For something that occurs in many women, adult acne remains a rather mysterious and disheartening condition. Many of us have struggled with skin that resists conventional treatments, including the odd-smelling prescription creams and orange face soaps infused with salicylic acid and shaky promises. As the search for effective products drags on, it’s easy to feel defeated.
Fortunately, there’s hope! We just have to think outside of the Clean & Clear box. In my early twenties, I resolved to open my mind to anything that might work to clear my skin—whether that involved a miracle pharmaceutical or dancing with a broom under the waning moon. The following practices have helped keep my skin clear for the past few years, save the occasional spot. Some of them may surprise you and hopefully, all will help you.
1. Embrace facial oil.
Oil may seem like the last thing you want to put on your face when your skin is broken out, but there are several plant oils that are non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and act as a sebum regulator (i.e. they can help balance how much oil (sebum) your skin produces and may reduce the likelihood of pores getting clogged by excess sebum). Some non-comedogenic oils include rosehip seed oil, argan oil, and shea butter.
You can try a single oil at a time (Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil is a good place to start) or opt for a blend of oils designed specifically for the face. Pelle Beauty Stellar Multitasking Facial Oil is a quickly absorbing oil packed with essential fatty acids and skin-loving antioxidants. A little oil goes a long way, so start by adding just a few drops to your normal moisturizer.
2. Incorporate acne-fighting foods in your diet.
Source: this rawsome vegan life
Certain foods can help our bodies meet our skincare products halfway. Specifically, foods that aid the liver (our main detoxifying organ) should be consumed daily for clearer skin. According to celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, lemon is a clear skin superstar. High in vitamin C, lemon strengthens the liver’s enzymes and acts as a digestive aid and blood purifier. Also, opt for inflammation fighting ingredients like dark leafy greens, fresh ginger, and berries. (Doesn’t that sound like a delicious smoothie recipe in the making?) Finally, make sure there’s enough zinc in your diet. Zinc (found in pumpkin seeds, oatmeal, and beans) is integral in keeping skin clear. In fact, one of the first indications of zinc deficiency is acne.
3. Minimize your contact with phthalates in makeup and body care products.
Phthalates (“thall-ates”) are a major buzz-kill. Appearing in some fragrance, nail polish, and lotions, phthalates are known hormone disruptors and suspected carcinogens. Since hormone fluctuation plays a role in adult acne, it’s advisable to avoid anything that toys with your endocrine system. While it may be impossible to avoid all products that contain phthalates, you can make a difference by sticking to natural products that cover large areas of skin (body wash, lotion) and opting for a natural perfume.
4. Supplement wisely.
Source: Natural Health Advisory
Unfortunately, certain supplements can contribute to acne. In particular, synthetic versions of vitamin B6 and B12 have been shown to worsen acne. While it’s always best to get vitamins from your diet, sometimes supplementing is necessary, especially if you limit your intake of animal products. Investing in a vitamin made from whole foods (like Garden of Life Multivitamins) is one way to rest assured you’re getting proper nutrients without compromising your skin.
Finally, including a hormone-balancing supplement can also have dramatic results. Diindolylmethane (or DIM) is a compound found in cruciferous veggies (kale, cabbage). This all-natural supplement helps the body detox excess estrogen and maintain healthy hormone levels. Estroblock Pro is probably the most effective DIM supplement on the market for treating hormonal acne.
5. Wear a little concealer.
Source: Alima Pure
Even though acne may affect the confidence of its victims, beauty magazines don’t always discuss how to cope with acne’s attendant emotions, which can range from frustration to self-loathing. I found that simply hiding the spots from myself made a difference in how I felt about my skin. In some ways, applying concealer is a temporary fix, but it can also have enduring results. Wearing concealer will deter you from picking at your acne. We all know that picking at skin is a big beauty no-no—it can worsen inflammation, spread bacteria, and even scar skin.
Any non-comedogenic concealer that suits your skin will do the job. If cream or liquid concealer tends to slip and slide on your face, try a few light layers of a mineral concealer (like this one by Alima Pure, which helps absorb excess oil). Just be sure to apply concealer with a clean finger or recently washed concealer brush.
Bonus Tip: Our bodies are complex. In order to treat your acne, you have to listen to your gut. If you sense that some aspect of your lifestyle is contributing to your skin problems, you may be right. Exploring these factors, even if they seem random, is totally worth it. Your skin will thank you.