I used to struggle daily with horrible acne in my teens and early twenties. Several years ago, my skin was covered in pimples and blemishes on my cheeks, forehead, and chin. (I wish I had a picture but I honestly think I avoided cameras at all costs during this time. Sometimes I didn’t even like to leave the house). The ones on my cheeks were the most painful and if I touched them in any way, they would leave a lingering scar.
Since then, I’ve made several changes in how I take care of my skin and aside from a few pimples every now and then, my skin has remained fairly clear and pain-free (yay!). Everyone’s bodies and skin are completely different, so I know it’s annoying when someone offers suggestions and you’re just exhausted trying to find solutions. Sometimes it’s about trial and error to find what makes your skin happy, and I’m not saying these changes will work for you. But I’d love to share with you my own personal routine and what has worked for me over the years.
-I stopped using harsh chemicals on my skin.
One of the biggest changes I made was to quit using traditional face washes. I used to use products like Cetaphil, Neutrogena, and Proactiv religiously. But when I asked my skin what it needed in order to heal, letting go of chemicals was the first thing to come up. After looking at the ingredients on these products, I couldn’t believe how much JUNK I was putting on my skin. If I didn’t recognize an ingredient as something I could find in nature, I didn’t want it on my body.
Same goes for makeup. At this time a few years ago, I was wearing foundation and concealer every single day. I couldn’t even leave my house without putting it on for risk of being seen without it on. I had grown so accustomed to wearing make up to hide “my flaws” and felt self-conscious without a full face.
The products that we put on our skin are actually absorbed, so if we’re putting layers and layers of chemicals on our bodies every day, just imagine what that will do over time.
So I started searching for the most basic, natural face soap I could find. (Hint: Even the “natural” and “organic” skin care products will often have tons and tons of ingredients, and I found that most of them didn’t work for me). I ended up trying this soap with all natural ingredients and my skin LOVED it. I’ve been using it ever since. I buy it at Sprouts or Whole Foods.
I also made the decision to stop wearing foundation and concealer at this time. Now, I haven’t worn “everyday” make up in years. I use all natural foundation on the rare occasions (a few times a year) when I’m going somewhere special, but not in my daily life like I used to. I feel like my skin can finally breathe.
I’m a big advocate of “wear make up when you WANT to, not when you feel like you NEED to.” So if you love make up, wear it! But if you know that your skin is reacting negatively, try switching to natural alternatives or lessening the frequency of use. I switched to Mineral Fusion Lengthening Mascara for every day use and Tarte Cosmetics Foundation for special occasions.
-I took out the foods that my body reacted to.
It was huge for me to realize that what I ate had an enormous impact on my skin. I got tested for food allergies a few years ago, with dairy, egg, and wheat coming up as my biggest triggers. I immediately took these things out of my diet and lo and behold, my skin cleared up.
My skin had been trying to talk to me all along, alerting me to the fact that certain foods didn’t serve my wellness. I find that when I’ve tried reintroducing dairy back into my diet, those cheek pimples pop right back up.
-I started using natural products to exfoliate and moisturize.
Another routine I started was to exfoliate with organic sugar. I just mix a tablespoon of sugar with a tiny bit of water until it forms a paste and then use it to gently scrub my face to rid my skin of any dead skin cells and increase circulation. I usually do this about twice a month or so.
Then, I mix a a teaspoon of Wedderspoon Raw Premium Manuka Honey with a little bit of water and apply this paste to my face for about 15 minutes. Manuka honey is a special brand of honey produced in New Zealand that has been found to have more therapeutic properties than other honeys. It’s packed with vitamins, anti-inflammatory properties, and helps to hydrate the skin. I can feel an immediate effect. My skin is softer and more radiant.
What are some things you guys added or took away from your skin care routine lately? I’d also love to hear about what natural daily moisturizers you use. I’ve yet to find one that doesn’t upset my skin!!
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Images: Weston Carls