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The summer before freshmen year, I began to breakout. I was extremely self conscious about it and it seemed like everyone around me had perfect skin. My mom took me to see a dermatologist and she had me try different topicals and washes but I was allergic to mostly everything. I tried to fix my skin on my own for a year and during that I tried absolutely everything and learned a ton. I was obsessed with skin care and continue to learn about it.
Earlier this year I had very dry skin as well as acne which is the worst combination ever. Thankfully when my acne began to clear I was able to work on my dry skin and I now have normal to combination skin. I say this because the products I use/used to clear my acne are all tailored to those two skin types and may not work for other skin types because everyone's skin is different.
My Go-To Essentials:
The cleansers on the left are very simple and gentle, they don't have a lot of ingredients or fragrances and I recommend them highly for anyone. Cleansers, in my opinion, should simply be to clean, there is no need for harsh chemicals that could cause more irritation and do more harm than good. Cetaphil is a good drugstore alternative for the Fresh cleanser and I use it practically everyday.
My serum of choice is the Burt's Bee's Skin Perfecting Serum. I began using this for my scars and dark spots but I continue to use and love this serum for an even and bright complexion. I apply two pumps at night directly after I wash my face. This serum is a simple and easy way to even out your complexion.
What Really Saved My Skin:
I started using 100% Tea Tree Oil rather than benzoyl peroxide when I realized I did not want to be irritating my skin more with harsh chemicals. For me, Tea Tree Oil gets rid of my spots in about two nights as well as reducing all redness from my face. I simply dip a Q-Tip in the bottle and rub it where I need it; after I apply my serum.
100% Vitamin E Oil truly changed my skin, my scars and dark spots faded almost instantly, thus my skin look so much brighter. I dot this oil on at the same time I apply the tea tree oil. After the two oils, I would apply moisturizer to lock everything in.
Finally, my dermatologist prescribed me an antibiotic that I have been on for about 7 months. I take one pill of Doryx every morning but I am starting to get off of it. The antibiotic allowed me to ease off my strict skin care routine and diminished any acne I couldn't get rid of myself.
Moisturizers I Swear By:
Today, I use the Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer for Combination Skin because it's light, hydrating, and doesn't make me shiny throughout the day. This truly is the best moisturizer for combination skin or acne.
At night, I use the CeraVe PM Moisturizer in Ultra Light. I love that both CeraVe moisturizers help restore the protective barrier of your skin; this one is simply a lighter version of the last CeraVe moisturizer I talked about.
Lastly, Aquaphor and coconut oil came in clutch for my dry skin. I recommend trying oils on your skin if you suffer from dry skin.
Extra Products I Can't Live Without:
Exfoliating my skin continues to help the appearance of my skin quite literally overnight, often times if I don't have time for a face mask but my skin looks dull I simply use a scrub instead of my usual cleanser. My favorite brand for scrubs is St. Ives, they're affordable, natural, good for the environment, and really work. Fresh Skin in stronger and harsher than Radiant Skin but I love them both to brighten my skin and add a glow.
Previous to my antibiotic, I used to religiously use a toner to kill any extra bacteria underneath my skin, to do so I used Thayers Witch Hazel. It works well when used consistently; I would spray my face directly after I cleansed. Now, I use the witch hazel when I'm pampering myself or before I do my makeup.
A Few Face Masks I Love:
When my skin feels dirty or dull, I like to use either Origins face mask. The Clear Improvement mask is great for clogged or dirty pores and I truly see a difference the next day. However, the GinZing mask is quicker, cleaner, and tailored towards refreshment. It just depends the kind of mood I'm in and what my skin feels like it needs.
My all time favorite face mask: I love love love the Glam Glow SuperMud Mask and I can't say enough good things about it. This mask gets rid of acne spots and pimples in a night or two max. and is well worth the money. I relied on this mask heavily when my acne was acting up.
It's Not All Exterior...
I could use face masks, oils, scrubs, serums, and more but sometimes acne isn't an exterior fix. Often times, acne is caused from hormonal shifts, stress, underlying bacteria, an unhealthy diet, or even just genetics. Drinking water, reducing stress, exercising, and steering clear from greasy or salty foods all can have a huge factor on your skin. I recommend trying interior fixes first; including trying to see past the spots.