I have to tell you guys...I am currently experiencing the best skin I've ever had in my life. I've finally found the balance between moisturizing, exfoliating, toning, using topical medications and working on healing my gut through my diet and supplements. I've struggled with acne and skincare problems for years and I'm very excited to now be at this stage where I've gotten it under control and I feel confident enough to go out without makeup on.
Skincare issues can be so frustrating and confusing. I didn't struggle with acne at all in high school. But my freshman year of college was the year when my internal system went absolutely haywire. I started breaking out on my cheeks constantly and I had no idea why or where it was coming from.
I tried everything from prescription medication, topical medications, intense extractions, you name it. But nothing seemed to work long term. And to be honest, I was still experiencing these breakouts as recently as last year.
It wasn't until my naturopath suggested I try taking the Florastor probiotic for an unrelated issue, that I started to notice something: I wasn't breaking out. Like at all. I could eat bread or sugar and dairy, and not wake up with an unwanted, angry growth in the morning.
It led me to realize that my skincare routine had been missing something pivotal all along: a balanced and healthy gut.
I had taken probiotics before, but it was this specific probiotic with this specific bacteria that my body seems to have been craving for the last decade. Now, I'm not a doctor and this isn't medical advice. So I would suggest talking to your primary care doctor, naturopath or dermatologist before taking my advice at face value. But this is what worked for me.
In addition to this miracle probiotic, I've also curated a simple, yet effective, topical routine that has helped tremendously. Below are products and recommendations based on what I've had success with and what has kept my skin healthy and glowing during these chilly and dry Winter months.
I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. But this probiotic stopped my breakouts cold in their tracks. I've tried many probiotics before, but it seems that my body specifically needed the saccharomyces boulardii bacteria that is in Florastor. I attribute my new, glowing skin to this. (Consult with your physician before including it in your health routine.)
MY CURRENT TOPICAL SKINCARE ROUTINE
I've been a fan of CeraVe for a very long time. Though it never really *cured* my acne, it was the only cleanser that didn't leave my skin feeling incredibly dry and stiff. This foaming cleanser is no different. I find that it's strong enough to tackle breakouts in their early stages, but not so strong that it strips my skin of what it needs.
My mom introduced me to No7 after seeing someone talk about it on a Day Time talk show and I'm very glad she did. No7 is one of the best drugstore skincare brands I've experienced in a very long time. It's light, but actually does what it says it does. This Vitamin C toner is perfect for Winter because it gives your skin that brightness during a season where dull skin reigns supreme.
VITAMIN C SERUM (AM)
Dermaplus is the only place I trust with my facials. They're so knowledgable and make top of the line products. This Vitamin C serum has added a brightness to my skin that is so needed during the colder months. It smells amazing and doesn't make me break out. It's a win in my book.
My current moisturizer (below) is a bit on the expensive side, so I wanted to present this more affordable option that I have used, and loved, in years past. Yet another hit from CeraVe, this moisturizer is oil free for those of us with naturally oily skin but has SPF 30 to protect your skin from the sun. I love it and if I didn't currently use my dermaplus moisturizer, i would definitely be using this one.
My current moisturizer is this one from Dermaplus. It smells delicious and is very lightweight. It doesn't contain SPF which I actually really like because I can use it in my daytime routine or my evening routine depending on how my skin is feeling.
TRETINOIN CREAM (PM)
This was prescribed by my dermatologist awhile back, but there's been a lot that's come out recently about the benefits of Tretinoin cream. It's shown to improve acne, acne scars, dark spots and fine lines and wrinkles. You can get a prescription using Nurx or other online prescription services, but I would definitely discuss with your dermatologist or primary care physician first. (Also, if you use a topical cream such as this one, be careful when getting your eyebrows or lip waxed as it can damage the skin.)
I'm also quite a big fan of face masks, though I now only use them when I feel it's incredibly necessary. Like if my skin needs a little pick me up of moisture, or if I can tell it needs some deep pore cleansing action. Prior to healing my gut, I used masks all the time, in the hopes that it would magically solve my skin issues overnight. Now, I use them more on an "as-needed" basis and even as a little luxurious treat for myself. Here are some of my favorites.
Dealing with skincare issues can be so frustrating and I completely understand and feel your anguish if this is something you're going through. I hope this post helps a bit, but overall I would suggest working on healing yourself inside in addition to working on the outside. Our body has a lot of moving parts, and acne and inflammatory issues can often be a sign that something is amiss within our body's system. Do some research about healing your gut, switch up your diet if you have to, and do your best to love the skin you're in.