I wanted to talk to you guys today about something that affects a lot of us adults, but doesn't really get much conversation, and that's adult acne.
I've suffered with not great skin most of my life. Between it being super sensitive, having eczema and contact dermatitis, and break outs, it's caused me a great deal of sadness and insecurities. One of my obsessions with my OCD is a fear that people think I'm dirty. Because I'm a germaphobe, I absolutely can't deal with that. Anyone that knows me knows that's absurd, I know that's absurd; I know how ridiculously clean I am. But it's a real fear I struggle with daily. So, when I break out, not only do I feel insecure because of the actual breakout, but I feel even more insecure because I feel like people are looking at me like "Oh she's breaking out. Clearly she's not washing her face enough, and if she doesn't wash her face she probably doesn't wash her hands or shower, and obviously she's a gross disgusting person."
I didn't think at 28, acne was something I would be struggling with, but here I am, living that nightmare. As a teenager, I had oily skin and would break out, like a typical teenager. And my face has never really been clear, even as an adult. My chin is where I have always broken out. I remember reading somewhere that the chin breaking out is a sign of stomach issues, which I have IBS, so it made sense and I had always assumed since many IBS is a life long issue, I assumed my chin acne would be too. However, the rest of my face has been generally clear. My cheeks never broke out. I have blackheads on my nose that will probably never go away. I would get a few pimples on my forehead in the summer from sweating and from my hair, but that was it. Up until this year.
They say your body changes every 7 years, and now that I'm 28 (excuse me while I vomit), it would seem I'm officially stating a new 7 year cycle. That's the only thing I can think it is. I am on the pill, and have been on the same pill for year and years. So I didn't think it had anything to do with that, but I couldn't understand where this face full of pimples came from. They were on my cheeks, around my nose, on my jaw, spots on my forehead, and of course, my chin was the worst. Nothing made sense, it still doesn't. I haven't changed my diet, haven't changed my face stuff (until trying 809 things that only made my skin worse instead of helping), and I've heard everything from its hormonal to it's a food allergy, and everything in between. I don't sleep right but I never have, and I stress constantly, but I always have. Everything is essentially the same, so I can't pinpoint what's causing it, but I can tell you what's (finally) been helping it.
I've got two words for you: Paula's Choice. I've seen her products several times while doing hours upon hours of research on acne, but never made the leap and I'm physically kicking myself for not doing it sooner. They're a cruelty free company with a lot of vegan products. They have a list, which was last updated July 2016, of what's not vegan. If the product you're looking at isn't on that list, then you're good to go.
I originally set out on this journey with a simple email, asking which products they would recommend based on my skin type and concerns. A representative sent me back a list, and I did some research. I am a firm, and I mean FIRM, believer in reviews. But, face care products are hard since everyone's skin is so different. It's like a fingerprint, not one is the same. Out of the list they gave me, I chose which products I thought would suit me best based off reviews and the description. I absolutely love that they offer so many samples sizes or travel kits for their products so you can spend a few bucks to see if you'll like it before investing in the full size. Here's what I purchased:
-Travel Size Extra Strength Clear Kit which contains: Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser, Clear Extra Strength Anti Redness Exfoliating Solution, and Clear Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment
-Resist BHA 9 Treatment
-Earth Sourced Moisturizer
I want you to go into reading this review knowing how much I love everything. I want you to get excited, if you feel like someone who has tried it all and used it all and had absolutely zero luck, I want you to feel hopeful reading this because if I can get my skin under control, you can too.
The face wash is surprisingly gentle. My face feels clean after washing it. It removes my face makeup, and after using my eye makeup remover, it gets the remaining residue from the remover off without burning my eyes. Everything burns my eyes and this stuff doesn't! It's got a gel like consistency and it doesn't really foam much, but I love that because foaming face washes often make my skin feel tight afterwards. I use this morning and night.
The exfoliating solution is clear and runny, it's exactly like water. You can use a cotton ball to apply it, however, I don't like to be wasteful, so I pour a few drops in my cupped hand and use my fingers from my other hand to massage it into my skin. I use 4 drops and that's usually sufficient for my entire face. At this rate this stuff will last me forever. It doesn't burn, it doesn't sting, and it doesn't cause any irritation at all. It absorbs super quick since it's so light. It leaves my face soft after using it as well, but during this time of year for sure, I need a moisturizer afterwards. I use this every morning directly after washing my face.
The daily skin treatment I use sparingly in small amounts because it's got 5% benzoyl peroxide, which can cause my skin to dry out fast. Despite the fact that it's got so much benzoyl peroxide, it actually doesn't dry my skin out that bad. I might get a few flakes if I go overboard, but as long as I moisturize afterwards, my skin remains soft and hydrated. It's a light lotion, and it absorbs quickly. I use this only in the morning, after I use my exfoliating solution.
I went with the Earth Sourced Moisturizer simply because I was using so many other acne fighting ingredients that I didn't wanna go overboard. It's got 98% natural ingredients with antioxidants to renew and rejuvenate skin. It's got a natural smell to it, and it's got a creamy texture. It absorbs pretty quickly too. I use it in the morning before my makeup, and it still leaves my skin prepped for makeup. It doesn't leave it greasy or anything. If my skin feels extra dry at night, I'll use it as my last step.
Lastly, the BHA 9 I was so concerned with. That's a lot of exfoliating. But yet again, with everything else, it is so gentle! Literally, I use this every single night and haven't had any issues with my skin drying out, peeling, or anything. It's a serum so it's it's thick and it's got a weird texture. Some people use it as a spot treatment but I use it on my whole face. The full size (which I didn't hesitate buying after using the samples) is a strange pump that takes some getting used to. Too much pressure and you get entirely too much. Once you get used to it, it's easier to use. I dab a few spots on my face and massage it in. It take a few minutes to absorb. This stuff leaves my face so soft, even without using lotion afterwards. Sometimes I do use it, like I said above, in these colder months when my face gets drier, but most of the time I don't need it.
I've been using these products since about the end of September, and my face has consistently looked better with time. Don't get me wrong, nothing works miracles. You still have genetics and no amount of product will change that. I still get the occasional period break out, or random pimple for no reason, but my face is actually under control for the most part. Hyperpigmentation is still an issue for me, but I think that the exfoliating products help make any post acne scars disappear faster than without using it. The plus side is less breakouts means less hyperpigmentation, so you have to get one under control before the other.
For me, these products are it. I'm not trying anything else, I'm not buying anything else, I've found what works for me. The only thing I can do is recommend giving these products a try. I've never had to pay for shipping, the prices are reasonable, they offer samples to try.. you have nothing to lose. Please give any products you use a fair shot. Exfoliation can cause more breakouts in the beginning (it did for me), as your skin purges all that gunk that's in it, so give it a month at least before you make your decision.
If you try any of these products out, please let me know how they work for you! I know the suffering acne causes, the mental and physical sadness, and I hope to hear positive stories from you guys!