Hey all! I’m so excited to share my updated skin & makeup routine. As you know, I love sharing products I enjoy on Instagram and letting you all know what has been working for me. This is the most highly requested blog post… and way overdue! Hopefully it’s helpful to have everything in one place and not scattered all over my Instagram story.
If you tuned in to my recent youtube video, you may have seen a tiny glimpse/tease of what I’ve been doing. My skin has come a long way in the past few years after trying lots of things and making major changes. My cystic acne began around the age of 15, which caused so much damage to my face, and my confidence.
My cystic acne was all over my face, neck and back. It was very painful. I would have as many as 10 major(cystic) breakouts on my face at once, with most happening right before my period. It would take them a month to heal and go away… just in time for my next period- it was a horrible and painful cycle. Something to know: My skin type is combo and now a little more dry since moving to California. My skin has come SO far since figuring some things out- though I’m still working through scarring.
Building my confidence back up and letting go of insecurities has been the biggest battle. If you are working through that as well, I totally understand your fight. I understand not wanting to go out. Not wanting to take pictures. Not wanting to even make eye contact with people in fear that you will catch them looking at your skin. It sucks, but you have to keep fighting. And you have to remind yourself that God still loves the broken and flawed YOU.
After trying so many different things, I realized that my acne was hormonal. I also realized that dairy played a huge part in my breakouts.
A combination of birth control and spironolactone was the winning combo. You have to be on BC if you want to be on Spirono. If you are a teenager, just know- I’m not a doctor or your parent and they have the final say. Spirono is very mild and you can be on it as long as you want(ask your dermatologist and doctor). My skin cleared up within 2 months of being on this and and I stay on it for about 2 years. I went off of spirono a year ago and still don’t have cystic acne. It seemed to really level out my hormones long term. Cutting out 90% of my dairy intake after going off of spirono was the icing on the cake. I couldn’t believe how clean my skin stayed. If I have a weak moment and eat a lot of pizza or some ice cream, I will get a little breakout. Drinking a LOT of water is key. My skin is the first to suffer if I don’t.
What didn’t work:
Accutane worked while I was on it and then my cystic acne came back right when I went off of it. Minocycline and Tetracycline did’t work either. Prescribed topical ointments only dried out my skin- but never helped with hormones. Cutting out coffee and sugar didn’t seem to do anything. My goal is to get off birth control completely and find something natural that regulates my hormones- and that is affordable.
Switching from using my hands to using wipes. I use a cotton ball with the Simple cleansing oil. The wipes linked below are the BEST I have tried and leave my skin extremely hydrated.
What didn’t work:
Foam/liquid cleansers. Most of them either didn’t clean my face enough, or they strip my skin completely of natural oils that I need. Proactive didn’t work. Prescribed face washes were too harsh.
Serums are the absolute best. I usually go for Hyaluronic, anything that provides extended moisture, and skin tone correction. I found the GG Serum through a local maker here in Orange County. She runs a goat farm here and makes so many amazing and natural products. I’m OBSESSED with this serum. The No7 product is technically a mask, but it acts as a moisturizer as well. It leaves my face so healthy and hydrated.
Serum: GG Glow Face Serum
Moisturizer: No7 Instant Results Nourishing Hydration Mask
What didn’t work:
I tend to pick up random moisturizers and serums at Marshalls and TJ Maxx. Some of them work. Some of them don’t. I haven’t had any major fails.
Correction methods are tricky and for the most part, and shouldn’t be used until you have your acne somewhat under control. The retinol is great for EVERYTHING, and is best when prescribed from your dermatologist. It helps with fine lines, scars and discoloration. I do my own needling at home 1-2 times a week to keep working on scars that I still have. You shouldn’t do needling over an active breakout. It can easily make it worse. Make sure you watch a youtube video on the best way to do that. Ice rollers are great for redness, inflammation and puffiness. I do it every morning for 5-10 minutes.
Retinol Cream: See dermatologist. It’s a MUST in skincare if you are over 21
Needling for scars: .5mm Needle roller
Inflammation/redness: Ice Roller
What didn’t work:
I’m lucky that most things have been really helpful! I seek tons of medical advice from my doctors and make sure I’m doing what’s best for my skin.
I’m a mask girl y’all. I love them. I like cream and sheet masks. I use them once or twice a week depending on how my skin is doing. The whitening mask is so great if you have uneven skin tone, scars or rosacea. The SNP mask is the BEST sheet mask I have ever used. I bought a jar of mayan clay in Tulum on our honeymoon. I first dab apple cider vinegar on my face with a cotton ball and then put the clay on. It literally clears out every pore and black head. It’s AMAZING. You can also but a mayan powder and mix it with the vinegar(see link).
Whitening Mask: Mario Badescu Whitening Mask
Fine lines/wrinkles Mask: SNP Tiger Wrinkle Mask
Detoxifying & Acne clearing Mask: Apple Cider Vinegar & Mayan Clay
Cooling/Firming Mask: Cuppa Cuppa Firming Mask
What didn’t work:
Charcoal masks just don’t work for me. They’re simply too drying. And I just don’t see any results. Comment below with a good charcoal mask if you have one- I know there are so many and I’m willing to give them a shot again.
Before my wedding, I did 5 sessions of medical grade micro needling to reduce scarring from my acne. They numb your face with cream and it can be extremely painful. I think I almost passed out every time she would do my forehead. But, I will say that it worked really well! It did help reduce a lot of my major scars. My face was BEET red and burned for about 12-18 hours after (definitely couldn’t go back to work the same day).
If I could afford more I would have done laser treatments. They are pretty pricey and there’s more down-time. I’ve had microdermabrasion done several times as well.
Just a reminder, I am not a makeup artist. Light to medium coverage foundations with SPF in them has worked best for me. When your face is breaking out, it’s tempting to want to slap on something with really heavy coverage- but most of the time it just draws more attention to it. Dewy or satin foundations are best for my skin type. I love the glowy look- I’m NOT a matte girl. It just ages me… and a lot of people! I typically love nude lipsticks, but have recently been loving lip oils that have a tint. Again, I want my face to look healthy and like ME.
Primer: I don’t live for many primers. I typically just moisturize really well.
Concealer: Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in shade Fair
Eyeshadow: Morphe x JaclynHill Pallet
Lashes: Loreal Lash Paradise
Setting Spray: Milani Make it Last Prime-Correct- Set Spray
What didn’t work:
Powder is all BAD for me and accentuates my scars and fine lines. Full coverage foundations do the same thing. Because my skin isn’t perfectly smooth due to scars from my previous skin woes- anything too heavy just makes everything look worse on me.
There are a few things that I enjoy using that don’t really fit in any one category, but still make a big difference in my skin. Exfoliating is key- I only use Frank and have been for years. Remember, always wear sunscreen- or else all of your hard work to take care of your skin will mean nothing.
This was A LOT. And if you made it to the end- congratulations. If you don’t care at all about any of this stuff because you have amazing skin and don’t believe in makeup- you’re awesome. My hope is that there was something for someone in this post.
It took me 10 years to find what worked for me and I pray that it doesn’t have to take that long for others. There are options and somewhere out there is the perfect combo of something for you. You just have to keep trying. Look for that balance- it’s what our bodies need.
Love you you,
P.S.- If I missed something- leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you 🙂