Since my freshman year of high school, I have been dealing with some rough acne. I ate well, I drank TONS of water, but nothing seemed to cure the platter of whiteheads, blackheads, and bright red pimples that were on my face and body. But four years of self-esteem issues and anxiety over my skin have come to an end in the last three months.
1. Exfoliate! Exfoliate! Exfoliate!
This was the most fun and important thing you can do for your skin (second to SPF). Also, it's much more effective if its AHA and BHA. They can do a better job of getting deeper into your skin, rather than only rubbing off dead skin (and causing microdamage to your skin!). AHA will remove dead skin cells and helps with skin damage while providing some moisture to the skin.
BHA is your best friend, especially if you have oily skin, since it will dissolve the oils and will kill off any whiteheads, blackheads you may have. My personal favorite is the Glossier Solution. I promise your skin will feel and look AMAZING.
Exfoliating really played a big role on getting my skin clear, and to stay pimples free. It completely cleared all those annoying micro pimples, you know the ones that like to cover up your forehead. Along with clearing your skin, it will help regulate and balance out your skin. It doesn't matter if you are oily or dry, your skin will balance out and glow!
After some research, I found out that there are four vital vitamins needed for clear skin: Vitamins B3, A, E, C, along with zinc. There are plenty of daily vitamins that include all of these which makes it a lot easier to take. Plus most daily supplements include biotin, so that means nice hair and nails too! Win-win! The obvious best way to get all these vitamins is by eating them in your food, definitely consult with your doctor before taking supplements.
Most likely tweaking your diet is the best and the healthiest solution. I used daily vitamins along with a healthy diet, which led me to see improvements in hormonal acne, which used to be all over my jawline. Give your skin at least six weeks to see if it works for you!
Foods with Vitamin B3, A, E, and C: Sweet potato, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe, tomatoes, wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, citrus fruits (ex. oranges), papaya, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, peas, peanuts, tuna, avocados.
Foods with Zinc: Red meat, nuts, dairy, eggs, whole wheat, chickpeas, lentils, and beans.
3. Antibiotics and Birth Control
You may need a doctor for this, but this is the most important thing you can do if your acne is anything like mine. The antibiotics did an amazing job clearing my then-current acne, and the birth control keeps it clear, so no going back to antibiotics over and over again. You shouldn't be on antibiotics for more than three months. Try to find a dermatologist you like and listens to you, and remember, everyone has different experiences with these and your dermatologist will have better resources to help you! Antibiotics are directly going to kill all your fungal acne, however, remember to drink plenty of water that is when it works the best. Taking birth control and antibiotics require lots of responsibility, it won't work unless you actually take them. There are plenty of birth controls that specialize in managing acne, and it might take time to find one that works the best for you since each body is different. And not getting pregnant is another plus.
These are all the things I use to keep my skin clear, and it may not work for you, but trying these out will definitely help you figure out what works for your skin and what doesn't. Remember it can take up to six weeks before you see any changes, and sometimes your skin can go through a "purging" period where the all your acne comes out at once in order for anything to clear it out. And always consult a doctor to prevent your skin from getting work.