Recently, dealing with my skin has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. I went off the BC pill after being switched to a generic pill because my skin was breaking out, but anyone who has gone off the BCP will tell you that going off throws your hormones out of whack and makes your skin way worse. However, there are things you can do to keep your skin clear while your system balances out. With hormones in flux you just have to work a little bit harder to keep things in tip-top shape. Here are some skincare basics, plus tips & tricks for keeping your skin looking its best!
BASICS OF SKINCARE:
Makeup Removal - Take note that this step gets its own category and is not lumped in with cleansing! You MUST remove your sunscreen and makeup before washing your face at night, and don’t assume your face was alone can do that job. You need to do an extra step before washing your face in the evening to remove sunscreen and makeup. Now here is where it gets crazy. I use oil to do this step! Yes, I am advocating putting OIL on your face. I swear to you, this is how you really get all that makeup and icky stuff out of your pores. You can use plain Grapeseed Oil or I also use Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil. It is amazing. To use, I apply the oil on my dry face and rub it in, then emulsify with a tiny bit of water, then rinse it all off very well with warm water. Follow with face wash.
Cleanser - Your skin repairs itself at night, so properly cleansing your skin is extremely important. Never and I mean NEVER sleep with your makeup on! I don’t care if you’re totally drunk and about to pass out with your clothes on. WASH YOUR FACE FIRST.
Exfoliation: When I say exfoliate, I don’t mean scrub. Being rough with your skin will only make skin breakouts worse and allow bacteria to go deeper into your pores. I use the Clarisonic at night when I am cleansing my face about three times a week, which gives some good manual exfoliation. (I find when I use it more than that, my skin gets a little irritated, but I am super sensitive. I think most people can handle it daily.) I also use a very small amount of Tazorac cream every other night on broken out areas, which exfoliates the skin.
Sunscreen: Sunscreen is key, especially if you’re using a retinoid like Tazorac! But everyone should be using a good, stable sunscreen that their skin can tolerate. Even if you’re not going outside, you are getting incidental sun exposure when walking outside, driving, or just sitting by a window. And sun exposure is the number one cause of skin aging. I use to skip sunscreen because I thought it was just making my breakouts worse, but once I found one that worked with my skin and learned how to properly remove it, everything was good. The sunscreen I’ve been using & loving all summer is Elta MD UV Physical-SPF 41.
After the break, more on moisturizing, spot treatments, and skincare tricks & tips!!
Moisturize: During the hot summer months I sometimes skip moisturizer when my skin is oily. But when I’m dry, I use a very basic moisturizer like Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion.
SKINCARE TIPS & TRICKS:
Check Your Supplements – When I was really frustrated with my skin, I read that too much biotin can cause breakouts. Well, I had been totally overloading myself with biotin! It was in my multi-vitamin and in a few other supplements I was taking. I cut all of those out and weirdly my skin started to clear some within a few days. While biotin is great for your hair, it can cause breakouts on your skin and the same goes for Omega 6 & 9. So, for those of you suffering from breakouts who load up on vitamins, cut them out for a few weeks and see if it helps. If you’re worried about hair loss, make sure you get enough protein and fat. When I was shedding hair, I was not eating enough of either of these and as soon as I upped my protein/fat, my hair shedding stopped.
Pillow to Blame? - For problem skin, it can be very helpful to change your pillowcase nightly. Just buy a weeks worth of cotton pillowcases and rotate them all week. It’s a great trick because bacteria and oil from your skin and hair can buildup on your pillowcase and go right back onto your skin night after night. Make sure to wash your pillowcases with dye & fragrance-free laundry soap, too. Also, clean off your cell phone and anything else that comes in contact with your skin on a regular basis. For example, I now clean off my sweaty headphone wires after when I run.
Hair Away - Keep your hair off your face at night by pulling long hair into a low ponytail and clipping bangs back. It helps to keep the oil in your hair from transferring onto your skin.
Work It Out - Make sure to cleanse your skin before & after you workout! I typically go into my workout bare faced so I don’t have to cleanse before, but I always wash my face after to get rid of that extra oil.
Clean Your Brushes – You should clean your cosmetic brushes once a week because bacteria and oil builds up there too. Use a mild liquid soap and cold water. Cosmetic sponges should be washed or changed after each use.
Conditioner Culprit – Panthenol is a main pore clogging ingredient in hair products, but there are others like proteins, silicon, quaternium and thickening agents. You could try to avoid them, but it’s practically impossible, and people have reactions to all kind of ingredients. A good tip is to wash your face, shoulders, and chest area in the shower after you wash and condition your hair. It helps to remove any lingering hair product. And be careful not to get styling products on your face when you’re doing your hair.
Food/Skin Connection - For those who break out in cyst-like acne in the chin and jaw line, it can be from too much diary in their diets. If this sounds like the type of acne you deal with, try cutting out dairy for a few weeks and see if it makes a difference. I paid attention to my skin after eating certain foods and realized I have a soy allergy–every time I eat any kind of soy I wind up with a breakout! Just ay Just pay attention to what your body is telling you! People have reactions to all sorts of things and a lot of food allergies can show up on our skin. Drinking tons of water is always a best bet for clear skin.
Patch Test – If you have acne prone and sensitive skin like me, and have a hard time finding products that don’t freak your skin out, do a patch test before rubbing a new product over your whole face. Use a small amount in an inconspicuous area, like the side of your neck and wait for 24 hours to see how you react. In general, avoid products with fragrance.
Don’t Force It – If you need to pop a pimple, cleanse the area, use a clean dry cloth, and your fingers (not your nails!). Push down around the swelling firmly, but if it doesn’t work, STOP immediately and leave it alone. Please, please don’t try to force it. That will only make it worse, and you can end up with a scar for life! Don’t pick at your skin either. Seriously.
Rx – If you are really going crazy with your skin issues and you’ve followed all this advice and nothing seems to work, make an appointment with a recommended dermatologist. They can help you decide if there is something more serious going on like Rosacea that needs to be addressed or if your acne could be treated with a prescription retinoid or oral antibiotic. Don’t be afraid to go see a dermatologist, they can be total life savers and can really help when skin issues have become more serious.
Hope some of these tips have helped! Please leave your own skin tips & tricks in the comment section.