Fighting adult acne: the thrifty way

Friday, August 31, 2012

Hey guys! I recently did a post about my new purchase of a Clarisonic dermabrasion brush. I received a lot of comments from others who suffer from the same issues I do. If you're like me, you have tried everything to get rid of your acne, and nothing seems to work!

I never had problems with acne until my twenties. In high school I had some blackheads here and there, but nothing to the extreme I experienced after my 22nd birthday. A couple years ago, I had ear to ear acne that stretched along my jaw line. I'm not talking about little white heads, I had giant red cysts that no amount of make up could truly cover. Not to mention painful! Sometimes my acne hurt so bad, just getting dressed made me want to cry. This went on for at least 2 years.

I tried expensive cosmetic products like Dermatologica and Peter Thomas Roth. I tried every spot corrector on the planet, I washed my face multiple times a day, and I tried every homemade goop you could imagine (eggs, avocado, honey, cayenne, olive oil, oatmeal etc...).

After literally trying everything I knew, a doctor asked me what kind of makeup I used. Turns out my Bare Mineral makeup was a huge part of the problem. I stopped using Bare Minerals and any mineral make up for that matter. I switched to Physicians Formula which is much cheaper anyways! The doctor told me the more natural the makeup, the less risk of break outs. However, just changing my makeup didn't entirely fix the problem. After I got my insurance up and going, I was able to go to a dermatologist, who shared some very insightful knowledge with me.

Mr. Dermatologist enlightened me on the fact that you should never have to spend tons of money on something you are just going to wash off your face, so $40 on face wash is essentially stupid. He told me to wash with a sensitive face wash (I recommend Basis, Aveeno or Olay), he gave me a topical antibiotic to use twice a day and oral antibiotics. The doctor informed me that you have to take the oral antibiotics for at least 8 weeks!! I had never taken them longer than 4 weeks prior to. He also told me to go get a spot treatment with no less than 10% Benzoyl Peroxide and any generic brand would do.

I followed this regiment: Spot cream 2x day, topical antibiotic 2x and oral antibiotics 2x day for 4 weeks. My acne did improve but wasn't 100% better. The Doc then had to give me cortisone shots in my cystic acne to break up the bacteria.. ouch! He also gave me a tube of Adapalene... I still have no idea what it is, but it helps! ..... and I continued with the other regiment above. After 8-10 weeks I was finally feeling better about my skin (that was last year). My skin is still not great, but it is much better than it was 3 years ago. I still get hormonal break outs, I still get the occasional cystic acne, but it's much more manageable. I have listed some of the things I have learned along my acne journey below, please feel free to share some of your tips. This is a trial and error problem and I am all ears for new solutions!!

1. Before washing your face, use a makeup wipe or a baby wipe to take off the first layer of makeup. An aesthetician explained to me that when you wash your face you are just moving around all the dirt and makeup into your open pores, so the more you get off before you wash the less to clog your pores.

2. Wash with cold water. Like I said before when you wash your face you are smearing dirt and make up into your pores. If you wash with cold water then your pores will not open as much, thus keeping extra gunk out of them.

3. Exfoliate, but not too much. Everyone is different, but I like to exfoliate at least once a week. If you over exfoliate, you can irritate your skin and cause more harm than good. I personally love the exfoliating gloves because you can use your regular cleanser and you can use them to exfoliate your whole body!

4. Wash your make up brushes weekly! I am so bad about this step, but it is so helpful! Your make up brushes harbor tons of bacteria, wash them often! Click the image to see how to clean your brushes.

5. Change your sheets and pillow cases! There was one time when I changed my pillow case every night. When you sleep, you sweat and then you lay right back in all that bacteria the next night. I think changing your pillow case/sheets weekly is really helpful.

6. Makeup with an SPF can cause more breakouts. I know we all need sunblock, but the foundations that come with an SPF have a tenancy to make you break out more. Try using a lightweight water based sunblock and then putting on a foundation without an SPF. (Also told to me by aesthetician)

7. Don't pick, don't even touch your face! I am such a picker, I love to pick my face, it's a terrible habit! Picking causes scars, it exacerbates break outs and your fingers have a ton of bacteria that you are essentially redepositing on your face. If you have cystic acne and you pick it, my dermatologist compared it to an iceberg. When you push and squeeze on the cyst, you might get it to pop, but your also making it explode under the skin. Trying to squeeze a cyst will just spread the bacteria under your skin! Click the image below to see how to stop picking your face!

8. Go without makeup as often as possible. If you don't have to wear makeup, go without. Your face is porous and needs to breathe, if you have it covered in makeup all the time, naturally your pores will clog easier.

I also found this fun diagram on Pinterest and it tells you why you have the acne where you have it! It's pretty interesting with tips to help your problem areas :)

Please feel free to share your own solutions with me too!

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TheTinyHeart said...

That is so crazy that the BareMineral makeup was contributing to your acne! I use makeup wipes as well. I'm glad to hear that your skin has improved since changing your skincare routine. Have a great weekend!

The Tiny Heart
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Anonymous said...

I was using Bare Minerals for a while too and it totally made my skin feel like crap!! It felt super oily and just gross. i couldn't wait to wash it off everyday. I always had the regular kind of acne that appeared wherever it wanted to. Usually it was the small pimples, but every now and then I'd get the big cystic ones. One year, I remember getting a ton of them right under my cheek bone. I think that was like 8-9 years ago and the scars are still there.

I think I've had some type of acne since I was 14. And I will be 30 this year. I've seen dermatologists, regular doctors, taken the antibiotics, done the creams, and pretty much everything except the cortisone shots.

The only time my skin was clear was when I was pregnant. Isn't that crazy? Your hormones are the craziest while pregnant, and yet my skin was clear. Then it stayed clear a few months post baby, and now I get what you've dubbed the "hormonal acne" All along the chin and a few on my upper lips and they come right during mid cycle and the end of my cycle. It's like clockwork. And so much so that if I wanted to get pregnant again, I could probably choose the exact day I'm ovulating. LOL!!

Anyway, the only thing that ever worked for me ( I think I told you already), was the Neutrogena Skin ID. It's like the 3 step system, that you can only buy online. I used that for a year and my skin was the clearest it had ever been. But I stopped when I got pregnant.

Now, I've started using St. Ives Blemish Exfoliating Scrub. It makes my skin feel really good and I can tell that my regular cleansers were not getting my face clean, because now my face feels clean. Then I put on a clear spot treatment and let that soak in, and then I apply my Garnier Refreshing Cucumber Moisturizer. It's THE BEST moisturizer I've ever used for oily skin. It's water based and amazing. I think you would like it. Then I apply my concealer and then make up. Right now I'm switching back and forth between Revlon Photoready Foundation and Revlon Colorstay Whipped Foundation. Both don't break out my skin because during my clear weeks, my skin looks amazing with that make up.

But anyway, I feel your pain. Maybe when I'm 60, it will gone. I'll be in the record books for having acne for 45 years. LOL! Have a great weekend! <3


Because Shanna Said So said...

OMG!!! This is so what I needed to hear! I suffer from adult cystic acne and it sucks! I have tried everything except Accutane. I did start using Mario Badescu drying lotion and it has helped a lot. I a a guilty picker and can't help it...I am guilty of not washing my brushes either...I need to be better at that. Thanks for this post!

The Chic Sheet said...

Great tips!


Aubrey and Melissa said...

Thanks for your sweet comment on our blog! Great advice:)

Unknown said...

very useful!

Unknown said...

Truly helpful post, thank you for sharing such helpful posts. To say cosmetics and makeup products are huge sellers on market would be a massive understatement. Billions of dollars are spent on makeup every year. A few of those cosmetic items may be oil based and those prone to suffer from acne breakouts are well advised to stay away from them.
Oil can clog the skin and if you want to reduce the number of acne breakouts you get, you have to stay away from oil based cosmetics.
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Edward Parker said...

Thanks for explain such a valuable information in this article.