I get tons of compliments on my skin, and they always make me chuckle. I am prone to whiteheads, blackheads, AND cystic adult acne under my chin, so I consider my skin to be a major pain. But it is relatively even in tone, has little scarring, and bounces back from all three kinds of acne beautifully, so I do my best to be grateful. I’m gonna share some of my skincare discoveries, practices, and preferences, and hope they’re helpful to anyone else with sensitive, acne-prone skin!
I don’t tan: I don’t go to the beach, sit out in the sun, tan at a salon, spray tan, or do anything at all to alter the color of my skin. This means I’m mighty pale for most of the year, but I’m A-OK with that.
I don’t drink or smoke: Not something everyone can adhere to, but it does wonders for my skin’s elasticity.
I don’t use foundation: I know there are a thousand foundations that are formulated to prevent breakouts but nearly ALL makeup makes me break out. With the exception of undereye concealer. And it makes sense to me that limiting the number of substances that touch your acne-prone skin would also limit breakouts.
I use an SPF 42 sunblock: Every single day. Period.
I exfoliate once a week and use a Clairsonic every other day: Exfoliation is highly personal, and everyone should find her own level of frequency. I scrub once per week with Exfolikate which is strong stuff and makes my skin fabulously soft, and use a Clairsonic face brush every other night.
I change my pillowcase frequently: I sleep on one side, flip and sleep on the other, then change the pillowcase for a new one. The fewer oils I sleep in, the better.
I have a towel for my face: Separate from the one for my body.
I take a hormonal birth control pill: Brace yourselves for TMI. My dermatologist initially put me on a low dose of antibiotics for the cystic acne. It worked great. It also started a chronic yeast infection that lasted for A YEAR. So I ditched those, changed my diet and went back on the pill. Cystic acne is hormonal, so even though hormonal birth control makes me feel wonky at times, I’m willing to suck it up. Also, my period naturally lasts 9-10 full days and since I’m premenstrual for another 5-7, that means more than half the month is sucked up by period-related stuff when I’m off. I resisted for a long time, but I’m happier on the pill. And so is my effing painful cystic acne.
I eat tons of raw vegetables: I have no scientific proof that raw veggies are good for my skin, but anecdotally, they are magical. If I eat several servings of fresh, raw vegetables every day, I feel energetic and alert, and my skin just glows.
Even with all these precautions, I break out pretty regularly. My hormones are sensitive and powerful even when mitigated by the pill, and I am prone to anxiety and stress, so it’s just unavoidable sometimes. But caring for my skin this meticulously keeps things as in-check as they can be!