If you’ve read my previous blog post Why I went vegan, then you know that I’ve suffered with hormonal/hereditary cystic acne for years. Within that article, I mentioned how I went fully vegan to clear my acne, but was also on Spironolactone (a diuretic now prescribed by many dermatologists to clear acne in women). I talked about how I eventually wanted to ween myself off of the meds….and guess what? I DID IT. I’ve now spent months relying 100% on my vegan diet along with my acne fighting skincare routine! Let me tell ya, my skin has been chillin. Aside from my occasional pms flare ups (girls, you know what i’m talkin about).
Though the diet helps keep my cystic breakouts on the down-low, I was still working with some uneven skin texture, hyperpigmentation, and blackheads (the fact that these are my main concerns now is an absolute DREAM). I’m finally able to confidently play around with skincare products, excited to see them work their magic on a more practical canvas.
Through my trial and errors, I finally pieced together a regimen that works for me. I’ve grown so much confidence in these products that I even use some of them on my clients (for those who don’t know, I’m a licensed esthetician. Aka: skincare practitioner). I’ve seen great improvement with multiple clients on this regimen, and I’m super stoked to share it with you! All of these products are vegan and free of fragrances, dyes, and cruelty.
**Before diving deep into this regimen, I recommend having a professional perform a deep cleaning extraction session to start you off with a clean slate for maximum results. DON’T PICK YOUR PIMPLES YOURSELF! Also, don’t expect a miracle over night. You must allow your skin time to adjust to products before knowing if they’re right for you. When I say “time” I mean 1.5-2months (unless irritation occurs, then stop use immediately). Some may see results sooner than others, just be patient :)**
My Acne Fighting Skincare Routine
I’ll be listing the products I use in the order I use them.
Cleanser: Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser
A common skincare misconception is that your cleanser is the most important part of your routine. I’m here to tell you, it’s not. Obviously the act of cleansing your face is crucial, but when it comes to your cleanser, the simpler the better. Think about it, your cleanser shouldn’t be on your face no more than 45seconds. Once your cleanser is off your face, it’s done working on your skin… or at least it should be. You need something gentile that’ll get the job done.
You want to avoid anything with fragrance and dyes, these cause skin irritation and can feed inflammation. Though Cerave and Cetaphil are great basic cleansers, I still feel it doesn’t break down my makeup on the rare occasions that I wear it. You also want to avoid those “daily exfoliators” with the micro-beads. Your skin needs time to heal and frequent use of daily scrubs can cause micro-tears which promote aging and can spread bacteria. So do yourself a favor and ditch the apricot scrub.
This Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Cleanser single handedly strips every bit of makeup and debris off my face without the need of a separate “makeup removal” product. The ingredients are all natural and plant derived. It may sting a little on open wounds, but I find it’s the best at removing all the gunk, doesn’t strip my acid mantle, and leaves me feeling clean.
Lately, when it comes to masks I’ve been alternating between two every couple of weeks. They’re both super affordable, contain high quality ingredients, and they actually work!
Aztec Secret: Indian Healing Clay
This Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay has done wonders on my flareups, or at the very least, calms them down. I mix the mask with equal parts apple cider vinegar and apply it twice a week when I feel my skin going through a tough time, especially around my menstrual cycle. Bentonite clay absorbs excess oil, eases inflammation, yet doesn’t leave you feeling dry. Making it perfect for oily, acne-prone skin. You can even use this mask as a spot treatment. You may experience redness after rinsing but it’ll subside within 30min.
**Be sure to read the directions prior to use**
The Ordinary: AHA 30% BHA 2% Peel
This AHA BHA mask is classified as a peel, with good reason. While using this mask I saw a drastic change in my hyperpigmentation and skin texture. It uses chemical exfoliation to brighten, fade fine lines/wrinkles, and fight off acne/hyperpigmentation. This mask does make my skin purge (brings the acne to the surface. DON’T PICK THEM.), but the end result is totally worth it. Mind you, you won’t see results after one use. Especially if you’re dealing with problematic skin. You’ll need to use this in a series and watch your skin gradually go through the changes, patience is key with this one!
While using this mask you’ll need to wear an spf moisturizer (which you should be using everyday regardless) for at least two weeks. You can use this mask twice a week max. Again, read the directions carefully prior to use. You will feel a stinging sensation, but that comes with every good peel. (No, this doesn’t make you shed layers of skin).
T.N. Dickinsons Witch Hazel
*Apply with a cotton round morning and night after cleansing. If using a mask in the evening, apply after mask removal.*
When it comes to toners, especially when dealing with acne prone skin, I stick with some good ol’ witch hazel. Witch Hazel has been used for centuries due to it’s antiseptic properties and has grown a lot of recognition lately. However, I cannot stress enough that the brand matters. All the hype is on Thyers “Witch Hazel Toner,” I wouldn’t recommend it. They label their product as “witch hazel” meanwhile it has 8+ ingredients, irritated my skin and numerous clients reported the same feedback. Straight up witch hazel is where it’s at. It helps fight inflammation and dries up excess oil, so I stick to the original. T.N. Dickinsons Witch Hazel can be ordered online or easily found in the first aid isle of your local CVS.
Serums are the most important part of your routine! Why? This is what stays on your skin and gets completely absorbed. So you want to make sure you’re using safe, affective, high quality ingredients. This is where it gets a little pricey, but a little goes a long way and the results are worth it. Not to mention these two products I’m about to recommend are still cheaper than most high end skincare brands. This leads me to my girl Sunday Riley. I’ve recently fell in love with her line, these two serums in particular, and have achieved impeccable results.
Sunday Riley U.F.O.
*Massage into face with clean hands after toner, morning and night.*
I cannot rave enough about this serum. Between the smell, ingredients, aesthetic, and performance, this product has it all. Sunday Rileys U.F.O. Serum targets blackheads, uneven skin texture, and hyperpigmentation. That’s right, the holy grail to your blackhead and bumpy forehead dilemma in one tiny bottle. Another reason I love this serum is that it’s oil based, so it hydrates while taming those problem areas. You might be thinking “Oil on oily skin?!” YES fam. Yes, yes, yes. When you deprive your skin of oils your skin works overtime to replace those oils. In turn, causing an overproduction of oil. Of course using the right oils is essential, but that’s an article topic on its own. For now, just know that the oils in this serum will help you! In all seriousness, I can’t remember the last time I had a blackhead.
Crucial tip: when using skincare that requires a dropper, do not, I repeat do not make skin to dropper contact. This can contaminate the whole bottle with the problem you’re trying to fix. I’m not saying apply from an arms length, just far enough that the dropper isn’t touching your face.
Sunday Riley Luna
*Massage into skin with clean hands after toner, evenings only.*
Now, this Luna Night Oil was something I incorporated into my routine about 2 months into using the U.F.O. Once I saw my skins improvement I was eager to try another Sunday Riley product. Being that i’m 25 years young, going on 26, I figured it’s time to start using a retinol. Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that promotes cell turnover and collagen production. Retinol is used topically for its anti-aging/acne fighting benefits.
Since there is retinol in this serum, I only use it in the evening and apply it before the U.F.O. serum because of the Lunas exfoliating properties. If you’re just getting started with a regimen, I’d hold off on this one and then come back to it once/if you start seeing results with the U.F.O.
Juice Beauty 30 SPF Sheer Moisturizer
*Massage into skin about 2minutes after applying your serum (you want to give them time to absorb), mornings/afternoon only.*
Theres mixed reviews about this product, but I personally like it. Juice Beauties 30 SPF Sheer Moisturizer contains zinc which helps to repair the skin, neutralize dark spots, and moisturize. The only downside to this product is that coconut oil is a leading ingredient. Though coconut oil has numerous benefits, I avoid using it on the face. My reasoning behind this is because the enzymes that make up coconut oil are typically too large to fully penetrate through the skin. This can result in clogged pores and breakouts. That being said, I’ve had nice results with this product for a while, but I will be on the market for a new one soon.
Squeaky Clean with a Seamless Gleam (ya’ll know I needed to wRAP this up with a corny rhyme)
Well, that just about wraps up my acne fighting skincare routine! I only promote products and treatments I absolutely love and believe in. I hope you found this article helpful and I’d love to know if you give/gave any of these products a try! Drop a comment below about your acne journey. Mine is not over, nor do I think it will be any time soon, but together we can tame the flame!
Nomadikally Yours, Briana
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