Acne is an asshole. Plain and simple. I should know because I dealt with it from the time I was 11 years old to 21. A decade of a face full of pimples. And I’m not talking about small tiny ones. I’m talking about 20-30 zits on my face at the same time. It was on the severe side at several points in my life. Now, I’ve been lucky enough to be acne free for about 7 years. But I still have the scars to prove it and never let me forget it. As I grew older it faded away and I honestly think it was just a part of growing up and my hormones not going haywire anymore. BUT, I can still remember what it felt like and the deep pain that can come with it.
If you are suffering from acne right now I honestly know how you feel. You might wonder why out of everyone it has to happen to you. When someone complains about one tiny pimple they have you cringe and feel angry. Not to mention all the unsolicited advice people, who have never had acne, give you over and over. They don’t understand that your skin is not the same as theirs!
So what do you do at this point? You've probably tried many, many things that do not work leaving you feel defeated. I tried everything from creams to medicine. The only thing I didn’t try was Accutane (pills) because I was skeptical about the effects it could have on me mentally. And although I really believe it was a hormonal condition, I could have taken better care of my skin on the outside. I made a lot of mistakes that aggravated it and made it worse. So although it’s something you might have to deal with until you grow out of it, or finally find the medicine that works, there are steps you can do now to help it. Here are a 7 tips that worked for me and I sincerely hope work for you as well.
(These tips are helpful even if you don't have acne!)
1. Stop using makeup that clogs your pores.
When my acne was at my worst, I of course, turned to full coverage foundation. Namely, MAC. Now, although it did cover it, all it really did was make it worse. That’s because MAC has a thick consistency much like theater makeup. It’s like a mask that keeps your skin from breathing or healing. And if you have oily skin it’s the worst combination. The oil, clogged pores, and chemicals, are a recipe for disaster. So what should you do instead?
Use: A natural makeup brand with vitamins, minerals, and essential oils. Essential oils are known to alleviate so many issues better than traditional acne medicine & it's harsh chemicals. Not only does it contain ingredients that help your skin it won’t mask it and create an even bigger issue. I've listed the best reviewed foundations for acne, rosacea, sensitive skin, & even aging skin from Amazon below. Best of all each product is natural, cruelty-free, and eco conscious.
1. Burt's Bees Goddess Glow Liquid Foundation - A natural, moisturizing foundation that gives your skin a radiant glow. The key ingredient is Meadow Foam Seed Oil (responsibly sourced) which contains powerful antioxidants.
2. 100% Pure - I talk about this brand a lot and for a good reason. Because I LOVE this brand and what it stands for. It's made from pure plant, fruits, and vegetables pigments! They have different types of foundation for various skin types so it's best to shop on their website. What I love is that they offer these small samples of foundation so you'll know exactly what shade & formula works best!
3. Afterglow Cosmetics Organic Infused Foundation - A mineral loose foundation that contains organic botanicals and vitamins known for their skin nourishing properties. I personally love mineral foundations because it feels like you have nothing on! (Contains SPF 20)
4. Jane Iredale PurePressed Base - The reviews will tell you everything about this one. 4.5 out of 5 stars! This foundation is well known for it's containing antioxidants such as Pine Bark Extract and Pomegranate Extract (a potent antioxidant that aids in minimizing UV damage). It's definitely worth the price and worth a try.
2. Color correct the right way.
One of the best tips I can give you if you have bad acne or any skin discoloration, is to color correct before you apply foundation. This will help minimize the amount of foundation you use because it’ll make your discoloration disappear. How does it work you may ask? Well we have to learn a bit of color theory before we know how to color correct first.
This is a color wheel. And the colors across from them are called complimentary colors. Meaning they cancel each other out. That is why you see green, purple, orange, & yellow color correcting palettes. Most likely if you have acne it’s probably red/purple hue.
So what you will do is use green to cancel the red out. Apply green to the spots you want to cover before foundation and concealer. When you put on your foundation on top, you’ll be amazed by how well it works. The same works for dark circles. If they are a purple/blue hue use orange or yellow to cancel those out! It works like magic. I've included my favorite color correcting products below that I use on myself and on set. I swear by the Nyx color correcting palette. It's inexpensive and so easy to use.
My Foundation Recommendations
3. Skin Care, Skin Care, Skin Care
I cannot stress enough how important this is. Following a simple but effective skin care routine in the morning and evening will do wonders for whatever skin problems you have.
Step 1: First and foremost, wash your face morning and night with the right cleansers for your skin type. Apply a toner after to because toners are most helpful and necessary for people with oily or acne-prone skin. (Also, don't sleep in your makeup!)
Step 2: Always apply moisturizer with SPF because the sun does a lot of damage to our skin that we can’t see and a good moisturizer will prevent dark spots, age spots, and wrinkles.
Step 3: Lastly, find the best treatment for your acne. This will really depend what route you want to go. You can go to a dermatologist and use prescription grade medicine or go the natural method and try essential oils. From my experience, the medicine dermatologists prescribe dry out my skin and make it worse. It's too strong and makes my skin extra sensitive to sun damage. Luckily, there's a natural route that is proven to work better for some people. To be honest, I have never tried essential oils for the skin but I've heard the results are unbelievable. I wish I had gone this route when my skin was at it's worst. I just didn't know! (Tea Tree Oil is the best for acne and scars!)
Fair warning: skincare will probably be something you have to splurge on. It’s expensive because the ingredients are not cheap.
For example this brand I have suggested this brand over and over because of a very good reason. It’s natural and healthy! A lot of times harsh chemicals with salicylic acid can dry out your skin which causes another issue on top of an existing one! Again, you really just have to find what works for you. Because honestly a good acne regimen is not a one size fits all. But one thing is almost always true. The cause of acne is almost always internal. Which means…
4. Healthy Body = Healthy Skin
In order to clear your skin on the outside it has to start from the inside as well. That means clean eating, exercise, sleep, and vitamins could potentially do wonders for you skin. Not to mention it’s stuff we should be doing anyway. And I know it’s hard, trust me (I LOVE CARBS AND SUGAR). But if it means it’ll help you out it’s worth a try? Herbal supplements can help out exponentially as well but research & use your best judgement. I recommend this book by Hanna Sillitoe who, for more than 20 years, suffered from severe psoriasis, eczema and acne.
"Uplifting and inspiring for those who have been searching for an answer to their skin woes."
5. Stop touching your face!
I had a really bad habit of picking at my face and touching it throughout the day. That made my scars so much worse and my acne more stubborn! That’s because of all the oil and dirt and bacteria on our hands. Our skin is already sensitive so why subject it to more toxins?
6. Stay away from certain types of shiny makeup like illuminators
Illuminators and highlighters are beautiful and make a well done makeup look pop. But when you have acne it can actually highlight your blemishes which is something we probably don’t want. I’m not saying to ban highlighter, but to put it on in a more strategic way that does not draw attention to bumps. Also illuminating foundation is not the way to go. A good matte foundation will help hide the appearance of acne. The goal is to find makeup that gives a flat illusion to bumps without looking cakey.
7. Don’t stress, you’re still beautiful.
I promise you you’re acne is not as bad as you think it looks. We are our worse critic and we tend to magnify our insecurities. Be patient and kind to yourself. Find out what works and what doesn't. It really is all about trial and error. Don't give up! Let me know what works for you or what you suggest in the comments.