If there is one thing girls hate more than having periods, it would be having acne.
These obnoxious red, shiny, oily and pus-ish little shits can really be a confidence-killer, and personally on my worst days, I had to cancel meetings and dates (and just stay home and be miserable) because of them. That’s how bad it was for me.
Most common causes of acne are hormones, environment, and personal lifestyle or habits. I managed to narrowly dodge the acne bullet during my hormone-laden teenage years, but wasn’t so lucky during my second year in college, where I was just downright plagued by acne mercilessly. It took me a long time for trial and error to find the right product for me and of course, a lot more patience to figure out a regime and stick to it. So if you too are troubled by acne, you might want to give the following practice/products a thought and see if they could change your life like they have changed mine.
#1: LESS IS MORE.
Forget the commercials, forget what the influencers advertise—less is really more when it comes to tackling acne. I had been that desperate girl once, grabbing and using everything that claimed to be able to help. At my worst, I washed my face every few hours in school, exfoliate every alternate days, wash with electronic facial cleanser every night, do masks every night, and also an oil cleansing alternate days. It was crazy. It took a toll on my skin and the acne just got from bad to worse.
So stop. On a normal day, just wash one time in the morning and one time before sleep. Put on a toner/moisturizer and that’s it. You might feel like you are not doing enough to solve the problem at first, but the less you bother your skin, the more it can heal by itself.
#2: Chagrin Valley Soaps
Holding on to the belief that cleansing is a huge step in acne-fighting, I had tried so many facial cleansers—from commercial products to dermatologist’s prescriptions to even DIY natural products. However, the one that really worked for me was Chagrin Valley’s soaps, which are known to be free of many harmful chemicals such as parabens and SLS.
Funny thing was that while they do carry facial soaps, I actually started with their shampoo bars and decided to use it as facial cleanser during one trip where I forgot to pack my normal cleanser. They turned out to be so gentle and effective for my skin that seven years later, I am still using them as a facial cleanser.
#3: Hada Labo
Anyone with acne will know that oil control can be a bitch—too much oil will aggravate the acne, but stripping the skin of moisture will trigger higher oil production. This classic Japanese moisturizing lotion has a signature hyaluronic acid formula and what I really love about it is that it does the job of moisturizing, without weighing down any bit on the already oily acne. And the best part? It is very affordable and largely available in major drugstores.
You have to trust the Indians when they talk about their turmeric. My Indian friend casually mentioned about the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric during one of my many acne-triggered breakdown sessions. And me being as desperate as I was, immediately went down to the supermarket and grabbed a bottle of turmeric powder for less a dollar. And boy did that dollar count.
The instruction is to mix the powder (like approx. 10g) with some drops of milk till it forms a paste consistency, leave it on your face for 5–10 minutes and then gently exfoliate and wash it off. It can be a mess doing this, and your skin might be slightly tinted with the yellow after that, but do it (max twice a week). It helps and your acne will look less crazy over time.