Ever since I was a teenager I’ve struggled with acne. During those hormone-filled years, it was much worse than it was once I entered my 20’s, but still, I had acne in my 20’s! I remember being 15 and thinking to myself I can’t wait to not be a teenager because obviously then my acne will go away. But nope. I’ll be 25 on Sunday, and I can finally now say that I have a handle on how to take care of my skin. I thought I’d share what works for me, in hopes I can help someone else too.

How I Used To Hide My Skin When Taking Pictures

But before we dive in I want to show you pictures of me from 2013. I was trying to find a picture of how bad my acne was a few years ago but I of course would not have allowed myself to take a real picture of my skin back then. So instead I will show you how I used to take pictures to strategically hide how bad my skin actually was. (And then at the end of the post, I’ll share what my skin looks like now, for real, without hiding anything.)

These were the only types of pictures I would allow of myself on the internet. The light had to be perfectly hitting my face so that you couldn’t see my skin clearly at all, (I would often take pictures right in front of the window to have that effect), like in the picture to the left. Or I would so heavily edit the picture, like on the right, that you could never tell what my skin actually looked like. So as you can see, my skin was not something I was proud of. But I’ve come a long way and have finally found what works for my skin. The secret is that I have very sensitive skin, which means that I need to treat it as such, even when dealing with acne.

7 Steps To Clearer, Healthier Skin

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1 | Use a Natural Face Wash

This step is my secret weapon. I used to use Proactiv and it would work for a while then all of a sudden out of nowhere it seemed my skin would just start breaking out like crazy and for the longest time I could never figure out why it worked for so long and then would just stop. I eventually figured out why and it was because the harsh products that were used in Proactiv would eventually dry out my skin so much that it would make me to break out even more. That’s when I switched to Yes to Tomatoes Detoxifying Charcoal Cleanser and my face almost instantly cleared up. This is an all-natural product that doesn’t have harsh ingredients to dry out my skin. It naturally cleans skin. I was amazed at how clean my skin felt after using this for the first time. It’s like your skin can actually breathe again. I’ve yet to find another product that has given me great results like this one and I really believe that anyone with sensitive skin that also struggles with acne would greatly benefit from giving this product a try!

I generally just wash my face with this before I go to sleep. If I’m going through a period where my skin is acting up more than usual, I will wash my face in the morning and at night. Just be careful not to dry out your skin too much. If using it twice a day dries out your skin too much, only use it once a day or see Step 2!

2 | Use a Non-scented Moisturizer

This is especially important in the dry winter months. When our skin gets too dry, it cracks and lets bacteria in, which leads to breakouts. So the only way to fix this is to moisturize. I use Jergens Soothing Aloe, which works great for me. I used to put it on both morning and night but my dermatologist told me that it was only necessary to use once a day. (Unless you have very dry skin, then use it twice a day until you see improvement, then switch back to once a day.) This is definitely not the only moisturizer that you can use. My dermatologist actually had me using Lubriderm, then I switched to Jergens once it ran out. Any will work, just make sure it is unscented! The scented kind can make you breakout more.

3 | Drink Lots and Lots of Water

This may seem like one of the hardest tips to believe, but it really does make a difference! Drinking more water has changed a lot of things for me over the past year too. It has given me more energy, and has definitely helped in clearing up my skin. When we drink the water that our bodies need, we give them what it needs to flush out the toxins that can cause breakouts. (I’ve linked an article that explains it with more detail if you’re interested.)

4 | Drink A Skin Detox Tea

This is another one of my favorite tips. I absolutely love tea. Almost as much as I love coffee. I usually drink anywhere from 1-3 cups of tea a day, so when I found this tea I was thrilled! Yogi Skin DeTox Tea really helped to start flushing out the extra toxins in my skin, and helped to keep me hydrated as well! Yogi Tea is my favorite brand because it has all natural ingredients, which is so important to me. I drink at least two other flavors by them as well and they are so good! The taste for this particular tea isn’t amazing or anything but it’s definitely not bad. You can even have it iced. I’ve read reviews for it on Amazon and saw that some people prefer it that way. I preferred mine hot though!

I don’t currently drink this now but if my skin tends to have a period where it is acting up more than usual, I will generally pick up a box and have 1-2 cups a day. You can drink up to 3 cups for 30 days.

5 | Change Your Pillow Case Often

This is especially important if you use product in your hair. This is something that I need to really be careful about. I use gel in my hair every day, and what happens is when I sleep, the gel comes off and goes onto my pillow. And since I have such sensitive skin, when I’m sleeping on it all night, the gel causes my face to breakout. When I found this out I was so shocked. It was not something that I would have ever thought to do myself, but it makes so much sense! You might want to change your pillowcase at least once a week, if not every day in the beginning, just to ensure that your skin stays clean overnight.

6 | De-Stress

Sometimes life just gets to be really stressful. Whether I’m just dealing with daily stress or if I’m dealing with the stress surrounding a major life change, stress always affects my skin and how prone to breaking out I am. When I was planning my wedding, my skin was the worst it had been in years. Which was really unfortunate because it did not clear up until after our wedding, but that just proved to me how much stress affected my skin. Sometimes we can’t help being stressed out but what I’ve found can really help is working out. Whether that be just walking a mile every day or going to the gym for hours, just do what’s comfortable for you. It will definitely help improve your skin because sweating gets out the toxins out too!

If working out is just not an option for you, try other ways to de-stress. Take a bath. Read a book. Write in a journal. Listen to some music. Pray. Just do your best to de-stress anyway that works for you!

7 | Eat More Fruits + Vegetables

I know, I know, we don’t need another reason to eat fruits and vegetables and I’m sure you already know this, but I needed to include it because it really does help! Eating fruits and vegetables gives our bodies the resources they need to detoxify our skin. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables fight against inflammation, repair scar tissue, and also repairs sun damage.

I try to eat fruits and vegetables every day. One way I try to add extra fruit in is to make acai bowls! I really try to have vegetables with dinner as well, and try to plan our meals around whole, real foods, which add antioxidants to our diets.

What My Skin Looks Like Now

As you can see, my skin is not perfect, but it is very clear. These steps really do work, but I will admit that I  still do struggle with breakouts every once in a while. If I happen to get very stressed, I will usually breakout more than usual. But these steps have really helped to fight back against my acne and have given me so much more confidence. I really hope they work for you too! Let me know if you try any and what you think/if they worked!

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  • I’m glad you’ve found some things that work for you. You are beautiful, regardless of your skin. 🙂 I change my pillowcase more often now, too, since I use product on my hair. It matters! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! It’s crazy how much changing my pillowcase really effects my skin! I would have never known.