self-care

I healed my acne and rosacea

Not only did I clear up my acne and rosacea, but I also cleared up my eczema and psoriasis.

Disclaimers:

There is more personal information here than I’ve told many people, much less posted on a public blog.

A lot of these pictures are graphic and they are completely unedited.

I tried my best to include everything I could possibly think of that I believed contributed to my skin clearing up, but please feel free to reach out if you have any questions!

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This is a blog post that I’ve been working on for a while because I wanted to be able to provide a ton of knowledge and information when I shared it and I wanted to test out every possible thing I could. So here’s to a year and a half of fighting my body, only to learn that what it was really asking for was some healing time.

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In early 2015 I started on Le Loestrin Fe. For those of you who don’t know of it, it is the lowest dosage birth control pill on the market. I was going off to college that year and wanted the whole birth control/ weight gain/ hormone imbalance thing to be figured out way before I was (at the time going to be) 12 hours from home. Before starting on the pill, I had some experience with acne, but nothing abnormal for the average high schooler. By my junior year, I had completely learned how to get it under control – aka what products kept me clear:

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So back to what I was saying – Spring of 2015 I began BC. Within just a few weeks my hormones had gone wild and I gained a ton of weight. That was more than enough for me to come off to it. My skin began breaking out with rosacea and acne like I had never known. I’d never even had rosacea before. Frantic for answers, I began researching the link between rosacea and the pill. I came upon tons of forums and blogs where women were experiencing similar reactions to coming off of the pill. I figured maybe my body just needed time to even out.

This isn’t a blog post about Birth Control or Lo Loestrin Fe, but I feel like all of the following are important, when looking at this as a whole.

My hormones were the first to balance out. I regained control of my emotions quickly (I mean, as much control as an 18 year old girl can have over her emotions). The weight loss was incredibly difficult, especially for someone who’s life revolves around fitness. I struggled with losing the 15 lbs I’d put on in 3 weeks, for about 5 months. My metabolism took a lot of time to come back to normal as well.

5 months later I was still dealing with acne that I’d never had before. Nothing that I had always done would cure it, makeup made it worse, and my inevitable stress and tears definitely didn’t help. It came up almost as a rash, full of fury, fire, and I swear it sought to destroy me. And for a long time, I let it.

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I became incredibly depressed. I wouldn’t leave my room for days because I was so embarrassed by my skin. Some people found this ridiculous, but to me it was a huge deal. Not to mention that I was also in a lot of pain – It felt as if each individual pore was sore and honestly I’m wincing now just thinking about it.

Aczone makes a commercial where it shows all these people doing life, and how in the back of their head they’re only thinking about their acne, and I completely related to it. It consumed my every thought (video below just for reference).

I was angry. and sad. and desperate to figure out why my skin wouldn’t clear.

It became my mission to clear my skin up. I researched and read and forum’d my heart out, and out of everything I tried, this is everything that worked for me and what I believe got me to where I am.

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  1. I stopped using any chemical based products.
    I began noticing that every time I applied salicylic acid, epiduo, or any of the chemicals that once had been my holy grail, my skin hurt more and broke out in worse rashes. So I quickly ditched every facial cleanser, makeup wipe, and moisturizer that contained chemicals. (specifically benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid). Yes, I did try reintroducing those products as my skin got clearer and they now still break me out in a rash.
  2. I ditched my makeup.
    This one was tough, but changed a lot of things for me. At first, I stopped wearing makeup for about 2 months. In the mean time I tossed anything that had talc, chemicals, or had been tested on animals – If it needs to be tested out on an animal first to make sure there’s no reaction, it probably shouldn’t go on your most sensitive area of skin. Check out my post here about cutting out my chemical makeups and why.
  3. I took my nails off. 
    I was ADDICTED to my fake nails, but what I wanted more than fake nails was clear skin. In an attempt to rid my system of any and every chemical, the nails got left behind (and I am so so so grateful I gave them up, as is my credit card). Read about what acrylic and polish can do to your hormones.
  4. I changed my mentality.
    This step is huge. Stress and acne are directly linked, so the more you fight your body, you create opportunities for your skin to reflect that even more. I had to come to terms with my skin and love myself nonetheless. It wasn’t easy because we all naturally struggle with a little bit of self doubt. When you throw in physical “issues” it only gets worse. I learned to love myself without makeup on. I learned to love myself barefaced in front of a boy that I loved. I learned to love myself on the good days and bad days. I learned that it was impossible to fight my body through this, and that the only thing I could do was love myself fully and support my body. After all, this was something I had done to it, so I had to help it heal.
  5. I invested in clean productsboth skincare and makeup. 
    Alright here’s where the fun begins. I’ve fallen in love with so many great products over the past few months and I could go on and on about them, but I’m just going attach exactly what I know has worked for me.

    1. Organic dandruff shampoo – Sounds crazy right? I’m honestly not sure what does it, but washing my face with dandruff shampoo helped eliminate clogged pores and kept my rash under control. I usually wash my face with this once per day.
    2. Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash  – I keep this in the shower and wash my face with it once per day, before I exfoliate.
    3. Josie Maran Argan Exfoliating Cleansing Powder – I exfoliate every single day in the shower. There are so many models (including Beyonce) who swear by daily exfoliation and I’m not going to argue it.
    4. Essential oils – I began with these before I used anything else. I love to look at it as feeding my skin, rather than the acids that I used to use that fought at it. I buy from Organic Infusions and use both their hydrosols as well as their essential oils. My favorite oils are Eucalyptus, Turmeric, Lavender, and Myrrh because of their healing properties. My favorite hydrosol is the Helichrysum Hydrosol. I apply them both (hydrosol and essential oils) at night. I just randomly pick which oil/s and sometimes mix them all (no shame, they smell bomb).
    5. Colloidal Silver – So you can do tons of research about this, but colloidal silver is basically the greatest stuff ever in my opinion. It fights yeast and has lots of antibacterial properties. I spray it on my face in the mornings and at night (along with the hydrosol and essential oils).
    6. FACE MASKS – I try to do them 1 or 2 times per week.
      1. 40% Triple Acid Peel  – Once per week for 12 weeks (THIS IS SALICYLIC ACID!!! So I only added this in once my face had completely returned to baseline, meaning to its most normal state. I don’t recommend trying this out until you are at a less sensitive stage of healing).
      2. Glowglam Flashmud – This stuff seriously lasts FOREVER and does wonders!!!
      3. Charcoal Pore Pudding
    7. Makeup Remover – boscia Makeup Breakup

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    8. For combination/ oily skin I recommend Bare Minerals. I’ve had a GREAT experience with most of their products and use them daily. UPDATE: Recently I’ve switched over to La Bella Donna and like it a lot better than Bare Minerals, but they are similar products and I recommend going for what fits your face (and wallet $$$) best!
    9. For dry skin I think that Josie Maran Cosmetics makes some awesome foundation. I tend to be more on the oily side so I use Bare Minerals, but I love the consistency and coverage of Josie Maran’s line.
    10. Pixi Beauty – This is a great line that you can get at Target and is the same cost as any drugstore brand
    11. Makeup Geek – I’m addicted. All of my shadows, contours, and blushes come from here.
    12. Jane Iredale – $$$ so I just buy her bronzer (and mascara if I’m feeling glamorous) but I hear all of her products will rock your world.
    13. Milk Makeup – omg omg omg I LOVE THIS BRAND !!! Their hero salve is awesome for a moisturizer and I’m addicted to both their mascara and eyebrow pencil.
  6. I changed my diet. 
    Scary words. I had always been a conscious eater and knew what affected my body, but I really started listening to my system. I went Vegan for a few months and then Paleo. I learned that my body does not like dairy and absolutely hates sugars (sad face) and coffee (saddest face of all). I was already gluten free and mostly dairy free, so I just made the plunge. I found that I really like eating according to my blood type, and that I don’t do well with simple carbs. I also learned that being mostly vegan, except for a piece of meat per week or some sushi, is really easy and I feel amazing doing it. If you want to change up your diet, just start playing around with things. Give yourself 2 weeks for everything you add/ remove so that your system can adjust and react accordingly and then go from there.
  7. I don’t drink.
    Alright, I’m a college kid of course I indulge in a glass of wine or a shot sometimes. But I honestly can say that I do that maybe once per month (tops). At thanksgiving I drank a glass of wine and up until that point I hadn’t had anything to drink for at least 2 months. My skin instantly gets red and starts to break out when I add alcohol to my system, due to the sugar content, so for the most part I’ve cut it all out.
  8. Exercise. Exercise. Exercise.
    Okay but more importantly – Cardio. Cardio. Cardio.
    I was already majorly into fitness, but sweating has become an addiction. I make my heart rate get up and sweat my ass off for at least 30 minutes per day to cleanse my body of stress, hormones, and toxins. I’m actually a little bit grateful for that acne because fitness has become completely about my health rather than my figure. The type of exercise you do can completely affect your hormones and therefor affect your skin. Lifting weights creates testosterone. In some people that can lead to increased acne. Just pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.
  9. I drink water.
    I used to drink little to no water. I now do my best to consume almost a gallon per day.
  10. I sleep.
    Our bodies’ needs go in the order of air, water, sleep, and then food. We really do need that time for our systems to recover and to rebuild. Sometimes I miss out on the excitement of college life and am completely committed to being a grandma. But it is obvious to me that this is best for my health. Don’t get me wrong, I go out and have fun, it just isn’t an every night thing like it used to be.

Listed above are the most important changes that I have made in my life. There are days where I still have breakouts (after a late night out or indulge in Thanksgiving foods) and I most certainly have discoloration thats still fading. But I’m there. I’ve reached that goal that I so desperately wanted.

It is crazy to me to say that I feel blessed to have had this experience. Doesn’t that sound wacky? But really, I am. This experience forced me to change a lot of really bad habits and to embrace a ton of new ones.

Everything really does happen for a reason.

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(Foundation-less in August)

1 Comment
  • Levi Hamilton
    Posted at 09:04h, 05 August Reply

    Dermalmd rosacea serum really did seem to make a difference with my rosacea. It started to clear up in just 2 days since I starting using it. In fact, it works better then the prescription cream my doctor prescribed. It is also not as harsh on my skin. I will continue to use it when I have flair-ups.

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