Hello hello my friends! It seems like I start every blog post by apologizing for how few and far between my posts are, and today is no different. There is no way to justify the fact that it’s been OVER A YEAR since my last post except that I’m lazy. So here it is.. I’m sorry and I’m back! (To be honest, I say that every time too, but I mean it, ok? No judgies.)
In fairness, it’s more than lazy. I’ve felt uninspired. Despite the fact that I genuinely enjoy writing, the words just haven’t been flowing freely. Just as it is with everything else I do, I sat and thought and agonized and analyzed and over-analyzed WHY the words stopped coming so easily. What it *really* comes down to is, for the most part, I don’t enjoy writing about fashion. Weird, right? A fashion blogger who doesn’t like writing about fashion. The way I see it is you see an outfit and you like it or you don’t. I don’t need to sit here and tell you about it. You’d be as bored reading it as I would be writing it, assuming you even bothered reading it in the first place.
I try to keep it as real as possible with you guys on social media and there’s no reason the blog should be any different. Rather than picking topics that are like pulling teeth to write about, I’m going to write about whatever I want… and whatever YOU want. I enjoy finding out what you all want to hear about because it makes this more of a conversation and less me talking to myself. So please never hold back if you have a topic you want to hear about!
So what, might you ask, is the topic I deemed interesting enough to break this year-long blog slump? How to get problem skin under control.
Up until about two years ago I spent virtually zero time thinking about my skincare regimen. I kind of viewed it as a “I’ll start worrying about that when I turn 30” thing, but that’s just because I was one of the lucky few who never broke out. Despite four years of college eating my fair share of late night burritos and rarely remembering to take off my makeup, basic Cetaphil cleanser and lotion did the trick. Needless to say it was quite the wakeup call when my skin finally said enough is enough. I hadn’t changed anything as far as knew and when everyone asked, “are you drinking enough water?” or, “are you getting enough sleep?” I would scoff because, no, of course not, but that was never a problem before.
It’s important for you to know that when I start breaking out I go into full drama queen mode. Yes, of course it’s *just a zit* but it’s awful feeling like everyones staring at your skin, imagined or otherwise. There are so many factors that effect your skin and as I’m sure you’re well aware much of it happens from the inside out, meaning regaining equilibrium takes time. (If you’re pounding your fists because you want instant gratification… same.) My point is if you’re having skin problems I completely sympathize and thats why I want to share some of the things that have worked for me. There’s nothing scientific about this. Just one girl sharing what has worked for her with her internet friends. So without further adieu, I give you prevention… because the best way to deal with zits is not get them in the first place.
1. Swap your cleanser for hand soap. I swapped out my usual cleanser for hand soap. If you’re having a hard time picturing this, let me tell you, I’m referring to that like 99 cent hand soap they sell at literally every store that has the little fish in it. (Here) After spending a fortune trying every cleanser on the planet I was *shocked* to find out the most effective face wash I have tried thus far is cheap hand soap. Ladies, most of you, at some point, have dated someone and quickly realized boy toiletries are not up to par. Think 3-in-1 body wash/shampoo/conditioner. (There’s no way that anything that is a 3-in-1 can do a great job at everything.. I’m sorry.) Anyway, After a few consecutive face washes at Nick’s with the Soft Soap I realized my skin looked SO much better. I now wash my face with hand soap twice a day. I give Nick credit for this break through because that’s what he uses as cleanser and to be honest his skin looks better than mine. For those of you panicking reading this, I can’t imagine there are any long-term issues with doing this because I think most of the boy population does it and I’ve never heard of anything bad happening. (And if it does I guess I’ll be the first to know so I’ll report back.)
2. Cut down on sugar and dairy. Sugar and dairy are some of the biggest culprits when I start breaking out. I’m not saying eliminate them completely, because I don’t have that kind of will power, but cutting way down will seriously help your skin.
3. Drink water. Yes, I know it’s the worst, but just do it. Women are comprised of roughly 45-65% water and it’s what you cells are made of. If you want good skin, you want happy cells. Happy cells are made of water. Andddd *cue Elle Woods* happy cells just don’t shoot their husbands!
4. Clean your makeup brushes. Another no-brainer, but something we should all do far more frequently than we do. You probably use your brushes then toss them in your makeup bag or have them in a cup where they collect dust, then you use them on your face again. Gross! Washing your brushes is the best way to make sure you get as close as you can to a fresh start. Also,
4. Try Hibiclens. I’m sure many of you have heard me talk about this before. I discovered Hibiclens because it was the antiseptic my doctor gave me to wash my face with the morning of my nose surgery to ensure the area was super clean and sterile. As you can imagine, after nose surgery you can’t wash your face for quite a while, but my skin still looked unreal. Fast forward, I start recovering and return to my usual routine and my skin started breaking out again. In a moment of zit-crazed desperation I pulled out what was left of the Hibiclens and washed my face. My skin improved. A week later my skin was completely clear. I did some research and what I found out is Hibiclens is a medical grade antiseptic that kills bacteria like none other. It’s pretty awesome and only costs about $10 at Target (or Amazon or where ever.) The only caution I need to give with this is that you need to be extremely careful not to get it in your eyes. Ordinarily this isn’t a big issue, but there have been a few cases where doctors have gotten some into an eye or ear during surgery and not washed it out right away and it led to awful problems. Also, you shouldn’t use it everyday because you can build up a resistance which means stronger, harder to kill bacteria. This is a medical grade antiseptic so be smart. I did a bunch of research and basically a lot of people say if you use it sparingly it will be a life saver. Do you own research, but I usually just use it for a few days during a break out and stick to face wash the rest of the time.
5. Use the Neutrogena Light Therapy Mask daily. I mean, you already know how much I love this thing considering I post about it 24-7 and they have never sponsored me. (But that’s awesome because it means I can teach you the mask hack guilty-free. More on that in a second.) The light therapy mask works by shining blue and red lights on your skin. The blue light targets acne causing bacteria and the red light reduces inflammation. Use the mask for 10 minutes a day and I’m telling you, you will see a difference in your skin. The mask runs between $30-40 depending where you get it. I recommend getting it on Amazon because that’s where I’ve found it cheapest. I have about 4 masks because I like to have one at home, one at Nicks, one in my car, and a back up. (Yes, I’m serious. Yes, I know I’m crazy.) You buy the mask and activator, which comes with 30 uses. After 30 uses you keep your mask and buy a new activator. If you’re like me and thought, “wow.. it’s kind of bullshit that I have to keep buying activators,” then you’re in luck because you can hack your mask to have unlimited uses. Here is how to do it. It’s not hard so don’t be intimidated.
6. Try Tula Skin Probiotic. I ordered these on Amazon and take one a day. They aren’t expensive and they seem to help. You need to commit to doing it everyday for a month though before you will notice results. Hang in there.
7. Use Vanicream lotion after washing your face. Another super inexpensive swap. I got this face lotion at the recommendation of my allergist. Apparently it’s even more neutral than Cetaphil and Cerave which are the lotions most dermatologists recommend.
8. Always remove your makeup. Oh, you’re tired? Are you so tired you’re ok with going to sleep knowing you’ll probably wake up with a zit? Your cell production can as much as double between 11pm-4am, so your makeup should be off by then if at all possible. I heard this and had a hard time believing it, so if you want to know more about what your skin is doing at night check out THIS article. If you’re setting the bar really low for yourself and already know you’re going to be weak, keep a pack of makeup wipes in your bedside table. You should be using a makeup wipe AND washing your face, but if that’s the level you’re on, at least use the makeup wipe.
9. Sanitize your phone. Periodically I take my phone out of the case and wipe them both down with a Clorox wipe. Also, after a while you need to just get a new case. Accept it. If you think about all the surfaces your phone has touched and then the fact that you put that same phone on your face, you’ll be grossed out. Getting a new case is a relatively cheap fix also compared to all of the other parts of your beauty regimen.
10. Try switching to a tea tree shampoo. I switched over to Paul Mitchell Tea Tree Special Shampoo and Conditioner after reading about how tea tree is known to be great for treating acne. It has anti inflammatory and anti microbial properties meaning it will reduce the appearance of acne scars and calm inflammation. It’s super minty/tingly which people love or hate. Personally it makes me feel like it’s doing something.
Ok so you actually have a zit (or eight), here’s what you do…
1. Hydrogen Peroxide. Another Nicholas break through. I think more people are aware of this one than I realized, but this was totally news to me. Apparently using Hydrogen Peroxide as a spot treatment on zits is your best bet. I try to avoid picking, but I’ve had a few dark times after spending a little too long with my magnifying mirror and thought I was going to wake up totally screwed. This stuff is a life saver. What I will tell you, AND IT’S IMPORTANT YOU LISTEN HERE, is it will dye your hair blonde if you are over zealous with your application on a few occasions in quick succession. Nick forgot to mention this little detail and the truth was revealed when I mentioned I had suddenly gotten a few blonde eye brows. The point is, don’t put it on your whole face like a toner like I did unless you want to bleach your brows and baby hairs.
2. Dream Dots. These are basically tiny round stickers that you put over your zit. I assume the intention is to put them on before bed, but if you’re bold enough I guess you could wear them during the day. Basically they seal the zit and absorb all the moisture from the pores under it. By morning the zit will most likely be gone or come to a head. Either way, good riddance.
3. Don’t Pick. I’m just going to say this again. Do. Not. Pick. We’ve all been there, but just don’t do it. You will regret it. Repeat after me, the magnifying mirror is not your friend.
Ok so you’re now the friend who’s in bed by 8:30pm and drinks enough water to hydrate a camel but your skin’s still freaking out… here are the final two steps I would recommend.
1. Get your hormones checked. Hormones can be the root of all your problems. Skin can be a hard fix because much of it needs to be fixed from the inside out. Even if you’re on birth control, it’s possible you may need to get your script adjusted. It’s an extremely easy thing to get checked and could solve all of your problems. You can get it done through your primary care or your OBGYN.
2. See an allergist. You may go see an allergist only to find out that you don’t do well with milk, for example, and that’s why you’re breaking out. If you’ve tried everything else and haven’t gotten to the root of the problem, an allergist will work with you to see if there’s something in your environment or something you’re eating that may be the issue.
I realize this was a super hefty post and quite the first post back after my hiatus, but I’ve so many requests for a skin post so I wanted to really do it justice. Hopefully you found this information useful, and I linked all the products I mentioned. (Most of them on Amazon, because… Prime.)
Love you all! Talk soon!