Acne, dark spots, unevenness; our skin can truly make or break our self-esteem. Growing up, I always had problems with all three. In high school, I had become comfortable with it because I had assumed that it was just a teenage issue. I thought that by the time I got to college, my skin would be glowing. I couldn’t have been more wrong. College was actually worse and I became very insecure about my skin. I felt like my blemishes were all people saw when they talked to me. I’ll never forget the one guy that I really liked who once told me that I didn’t have much going for myself as far as my “crater face” was concerned, so I’d better start using my body to get what I want. Imagine how I felt after hearing that.
After doing some research of what the causes of acne were, I found several that were specifically related to me:
- Unhealthy diet – Being in college was a game changer when it came to my eating habits. Campus dining didn’t always have the healthiest options, unless I wanted to eat soup and salad everyday. I ate what most college kids eat, burgers, pizza and fries. Adding a Coca-Cola or a Dr. Pepper to that was the icing on the cake.
- Stress – Of course, stress was inevitable. There was academic stress: assignment, papers, exams, etc. There was emotional stress: losing friends, a non-existent dating life, missing my family, etc. There was financial stress: living off campus, paying bills, putting gas in my car, etc. With college comes a lot of stress and I felt every bit of it.
- Oily Skin – My skin is naturally oily, that I always knew. I found myself touching my face with my hand and seeing nothing, but oil. Even when I looked in the mirror, I could see the shine and having my hair touch my face with oil didn’t help at all.
- Bacteria – I’ve always had a terrible habit of picking at my skin. The whiteheads bothered me so I tried to get rid of them any way that I could. I learned that our nails can be toxic to our skin because we touch so many things throughout the day that are hands are filthy with bacteria.
- Hormones – Nothing that I could control about this. It’s just a part of being a woman, our hormones are different than those of men and the effects of our hormones can be much more detrimental to our physical appearance; from body hair, to body weight, to acne.
Once I got an understanding of the causes of acne related specifically to me, I started working on developing a skin care routine. I tried so many different skin care brands and products: Olay, Shea Moisture, Clean & Clear, Burt’s Bees, etc. I even tried Lush products since I figured I needed to stick to all-natural products. Eventually, I gave up and accepted that the skin I was in was going to be the one I was in for life.
Fast forward, I’m now 25 years old and I’ve finally found a skin care routine with brands and products that works for me. After years of giving up because I thought I’d hit a dead end, I found some recommendations for brands and products through Twitter and my own continued research. Here’s my routine and what works for me:
1. I start by washing my face with a hot towel , pressing the towel to my face and letting it sit for a few seconds. Not all towels are good towels, always remember that. Towels with rough material won’t do your skin any justice. Spend that extra money on good quality towels, you’ll thank me later.
2. Next, I cleanse my face with Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap. There are many varieties of this soap. I use the light blue labeled bottle, “Baby Unscented”. Something I’ve learned about my skin is that it’s super sensitive. Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap can be harsh, so I decided on the “Baby Unscented” because it’s for sensitive skin and doesn’t have any fragrances in it, which is also terrible for my skin. I squirt a little of the soap onto a warm wet towel and lather it up, then I cleanse my face in a circular motion with the lathered towel. I do this for about 30 seconds then I rinse.
3. After a good cleansing, I use Neutrogena’s Alcohol-Free Toner. What I love about this toner is that it doesn’t leave residue on my skin like previous products that I’ve tried. It always leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth after I use it. It’s also oil-free and alcohol-free, which is great for me. I grab a cotton ball and douse it in toner, rubbing it on the problem areas of my face in a circular motion. The best part about it, no burning.
4. My last step is to moisturize. I wanted to stick with the same brand of skin care besides Dr. Bronner’s. So, for my moisturizer, I use Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Daily Sensitive Skin Face Moisturizer. It has a purple label, which makes it easier to look for. Again, I wanted a product for sensitive skin and something oil-free because I already have naturally oily skin.
If you’re a Target fanatic like myself, you’ll be happy to know that all these brands and products can be found in their skin care aisles. It’s a one stop shop.
Along with healthier eating, avoiding caffeine, de-stressing and not picking at my face, I do this same routine every morning when I first wake up and every night before I go to bed. After years of trying different brands and products, I’ve found that these work the best for me. I’ve only been using them for a week and my skin looks amazing already! So amazing that even my mom noticed: “your skin looks good, what are you using?” I couldn’t be more happier with the results and I’m excited for the day that I wake up with blemish-free skin.