This is Part 3 of How To Get Rid of Acne series that talks about my story and thought process, the main causes of acne, the key mistakes I made, my tips for getting clear skin, and, finally, my complete morning and evening skincare routine.
Treating acne can be a tiring, confusing and time-consuming process. The only way to succeed is by trial and error – or by reading blogs like this. 🙂 Jokes apart, when I was so desperately looking for a solution I found incredible consolation and insight from other people’s experiences on the web. They eventually led me to clear skin but the process still wasn’t easy or mistake-free.
Therefore, I decided to compile a list of the six key mistakes I made during my battle with acne. If only I could turn back the time, this knowledge would have saved me from many years of pain and frustration. But, oh well, things happen for a reason, I believe. I can now use my knowledge to help you!
Let’s jump right in.
Mistake 1. First of all, I believed in the “legal drug dealers”.
Yes, you heard it right. That’s how I call doctors, and in this case dermatologists. I applied all the crazy things on my skin, such as antibiotics, alcohol, all kind of acids – whatever they prescribed. Doctors are supposed to know better what’s right for you, right? Right???… Think again. Often they don’t even bother to ask you about your skincare, diet or lifestyle. They see you for no more than 5 minutes. How do you think they can get to know your skin as well as you in such a short time? Prescribing medication is pretty much all they are good at.
Legal drug dealer – a licensed dealer in legal drugs. Also known as doctor.
So sorry if you’re a doctor and don’t agree with my statements regarding the way you work – I’m proud of you for being an exception! We certainly need more people like you.
Mistake 2. I didn’t blame food for my acne.
And I should have because sugar, excessive carbohydrates and gluten definitely contributed heavily to my acne. Dermatologists will often tell you that food has nothing to do with acne but so many recent studies have shown strong links between foods with high glycemic index and acne. Try to eat enormous quantities of chips, fries, sweets or any other junk food for a couple of weeks while keeping everything else the same and tell me if your skin remains the same. I bet it won’t!
Fingers often point to diary as lactose is nothing else but sugar. Cow diary is also full of hormones, antibiotics, etc. A good option could be going for mature cheeses (they will have none or very little lactose). In general, try to go for goat or sheep diary as those industries are less commercialised and tend to be more natural.
If you can’t tolerate diary, by all means stay away from it!
Even something as innocent as fruit can cause havoc in your skin. It’s natural but it’s still sugar, and if you’re sensitive to it, your body will suffer. Try to limit fruit to no more than 2 units per day or even eliminate fruit at all for a couple of weeks to let the inflammation in your body subside.
Mistake 3. I over-exfoliated and over-washed my skin.
As a result, my skin was dehydrated and irritated. Oil production went into overdrive to compensate. And so I was stuck in this vicious circle forever.
“Acne is not from dirt,” says Diane S. Berson, MD in an article on WebMD.com. She is an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Ithaca. “Many people tend to over-wash and over-scrub when they get acne. As one of my teachers used to say, ‘If acne were from dirt, you would have it on your feet!'”
I bought a Clarisonic hoping it would be the end of my issues – big mistake. After using it every day for a month my skin went crazy. At the beginning it looked amazing. Exfoliation is great but even the best things are bad when overdone.
I tried to cleanse using the Oil Cleansing Method every single evening – that was definitely too much. At the beginning all the sebum plugs were coming out and I started getting more and more excited. Doing it nightly for the first couple of weeks (or even a month) to speed up the clearing up could work but watch for warning signs. Doing it long term will dry out and overstimulate even the toughest skin. Once a week is definitely enough.
Mistake 4. I tried too many new products at once.
I was trying out one thing and a couple of days later I added something else. Therefore, I never knew what worked and what didn’t. I was often stuck in a very annoying circle – products working great for a couple of weeks and then upsetting my skin later. As a result, every two weeks I was adding something else and never knew what to blame. A lot of us make this mistake out of desperation.
Skin cells in our skin regenerate completely around every 30 days.
Therefore, give your new routine at least a month to work before you add in something extra. Confused skin isn’t happy skin – show some respect to it!
Mistake 5. When I was trying the Oil Cleansing Method, I didn’t commit 100%.
Even though I was cleansing my face using only 100% natural oils, I was still applying a regular moisturizer. This was upseting the natural balance of my skin and didn’t allow it to rebalance naturally. You don’t need a film of silicones, glycerin and other synthetic ingredients to feel comfortable.
Use a few drops of your favourite oil and you’ll be surprised how quickly the dryness will subside. Just give it a week or two.
Mistake 6. I got my skin type wrong.
My final mistake was that I believed my skin was combination/oily – it’s not. It took me more than 10 years to work it out. It wasn’t my opinion either – it was analysed by numerous specialists. When I realized that my skin was getting much more acne on days it was feeling extra tight and dry, I understood the vital link. Dry skin leads to increased oil production, which then leads to clogged pores and spots.
Don’t be afraid of oils – nothing rebalances your skin better than natural oils suitable for your skin type.
Don’t fall for the oil-free myth. Anything oil-free will only dehydrate your skin in the long term. Learn from my mistake – when I realized my skin was dry and started using products for dry skin, my skin improved dramatically.
Hope my mistakes will show you the way to healthy and acne-free skin. As I keep saying, nobody knows your body as well as you. So experiment and observe your skin. Eventually you will get there, I promise! Good luck!
Please check out the video below, which I made on this topic. It briefly touches on all five subjects:
Have you been making any of my mistakes? Will you be doing anything differently?