Wednesday, May 19, 2010

let's face it

i was asked a while back by some readers about my advice for facial products, especially for someone struggling with acne.

let's face it... i don't care who you are, or how old you are... a lot of us struggle with clear skin!  i'm 26, and i'm not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, if you know what i'm sayin.

i have struggled with breakouts for most of my life, now!  in my late teen years, it was probably at it's worst, and i blame that on myself for not sticking to a good skincare regimen.  i went to the dermatologist for bumps on my arms (psoriasis) in high school, and he was like, "can you come back for me to treat the acne on your face?"  i guess it was kinda obvious.  =)  i did go back, and he prescribed me with a scrub (i wish i knew the name of it, but remember this was in my guatemala days), and also some kind of pill.  i'm assuming it was an antibiotic.  after a few weeks, my face was super clear.  it was wonderful!  i used that scrub until i moved back to the u.s.a.

when i moved back here, i started using proactiv, and it worked great for me!
i used it for several years, and just one random day, my face started to be extremely dry, and peel.  it was awful.  no matter how much moisturizer i used, we had to say adios amigo to the proactiv system.  i looooove these products, though.  they are really great quality products, and their customer service was always terrific to work with.  i would definitely recommend it.

after that, i started selling avon, so i used their products.  if you're familiar with avon, you will know that they have a bazillion different options for skincare, but my favorite was discontinued a while back.  i love avon's lotions and foot creams, but i'm not so into their makeup and skincare.  of course, i loved it when i sold it, and used it all.  after a while, you know, looking back... you just don't like certain things anymore.  =)

somewhere in the midst of avon, i got suckered into signing up for arbonne.  i demoed their anti-aging line, which cost $323.00 by the way.  of course, it felt like pure luxury on my skin, so i fell for it.  when i purchased my own kit, i went the basic route, and got their basic set for around $150.00.  (they've discontinued it, too.)  i used it maybe 2 weeks, and my skin was soooooooooo broke out.  i mean, to the point that my mom was like, "you buy whatever you have to buy, but get your skin under control, now!"  oh, did i mention that my wedding was in a few months?  maybe it was the "getting worse before it gets better" thing, but i didn't have time to figure it out!

i went to the dermatologist and was prescribed cream that around $75.00, and to use purpose facial cleanser.  i followed orders, but had to go for a second visit, and got another cream for $200.00.  the parents were not happy about that, but you know, insurance only covers acne medication for people under 18, i believe it is, so my creams were full price.  they were duac and differin.  i got a little discount because i was actually working at the pharmacy then, but still, it was expensive.  expensive and pointless.

one month before my wedding, i was desperate!  my small fortune on prescriptions were not working.  i was invited to a mary kay party by a friend of mine.  after hearing the sales pitch, and learning that i could get all of my money back if i wasn't satisfied, i took the leap.  and yes, my skin was clear for my wedding day!  yipee!  =)  i signed up to be a representative, and used and loved their products for over 2 years.
i thought that mary kay was a miracle worker, but i finally figured out that it was my birth control pills keeping my skin clear.  i had gotten on birth control pills about 6 weeks before my wedding, so they were actually the miracle workers for my face.  when i got off of birth control to start trying for a baby, it took a few months, but it was back to breakout city.
after getting pregnant with austin, no birth control pills, and still using mary kay, i went to visit my aunt one weekend.  she and her 3 daughters have always used clinique and have begged me to try it for years.  i gave me.  my aunt gave me a little to try for a few weeks to see if i would like it, and i looooooved it.  my skin was really clear, and has felt great.  i'm just now starting to get occasional breakouts.
another brand that i really like is aloette.  the main reason that i chose to use clinique over aloette is because you can get clinique anywhere, and there is no aloette representative close to me.  their scrub is amazing, and i loooooove their body lotion.

these are all brands that i trust and even though i have moved on to greener pastures, they are still worth a try if you are on the search for what is right for you.  the only way to know is trial and error.  unfortunately.

my skin is really picky, so it could be something that i'm doing to cause the breakouts.  here are some of the crazy things that i've learned about my skin...

  1. i can't get too hot during the night.

  2. i can't wash my face with hot water.

  3. i can't use the facewash in the very bottom of the bottle.  when it gets really low, i open a new bottle instead of getting out every little bit.

  4. i can't apply moisturizer to my entire face at once.  i have to dot it on each section, and rub it in each section separately.

  5. i can't go many days without wearing makeup.  at least foundation.
well, those are some of the things that i can think of right now.  they are crazy things, i know, but it's the truth!  =)  having austin, if i can get her to sleep in a little in the mornings, i sleep too.  getting more sleep is more important to me at this point than a few zits, know what i'm sayin??  =)  and if we don't have anywhere to go, i don't take the time to apply foundation.  so i'm not exactly following all of my own rules right now.  that's probably what my problem is.  so what i'm saying is, try different things with your own skin.  it may seem weird, but you have to find out what works for you.

here are just a few tips that i can come up with off the top of my head...

  • never forget how important it is to exfoliate!!!!!!  this is a step that many people leave out, and it makes such a huge difference!  i use clinique's 7 day scrub.

  • some people do better using a bar soap instead of liquid.  i personally prefer liquid.

  • if you have normal to dry skin, you need some type of lotion as a moisturizer.  if you have normal to oily skin, you need more of a gel.

  • only apply acne medications to the affected area.  getting it anywhere else will cause severe dryness.

  • i like to use an acne spot treatment to a zit at first, then i switch to using neosporin.

  • i don't care how late you stay out, or how tired you are, ALWAYS remove your eye makeup, makeup, and use your skincare products!
if you have any questions, you can leave them in the comments!  =)  what are your favorite facial products?  i will do another post sometime on what actual products are my favorites instead of brands and brands that i've used.

good luck taking care of that pretty face!!!  =)

p.s. yes, i used to take birth control pills.  and no, i don't anymore.  my opinions about them have changed.


Amy said...

i've tried all kinds of things too, & just this spring (after using prescribed clindamycin & other acne prescriptions) i decided to try a product that several years ago i didn't think i could stand because of the smell. =) anyway, it's cheap (less than $5 from walmart) & so far i've had good results with it...: T.N. Dickinson's Witch Hazel. i don't have near the breakouts & my skin feels alot smoother than before.

Veronica said...

Meant to tell ya that I read this post the other day but didn't get the chance to leave a comment. Interesting to see all the different stages and products you've used. Thanks so much for sharing! I need to get a new game plan with my skin now that I'm not pregnant anymore. My face is starting to get really dry all of a sudden! Not fun! :(

Morgan said...

I feel your pain with the skin care products. I think my skin eventually develops an allergy to almost every line. It tolerates it for a few weeks or months, then flips out. I loved Mary Kay but after about 2 months, I couldn't use it anymore. Right now I was with Dove unscented for face or Cetaphil bar and moisturize with Neutrogena Oil free moisturizer. This is not my favorite solution but its going ok. P.S. glad you don't take b.c. pills - They can cause your body to abort if a person happened to conceive while taking them because they make the uterus uninhabitable. Yikes! I wish more women were educated on the subject.