Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Acne can make a huge impact on self-confidence, self-love, and has been a large part of my teenage to now young adult life. After trying hundreds of products, medications, supplements, and diets, I have rounded up some of the best products and knowledge I have on how to clear up any skin or break out. Aside from the occasional stress breakouts or a little too much chocolate, my skin tends to stay clear and healthy. In this post, I will be giving you my best tried and true skincare advice, recommended products, and more! Keep reading to banish that breakout for good!
My Top Tips for Clear Skin
What to Avoid: Ingredient Wise
From skincare to the foods you consume to exercise, sleep, and hygiene many factors play a role in skin's clarity. It is important to know what affects you and what improves your skin. You shouldn’t put anything on your skin without checking the ingredients first. Even if it says “Won’t Clog Pores” or “Non-Comedogenic”, no government agency actually oversees this. Skincare companies can claim their products promote clear, breakout free skin and still have nasty pore-clogging ingredients in their formulas. It's important to know what chemicals you're putting on your largest organ, your skin! Make sure to let it breathe. Chemicals should be avoided as much as possible but some of the top to avoid are parabens (Methyl, Butyl, Ethyl, Propyl) mineral oils, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, and Palm oil which clog pores and can lead to breakouts or imbalances in your skins PH levels.
I have noted top pore-clogging ingredients below sorted alphabetically by their first letters. So that you can double-check your skincare:
Acetylated Lanolin, Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol, Algae Extract, Algin, ALUMINUM
Carrageenan, Cetyl Acetate, Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20, Chondrus Crispus (aka Irish Moss or Carrageenan Moss), Chlorella, Coal Tar, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Alkanes, Coconut Butter, Coconut Oil, Colloidal Sulfur, Cotton Awws Oil, Cotton Seed Oil
D & C Red # 17 # 21 # 3 # 30 # 36, Decyl Oleate, Dioctyl Succinate, Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2- Sulfosuccinate, DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), and TEA (triethanolamine), DMDM HYDANTOIN & UREA (Imidazolidinyl)
Ethoxylated Lanolin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate
Glyceryl Stearate SE, Glyceryl-3 Diisostearate
Hexadecyl Alcohol, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Isocetyl Alcohol, Isocetyl Stearate, Isodecyl Oleate, Isopropyl Isostearate, Isopropyl Lanolate, Isopropyl Myristate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Isostearyl Isostearate, Isostearyl Neopentanoate
Laminaria Digitata Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract (Laminaria Saccharina), Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Lauric Acid, Lanolin.
Mink Oil, Myristic Acid, Myristyl Lactate, Myristyl Myristate
Octyl Palmitate, Octyl Stearate, Oleth-3, Oleyl Alcohol
PEG 16 Lanolin, PEG 200 Dilaurate, PEG 8 Stearate, PG Monostearate, PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate, Plankton, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Potassium Chloride, Propylene Glycol Monostearate, PHTHALATES
Seaweed, Shark Liver Oil (Squalene), Shea Butter, Solulan 16, Sorbitan Oleate, Soybean Oil, Spirulina, Steareth 10, Stearic Acid Tea, Stearyl Heptanoate, Sulfated Castor Oil, Sulfated Jojoba Oil
Wheat Germ Glyceride, Wheat Germ Oil
In conclusion, chemicals are bad for our skin and us. Our skin is our largest organ. Why suffocate it with perfumes and chemicals so it can’t breathe? Opt for organic or more natural skincare products with ingredients from nature. BUT with that being said be aware of heavy or pore-clogging natural oils such as cocoa butter and coconut oil which are found in many “organic” skin care lines. Other oils such as jojoba, olive, and lanolin are mildly comedogenic and can be a problem if formulated with other comedogenic ingredients. The website linked is also great for checking out which chemicals are safe for your skin.
What to Avoid: Consumption Wise
While everyone's skin is different and everyone reacts differently to different ingredients, it is important to monitor and write down how your skin reacts based on the foods you consume or ingredients you apply. You are what you eat! As the commonly known phrase goes, it is affirmable. All of our bodies react differently to the different liquids, foods, and things we consume. Certain foods can also irritate your stomach.
This is also where the food allergy test comes in handy. For example, I was made aware that some of the main acne-causing ingredients were my excess use of spices like Cardamom, Turmeric, cumin, E 302 Calcium L-ascorbate, or Ascorbic acid, a color preservative, and chicken! I would highly recommend this food intolerance test I did. All you need to do is send in a hair sample and you receive your results as well as recipes within 2 weeks! Just click on the website linked.
Some commonly associated ingredients and food with acne include:
Sugar & Refined Sugars: Located in a majority of refined starches and processed foods, sugar increases the production of oils in the skin. This leads to your follicles and pores clogging up with sebum a.k.a those not so nice blackheads or pimples.
Fast Foods (Let's be real you already knew this one): High saturated fats and processed ingredients can completely throw off your hormonal balance and insulin levels.
Alcohols: While sweet drinks are tasty, they might come with a side of pimples. Although alcohol hasn’t been proven to impact our acne directly, it creates an imbalance in our hormone levels, which are a major factor in the frequency of breakouts.
Dairy Products: When we digest casein and the proteins in milk, they release a hormone similar to insulin, called IGF-1. This hormone ultimately triggers breakouts.
Nuts & Nut Butters: Moderation is key! For me, Peanut Butter Oils have had a worse effect on me than Almond butter has, so test the waters.
Chocolate: However, some good news for chocolate lovers! Cacao in its raw form actually has been proven to have no impact on your acne breakouts. Just avoid the highly sweetened, processed chocolates. I’ll link my favorite low sugar chocolate here.
My Favorite Skin Care Products
Here, I have listed the product brands I currently love and use daily. I have been trying to switch to vegan products but I will keep you updated once I’ve found the right ones.
SebaMed: Clear Face Mattifying Cream, Cream Body Wash (This brand is really great for balancing your skin's pH levels and if free of harsh chemicals).
Differin: Adapalene gel, Dark Spot Correcting Serum (Has worked so amazing for me I thank this brand for my unclogged pores).
EltaMD: Foaming Facial Cleanser (This face wash is incredible and is so cleansing yet gentle, I have been using this for over 2 years).
Coconut Oil: Any organic brand is awesome for removing eye makeup and keeping your lashes hydrated.
Remember our skin is all different but sometimes it's worth examining the skincare ingredients, your diet, and healthy habits before turning to a pharmaceutical solution. You can achieve that beautiful glow with patience and consistency! Have some tips of your own to share? Leave a comment to ensure we all achieve that clear complexion!
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