Until the year I got engaged, my skin has always been okay as long as I took care of it. At the same time, I definitely broke out more often than many (especially in high school), but I always made my way back to okay. Even though my parents advised me to consult a dermatologist, I had a makeshift skin care routine that I was maintaining along with healthy lifestyle habits and my skin looked like this:
Decent, right? I thought so too—I was working on brightening and evening the tone at this point. In the 2nd photo, I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a break out and I was so happy to have finally found peace with my skin.
Or so I thought.
Fast forward to about 6 months into my engagement and planning my own wedding, (more on that later) and my skin reacted instantly to the amount of stress I felt inside. I had cystic acne along my jawline and cheek bones that I had never experienced before along with other random breakouts that were taking over. I felt like the only clear skin I had was on my lips and eyelids. It was horrendous, and instead of thinking calmly and rationally, I started testing out any and all products as I adopted the different regimens of my favorite beauty YouTubers. Wrong. Bad choice. Fail. Don’t do this- skin care takes time!
It seemed as soon as I cleared one area, the issue spread to another and with my insane level of stress, I could never get ahead of my breakouts which stressed me out even more. This would have been a great time in life to see a dermatologist, but of course I didn’t… That would make too much sense and would have made my life too easy. My stubbornness has made me a professional struggler.
My skin on my wedding day (the ‘before’ portion of the featured image) was the worst it has ever been.
After the wedding and after finding time to regroup, I created my own skin care routine based on what I had learned about my skin over that year. It took about two months of strict consistency to stop the breakouts and fade a lot of the hyperpigmentation (the ‘now’ portion of my featured image).
Heres what works for me:
- CERAVE PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion (PM only)
- NEUTROGENA Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector (PM, daily as needed)
- DR. BRONNER’S Unscented Baby-Mild Pure Castile Soap (AM/PM cleanser, daily)
- CLAIRSONIC Mia 2 (PM, every other day)
- BOBBI BROWN Extra Repair Moisture Cream (AM, daily)
- NEUTROGENA Clear Face SPF 30 (AM, daily)
- BOBBI BROWN Instant Detox Hawaiian Sea Water and White Clay Mask (PM, weekly)
The only thing I used for a while that I didn’t include above, is the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay which I combined with apple cider vinegar to create a mask that I used weekly. I actually really loved that mask; I liked that you can feel it working and it did a thorough job of extracting dirt and impurities from the skin. I stopped using it regularly because it doesn’t travel well and other masks are just more convenient to use. I’ll still use it on occasion when I feel like I need a really deep clean.
Besides the products listed above, I am also positive these personal habits have assisted in keeping my skin clear as well:
- Drinking at least 64oz of water per day.
- Regular exercise. I aim for at least one hour, five days a week.
- I swap my foundation routine for a tinted moisturizer like this one by NARS, concealer on dark spots, or simply nothing at all at least three days a week.
- Clean my makeup brushes, and sanitize my sunglasses, phone, and other devices every night with rubbing alcohol.
- Practice mindfulness everyday to keep my mind as calm as possible.
That’s it! I’m not a skin expert by any means, but with the exception of a monthly blemish or two, I’ve managed to get and keep my skin pretty clear. I also saw a dermatologist recently for an entirely different issue which I’ll share in a separate post, and the only thing she asked me to omit from my routine was witch hazel (which made no difference in my skin once I stopped).
Be patient with your skin and you’ll find what works!