Disclaimer: My recommendations are from my own personal experiences and I am not a doctor, so please do your own research and find out what’s right for you. Everyone reacts differently to products and has different dietary and health issues, so listen to your body and do what’s right for your health and your personal skintype. Everything mentioned in this article was purchased by myself, except for the Zatik soap, which I received as a gift in a swap. Everything I use is vegan and cruelty free to the best of my knowledge.
This winter has been rough on me. I have seasonal affective disorder on top of rough, dry, flaky skin that has been ravaged from the arctic temperatures. A couple of weeks ago, I had the worst break out I’ve had in years and my self esteem couldn’t have been lower. I had large, cystic acne breakouts all over my neck, chin, and even on my cheeks and not only was it painful, it made me very self conscious. I decided to start fighting back and work on my health internally, not just externally as I have in the past.
The best habit I’ve started for myself is drinking half my body weight in fluid ounces of water and tea. This is a much better measurement than the old eight glasses recommendation. Different body types need a different amount of hydration, which makes sense to me. I have been loving my Life Factory glass water bottle. It has a shatter resistant silicone sleeve and sport top cap, so its convenient to carry with me and the cats can’t knock my water all over the couch, bonus points!
Diet and Supplements:
I am a vegan, so I already eat a strictly plant based diet. I’m making an extra effort to eat more cleansing veggies like broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and mung bean sprouts that I grow at home. I also am eating less sugar and sweets and have stuck pretty faithfully to a gluten-free diet. I’m not advocating that everyone go gluten-free, as it makes cooking and baking a bit more difficult. If you can eat gluten without breaking out or getting an upset stomach, by all means continue doing so. Listen to your body and monitor the foods you eat if you break out regularly after eating certain things.
In addition to eating healthier, I started researching acne related forums online to find out what vitamins and supplements might help with my breakouts. Vitamin D stood out to me because it also has been proven in some people to fight the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, in addition to reducing breakouts. I noticed a huge improvement in energy and my skin has been clearing up since I started taking it daily. I also started taking a daily dose of an evening primrose oil supplement, which one of my lovely subscribers recommended for eliminating hormonal break outs. No new breakouts have occurred since I started taking both supplements and the inflammation in my face has reduced significantly. Evening primrose is also supposed to help those with inflammation caused by roscea, so I’m extremely excited about this.
My skin care regimen:
In the morning, I wash my face with Hugo Naturals Shea and Oatmeal bar soap. I have also been using Zatik’s Olive Oil soap, but I can’t seem to reorder it from their online website which is a bummer. The Hugo bar is gentle and non-drying and can be bought on vitacost.com, which is a plus for me.
I follow up with Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner, the original Aloe Vera formula (I have used this for years and swear by it). I love Thayer’s toner because it doesn’t have alcohol in it and hydrates while it cleans off dirt and oil that washing can miss. Then, I use Avalon Organics Vitamin C Serum all over my face, neck, and chest. I just started using that, but I like it so far, it is loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals and it sinks right into my skin within seconds and makes it very soft. To moisturize, I use Desert Essence Gentle Nourishing Night Cream, which is my holy grail face lotion. I love the argan oil in it and its just a very gentle, super moisturizing, and fragrance free natural moisturizer that my skin actually likes, which is so difficult for me with all of my skin issues. I will probably switch back to SPF when warmer weather returns for daytime though, but for my winter routine, its been a life saver.
Nightime: If I wear any makeup, I rub a small amount of extra virgin coconut oil on my face to completely remove it. I find that if I wash it off completely, it does not make me break out and actually gets all of the stubborn makeup off that soap alone misses. I follow up by washing all traces of the oil off with my Hugo Naturals Oatmeal and Shea Butter Soap and using my Thayer’s toner prep for moisturizer. I use the same serum and moisturizer I mentioned in my daytime routine.
In addition, I use two face masks, each one once a week. One for cleaning deep into my pores (Pure Earth Bentonite Clay Mask) and one for moisturizing the firming my skin (Aubrey Organics Calming Skin Therapy Hydrating Face Mask). Also, when I shower (which is every other day in the winter) I use a loofah to exfoliate my face. I don’t do it everyday because exfoliating too much can cause irritation for those with sensitive skin.
I will keep you all posted on how my skin improves over time, but I’m very optimistic. Usually my skin is decent during the more humid, warmer months when I get enough sun; my breakouts usually occur in the winter, so the fact that my skin is behaving and looking like it does in the summer makes me very hopeful!