Skincare update: trials and progress

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I have tried and trialled many skincare products, in an effort to alleviate the hormonal/cystic acne that seems to erupt every once in a while for me. I’ve struggled with my skin since puberty, and spent hundreds on different products. I have heard that your skin changes in your 30’s anyway, so my efforts now as a 35 (eeep, 36 tomorrow) year-old woman are more towards natural and breathing life into my skin as much as possible.

Last year I did a one-month sugar and dairy cleanse, to troubleshoot if those were triggers. I used #foodforskinmamma. I didn’t notice any major connections. (kinda happy about that!) The one product I have found success with is Rodan & Fields – and while they aren’t natural or organic, it works, and was okay to use when I was pregnant!  You can see more of that initial acne skincare journey here where I showed some before and after pictures. I have now finally consented to use their Unblemish line when I need to, and supplement the rest with natural skincare products. I have tried to go ALL natural, and it doesn’t seem to prevent or treat fresh breakouts for me like I wish it would! Some of it actually irritates my skin more.

So here is a list of the products I have tried and like, and what I use them for. I don’t use each one every day, but throughout the week.

  1. Rodan & Fields, Unblemish – An American product, and the creators of ProActiv, this product works. It just does. I am using the wash and lotion once daily. I find that using it any more than that dries out my skin. But within days I notice a difference with this stuff!
  2. Coconut oil – this has been the best product to remove make up and nourish my skin at the same time. I use this at night with about a quarter size lathered into my skin. Then I place a warm wash cloth over my face, let it steam, and remove the day away!
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar – I use this as a toner, twice a day. I mix a little bit of water with it, as straight ACV is quite strong!
  4. Jojoba oil mixed with essential oils – I currently have a roller boll with 3 essential oils mixed with jojoba oil as my carrier oil. I found tea tree oil is quite strong just used topically, but this mix of Rosemary, Lavender and Frankincense (doTerra) are my current moisturizer, day and night. These oils are touted for their skin benefits, and this mix doesn’t seem to irritate my skin!
  5. Lush, Dark Angels scrub – I’ve tried a few different items from Lush, and this one I chose because it has charcoal in it. Charcoal is something I had ‘heard’ was good for skin. My main qualm about this product is that it’s kind of hard to get off; a gentle rinse doesn’t do it. You have to really scrub! Maybe it’s just my skin texture? It’s a great exfoliator though, and smells wonderful! I use this maybe twice a week, as I heard you should exfoliate every few days 🙂
  6. Bentonite Clay – I first heard about this clay when I was pregnant, but it wasn’t advised to use for pregnant women. It is a fantastic detoxifier, among many other things. Here’s an article by Dr Axe on the health benefits of bentonite clay. I mix it with a bit of water and ACV to create a mask and it’s oh so smooth and I do notice it ‘purges’ the pimples! (gross, I know). I use this now maybe twice a week.

So, there you have it. My skincare routine that seems to be working (fist pump/hallelujah/happy dance)! Perhaps some of that could help you?

Happy friday all …

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My 30 day food and skin care change up

Me and my girl

Oh to have the skin of a baby, hey? This is me, au natural, to give you an idea of where I am at, starting day 1.

 

As some of you know, I have struggled with skin issues since I was 12-years-old. It’s been now 23 years of on and off break-outs, dealing with scars, and trouble-shooting the cause. So. Annoying.

I blogged a little over a year ago about my skin, when I started using Rodan & Fields and found success. The thing is… a) It’s not natural in any way b) It’s a temporary fix, only working when you’re using it. As soon as you stop using it, breakouts happen again c) It’s an expensive US product.

Since getting pregnant and now breastfeeding, I feel like I’ve taken the seriousness of my health to a whole new level. And I love it! I love good food. God has given us such an array of beautiful food not only for enjoyment, but for our body’s nourishment. But I also have indulged in sweets and all the ice cream a summer can hold. I’m burning all these calories nursing, right? 😉

The past 6-8 weeks my skin has taken a turn for the worse again, and I’m at a loss. I have been using coconut oil as a wash for almost a year (which I love!), along with Witch Hazel (using that fairly recently), essential oils, and as much natural healers as I can (oats, honey, etc). Since I am nursing, it could very well be hormones, but I also know different things we eat will affect our hormone levels. Like…sugar, dairy, wheat (that breaks down into sugar in our bodies). Can you tell I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to figure out the cause? Alllllll these years.

So, I’ve decided the one thing I haven’t done (and all dermatologists have recommended), is to cut out sugar/dairy/wheat. For the next 30 days (August 10-September 10), my goal is to eat a more raw food diet along with good proteins like beans and grass-fed meat (as much as I can find and budget will allow!).

I’ve received the go-ahead from my doctor’s office, and am excited and hopeful for how this could help! I will share recipes I find and try, along with the frustrations and the victories 😉 You can follow along on Instagram with #foodforskinmamma

This morning’s breakfast was steel-cut oats with mango and blackberries. I’ve never made steel-cut oats so they overflowed in the microwave to a pasty texture. Here’s to new beginnings tomorrow 😉 Lunch was this yummy avacado lentil salad and this is what I have planned for supper, only with brown rice. Am I the only one whose recipes NEVER look like the picture!? Oh, and I also made these energy bites yesterday that helps satisfy my sweet tooth. I’ve made them several times before and LOVE them!

Now, excuse me while I go and shush my crying 4-month-old daughter.

Progress, not perfection: My skin journey

 

I don’t share these pictures lightly. But sometimes our world needs a little more real photos, less filters, and a chance to celebrate progress, not perfection. The all-time highest read post on my blog was this one, where I showed a ‘before make up’ photo and a day I got gussied up to go to a wedding. At the time, I wanted to share that there is beauty in rawness, and sometimes we forget that. I feel this blog is not only my creative outlet, but a platform to speak into other people’s lives, and my hope is that through what I write you see Jesus. End of story.

So, to share other parts of my life, I wanted to share another journey I’ve been on. Please know, I am SO not a product pusher. This is just my journey and, I think it’s worth sharing!

Since we got married last year, I was on birth control for months leading up to the wedding, and for about four months after. My skin was the best it had ever been, I was so thankful. It was something I always worried about when I thought of my wedding day – my skin. I had some side effects to the pill, and various effects depending on which brand I was on (I tried a three). With some I had headaches, nausea, and was a bit crusty 😉 However the last straw came for me, when I was all of the above plus losing some of my hair, AND then my skin went NUTS around November. I’ve never had perfect skin, it’s been a lifelong journey. But it became the worst it had ever been. It became painful to wash or apply make up (though I still did), dry, red, irritable.

I mean, EVERYTHING in my life did change in a matter of weeks – got married, moved cities, packed up my home, was living in a 500sq ft space with my new hubby, went from working in an office to working from home, new church, where’d all my friends go? Yeah. It was a lot. Thank You Jesus that You are my constant in it all! But, all that aside, it affects the hormones. Naturally. And eventually, my body was resisting even the positive side effects of the pill.

So, after a visit to a naturopath to get some vitamins and going off the pill, I tried to work at naturally getting my hormones back in line. However, my skin just wasn’t improving. I tried “oil cleansing”. I tried the product I was on last year (SkinTX) that did seem to help a bit with texture. Even still, there were nights I’d literally be crying as I washed up before bed. Troy, the amazing man that he is, stood with me. Held me. Prayed with me. Loved me. *tear* It was hard, I kid you not. Because I was doing everything I knew to do and still no results. I had the worse skin of my life, and here I was a newlywed in a new season of life, and it hurt to even touch my face.

Walk in, my mother-in-law.

She and my sister-in-law were talking about a product by the American company, Rodan + Fields (same dermotologists who created ProActive). I was skeptical, as I am about all products. But I was also up for trying anything, especially at that point. The new adult product line was being launched in Canada in February, and my mother-in-law was going to try the anti-aging product. She was beautiful before, but it has definitely done wonders for her as well!

She signed up and got the Soothe and Unblemish product, and said it’s worth me trying.

In the beginning of May I started, and oh my goodness! I’ve been doing a combo of the two, one in morning, one at night. I am breaking out WAY less, and when I do, it clears up quicker and isn’t painful. My overall skin tone is getting more even (though I am okay if I always have a bit of scarring, it’s part of my story 😉 ) And I feel I finally have a bit of a glow to my skin.

For me, I feel like it’s an answer to prayer. Something I needed, and it’s working for me. I do have a fairly balanced diet, don’t get me wrong, as I’ve been cutting out refined sugar in my baking, eat as much fresh foods as I can, and more whole grains. Things like hydration, sleep, and exercise have SUCH an impact on my overall being. I do believe that God has given us our bodies to take care of, not fill with garbage day in and day out. My skin journey has just been trickier to figure out!

But, this girl who has fought acne for 20 years is thankful. Check it out, it may be something that you’d be interested in!

Photos below state when they were taken, but the first one is of me today. No make up, fresh from the shower, and feeling great! Sheesh, I could’ve smiled a bit more in the other ones hey? 😉

 

TODAY…

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Taken end of January.

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Mid-May, two weeks after using the product. I kick myself for not taking a photo the DAY I started. I was definitely still red, broken out, and needing skin nourishment!IMG_0707IMG_0704IMG_0703IMG_0702IMG_0701