Hey girl. I have been through hell and back with my skin and have learned a few simple yet essential lessons along the way and I wanted to write them up in case anyone out there needs some skin advice from a lady who has been around the block.
A little about me and my skin. So I’m 32 and I live in LA, the land of perfection, so my primary concern as of late has shifted from acne prevention to more anti-aging, although keeping my skin clear is still a big part of my regimen. I am a recovering acne sufferer as seen here. This photo was taken when I was 23 years old.
Anyone who has had or currently has acne knows it is the absolute WORST because you can’t hide your face from the world and live a fulfilled life. It was such a debilitating time in my life and I literally tried everything. No for real, everything.
This is me today freshly awake, NO FILTER, natural lighting, 9 years later, with not a single acne scar or zit for that matter. With my disciplined regimen I have managed to keep my acne in remission this whole time. Haven’t solved my over-plucked brows yet, but perhaps that is next.
So here are my basic schools of thought.
1. DISCIPLINE YOURSELF, DISCIPLINE YOUR FACE.
You know when you see a chick at the beach and her body is bangin’ and you’re all like, OMG girl what do you do to get that bod? And she’s all modest and says “Girl, I work out 5 times a week and never eat.” This is because you have to work for your shit to look good. Some people are blessed with perfect, clear skin (to them, I say you suck) but if you weren’t born a porcelain doll, you have to train yourself and your face into being as close to porcelain as we can manage. You have to work on your skin every day.
WASH every day, Wash your makeup off EVERY NIGHT even when you are drunk/high/tired/traveling, SUNSCREEN every day (and don’t forget your neck, girl) and CREAM every night. I do a serum, a nightly cream (again, don’t scrimp on the neck) and an eye cream EVERY night.
If you are in your early 20′s, you don’t have to be super heavy with the serums/ creams, but if you’re in your 30′s or approaching them, get with the night creams and sunscreen every day. Your skin, especially if it has a mind of it’s own, needs rules and monitoring to get it in line. Stick to a strict regimen and it will help it stay predictable.
2. THERE IS WAY MORE TO DO THAN JUST WASHING YOUR FACE.
I used to wash my face several times a day and then not put anything else on it, like moisturizer, afterwards because I thought my zits would get worse if I added moisture to my face. I also never really exfoliated, cause that sounded dumb to me. What I didn’t know was that I was stripping my face of it’s natural oils by over-washing it, so it was pumping out excess oil to compensate, which in turn was giving me more zits. I remember washing my face and it feeling clean for like 10 minutes then feeling all grimy again. Gross.
So always put on your moisturizer after you cleanse, even if you have acne-prone or oily skin. And exfoliate a couple times a week. Scrubs are fun! That’s the only way to get your skin to look glowing and polished, plus your makeup goes on better and so will your serums, creams, etc.
Also, I fought it for a long time cause I didn’t want to spend the money, but a cleansing brush majorly upped the game for me. Your skin gets cleaner, feels softer, and looks brighter than if you just use cleanser and your hands.
I had a Clarisonic Mia for several years which I thought was great (even though it gave me two busted capillaries around my eye area- the bristles can be harsh) but then switched to a Foreo Luna and I am OBSESSED. I swear my skin looked better after owning it a week and I kept getting compliments. My skin feels like a BABY ASS for hours and hours afterwards. And looks so bright. I got the mini cause I was being frugal, but I want the regular sized one cause it has an anti-aging setting that helps your serums absorb deeper. The silicone can’t harbor bacteria unlike the Clarisonic brush, so you can even share one with your roommate/partner. Plus the charge lasts for half a year! My dang Clarisonic would go dead on me multiple times a month mid-wash.
It costs more than the Clarisonic, but you don’t have to buy replacement brush heads every 3 months, so it’s actually a better deal in the long run. Also, I recently discovered that Clarisonic is not a cruelty-free company, but Foreo is!
They come in different colors, but obvi I pick PANK! This is the slightly less expensive one that I have, again in PANK!
I know it can be expensive to buy skin stuff, but think of it as an investment in your face, which is like everything you have in life.
Foreo has a smaller option, the Foreo play, but I don't recommend this option. Once the battery is dead, it's dead for life! You have to send the unit back in and they send you a coupon for a new one. Psh....
Just invest in the Mini- it will be a much better option long-term. Your whole household can use it and with all your faces lookin snatched, it'll pay for itself!
3. GIVE YOUR FACE A BREATHER!
This is one of my common sense skin tips that I really attribute to keeping my skin clear: I let my skin relax and breathe as much as a can. This means going makeup-less as often as possible. If I don’t have an audition or a meeting or something you better believe I’m going all day with no makeup. Or if I’m feeling sexy I might just do a little BB cream to even out my weird uneven skin tone, blush/highlight and mascara. I think makeup is wonderful and I love how I look with it on, but it is very freeing to not wear it, and I think our skin is sad when it has it on, so let that face free as much as you can!
But don’t forget a daily SPF! And don’t forget YOUR NECK!
4. STAY OUT OF THE SUN, HO-NEY.
I used to be a sun worshipper and my mom has been one my whole life. In the 80′s and 90′s she would wear a tiny bikini and cover herself in baby oil and just lay out. No SPF. Her skin was so brown and gorgeous, but she has an olive complexion and it didn’t mess her up (She’s in her 60′s and looks fabulous).
Because I am pink and pale, I have to work really hard to tan, so I would have to cook in the sun, burn, then let it turn into tan. BUT NO MORE. To help counteract my daily trips to the tanning bed throughout high school and college, a few years ago I gave up the sun completely. Now it’s daily sunscreen on my face (just driving around the sun gets on us, honey. Screen up!) and a big hat and sunglasses at the beach. I cover myself in SPF 55 from head to toe in a thick layer if I’m poolside or out in the sun at all.
And I know, it’s awesome to be tan. Luckily spray tans have really advanced in the past few years.
5. DON’T GET DISCOURAGED CAUSE UNFORT IT’S GONNA BE A LOT OF TRIAL AND ERROR.
You know how your best friend’s skin is glowing and she drinks beer every night and gets Wendy’s every day and she sleeps with her makeup on, but you don’t do any of those things and have bad breakouts? This is because she is the worst.
Take advice from your friends with enviable skin, but know that all of our skins and bodies are totally different. She might’ve responded really well to the Clean And Clear cream cleanser that is 5 dollars at CVS, but it might not do shit for you.
When my skin was broken out, every person would be like “Have you tried Proactive? My cousin loves it.” or “Have you done an egg yolk mask? That’s my secret.” to which I would reply “Yes I have.” But you have to give it all an honest try to find the regimen that works for you. And not just one wash- like a few weeks on each product. I will say that I found this mask on Tumblr a few years ago now and I have gotten many of my friends hooked on it.
This company should send me some free shit, cause I have gotten SO many people to buy this mask and still get tweets about it from my appearance on the Slumber Party podcast. I try to do it once a month, right around PMS time when I feel a breakout coming, and you can literally feel the mask pulling shit out of your face. It is TRIPPY.
Mix it with raw apple cider vinegar though, NOT water. Sometimes you don’t have to go the fancy expensive route and natural stuff will do the trick. One of my most gorgeous friends uses coconut oil and baking soda for her face wash. So try everything, be patient, and hang in there, girl.
6. INVEST IN YOUR FACE.
I’ve said this earlier, but having good skin just like having a hot bod and great hair is something you can buy if you don’t have it naturally.
Last night at dinner my husband said “You look really pretty.” And I about died cause I had no makeup on. I hate that as women we feel like monsters without a full face on, but that’s just the reality, so this compliment really made me feel good. I’m confident to go out to dinner at night with no makeup on cause I put money into this face to keep it supple and clear!
When I have the budget for it, I get a monthly facial complete with a glycolic treatment, extractions, microderm sometimes, etc. This is not cheap, but I budget these by cutting out all manicures. I used to be a gel nail skank but I stopped getting them to put the money into my face.
If you cut out Starbucks and get a coffee maker at home instead, you can put that money into your face. If you really want to have the glowing skin of a beauty queen you gotta make it work!
Plus that Foreo facial brush was worth every penny.
7. AFTER YOU’VE TRIED EVERYTHING, NO SHAME IN THE GAME. GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.
We see commercials all the time for this wash and that cleanser, we hear about all these beauty secrets from household items, blah blah blah.
Let me tell you something: my zits were evolved. Nothing would get rid of them. I was broken and defeated and finally made an appointment at the dermatologist and she changed my life.
I am a pretty holistic person who hasn’t been on any medications throughout my adult life other than hormonal birth control which I have been off for a couple years, I’m vegan, I drive a hybrid, etc. But sometimes you just need chemicals. I did a 6-month treatment of 60mg’s of accutane that stopped my skin from breaking out for the rest of my life. Accutane is a serious drug that has lots of drama around it. Lots of crazy side-effects and claims. But let me tell you, I don’t regret it for a minute.
I had a very mild treatment with no severe side effects at all, other than my hair has thinned out a lot but I can't pinpoint the cause of that, so I stand behind my choice to get on the 'tane. I thought for a few years that my lips were chronically chapped but guess what? I stopped using chap stick and my lips are fine. Chap stick makes your lips chapped. Stop using it and drink more water and it goes away!
My dermatologist has had two babies since her accutane treatment ended and both of them turned out fine (there are major scary birth defects if you get preggo while taking it.) Listen, I know this sounds scary, but every medication on television (including birth control which so many of us are on) has that weird scary part of the commercial where they list all the side effects that can happen from the drug. But people take them anyway cause the result is worth the risk. That’s how I feel about accutane.
It changed my life and if you are suffering with severe acne, go talk to a good dermatologist. There are other options to try first (I liked epiduo which is a topical gel I used in high school and college which has since become avail over the counter, but then my super acne evolved and it stopped working), and try every cleanser system known to man, and if none of those work, get the ‘tane. If you have any questions about accutane I would be happy to answer them, but my biggest advice is don’t jump to it as a fix, try everything else first.
8. LISTEN TO YOURSELF, NO ONE ELSE UNDERSTANDS.
If you have an insecurity on your face (I have an unhealthy obsession with my crow’s feet. WEAR SUNGLASSES, LEARN FROM MY MiSTAKES), I know everyone tells you to love yourself and love your body and embrace your flaws and all that, but honestly it’s 2017 and the advancements in skin care are impressive.
Get that dark spot blasted off with a laser, get a little filler; DO YOU, HONEY. Self care should always be the top priority, not what people think. If your acne makes you sad but your friends keep telling you “It’s not that bad, you are so pretty, no one can even tell” they are right, you are pretty, but getting rid of it will make you happy, so get rid of it and don’t feel vain or weird about it.
AND DRINK LOTS OF WATER AND GET SLEEP AND DUH.
Don’t forget to cream your neck (and if applicable, keep your fringe fresh),