I Fought With Severe Acne For 20 Years, Here's How I Finally Defeated It

I Fought With Severe Acne For 20 Years, Here's How I Finally Defeated It

Some people are blessed with clear genetically cleared skin, but consider me not one of the lucky few. My acne started to develop rapidly since early adolescence-from the tender age of 10, I dealt with constant battles of painful cystic acne along with clusters of whiteheads and pesky blackheads. Before I knew it my acne had developed into blemishes and spots on my back and chest. Photo day (especially in middle school) was an event I totally dreaded and was afraid to reveal my acne scars, I regret swearing never to wear backless tops again. From over-the-counter toppings like Proactiv to prescription antibiotics like Clindamycin, I’ve tried everything, with no real success. While acne tends to balance itself over time through hormonal changes, this isn ' t the case with me, so I ran away and went to a dermatologist to start treatment with Isotretinoin (or commonly known) as Accutane). Within a few months the frequency of my breakouts had greatly improved and I finally understood what it feels like not to feel self -conscious about walking out of a full face foundation. Although Accutane has done a lot to improve my skin-and the whole process isn’t walking in the park-I still experience breakouts if I’m not careful. Extremely oily skin is in my DNA, so it ' s a daily struggle to keep my skin’s oily skin controlled and checked. Over the years I have used and tested hundreds of products before finally discovering my favorites and go-tos that I take when my acne re-puts its ugly head. From cleansers to toners, spot treatments, and more, I share products that help to rejuvenate my skin. Because melanin -rich skin requires very little excessive TLC due to the increased severity of hyperpigmentation, I consulted Elyse Love, MD, FAAD, a New York -based board -certified dermatologist for more treatment tidbits. in acne for deeper skin tones. “Treating acne in darker skin tones requires thought over the products used and patience from the patient,” Love explains. There are plenty of great recommendations ahead, so feel comfortable and keep scrolling.

One of my biggest takeaways after dealing with acne for a long time is don't waste your money on overly fancy cleansing. Sure, it shouldn’t feel like detergent and leave your skin dry and scales to the touch, but there are a ton of products on the market that thoroughly and gently cleanse. I used to (wrong!) Think that because of my oily skin the only way to prevent breakouts was to overdry my face to reduce the amount of sebum. My hard face certainly paid the price, and not surprisingly, my acne never went well. Until my 20s I learned balance was key. The ideal pH for the skin is slightly acidic, which equates to around 5. For this reason, I stuck to low pH cleansers to protect my skin’s natural microbiome, which also helps balance oil production. . This Corsx face wash manages to cleanse my skin without over-drying.

For several days when I needed a little extra backup, I hit the Benzoyl Peroxide-laden foaming PanOxyl wash. Anyone familiar with the world of anti -acne products will immediately recognize this antiseptic ingredient – it’s definitely one of the buzzier ones out there. Many dermatologists consider Benzoyl Peroxide to be one of the most effective over-the-counter acne treatments because of its ability to block pores and prevent bacterial growth. It will certainly help with a pinch, but my advice: use it sparingly, as it can dry out the skin with frequent use. How should you start incorporating a terrific treatment if you’re new to the game? "Many ingredients that fight acne are also quite annoying, so not starting too many ingredients at once or too strong of the ingredients can cause irritation and result in hyperpigmentation. Therefore, the products should be to incorporate into the room slowly, 1-2 products at a time, starting only three times a week and slowly building up to the daily allowance, ”Love explains.

Salicylic acid, or BHA, is a powerful exfoliant that Love recommends when treating both acne and scarring after acne. “Because post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is often more bothersome than acne in darker skin tones, topical ones that treat both acne and hyperpigmentation are particularly beneficial-the gold and glycolic standard retinoids acid and salicylic acid that also acts, ”Love told me. When it comes to toners, you can't get stronger than this one from Paula ' s Choice. Its magic lies in the gentle chemical exfoliation of BHA that helps to remove blackheads and excess oil in addition to fading acne scars. After trying my share of chemical -releasing toners, I realized you don’t have to overdo it. Excessive volume can have almost the opposite effect, leading to rough patches. You want to find one that is relatively gentle, and apply it with moderation. I will keep coming back to this one because of how quickly it helped to get rid of my scars, leaving my face glowy and clear.

Another great option is Acwell's low pH toner. Loaded with water with licorice and green tea, it serves as a gentle follow-up to my cleaning in the event of any missed dirt or makeup residue. It also serves as a tonic to protect the acidic environment of my face.

I want to marry this toner. A cult favorite, this “beauty elixir” feels like the most refreshing, and most bougiest drinking water for my face. Even with the best intentions of pro-hydration, my skin can stay away from the dry side after a cleansing. This spray is a refreshing, hydrating mist that leaves the right balance. Without a doubt, it was a savior during my Isotretinoin days where almost every creak of my skin was like a lizard. At almost $ 50 is it a splurge? Yes, but sometimes it’s not a bad thing to treat yourself.

It's easy to ignore antioxidants when you're on a perpetual fight with acne. My brain has been wired for years to get anything with the highest amount of Benzoyl Peroxide or BHA, mistakenly thinking only those ingredients will deliver clear skin. But, please ignore a Vitamin C. Not only does it help reduce inflammation (a big factor when treating acne), it also helps in fading acne scars and hyperpigmentation. While the tendency to active breakouts is one half of the journey to clearer skin, the other half lies in treating the resulting scars. While Skinceuticals ' CE Ferulic and Drunk Elephant ' s C Firma Day Serum are worthy contenders, I came across Tatcha ' s Violet-C Serum which boasts two forms of stabilizing vitamin C.

You can recognize this amazing from the depths of Tik-Tok, but it's one of my tried and true products over the years. Niacinamide is another useful tool when fighting inflammation and excess oil, also helping to neutralize cells that damage free radicals. Zinc is also a hot ingredient that some claim helps to reduce the bacteria that cause acne. The jury is still out there, but the way I see it that never hurts. It’s so gentle that I can apply it without irritation.

Dermatologists keep telling me that my oily skin is a good thing (for one, excess moisture helps to relieve wrinkles), but I can't help but damn pools of oil that accumulated on my face at the end of the day. The game of choosing a serum that fights acne is complicated: it doesn’t have to be overly drying or harsh, but you want to feel something. Containing a natural form of salicylic acid, Caudalie’s Vinopure serum feels light on the skin but packs a big punch. After applying it in the morning, I noticed a noticeable difference in the size of my active breakouts throughout the day. This is definitely one of the best serums around.

Formerly a prescription only, the active ingredient of Differin is adapalene, a type of retinoid. Dr. points out. Love the retinoids as the best of the best of the topical ones used to treat acne and hyperpigmentation. But not too fast: adapalene is considered less effective than retinoids to clear acne (considering Isotretinoin the best), and in my experience, Differin hasn’t completely cleared more aggressive cystic acne. On the flip side, it helps keep my medium sized pimples checked. I don ' t use it every day to avoid irritation, so I try to keep my applications a few times per week. Dr. recommended. Love La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar, a similar adapalene gel, so I’m itching to try that next time.

Sulfur has become divine for fighting pimples that seem to be out of nowhere. Since my youth, I’ve tried everything from sulfur soap (that was drained to the maximum) to sticky sulfur ointments (that was a nightmare to sleep on), with some mixed results. I am happy to report that this sulfur area treatment is the real deal. A little dab at night is enough to dry out those unsightly whiteheads, laying the groundwork for the remaining treatment to do their thing.

After slathering on my subjects, I wanted to address any recurring pimples with a good old patch. It may not work 100% of the time, but it’s one of the better ways I’ve found to keep the environment around my pimples free from additional bacteria. Usually, however, it reduces the size of my breakouts to a degree, which is a better result than most things I’ve tried! If you are skilled at applying them you can lay them down enough that they are barely visible against the skin and layer makeup on them as needed. Not the case for me, but I barely left the house.

If you're serious about ending your wit on your acne -prone skin, and if you're ever going to get on this list, let it be blue light therapy. Other than Isotretinoin, there is nothing as clean clearing my skin as blue light treatments. A newer, innovative acne treatment available on the market, it’s not something I’ve noticed full turn into the mainstream just yet. After hearing about it from a public friend, I was also skeptical until I gave it up a few years ago. Now this is seriously one of the most critical parts of my work. Thanks to the antimicrobial powers of blue wavelengths, the emitted light effectively kills many types of pore-clogging bacteria. After one session my breakouts literally diminished throughout the night, draining them and making it easier to treat subjects. It’s not super convenient because it requires you to sit comfortably with a ton of flashing light on your face, but it’s definitely worth it. I'm a fan of Dr.'s mask -like equipment. Dennis Gross, but there are many other affordable and equally effective options out there.

I have met enough beauty editors and dermatologists to know that I am fixing myself for failure if sunscreen is not separate from my skincare routine. Seriously, all the work of trying to fade acne scars actually comes down to the drain without proper protection against UV rays. I winced at the idea of ​​putting anything remotely creamy on my face because of my oily skin, but Supergoop ' s Sunscreen is where I turn the corner. It is super lightweight and oil -free, in addition to being water and sweat resistant. I usually apply it in place of a separate moisturizer.

But, if your acne prone skin can use too much hydration, can I recommend the below? Heavy moisturizers tend to throw my oily skin out, then produce more oil and more breakouts, however, Belif’s Moifurizing Bomb and CeraVe’s Ultra-Light Moisturizing Lotion are dangerous exfoliates the skin.

Almost everyone has heard of this mask, I feel I’m one of the last people in the world to try it With all the hype, I’ll admit I’m hesitant, but really deserve the hoopla. A popular hack is to mix it with apple cider vinegar, but even so, I used it in water with equally effective results. It can serve as a spot treatment to dry out a pimple, or an all-over mask for a spa-like experience.

Acids are my happy place, and I feel like I'm no happier than when I'm masking at Drunk Elephant ' s Sukari Babyfacial. A 25% blend of AHA or glycolic acid (another of the three ingredients Dr. Love suggests for post-acne hyperpigmentation), and 2% salicylic acid, cites it as a pro-level mask you can make at home. Essentially all of those acids exfoliate the skin, causing faster cell migration and unstable pores. After months of use, my skin thanked me in the form of diminished acne scars and a brighter complexion. Applying it is like taking care of yourself in a plastic bottle.

Who doesn't like the feeling of fresh, clean pores? So, here’s that feeling in a pipe. It has become one of my face masks when my skin feels dull or blah. Another clay-based mask, it helps to decompose the skin, remove dirt and pore-clogging oil. Pro-tip: steam your face before applying (I like this one) it will be heavenly.

Next, Dermatologists Agree: This One Treatment Is The Key To Tighter Skin .

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