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How to achieve clear, acne-free, blemish-free, perfect skin – Part One The Journey

THE JOURNEY

I have had bad skin for as long as I can remember.

Once puberty started, BAM, bad skin. Now it wasn’t so bad that I basically had a face covered in red craters, but it was bad enough that I felt self-conscious all the time.

Lots of little red bumps, with a new one starting every 3-5 days… and of course, I picked at them. Who doesn’t!?

As I got older, it got worse. There has never been a day, save for 3 weeks on vacation and maybe a month while I was on the birth control pill that I ever had clear, smooth skin without any old or new pimples starting.

So.. 2 actual months out of the past 15 years, give or take.

ALL THE THINGS I HAVE TRIED

You name it, I have done it.

I went on the birth control pill for quite a number of years, and that still didn’t do jack squat.

I went to a new dermatologist each year, hoping he/she would help find the miracle cure for my skin.

I tried facials every month, thinking I needed to “purge” my skin, but it always made me feel worse afterwards because it bloody hurt (all those extractions!) and my skin always flared up after these aggressive facials.

I have tried going completely natural, thinking it was chemicals ruining my skin.


I refused to wash my face for 15 days, thinking it would help my skin restore its balance and start regulating its oil production again.

I have tried going vegan.

Aux-Vivre-Dragon-Nori-Vegan-Roll-2

(Although I must say it was pretty yummy, this vegan Dragon roll)

I have tried cutting out milk, white sugar, white flour.. actually, anything white.

I stopped eating fat, fried foods and avoided processed foods — this I will admit, has helped a little bit.

I tried all the fancy, sexy acne products out there. I have pretty much purchased every acne product you see on the shelves in the drugstore.

I tried all the acne-free gadgets out there as well, including the Clarisonic (which I still like for traveling) and all sorts of exfoliants.

I popped natural estrogen-regulating pills on the daily, hoping it would help balance out my hormones and PERHAPS be related to my acne woes.

I washed my pillowcases and towels every other day to every week, thinking residual oils were getting on my face.

I refused to touch my face for any reason, afraid of transferring bacteria and germs to cause more pimples.

You also won’t believe the twenty-plus books I read on skincare and everything related to it.

You have no idea, I’m such an expert on cleaning, beauty products, soaps, oils and skin-related woes that you would think I went to school for this stuff.

In short, I have done everything that a desperate person does short of having some sort of plastic surgery to replace every inch of my skin, and while some of it had some benefit, it was not helping me achieve my goal of CLEAR. PERFECT. SKIN.

WHAT I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY

What I eat really does matter

I’ve noticed that when I eat too much fat all at once in a day, like if I chowed down on a huge greasy pizza and then had some cheese on a baguette for dinner, I was sure to see at least a tiny pimple or worse pop up.

I try my best to eat as healthy as possible and I still avoid processed foods, junk food and fried foods, but I am less strict on that (on occasion I will eat something fried)… what really matters now is that I am relieved to have found a solution to my skin woes as I know now that it is food AND hormone-related.

Sony-RX100-Salad-Food-Photograph-Tomatoes-Eating-Vegan-Meal

What I put on my face matters

Specifically what PRODUCTS in what order, matters, but more on that later when I go over how my skin has finally been clear and smooth for almost a month now or longer.


Sunscreen for instance, is a must, as it helps fade out the old acne scars and marks. I wear at least SPF 30 when I know I will be outside for more than 15 minutes.

I don’t wear sunscreen daily but that’s because I am in the office before the sun is up, and I am in my car driving home, and inside the entire time until the sun goes down.

I also found out that my skin is sensitive to silicones and all of its derivatives. I’d notice little tiny pimple-like rashes appear if I wore makeup or put on any kind of product that had a hint of silicone in it. I guess it blocks my skin and doesn’t let it breathe.

Not everyone is sensitive to silicones, but I am.

The price of the products I put on my face however, DOES NOT matter

I paid very dearly for beauty editor approved acne products and all these new fads out there and nothing worked, no matter how much money I shelled out for it.

Price does not matter, effectiveness does.

More on that later on what finally worked for my skin.

Until you fix your skin woes, you shouldn’t pay through the nose

I had considered in my late teens paying through the nose to get my skin lasered to remove all these acne spots and marks in a desperate hope that it would also kill all the bacteria and FIX MY DAMN SKIN.

Luckily, the dermatologist wasn’t a mercenary and she talked me out of it because she told me I had to fix my skin problems first, or else all that lasering would be for naught as I would get dark marks again.

She kindly told me to try and get my skin clear and stable first, and then we could talk about removing the dark marks. I never got around to clearing my skin until a good 12 years later, but now I can actually think about lasering and find it a viable option.

Sometimes you can’t do anything about it because it’s hormonal

I tried avoiding plastic, pre-packaged anything and any hint of BPA because of its estrogen-like effects, which could have been screwing around with my hormones, which affects my skin.

I also suspect that my hormones have been out of whack for a long time, and I probably have a touch more testosterone than the average woman, as I have a rather assertive personality that most women do not possess.

Nevertheless, I even went on the birth control pill to help my acne (and avoid getting pregnant), and that didn’t cure it.

At any rate, I had eliminated the fact that it was 100% food-related, because even though I ate very well and avoided fatty, fried things or anything with a lot of chemicals / oils in it, I STILL got pimples, so I knew my skin problem was both food and hormone-related.

But how do you fix it!?

Part Two: Here’s what I’ve done to achieve clear, blemish-free skin.


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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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8 Comments

  1. M
    Michelle's Finance Journal

    I thought I was reading my own story. Almost. I had zits here and there until high school, but my acne didn’t really get crazy until after high school. I’ve been suffering for over 15 years and I feel like I’m just stuck with this acne face. I have another dermatologist appointment tomorrow. Let’s see what other treatment she recommends. Good luck to you too.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      My post yesterday details out how I fixed it 🙂 please read!!

      Reply
  2. S
    Sara S

    Thank you for this post, and I am looking forward to the next one! I’m 25 and my acne journey has been much like yours. I’ve tried everything, going on and off antibiotics, topical creams, trying the natural options, and editing my diet. It’s still a process for me so I’m interested to hear exactly what you have figured it!

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I’ve tried so many things, you have no idea. If it isn’t diet or skincare related it is likely to be hormones…

      Reply
  3. Kate @ Money Propeller

    I can’t wait for the part two for this post. I went to my doctor last year and then she found out that I have an hormonal imbalance and I need to avoid some foods to treat it aside from taking some pills.

    Reply
  4. H
    Heather H

    I recommend trying no grains at all for a minimum of 30 days. Gluten in particular can be an aggravater but so can other non-gluten grains. It takes 30 days for gluten to actually leave your system. In essence, just eat meat and veggies and see what happens.

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      I never tried it… But I’m not knocking my process now because no grains forever is not a viable solution…

      Reply

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