This post has taken me a long time to write. Mainly because I didn't have the courage for a long time to share my "before" photos with you. As a health and wellness blogger, and physician, it was embarrassing for me to admit just how bad my acne was for a while. I spent so much time and money trying to fix it and cover it up, and for years nothing seemed to be working. So finally, about one year ago I made a deal with myself: if I couldn't heal my acne within the next year I would go on Accutane.
Now, I know many people who have used Accutane with great results and no ill side effects. But, I personally don't love using medications to mask problems, and really wanted to determine what was driving my acne and heal it naturally. As someone who believes on taking a natural and non-toxic approach to skincare, I wasn't willing to use many of the products that my dermatologist recommend for my acne. Besides Accutane, products like antibiotics or other dangerous topical agents. Those things just weren't for me. So I did a lot of work and tried a lot of products to help heal my skin. I tried many products that were just plain terrible, making my acne so much worse and costing me a fortune. I don't want you to have waste your time and money like I did. The products that I am currently using have done wonders for my skin and have really helped me heal my acne.
If you aren't already aware about the importance of choosing safe skincare products, and why it is so important to avoid products with toxic ingredients, I have written a few posts about the topic already including:
My acne journey has been an interesting one. There have been ups and downs and I have done a TON of research over the last year and tried A LOT of different things to try and heal my skin.
I am finally at the point, almost exactly one year later that I feel comfortable sharing my acne story with you. Because I know there are so many of you dealing with this issue out there, and I want to let you know that you are not alone and that you too can heal your skin. I am confident about that. It may take some time, but don't give up!
Now, my skin is not perfect, but it is so, so much better than it was a year ago and I am finally at the point where I feel comfortable (most of the time) in my own skin. Your skin is the first thing that people see. And if you aren't happy with your skin it can impact every other aspect of your life including your self esteem, confidence and your interactions with others. I know some people who were so embarrassed of their skin that they hated leaving the house. Stories like that break my heart. But trust me you can heal. For a long time I wouldn't leave the house without makeup. I was just too embarrassed about the appearance of my skin. Now I realize that may sound vain, but I don't care. Acne can be embarrassing. Any of you who have suffered with it know that.
Now, there is no way I could tell you all the things I have done to heal my acne within just one post. It would take you all day to read it. So I am going to break this series into a collection of posts, starting with today's, the first one in the series where I discuss the products I have been using to heal my acne. In later posts I will be discussing the nutritional factors, supplements as well as self care and wellness strategies that have been crucial in my healing journey. I am not sure when those posts will be going live, but to ensure you don't miss them when you do, make sure you are signed up to my newsletter and you will be the first to be notified when those posts are released.
Here are my "before" and "after photos. They were taken almost exactly 1 year apart. In both photos I am not wearing any makeup. The photos have not been re-touched, except that I increased the exposure because they were a little dark (they were taken with my iPhone). I really wanted to be honest with you about what my skin looks like, in its natural state.
I don't know how well it comes across in the second photo, but I still have a few acne lesions, but I also have some scarring and hyper-pigmention that I am still working on. As I said, healing your skin is a journey and mine isn't over yet.
I hope you find this helpful. And please feel free to reach out to me if you want specific product recommendations, because everyone's skin is different. If you are interested in hearing me talk in more detail about my skincare routine I created a video outlining exactly what I use and do. You can watch it here:
MY SKINCARE ROUTINE
My Morning Routine:
First thing in the morning I wash my face with Beautycounter's Charcoal Cleansing Bar. I then splash my face with cold water and use LifeFlo Salicylic Acid Spray as my toner. I also add a few drops of lavender, frankincense and tea tree oil to that product to give it even more skin healing properties. Then I use a few drops of Om Organic's Pure Infusions Face Elixir for Oily Skin as my serum. Next I use two pumps of Beautycounter's Rejuvinating Day Cream as my moisturizer. If I am going into the sun I will then add Beautycounter's Dew Skin (shade number 2) as my sunscreen. That stuff makes my face feel so, so soft! It doesn't have a ton of coverage though so if I do want a bit more coverage that day I then add Beautycounter's Tint Skin Foundation in Linen.
My Evening Routine
I wash my face with Beautycounter's Cleansing Balm. This stuff is my absolute favourite Beautycounter product. It works so, so well as both a makeup remover and a face wash. I then splash my face with cold water and spray it again with my LifeFlo Salicylic Acid Spray. Again, I use a few drops of Om Organic's Pure Infusions Face Elixir for Oily Skin as my serum. During the summer I use Beautycounter's Rejuvinating Night Cream as my overnight moisturizer on most nights. A few nights a week I use Beautycounter's Cleansing Balm as an extra-hydrating night cream, and during the winter I use that as my nightly moisturizer because it gets so dry where I live. If I have any acne lesions I spot treat them with Beautycounter's Charcoal Mask (I simply sleep with this mask on my acne spots).
My Other Rituals
There are a few other things I do to help keep my skin clear:
Three days per week I do a full face mask with Beautycounter's Charcoal Mask. I absolutely love that product. It has completely transformed my skin. The other mask that I also use intermittently and love is Alitura's Clay Mask. I add a few drops of lavender, tea tree and frankincense essential oils to it, in addition to water, to give it even more healing properties.
That's it friends! I hope you found this helpful. Please reach out to me if you have specific questions or want specific skincare recommendations. You can also take my Skincare Quiz here, which will help me pick products for your needs and skin type.