constantly fighting a pimple, with poking, picking, cleansers, and make-up. It wasn't terrible acne, but there were noticeable, ugly zits somewhere on my face, at all times. My trouble areas were my neckline and neck. And with my fair skin, one red zit stood out like you wouldn't believe, and I have several.

I kept buying make-up that was acne-fighting, meaning, it had salicyclic acid in it. I bought acne-fighting creams, washes, and wet cloths. When those didn't work, I went to my doctor, who prescribed me a benzoyl peroxide lotion. The first year, this stuff seemed to work. I eventually stopped using it, as my skin cleared up decently. Not all the way clear, but decent. 

I'm a tomboy. I don't have time or the care for hours in the bathroom, pampering my face. If I saw an opportunity not to have to put junk on my face, I took it. 

But, there were still a few blemishes here & there, popping up more & more, so I went back to buying make-up with the salicyclic acid in it. I struggled with my acne for years. Since I was 13, I was fighting this stress-causing beast. This make-up would surely do the trick...

Then, at 25 years old, we moved. 

Back to the country. 

And my face began to wreck havoc on me. I mean, a total war zone on my mug.  

When I talked to people, I would turn my head a weird direction, or tuck my chin, and avoided photos as much as possible. The few photos that were taken of me, I edited the crap out of them to remove any blemishes my make-up wasn't already hiding.

We decided it must be the hard water, so we bought & installed a water softener. I kept buying salicyclic acid foundation, and also moved into salicyclic acid primer, powder, concealer, & face wash. Muhahaha, there was no way this acne would survive now!

Then my acne got worse. 

And worse. 

And to the point where it was the worst I had ever seen. 

It was all over my jawline and neck. I looked like a disease was taking over me.
This isn't me, but this is very similar to how my acne looked! Source.
I hid it with more primer, more foundation, more washing, more powder, more concealer. I scrubbed and I tried tea tree oil and I tried coconut oil and I tried banana peels - any remedy I found on Pinterest. Nothing was helping. 

There were a few times where I would get so frustrated, I'd actually tear up to James about it. He really didn't know how to help me. I mean, the guy bought a water softener just to save my skin. He knew it was damaging any self-esteem I had. But we were both helpless to stop it. He told me, several times, to just wash your face with soap & water, and stop with all the other junk. I just shook my head at him. I need this stuff to fight off the pesky zits!

So I bought these wash cloths from Norwex that claimed you didn't even need soap to wash your face, you only needed these cloths, which had silver in them that killed bacteria, so you didn't have to put harsh soaps on your face. The saleswoman said it cleared up her acne, so maybe it'd help mine?

I kept using them and using them and my face was worse than ever.  

Worse than my worst ever.

James said to stop using the cloths, that my skin must obviously hate the silver.

So I stopped using them and my face got a tiny bit better. Not much, but better. (So if you're using cloths like these, and your skin is freaking out, stop!) I still had embarrassing acne all up and down my jawline and neck. I would wear scarves every day! I even had a co-worker tease me for always wearing scarves. I just told her "I don't like my neck." I was so embarrassed. 

Here are some unedited photos of me in Costa Rica in Jan/Feb 2016. I did not edit these photos, however, I was covering my acne with layers & layers of concealer, foundation, & powder:

So I kept researching and researching. I knew I didn't want to put any store-bought creams or washes on my face anymore. I wanted more natural stuff. 

Stumbling upon some articles, I decided to try fighting my pimples with apple cider vinegar at night. I just dabbed a little vinegar on a regular wash cloth, and dabbed it on my acne spots. It seemed to help! 

Then, it came to me when I wasn't even thinking anything would completely help my skin. I was watching Cammie Scott's YouTube video's and came across this one and this one. 

Summed up, she stopped using products with salicyclic acid in them, as she discovered she was allergic. Hmmm. I wonder if I am? Turns out, many people are, they just don't know it.

I had seriously just had bought a haul of salicyclic acid make-up from ELF, but I "took a break" from that acne-fighting make up, and used some old, regular foundation. No primer, just some yellow concealer and some foundation. Neither of them had salicyclic acid in them. I also took Cammie's advice and ordered some Home Health Castor Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, and Simple Micellar Water from Ebay.

Once those came in the mail, I began washing my face about twice a week with the oil mixture: about a quarter size amount of castor oil, with a few drops of almond oil mixed it. I rubbed it all over my face and neck for a good 3-5 minutes, stepped in a hot shower to allow the steam to open my pores, rubbed a bit more, and used a hot wash cloth to gently wipe off the oil. I'd follow that with a cold wash cloth on my face to close my pores. At night, I still would dab a wash cloth with a bit of apple cider vinegar on my blemishes. On days where I wasn't using the oil method, I just washed my face with the Micellar Water at night, before bed.

And guess what? One by one, my blemishes were disappearing - FINALLY! After 13 years of STRUGGLE, I was finally seeing results that didn't require harsh chemicals.

I was worried about the cost of things, but it was all so worth it & it saved me a bunch of money that I don't need to waste on foundation or countless "acne remedies" anymore. 

  • $5.99 - Home Health Castor Oil, 8 oz. (Link)
  • $4.50 - Organic Sweet Almond Oil, 4 oz. (Link)
  • $7.47 - Simple Micellar Cleansing Water, 6.7 oz. (Link)
  • $1.00 - Great Value Apple Cider Vinegar, 16 oz. (I already had this in the home for other uses, and I hope to snatch up Aldi's Simple Nature Organic Apple Cider Vinegar when it hits my store!)
$18.96 is the total amount I spent to save my skin from acne. And let me tell you, I've been using all 4 of these things for OVER a month now, and I haven't even used up HALF of each bottle. If this stuff lasts me 4 months, that means I only spent $4.74 on my acne, per month. I spent double that much per month on a tube of foundation - at least! Cha-ching!

Sitting here now, as I type, I feel my face, and there are still a few small bumps (like 3) but my skin feels better than ever. AND, for the past two weeks, I can proudly proclaim that I don't even wear foundation any more! I've been caking that junk on my face since I was 13, and I no longer need it. I just dab a bit of yellow concealer  under my eyes (fair skin = dark circles!) and on my few little bumps, blend it in with a brush, and go on my merry way. I am THRILLED to be putting less JUNK on my face. Not only am I putting less chemicals on me, I am saving some cash by not having to buy it anymore. Bonus points! I'm also saving a BUNCH of time getting ready in the morning. I whip on some mascara, use barely any concealer, dab on some Burt's Bee's natural matte lipstick, and take off. 

No make-up! This was about a little over a month into my new routine.
My face is loving this freedom. Freckles are popping up like daisies, my skin feels so soft, & I no longer look too dry, or too oily, or too blotchy, or covered in red blemishes. It's still a work in progress, as I only discovered this whole routine a little while ago, but my skin is definitely, majorly improving.

So, what saved me from my acne, I believe, are these things:
  1. Completely stop using products with salicyclic acid in them.
  2. Stop using wash cloths with silver in them.
  3. Twice a week, before stepping into the shower, rub my face with my oil mixture. A quarter-size amount of castor oil, mixed with a few drops of organic sweet almond oil. I just rub this mixture all over my face and neck for about 3-5 minutes, step into the hot shower, allow the steam to open up my pores, rub the mixture on my face some more, dab the mixture off my face with a hot wash cloth, and cool my face with some cool water to close my pores.
  4. When I see a zit, pull out the apple cider vinegar. Just dab a bit on the tip of a wash cloth, and dab those blemishes. (I would not recommend using this all over your face, as it might dry the skin out a bit.)
  5. On nights where I am not doing the oil method or the apple cider vinegar process, I wash my face with Simple's Micellar Cleansing Water. No need to wash with sink water first, just squirt some of this Micellar water in a wash cloth and wipe the entire face and neck. It works miracles, removing dirt, oil, & make up. 
  6. Easing up on my sugar intake. I believe there is a connection between sugar & my acne.

There you have it. I've always wanted to be someone who can have a solution to acne that can help others, because it worked for me, & I am finally at a place where I can happily say that I am one of those people. My acne cure has finally been discovered after years & years of struggle!

Me, yesterday, with NO foundation or powder on - just freckles :)
So get rid of those salicyclic acid products. Buy some Home Health Castor Oil, some organic Sweet Almond Oil, some apple cider vinegar, & some Simple Micellar Water. Try it. It might just be your acne cure, just like it was for me!     

Take care,

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