A little over a year ago, I got hit hard by acne. I had just moved and started a new job, so I chopped it up to stress at first. But, I quickly realized that it was more serious than that. I was experiencing painful, cystic acne that left scarring and caused a tremendous amount of sensitivity to anything I put on my face. I felt like it was never going to clear up, but I am finally seeing some light in the situation. After becoming really conscious about what makeup and skincare products I use, and getting connected with a caring dermatologist, I am really noticing progress. So, I thought I'd share some of the things that seem to be working for me, in hopes that they can be of help to someone else suffering from acne.
"Suffering" may seem like a dramatic term to some, but to those who are struggling with their skin, its very real. This was my skin at it's worse. I hated who I was in this picture. Not even because of the acne, but because of how unhappy I was. I was negative and reclusive. I avoided people and constantly beat myself up. My anxiety spiraled and any confidence I had completely dissolved. You'll see what my skin is looking like nowadays at the end of this post, so let's get into it!
Morning Routine// I start by cleansing my skin with the Batty's Bath Manuka Honey Cold-Pressed Soap. Manuka honey is known for it's antibacterial and healing properties. It is supposed to help calm and soothe the skin, while evening tone and improving texture. I am really getting on well with this one. It lathers into a really creamy cleanser and leaves my skin feeling like it can breathe. I love that it cleans without making my face feel dry. After my cleanser, I've been applying my Smashbox Primer Oil as needed. I find that it just adds a boost of hydration and softens any dry patches that I may have, making applying makeup easier. I am still using up a sample-size of this product that I received in last month's Ipsy bag, but fully intend to purchase the full-size version. After my facial oil, its on to moisturizer. I've been testing out another winner by Batty's Bath; the Raw Radiance moisturizer. This is the first moisturizer that Batty's has offered without coconut oil, as some people with acne experience sensitivity with it. This product nourishes my skin, but is still light enough to wear during the day and under makeup. It absorbs quickly and never feels greasy.
Evening Routine// I begin my evening routine by removing my makeup with organic, cold-pressed coconut oil. I use a quarter-sized amount to act as a cleansing balm, and wipe away my makeup. Moving on to my "second cleanse", I exfoliate with the Batty's Bath Pineapple Facial Scrub. This stuff is AMAZING. First of all, it smells phenomenal. Second, it gently removes any makeup or grime with soft, natural beads and fruit enzymes. I have noticed such a difference in the texture and tone of my skin since using this scrub. It's my favorite step in the routine! Next, I use my Avene Hydrating Serum. This serum is formulated for sensitive skin and works wonders at helping you get the most from any products you apply on top of it. It is on the pricey side, and I am in the market for a more affordable option. So, please leave me some suggestions below! After my serum is fully absorbed, I apply a retinol-based cream that my dermatologist prescribed to me. This is helping with my deep surface scars or "pitting", as it's commonly known. This cream can be a bit drying, hence the addition of hydrating products. I complete my nightly skincare with a heavy-duty Anti-Aging Moisturizer by Shea Moisture. This is a thick cream that I feel works best at night, so it can be fully absorbed. It's really helped with my dryness, and leaves my skin feeling supple and plump.
Add-Ons// I use the following products to target specific concerns as they arrive, meaning they are not necessary to use everyday. If I am in need of even more moisture, I reach for these two Shea Moisture products; a dry oil mist (that I wear at night after serum and before my night cream) and their moisturizing mask. Another mask that I use once a week is this favorite from Batty's Bath; the dry clay mask. It draws out any impurities and leaves my skin feeling soft without over drying. Lastly, we have the Mario Badescu facial spray. I use this as a toner, makeup setting spray, or whenever I need a hydrating/cooling boost.
This is me now. My skin is evening out, and I just feel healthier in mind and body (and skin, of course!). As silly as it sounds, I highly recommend documenting progress with weekly or monthly pictures, so you can actively see your results. This has helped my patience with the whole process, and made me aware of just how much my skin is changing for the better. Acne sucks. Anyone who tells you otherwise has never had it. But, it does get better. And, I promise that you will find something that works for you, even if it takes some time. Please remember to be kind to yourself in the meantime. Acne may not be beautiful, but YOU are.