Healing My Skin | Part 1
Hi friends! The response I got from my IG story a couple weeks ago about healing my skin from a recent battle with hormonal acne was overwhelming, and heart warming. THANK YOU for all of your sweet messages of loving support, and thank you to those of you who shared your skincare struggles with me. I know I am not the only one in the world to ever deal with this, and in the grand scheme of things it is not that serious…. but, it has still been a major source of stress and heartache for me since March. If you have experienced problematic skin then you know what I’m talking about 🙁 It is so so so upsetting to experience a wave of clear skin for an extended amount of time and then get hit with another wave of acne. My skincare journey didn’t just begin in March though, it has been an ongoing battle since I turned 23. With that being said I’m going to give you a little back story before I get into what has been working for me recently as for me personally, healing my skin has required more than just your run-of-the-mill topical acne treatments.
Growing up I always had sensitive skin, but I never had any acne or breakouts; I maybe had ONE little baby zit all through high school.. as I entered my 20’s I remember thinking DAMN I AM SO LUCKY! I was so grateful I never had to deal with acne, as I knew from many of my close friends and mom how painful and difficult it could be. Before I go on I should also mention that around 15 I was put on birth control by my family doctor to “help” regulate my erratic painful cycles and cramps; this is relevant information which will make sense later… Anyways, the pill seemed to do it’s job, my cycles were finally “on time”, the cramps were gone, my skin was still clear and my hormones seemed balanced; everything seemed good! And maybe it was for a while.. until it wasn’t. It was shortly after my 23rd birthday, which is the same time I entered a very abusive, stressful and toxic relationship (this is also relevant information which will make sense later) and started working in nightlife, that I started to experience what would end up being 6 years of rollercoaster skin ranging from minor breakouts to full on cystic acne. At the beginning I never correlated my stress and hormone levels, or lifestyle and relationship choices as contributors to my skin issues, but over time through trial and error, I realized it’s all connected. When the acne started I immediately thought it was because I was working out and doing yoga a lot thus sweating so I tried a million and one different topical treatments.. some of them worked for short periods of time but nothing really solved the issue. It was’t until I turned 26 that I intuitively decided that being on the pill was no longer working with my body ( I was on it for 11 years straight, with no breaks- YIKES) my hormones were not right, the relationship I was in was way too stressful and upsetting which was spiking my cortisol levels on a moment to moment basis (seriously, it was a freakin nightmare) I wasn’t sleeping well, I was working late nights and going out until all hours of the night, drinking alcohol regularly with my party boy-boyfriend, eating shitty foods to nurse my hangover and growing depression, feeling stressed all the time, and on top of that I had zero self-esteem and would speak to myself badly thus allowing other to treat me badly thus creating more stress and higher cortisol levels: it was a vicious cycle that not only effected my skin, but my entire being and existence. Long story short I made a plan to get out of my nightlife job that was killing me slowly, I finally ended that terrible relationship and I got myself off the pill. I wish I could say those 3 choices healed everything but after 6 years of damage to my body and hormones I had a long road ahead of me.. the healing was just beginning… and honestly the journey isn’t over yet, which is why I named this blog post Healing My Skin Part 1.
I’ll save my experience with getting off the pill for another blog post (if you’re interested in hearing about that let me know yay or nay in a comment below!) but as it relates to my skin: my skin went NUTS. Like to the point where I would cry every single day from embarrassment and actual physical pain. It had already been going off the rails while I was on the pill and I knew it may get worse after getting off, but I didn’t think it would just never clear up… I was patient and tried everything I knew, but nothing was working so I went to see a dermatologist that was covered by my insurance. That dermatologist put me on an oral antibiotic and a very strong topical cream, I was on both for 12 months before they told me I needed to go on Accutane. At that point I was so desperate to have my clear skin back that I was seriously considering it but then they told me in order to get on this medication I needed to get back on birth control (among other super intense restrictions and regulations)….I thought long and hard about this, but ultimately my intuition gave me a hard no..so I said no and went on my way. My experience with getting off the pill was SO GNARLEY that there was no way I was going to do that again.. also remember when I said earlier that I had an intuitive feeling that the acne I was experiencing was beyond the surface? Well it was at this point that I realllllllly knew that because after 12 months of listening to this derm tell me it was bacterial and taking antibiotics I was still seeing no change.. I KNEW the issues with my skin and acne went deeper than that. So I went on my own, still struggling with regular breakouts but managing it somewhat until 6 months later one of my yoga clients referred me to her dermatologist and urged me to go. I reluctantly went but to my surprise I had great results with her for about 9 months… but then BAM, it came back again, with a vengeance. When it came back she wanted to change my topical and oral medications… but again, something in my gut told me it was not something that could be treated by harsh topical medications or an oral antibiotic. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.. so why would I go on more medication when it clearly wasn’t producing long term healing/results? I knew there had to be another way.
I reached out to my friends in the wellness world who I trusted and asked for their help and guidance, I knew the products I was using were not working, that my hormones were out of whack and that I absolutely did NOT want to get on medication. Between my skincare guru bestie Celeste, my girlfriend Leah that does PR for some amazing non-toxic skincare brands and my acupuncturist Mona Dan, I devised a new plan to heal my skin in a homeopathic non-toxic way. I am happy to say that over the past 4-ish months I have been sticking to the methods I am sharing in this post and they are WORKING!!! It has taken some time and a lot of patience, but I am seeing results and I couldn’t be happier… which is why I am so excited to share what’s been working for me with you! Before I go on I do want to say that everyones skin is different, and what works for me may not work for you but it is worth a try! I also want to say that I have nothing against dermatologists (I actually still refer mine to people who ask because I loved the 2nd one I went to!) and have no judgments against those of you who wish to go the medication or birth control route, it is your body and your choice. I am simply just sharing how I feel about it for me and what works for my body 🙂
Ok, now for the good stuff: what I have been using to help heal my skin!
Morning Skincare Routine
1→ wash with water
2→ spritz face and neck with Odacité Mint and Green Tea Mist
3→ Clearstem Acne serum all over face
4→ lightly tap problem areas with Odacité Bl+C Oil
5→ Lather Vitamin C Serum for extra hydration
6→ Odacité Ba+S Eye Oil or CocoKind Matcha Stick for under eyes
then I let all that set in before step 7
7→ Suntegrity Face Primer + Sunscreen
Evening Skincare Routine
1→ wash with Odacité Black Mint Cleanser – I take my time to really massage the cleanser into my face until it turns white (it’s a black color when you pump it out) and then I like to let it sit on my face for a minute before washing off!
2→ clean with which hazel just to get off any extra grim or makeup that didn’t come off with my cleanser
3→ spritz face and neck with Odacité Mint and Green Tea Mist
4→ Clearstem Acne serum all over face
5→ lightly tap problem areas with Odacité Bl+C Oil
6→ Lather Vitamin C Serum for extra hydration
7→ Odacité Ba+S Eye Oil or CocoKind Matcha Stick for under eyes
Masks and Spot Treatments
Ok, so since I started this whole regimen I have been masking a whole lot more. I do various masks probably 5-7 times a week and I do this whole little regimen in the evenings after step 1// cleansing, but before I move on to step 2 and through the rest of my evening routine.
Neutragena LED Light Mask→ I do this at least 5, if not 7 days a week! It calms inflammation and kills bacteria!
Odacité Synergy 4 Mask→ 3x a week; instead of using water I use apple cider vinegar to combat active breakouts
CocoKind Chlorophyl Mask→ I usually do this mask on the off nights that I don’t do the Odacité Synergy 4 Mask
CocoKind Turmeric Stick and Indie Lee Blemish Lotion→ I switch between these depending on my mood 😉 sometimes I will do these overnight and sleep in them, sometimes I don’t.. I know that’s vague but just listen to your intuition!
Beyond The Surface
In addition to the above topical treatments and products, there are a few other major key things I have done that I know have made a massive difference:
DECREASE STRESS/CORTISOL → I have done everything possible to decrease the amount of stress and toxic behavior I allow into my life as well as the pressure I put on myself and even down to the way I speak to myself.. it DOES make a difference.
ACUPUNCTURE → I started getting regular weekly acupuncture treatments to balance my body, increase circulation and balance my hormones. You can get in touch with my amazing acupuncturist Mona Dan at (310) 902-0240 or on IG @viehealing
HYDRATION → I increased my water intake (I aim for about a gallon a day which is roughly 3 liters)
DECREASED CAFFINE INTAKE → I started incorporating Foursigmatic products into my daily routines and I have noticed a huuuuuge change in my energy levels and the way my body functions overall. My current favorites are the Chaga + Lions Mane Mushroom Coffee, their Golden Latte and the SuperFood Beauty Blend which I add into my daily FabFour smoothies. If you follow me on IG then you know I am obsessed with FourSigmatic.
POSITIVE THINKING → the words you speak and the thoughts you think DO make a difference. Be kind to yourself.
CHINESE HERBS → I started seeing a Chinese herbalist specifically for my hormonal imbalance and hormonal related acne.. and basically I learned I had an excess amount of heat (from various contributing factors) in my body which is why my skin and digestive system felt (and skin looked) so inflamed all the time. The products above definitely helped A LOT but I saw a major shift in my skin once I started taking the Chinese herbs. My herbalists name is Gretchen and you can find her working with my amazing acupuncturist Mona Dan (her contact info is above!)
PROBIOTICS → I started paying better attention to my gut health after learning there is a direct link between the health of your gut to the health of your skin! I take SilverFern probiotics and also incorporate a lot of fermented foods and probiotic coconut yogurt into my diet as well! If you want more info on this let me know and I’ll do a whole blog post on the gut-skin connection! 🙂
ORGANIC COTTON PADS → I started using organic cotton pads when using toner, removing makeup and using witch hazel rather than the generic ones from target or the drugstore! I get them on Amazon and you can check them out by clicking here!
Alright my loves, that’s all for now. I hope that this helps in some way- If you are dealing with problematic skin I feel for you, I really do. But know that you are not alone.. I hope that some of these products and tips help and please feel free to leave me a comment below if you have any questions! I am happy to help in any way that I can! As for me, now that I have gotten most of the active breakouts under control and the inflammation in my body down I am focused on ridding my skin of the acne scars! Part 2 in this series will be coming soon once I am father into this process so hang tight!