I regularly get questions from both my online readers and friends on how to get clear skin.
I typically rattle off some answer that combines the words “tea tree oil,” “jojoba oil,” and “wash your face before bed,” but lately, I’ve been a little more broken out than usual, causing me to think, “OK, what do I do in desperate situations?”
Well, the answers are still pretty much the same. But perhaps I’ll go into a little detail, similar to how Sophie of The Clean Beauty Blog did a few posts ago.
Clear Skin Secret #1: Use a Mild Cleanser
If you’re acne-prone, like I am, you’re probably hoarding tons of cleansers loaded with salicylic acid, alcohol and other drying ingredients that promise a clear complexion.
I’m going to tell you to stop.this.right.now.
You don’t need all of that on top of a zit-zapping cream, zit-zapping astringents and all those other harsh acne treatments.
Allow your skin to settle and chill out. You should chill out, too! Enjoy washing your face with a very mild cleanser that uses essential oils and natural plant oils to gently cleanse and restore balance to your skin. You shouldn’t have that tight, I-need-lotion-now feeling on your skin after cleansing. It should just feel…clean. And ready for a little shot of extra moisture.
While I don’t usually make OMG-this-is-the-cleanser-you-must-use proclamations because hey, everyone’s skin is different, I think that One Love Organics’ Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser (available in a trial size, regular size and family size) is one of the most mild cleansers I’ve ever used (see my past review of One Love Organics products).
Clear Skin Secret #2: Treat Your Breakouts Naturally
I know we’ve discussed my love of tea tree oil and jojoba oil at length before, but I’m going to reiterate it here.
Instead of using your 10% benzoyl peroxide cream all over your face at night — or even to spot-treat (yes, I used to be a crazy 10% zit cream user back in the day) — try gently treating your breakouts and the skin around it with natural acne fighters such as tea tree and jojoba oils.
The drawbacks of using those mega-strength zit zappers (which hey, may work sometimes) is that:
1) your skin may become used to them, rendering them useless going forward (that’s what happened to me)
2) your skin can become more sensitive to sunlight
3) your skin around the breakout may become dried out and scaly because it’s almost impossible to use the cream only on your breakouts
4) using these oil-zappers may, well…make you produce more oil because your body is trying to regulate production.
Clear Skin Secret #3: Pop Some Beauty Pills
No, I am not advocating for some riff raff witchcraft skin treatment. I am advocating for giving your skin a boost with vitamins and oils that have anti-inflammatory effects and can protect against free radicals, a cause of aging and skin distress.
One set of vitamins that I will be reordering is Eminence’s Clear Skin Vitamins. I used these for 30 days during a test run and noticed that my skin was less reactive to my monthly flare-ups caused by my cycle, and a bonus of taking these pills was that it forced me to drink an additional glass of water every day — something we all know we should do, but sometimes don’t work into our diets.
Another thing you can do, if you want something a little more financially accessible, is 1) eat your fruits and veggies to ensure you get all your vitamins and minerals or 2) take a multivitamin supplement that has vitamins A, B, C, D, E and zinc, which all aid in keeping your skin healthy.
Clear Skin Secret #4: Drink Some Beauty Brew
If you aren’t going to drink enough plain ol’ water to keep your skin hydrated, try sipping on some beauty brew — AKA my favorite clear-skin drink: Yogi Skin Detox Tea.
I first discovered this tea about five years ago and immediately fell in love with its flowery scent and taste. It’s made with organic green tea, rose petal, organic honeybush, organic hibiscus flower, organic red clover, organic cardamom seed, Oregon grape root, organic orange peel, organic burdock root, organic dandelion, yellow dock root and stevia leaf.
Most herbalists agree that the ingredients in this tea help promote clear skin via detoxification of the liver (the organ that filters all the junk out of your system). The ingredients also help pump of antioxidants into your body and support the immune system via needed vitamins and minerals.
There’s another beauty brew on the market that I’ve been intrigued to try — “Get Gorgeous” tea from The Republic of Tea — but it’s a bit pricier and has very similar ingredients to my beloved Yogi tea. However, I can be a sucker from great packaging (I love the reusable tin!). If any of you decide to try it, please let me know how it tastes!
Regardless of how you choose to hydrate, be it with straight H2o or tea, regularly flushing out your system with fluids is key to keeping your skin healthy and clear. I just choose to use Yogi tea because I like the idea of adding in some herbs, antioxidants and sweet floral flavors to my daily brew.
Clear Skin Secret #5: Get More Sleep
I am not good at following this rule. I’m a night owl and crazy about trying to jam as much into my days — and nights — as possible. To help counteract this, I try to get washed up and ready for bed by 10:30, even if I’m not actually falling asleep until 11:30.
I attempt to ease this by half an hour every night so I can give my skin (and my brain) that much more time to repair and rejuvenate. I know that most of the weeks when I have been great about a regular skin care routine, I still fail to give my skin the R&R it needs to benefit from the surface work I do.
So, don’t sell your efforts short, because products can only go so far, and sometimes what you really need is time to relax, de-stress and sleep.
Clear Skin Secret #6: Treat Yo’self to a Weekly Mask or Exfoliation
Financial responsibility keeps me from getting professional facials every month (I try to go once a quarter), but I really don’t think I need to because my skin is in pretty good shape. Instead, I like to
hoard try different at-home masks to treat the different issues my skin goes through every month.
There’s not one mask that I break out every time I, well, break out, but a few common threads I see in the masks I adore is that they either 1) contain pore-cleansing clays or 2) contain naturally exfoliating fruit acids.
When I have a few bad breakouts (typically around the time of my menstrual cycle), I try to ramp up (twice weekly) my spa-at-home experience by using each type of mask several days apart.
Clay masks help draw out impurities (think blackheads and other oil plugs), while fruit acid masks help the skin shed the top layer so that dead skin cells and bacteria can keep from clogging the pores further and breaking out the skin.
But kimberlyloc, what do I use?
Soon, I’ll have my favorites page loaded with all my picks for you to peruse. I’ll be adding to it regularly as I discover new holy grails, but for now, stick to the cleanest, most-gentle products you can find to get your skin back in balance.
What works for me may not always work for you, so I encourage you to visit a facialist who can also offer amazing product recommendations and a deep cleanse that can jumpstart you on your path to clearer, more beautiful skin.
And also, never be afraid to ask for small samples at fine spas and salons, and take advantage of beauty offers (Visia!) at local health food stores.
And one more thing you can do to try new products at little to no cost: Enter my “free stuff friday” giveaways … (hint, hint!)
Tell me: What are your clear skin tips? What works for you? What doesn’t? What are your holy grail skin care products? Tell me what you know in the comments section!
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