Monday Musing: Skincare Miracles

Monday, August 6, 2012

*Disclaimer* I am not a skincare expert. Everyone has different skintypes. Different products work for different people. I am by no means telling you what to use on your skin. I'm just telling you about products that have been working wonders for me lately.

Recently, my skin has been a mess. I am happy to say that I have been blessed with good skin. Acne has never really been a big problem in my life. Every once and awhile though, I get a stress break out whether it be because of actual stress of my period. But, for the past two weeks I have been battling the biggest one in my 19 year old life. That sounded really dramatic, but I'll be honest it has been pretty bad, for my skin anyway. For someone who doesn't break out all the time, it was pretty bad. I have never had more than 2 big pimples on my face, and I had about 10. They were painful and they just weren't going away.

My mom and I were pretty concerned because I had never broken out like that before. So we threw out everything I was using on my face and decided to get back down to basics.  I have never followed a strict skincare regimen. To be honest, all throughout school I used a bar of soap, warm water, and make up wipes. Every once and a while I would buy a scrub from the drugstore and use it. When I got back from school, I noticed that the break outs were more frequent so I used the scrubs a little bit more. I had been looking at skincare tips online and I looked into some products. Obviously they didn't work and were just making things worse. So back to when I scrapped everything. I decided I was going to start over. I had heard that using bar soap on your skin was bad for know I should really stop trusting the internet so much because bar soap worked for my skin for so long. I don't know why I didn't seen it before. Anyway, since I read that bar soap was bad for your skin, and moisturizing is essential, and you should exfoliate and all that jazz, I did research on more products for stress break outs.

The more research I did the more I was thrust into the confusing world of skincare. The rules, the remedies, the expensive, the cheap, the organic, the hardcore...everything. I didn't really know what to do. All the while, I'm sure my break out was getting worse because I was stressing so much over it.

Well one day, while browsing through the blogs I follow, I came across this post by Elaine Hearn from Clothed Much. It's a great and brave post and I really think everyone should read it. After doing so, I finally felt like I had some direction. I started narrowing my search and I got ready for some trial and error research. There is something very motivational in someone sharing something so personal and hard on the internet. That post really helped me calm down and get to work.

Well the day after that revelatory moment, my family was making a trip to SLC. I had done some research on Lush products and most of the customers were raving about how the natural ingredients really helped their sensitive skin. It was like a match made it heaven! My plan was to go to Lush and find the perfect skin product. So much for trial and error right? So much for preparing for failure. Because that's exactly what happened. I went into Lush, the sales associate was so kind, I told her about my acne problem and she let me try out a bunch of beautiful products. I left with ULTRABLAND.

Don't worry I bought the smallest size and it was a lot cheaper in store than online. Thank goodness, because I went home and used it for about a week and was horrified by the new pimples that were emerging. Now I do not blame the lovely sales associate or the people that said it worked. But seriously, it was awful. Yes it got rid of all the gunk on my face, but it did nothing for my acne. Nothing. It made it worse. It clogged my pores. It seemed so nice when she was selling it to me, but it was obvious that Ultrabland was NOT working.

I was so upset but I suddenly remembered Elaine's post. This was a trial and error moment. I had to go back to the very beginning. I got over Ultrabland not working and I went back to soap and makeup wipes for my skincare regimen. I felt like that was all I could possibly do. Well I went to bed that night with my disappointed make-up wiped face and woke up with the same face, except the pimples were drier and less red. Were my eyes deceiving me? I got excited to shower that morning. I jumped in an washed my face with my trusty bar soap. When I got out I saw improvement. I'm not kidding. My face felt better. It wasn't a raging mess as it used to be. Yes the acne scars were there, yes I still had blackheads and pumps but they didn't look so bad. I felt that hopeful feeling again.

Well now you're probably asking, what miracle products are these? Tell me your secret. Just remember that everyone's skin is different. The Ultrabland worked for a lot of people but not for me. Soap and make up wipes probably won't work for most people. I just wanted to get that out there again.

The soap I was using was just a plain bar of soap from the store. It has oatmeal in it. That's all that's special about it. Normally at school though, I used the Dove Beauty Bars and they worked wonderfully. I love those. My makeup wipes are the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes. I love them because they get the job done. The scent doesn't irritate my skin. The remover doesn't make my eyes puffy. They work great.
Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes - 25 CountWhite Beauty Bar
I continued to do that for a couple of days and was really pleased with the progress my skin was having. Everything started to heal, but then I was left with scaring and a new zit would form. I didn't let this frustrate me as much though, because I knew what was working. I went back to researching. I decided to research Neutrogena products. If the makeup wipes were working then their other products had to be somewhat just as great.

Here are some tips for researching:
-Have a pen and some paper ready. I wrote down all of the products I looked at just so I could keep track of them.
- Use other websites for research. I would go to other websites like Makeup Alley and Total Beauty and look at the reviews on products I wrote down. It's important to have a lot of sources and reviews to go off on. You can even find out the skintypes of the reviewers on those websites.
-Always look for the skin type of the reviewer. Look for their story and their acne situation. It can help you narrow your search.
- Look for the top rated products. They have high ratings for a reason. Make sure that they have lots of reviews though. One five star review on a product isn't useful at all.
-After making your list, think about what you really want for your skin. Do you want a scrub? A cream cleanser? A toner? A spot treatment?
-After narrowing it down to 3 or 4 products do specific research on those things.
-I forgot to mention, if you can before and after pictures that is GREAT! It can really show you how the products are working, because the photos on the product websites aren't always reliable.

After I narrowed down my Neutrogena product search to three things I made my way to Walmart. Oh I don't love you, but I do at the same time. Love/Hate relationship. What up? Okay anyway, sorry I got distracted in the whole Walmart part of it. So yes, I went to Walmart and picked up these two lovelies because I couldn't find one of the products I intended on buying.
All-in-1 Acne Control Daily Scrub
Oil-Free Acne Stress Control® Triple-Action Toner

I absolutely LOVE both of these products. They have worked wonders on my skin, and I have only been using them for about a week and a half. I was looking for a scrub to work on my acne scaring and then I wanted a toner because I love the way they refresh the skin, minimize pores, and work on soothing acne.

Both treatments have salicylic acid in them, this can cause stinging but really it is not bad at all. That just tells me that it is working. BECAUSE really it works. The scrub has a creamy consistency with teeny tiny exfoliating beads. At first, I thought it was going to be too rough on my skin, because I wasn't having any luck with any other scrubs. Fortunately though, the scrub is so fine that it is gentle enough to not irritate the skin, but strong enough to rub away dead skin, clear clogged pores, and actually lighten the dark scarring areas. It also gives my skin a very soft and luminous look. I really wish I had taken pictures because I have seen the most results with this product. I feel like this product claims to do what it says so far. I mean I have only used it for a week and a half but I have seen results. It also works great on preventing acne. I usually break out around my time of the month and I started to but this scrub worked and actually minimized swelling and the pimple basically had no time to form. So awesome!

Now for the toner, I'll keep it brief because I have already written a novel! I use the toner three times a day. In the morning after showering, once during the day to refresh my face, and once at night after washing my face. This product has a cool cucumber scent. I thought it would be irritating but it really is soothing and refreshing. It also has salicylic acid in it. It balances the skin's acidity, clears and minimizes pores, and literally takes the stress out of your break outs. Breaks out bring stress, stress brings break outs which brings more stress. This product relaxes the acne...if that makes sense. It should. No more raging acne! After using this toner, I always feel relaxed, refreshed, and my skin feels the same way.

So if you are having skin problems, don't fear any longer. Don't stress about it any longer. I'm not saying these products will work for you because everyone is different, but I'm saying that there is hope for your skin. Get your research skills working. Do your research. Go through the trial and error process. Pray a lot...if you pray. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Don't lose sleep. Sleep. OH and HAVE A POSITIVE ATTITUDE! Your solution is out there. You just need to work and find it. You won't be sorry.

Have a happy Monday everybody! Sorry but I'm not sorry this is so long. I had to say what I had to say. Okay? Okay! See you tomorrow!

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