Hello my fellow acne-prone people. Spots are never fun, but acne? It sucks, I’m not gonna lie. I had really bad acne a few years ago, and though it’s pretty much cleared up now, skincare is still something that’s really important to me. So I thought I’d share what I learnt from having acne to help out any fellow acne sufferers out there.
1) You Are What You Eat
Sorry, I thought I’d better get the cliche out of the way early on. I read about lots of natural ‘remedies’ and tried but they didn’t work. Nothing worked like cleaning up my diet. I don’t mean I suddenly went from McDonald’s everyday to living off a lettuce leaf – as neither of those extremes are healthy. Instead I lowered my carbohydrate intake, as I had waaay too much pasta, and made sure I always got my five a day. Drinking water is also really important. I try to drink about 2 liters a day as it makes my skin look so much healthier and clearer. Even now, when I have sugary drinks or eat crappy food, I notice it on my face. So, everything in moderation (sorry, I had to end on another cliche!).
2) You Need a Skincare Routine
Now I don’t mean you just splash your face with water every now and then. Instead, use a face wash every morning and night, followed by a moisturizer. Even if you have oily skin, it’s still important to moisturize! It’s also good to exfoliate a couple of times a week or use an exfoliating face mask twice a week. I’ve just bought Lush’s “Mask of Magnanimity” and I’m so excited to use it, it smells so good. For real though, it smells of dreams.
3) Avoid Chemicals
Time to share my acne horror story. Just to show you the extent I went to get rid of spots, I kept trying to find a product that would be super harsh and just tackle it. Benzoyl Peroxide seemed to crop up the most on sites, so I bought the cream and applied it all over my face. Erm, well, it definitely got rid of blackheads, but it also made my skin peel very badly. To top it all off, I got a nice tomato red face that was also exceedingly painful. Not my best move.
Some face washes with chemicals can be good to target blemishes, particularly if you have excessive oil. Not all chemicals are good for your skin ,here’s a list of some to steer well clear of. However, if you have sensitive skin (like me), always go for the gentler things. After all, it’s about cleaning your skin rather than actually removing your skin. I use Avene’s Gentle Milk Cleanser, which I always find soothes my face rather than irritates it.
4) Chill Out
Seriously. You may feel self-conscious simply because when you look at your face, you only see your acne, but that’s not what everyone else is seeing. It took me so long to realise this. When my friend was telling me about her past acne troubles, because I was upset about mine, I couldn’t remember ever thinking she had spots. That’s when it occurred to me that maybe others weren’t viewing my skin as badly as I was. Having acne is not the worst thing in the world, it’s a natural part of puberty. Everyone gets spots – even when you’re no longer an adolescent. So, as with any insecurity, don’t let it rule your life.
Also another reason to chill about having acne is that stress causes break outs. So having acne, and then stressing over acne, leading to more break outs, becomes a horrible cycle! Its time to break free of it. Have a bath, grab a book and relax.
5) Go to the Doctor
Sadly telling someone to worry less about their appearance is a lot easier said than done. So if your acne is affecting your confidence levels so much that it’s actually preventing you from living your life, head down to the doctors. They’ll prescribe topical treatments to see if they work. If not, they might put you on birth control pills. These work for some but not for me. I had to go on a 6 month treatment of Accutane, which was what finally cured acne. This isn’t me telling everyone to go on this treatment, as it can have some pretty serious side effects, and doctors use it as a last resort. Instead, my point is that without deciding to go the doctors, I don’t think my acne would’ve cleared. Like I said, feeling comfortable in yourself is something I totally believe in and will always tell people to follow. Sometimes all you want to do is tell acne to fuck off.
Article by Jennifer Richards.