Clean Skincare Routine
Let me first preface this post with the fact that I've got acne. Yup. I had decent skin as a teen, and then around 27 BOOM my face broke out like I was 14. Painful, cystic, and leaving scars like no body's business. So if you clicked on this thinking "oh her skin must be flawless," know you know, its not. Its taken a lot of time, energy, and yes, some money to start to clear my skin up, and while its certainly not perfect, its now at a place where I feel comfortable walking around with no make up on.
Let me also say, that its only been in the last few years have I started to switch all my products to more natural and organic, ones using far less chemicals and are cruelty free. That change also had its challenges. I will say that before I made the changes, I was using Rodan & Fields Unblemish line pretty consistently for about 2 years and it did wonders on my skin. And I do think, that it helped in my journey to establishing one of the most important parts in skincare: a routine.
Keeping a Schedule
This might be the hardest challenge I had in regards to my face.. Sticking to a routine. Using particular products in a particular order or on certain days. Doing things like weekly face masks, never EVER going to sleep with makeup on, and treating acne at the first sign are some of the biggest tips I can give. I also find extreme value in facials. I started getting facials every 4-6 weeks as I was preparing for my wedding last year. Knowing how tricky my skin can be, I started doing this about 6 months out from getting married, and it honestly made a huge difference. I loved going so much that I've continued going every 6 weeks since. Its my treat to myself, and its the most amazing hour of quiet. The way I look at it: if I'm going to spend the money on products or makeup to cover up the yucky skin, I might as well spend that money in actually achieving good skin so that I can ultimately spend less on those products. Trust me, I am spending far less now doing regular facials and this routine than when I was just trying one product after another to try to fix the problem. And then spending countless dollars on makeup to cover it up (which, of course only just made it worse.) If you're local to Newport, I highly recommend Allie at The Apothecary - she is the facial queen.
On the Outside: The Products
There are a few products that I use in my everyday routine that now that I've found them I don't know if I'll ever switch - and coming from a product junkie, that's saying a lot. One of my favorite brands is Cocokind - a "clean and conscious skincare for all' powerhouse brand, with some amazing initiatives to support woman looking to make a difference in the health and wellness industry. Their products are simple, you can read their ingredients, and the best part: AFFORDABLE. From someone who has spent a zillion bucks on a product to then have it not work, you can take the chance on using this line without risking losing out on money if its not for you. And also - they provide a 30 day back guarantee to try.
There's quite a few of their products I use everyday. One of the best makeup removers + cleansers I've found is their facial cleansing oil. I use this every night if I've had makeup on all day. You put the oil on dry onto your skin and rub gently your eyeliner, mascara, etc. I will then quickly rinse and then use the Ocean Cleanser by OSEA.
After a good cleansing toning (which I didn't think was a step that was so important) is now one of the best parts of my routine. It leaves my skin feeling so incredibly clean. I use reusable cotton pads to spray Cocokind's Raspberry Vinegar Toner. Specifically for acne prone skin, this stuff removes any of the impurities that you didn't remove during cleansing. Vinegar helps to calm inflammation, reduce redness and balances skin's pH levels?. Yes please!
An everyday cleanser that I've been loving is by OSEA, My skin feels so bright and clean, without feeling stripped down and its perfect for everyday use. I use this both in the morning and at night either with the cleansing oil or just on its own. It helps to calm acne, but is also great for all skin types and its super affordable.
Time to moisturize. The biggest change I've done has to go to using an oil instead of a typical lotion or cream. I find that my skin just soaks it up. While I am not typically dry, it does need the hydration to keep my skin at a happy place. I use two products in the morning and at night combined. I use Cocokind's Facial Repair Oil (one pump is enough) and I add two drops of Odacite Pa+G Hyperpigmentation Serum. As I mentioned before, my skin has had a lot of damage. I used to pick my zits leaving super dark marks. And even now that I do not pick at them anymore, a big cystic zit will leave my skin tinted darker - nearly impossible to cover. The facial repair oil is packed with rose-hip and avocado oil to help in the repair of texture and tone of skin, and the hyper-pigmentation serum has both papaya and geranium - both been known to help reduce spots. You might think this extra serum isn't necessary, but I promise you I saw a difference the next day with my spots being a little lighter.
The Extras: Masks, Treatments + More
There are a few other products that I use on a daily or weekly basis that have also significantly impacted the quality of my skin.
Exfoliating: I never really thought that this step was as important as it is. Getting the dead skin cells off your face allows your skin to repair - so if its lingering it can cause pores to clog. That's where I love Cocokind's Exfoliating Sea Moss. It's gentle enough that you can use it nearly everyday. I typically use this every other day, before using OSEA's cleanser in the morning.
Masks: My absolute favorite mask literally of all time is the Green Tea + Honey Mask from Honey + Vine Apothecary (Made by a friend local to Newport. Don't worry non-Rhody peeps, she ships!) Made with manuka honey and green tea - this is the mask of my dreams. Its crazy hydrating, calms skin, and has some killer anti-aging properties. Manuka honey is known for its anti-bacterial properties meaning its going to be great for cleansing that skin. At $30 a jar, it might as well be liquid gold - I've been using once a week for 6 months, and I still have half a jar.
For when my acne is really on the fritz, I also love to use Cocokind's Chlorophyll mask. I use it more as a spot treatment than all over, but it is also so great.
Under Eye: This is one of the most forgotten about areas of skin on our face - and it needs a different amount of love. The skin under our eyes is so much more thin and sensitive, and ages faster (think, ten years faster) than the rest of our face. This is where One Love Organic's come in. Their Eye Balm is another product I noticed a difference in texture and tone nearly over night. While its the 'most expensive' item on the list at $49 for the jar, I've had mine for about 6 months and have barely made a dent. Using your ring fingers and literally a rice sized amount, dab every night around the eye. A little goes a long way.
Spot Treatment: This is where I've always struggled a little. When a bump pops up, for me its nearly half the size of my face. My zits are hormonal, and cystic and HUGE. Unfortunately too often enough, time is the only thing that really helps them go away. There are two products that I use that have been a game changer in at least having them go away so much faster. One: TreeActiv Cystic Acne Spot Treatment literally helps my zits go down by half the size overnight. Tea tree, bentonite clay, aloe vera and witch hazel, this little tub is magic. Two: call me crazy, but regular old hydrocortisone cream. Acne is an inflammation of a pore. Hydrocortisone cream helps to reduce acne. When I feel a spot coming on I use the cream everyday after cleansing (and can even put makeup on over it) and I'll use the spot treatment and leave it on over night. Be consistent with it - and I promise it'll go down. And if for nothing else, do NOT pick! IF you have one that happens to pop, another trick that always helps: a little neosporin and a band aid and sleep in it. It'll get rid of redness and help it heal faster.
On the Inside: Supplements + Diet
I know, I know, this is the part you probably don't want to hear. The importance of diet plays a big role in your skin. Of course, things like genetics, stress level, that time of the month, may also cause your skin to freak, but if you can control some of the other factors, you might treat your face a little better. Make sure you're drinking half your body weight in ounces in water a day. Yes, everyday. Water helps to keep your skin moisturized, while also helping to flush out the toxins that exist in our organs. Toxicity in your blood stream can come to the surface so keep it flushing.
Ladies, at that time of the month, I know you might want to go for a big box of donuts (don't we all?) but make sure to be careful about your sugar intact. Not just things like straight sugar, but things like white bread, candy, soda, ice cream, all will raise insulin levels causing your skin to become oilier than normal.
Another factor I didn't know? It takes a zit 5 weeks to come to the surface. That's where regular facials help to express anything under the skin. So a big event coming up? Your wedding? A big work presentation? Be sure to eat a little cleaner in the weeks leading up.
For me, another huge factor is dairy. I know you guys likely didn't want to hear that, but for me, the more dairy I consumer, the more I breakout. So for me, the reality of it is, I limit my dairy intake (for not only my skin but for a few other health reasons) and indulge in it when its a special occasion. I've noticed that in the last 6-9 months as I've been really cognizant of what dairy I'm consuming, that my skin has gotten better.
A good rule of thumb: if what you're putting into your body doesn't make your belly feel good, expect it to make your skin feel not so good too. Again, if your body cant digest something, its going to have to come out in some way, and it could be bloating or it could be a breakout. All too often people equate bloating to being something normal - if you're eating properly then no, it shouldn't be!
In terms of supplements, I don't take very much for my skin. I take Vital Proteins Collegen powder every morning - both for digestion and for its benefits for skin and hair. It also is a great source of protein, so I love to start my day with a scoop in my coffee or tea.
For some, taking biotin helps a lot with hair, skin and nails. I personally never noticed a huge difference in my skin, although it did make my hair grow like wonders!
If there's one big takeaway that you get from this, is that consistency is key. Quality products don't have to be a zillion bucks. A lot of Cocokind products can be found in local stores like Whole Foods. All of the others I've mostly purchased through Follain - my favorite go-to site that does the dirty work (see what I did there) for you of finding clean, organic products (not to mention free shipping over $50!) Some of the others I found through my own research on Amazon or other various sites. If something doesn't seem to be working for you - give it more than just a week, tweak your diet, and drink more water. Remember that good skin takes time - I am still always working on it too.
Any products you love? Have questions about how I got here? Ask below!