Acne 101

I had a very busy and hectic schedule last week! The previous weekend, I had to make a quick trip to Manila and go back to Zambales in less than 24 hours and just yesterday, I'm back in Manila again. I'm used to traveling back and forth but the extreme summer heat is making it all worse. Plus I haven't got any decent sleep for the past few days. Would you believe I had to steal some power naps while sitting down just anywhere? Weird though, during the wee hours of the night, I'm wide awake. Arrgghh.

But then, it sure feels good to accomplish things. While being busy and sleep deprived, I was able to squeeze in some things that I would "normally" do in a normal day.

  • Grocery shopping and that includes makeup shopping of course.
  • A mani and a pedi.
  • Made final reservations for a beach trip this Holy Week.
  • Had my online orders delivered on time.
  • Had lunch and went malling with the fam yesterday.
  • Gave my cats a bath.

IT'S VERY, VERY HOT! Photo Credits: Google Images

The last one made me write this post. You see, I've been battling with pimples and breakouts and I've had a lot of bad skin experiences mid last year. I was put on a special skincare regimen by my doc late last year and I'm still on it and I'm very happy with all the results. But while I was drying Nala's fur a while ago, all of a sudden, he bit my face --- on the right side of my nose. He's very playful, and you know how cats can actually hurt you (by scratches and bites mostly) when they play, and once again, I was fallen victim to Nala's deadly fangs. =/ So I got worried and I immediately ran in front of a mirror and inspected my face. Good thing, it was only a small scratch, which bled a little. Bad, bad, Nala.

After that, my skin inspection went more extensive. Using the scorching sun as my light beam, I was able to see my skin up close. I am happy that my freckles have been minimized to a great extent and my pimple marks are quickly fading. I have fewer blackheads and whiteheads, considering that I haven't had any facial since January. I don't have any redness, rashes or any kind of allergies even if it's very, very hot. I have no pimples too, even if I'm on my period now and I haven't slept well lately. Over-all, I can say that my skin has improved a lot. I owe much to my current skincare, but I also did a lot of adjustments and routine changes to achieve what I've got now. I just hope I won't jinx it this time. =)

Anyway, in this post, I just want to share at least ten things I did to free myself from acne. They're all very simple really.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Visit a good, trustworthy Dermatologist.

My derma was always out of the country last year which made me switch to different dermas --- with differing opinion.This aggravated my condition because every doc has his or her own point of view. I had to follow this and that and do this and that which caused my skin to breakout even more. Choose your doc wisely. A good dermatologist must have been referred to you by a family or a friend and is well-experienced. Meaning he or she is not just an ordinary MD, but an MD with a specialization complete with current seminars and all that. Most skin clinics have in-house doctors that are not dermatologists at all, but just MDs moonlighting. Also, a doctor with a long line of patients doesn't translate to she's good enough. I've learned this lesson the hard way. So take note of that one.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Know your skin type --- very well.

I've always known that I have sensitive skin. But I'm not too sure anymore on what things causes my allergies and breakouts. If you're like me, visit an allergologist and have a few tests done on you. It's always best to arm yourself with knowledge about how your skin will react to food/environment and how and when you will avoid these things. Second, let your doctor help you assess your skin type. You may have dry (like me), oily, or combination skin. Most, if not all people with sensitive skin have dry skin. If  you know your skin type, chances are you won't go wrong in using and choosing products and cosmetics that will work best on you.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Visit your Endocrinologist or your OB-Gynecologist.

Have a few tests done. Many people suffering from acne do not consider that their breakouts might be caused by some hormonal imbalance. I have PCOS and I also suspected that this might be causing my skin problems. Adults undergo major hormonal changes too, so it's best to talk to the professionals about it.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Avoid stress as much as possible.

Well, this is quite hard to do. People, events, relationships, and SAs piss you off from time to time. hahaha. =) We cannot simply avoid stress and stressful situations. For my part, I've discovered that too much stressing on stress itself causes me to have problematic skin. For example, I have a zit. I would stress on that zit the whole day, looking and looking at it, thinking and thinking about it, instead of just not minding it at all. So I've done a little experiment, kept myself preoccupied with more important things, made myself extra busy and all that. And truly, even with sweat and dirt, although the zit has remained there, it's not pretty much the same (big and red and juicy) if I stress on it and have gone away faster. When you have pimples, it's best to don't look at the mirror frequently. Stress is good for our bodies and we need it to live, but stressing about it makes things worse. Just relax and accept the fact that shit happens --- and that includes pimples. Remember, it's always mind over matter anyway.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Don't touch it.

Okay, this is very, very hard to do. Who can resist a big and red and juicy (I always want to describe ginormous pimples that way, hahaha. =) pimple? Although I don't particularly have this type, sometimes I get one or two.  And before, I would pop them with the illusion that it would liberate me from my misery. hahaha. =) It would of course injure my skin, causing it to have wounds then scabs then marks after, which are very difficult to get rid of and stays there for some time, leaving you with nothing but painful pimple memories. So aside from not looking at them, DO NOT TOUCH them as well. Your hands (next to your mouth) is the dirtiest part of your body. And sometimes, pimples are also "mechanically" caused. I used to habitually place my chin on my palm while working in front of the computer and my doc explained to me that my habit might be causing the breakouts on my chin area. You see, if you touch your face so often with your hands, or if your hands stay on your face for longer times, you rub your skin little by little, and you transfer dirt and bacteria unknowingly. Again, just don't fuss over your pimple. It will come and go in its own time. They heal faster than if you pick them or pop them. Believe me, it's always better to just leave them alone, go on with your life and move on. =)

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Get more sleep.

This I always tell myself. But being an insomniac ever since time immemorial, this is a very difficult task for me. I know what lack of sleep does to the skin. I always end up with dull and dehydrated skin. Sometimes I get a zit or two, and it is believed that acne is worsened when you have little sleep. I just look so tired, stressed, and yeah, older. I easily can note the big difference if I have a good night sleep. So, if you want to get rid of those zits and dark circles too, try to make a good sleep routine and make sure you spend at least 8 or 9 hours sleeping.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Increase your water intake.

The human body is composed mainly of water. So it's no surprise that water really does wonders to your skin too because it's naturally there and should be there, always. My favorite drinks are water and natural juices. I'm not a big fan of sodas or other artificially flavored drinks. Although it is not proven scientifically that drinking a lot of water can help clear pimples, it does, however, a great job to me. Hydration need not only be physical through the use of moisturizers and/or other stuff, but it should also occur inside your body.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Choose your makeup and other skincare products wisely.

Ever heard of the terms: oil-free, non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic, hypoallergenic? These are just some of the words/labels you should be looking for when buying makeup and other products you use on your skin. Although a bare skin, or having no makeup at all is the healthiest approach, having pimples or acne should not prevent you from wearing makeup. Makeup is wonderful because it somehow conceals the marks and blemishes and thus, gives you more confidence. Before you go makeup shopping, always make sure that you buy products that would not make your skin suffer from breakouts. It's best to read reviews about products online before purchasing, or if the brand/store will let you, ask for some samples that you can try out first. MAKEUP TIP: Green concealers work best in covering red marks such as pimples or rashes and the like. Green neutralizes red, always take note of that. Use it under your natural-toned concealer, then apply your foundation.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Defend and prevent.

Prevention is better than cure and it's always true so never take it for granted. Increase your intake of the skin-friendly vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, E, and Zinc. Make sure that you also eat a balanced diet. When pimples are already there, keep anti-pimple medications or acne treatments handy as well. Some people use benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, but I use Differin (Adapalene). It's the only acne treatment I've used that actually worked on me. Although it took some time (and some purging too) before it actually helped me, it's really a great product. It reduces the size of my zit overnight and it heals much faster, leaving less visible or no marks at all plus no dryness whatsoever. It's a topical retinoid that also helps make skin turnover faster.

Photo Credits: Google Images

  • Observe proper hygiene.

Never, ever sleep without washing your face. Dirt, dust and makeup may clog your pores so the first thing you must do when you go home is wash your face right away. A few times before, when I'm very, very tired and sleepy to even wash my face, I wake up with zits over here and there. So I rest a little then wash my face thoroughly once I'm home. Choose non-drying facial foams or washes. A mild cleanser, is the best choice, although it might not remove all makeup so also choose a good makeup remover too. Don't over-wash, because it will just dry out your skin and will cause you to break out even more. Scrub at least once or twice a week. Use SPF everyday. HYGIENE TIP: Wash your hands first before actually touching your face. Don't touch your face with dirty hands. Lukewarm water is better than cold water because it opens up your pores and makes your skin ready for some deep-cleansing which is very essential. Don't rub the cleanser too hard on your skin, just massage gently in circular motions. It only takes about a minute or two to completely wash your face, don't leave the facial wash for too long because it might irritate the skin. Lastly, splash some cold water to close your pores. Tone then moisturize or perform your daily skincare routine.

There you go, I told you it's all very easy. Achieving pimple-free skin is not really difficult. You just have to know the basics and don't go overboard. I've learned a lot during my battle, and I keep these lessons by heart now. Products need not be expensive or branded to work. Don't fall for marketing ploys such as "DERMATOLOGIST-TESTED". The question is, who are these dermatologists who tested the products and where are the empirical results? Don't believe in before and after photos. And lastly keep in mind that whatever works on me may not work for you because each of us has unique skin types. The battle goes on every single day, and we all just need to keep ourselves armed with the knowledge and the right things to do.

Have a wonderful, great skin day. =)

How do you cope with pimples and acne?


Kath said...

Thanks for sharing. Btw, I have freckles din and I don't know how to minimize it. Madami na ko nasubukan from low to high end pero nandun pa din. I'm not ready pa for chemical peels kasi manipis na yung skin ko.

Love, Chay ♥ said...

hi kath. i'm not paid/compensated in any way for saying this but obagi really works. my freckles are significantly reduced mainly because of the hydroquinone content in the product i'm using. try paying them a visit. =)

i have "manipis" skin too and chemical peels don't work for me as well. my skin gets bruises even with the lightest pressure, like sleeping on one side of my face for too long. so to get rid of my dead skin cells, i just undergo mechanical peels (diamond peels, etc.) kasi it's safer than those chemical ones. =)

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