I’m no beauty guru, but I am an esthetician. One thing I know from experience is that medications can do some serious damage to your skin. Antibiotics can dry you out, and make your skin abnormally sensitive to everything including a small amount of sunlight. Blood thinners can thin your skin, and make for a terrible waxing experience. That skin will rip right off so forget your waxing appointments. Plus, bushy brows are in, embrace it. And there is nothing wrong with a little hair in the downstairs.
AED’s (antiepileptic drugs) , can cause acne. It’s not expressly written anywhere because it’s a side effect doctors really don’t care about. If you are going to get a facial let your esthetician know what medications and conditions you have. That is good for your esthetician to know, there are treatments that involve electrical currents that could harm people with any seizure activity, along with other issues. So always fill out the client consultation cards honestly, they really are helpful!
I personally have struggled with adult acne for around 5 or 6 years now. I kept it controlled, but I haven’t had clear skin since. And after starting my year-long trial of AED’s, I started to experience deep cystic acne that was constantly active. Vimpat, by far, was the worst. I felt disgusting, I’d have a new white head every couple of hours. After stopping that and starting Klonopin, my newest and best AED thus far, the cystic acne subsided, but not without a few tweaks to my lifestyle and skin care routine.
Recently, I changed everything about my diet and routine. So here’s what helped me get decent skin, not perfect, but it’s already 100x better.
You need to know ta few things first before I give you a routine. Education about acne and ance products can be very helpful when starting a routine.
- I’m going to get the obvious ones out of the way first. Cut out dairy! I know you’ve heard this one a million times I’m sure. I did and scoffed at it up until a couple of months ago. Dairy is linked to acne, so switch that coffee creamer to a nice almond milk. Drink water! Seriously. Stop drinking anything with excess sugars and additives (that includes artificial sweeteners, splenda is the devil). You don’t have to just stick with plain water, you can infuse crap into it. Herbal tea is the best, also lemon. This will also revolutionize your morning poop(a long with a squatty potty). No joke, cutting out dairy and adding more water makes for a very happy gastrointestinal system. Thank me later. To summarize, if you drink lots of water and don’t eat cheese it will help clear your skin and your colon.
- Three step routines are bullshit. Proactiv can suck it. They don’t work. You need to double cleanse, hydrate with a good toner, use a treatment, moisturize and then moisturize some more (all of this twice daily), and use mask treatments 2-3 times a week at least. Keeping your skin healthy and hydrated prevents excess oil from being produced. If you dry your skin out, the moisture barrier that protects your skin will retaliate. It will compensate with even more oil and sebum. That’s just scratching the surface. Three steps just doesn’t cut it. I will go into detail further with specific products that work later.
- Physical scrubs and brushes to exfolaite spread the P. acnes bacteria around your face. STOP SCRUBBING, JUST STOP IT. STOP. RIGHT NOW. Yeah, it’s gross. Like not closing the lid of the toilet when you flush it. Shit goes everywhere. Once you get rid of the active pimples, you can start with the physical exfloiants.You can break open an active white head and then spread all of it around your face. Until then, chemical exfoliants are the way to go. Specifically BHA/AHA’s. Beta Hydroxy Acids, the most common being salicylic acid can get deep down under the surface of the skin to break up the gunk in there (yeah, that’s a professional term). It’s anti inflammatory and is derived from aspirin and/or willow bark extract. Alpha Hydroxy Acids, like lactic and glycollic acid help exfloiate a bit higher up where pigmentation is made. They can lighten dark spots and help prevent them. Both can work well for you. I would just start with the BHA first though.
- Benzoyl peroxide bleaches everything, but it can help start the clearing part of your process if used properly and in the right products. Now this is vital, drugstore benzoyl perioxide products are not well formulated. They may have just as much of the active ingredient as the high-end version, but the other ingredients they mix in there are really what makes the difference. Benzoyl peroxide kills the P. acnes bacteria like nothing else.
- COCONUT OIL IS COMEDOGENIC. And so are face cleansing wipes. Coconut oil, while wonderful for your diet is not good for your face. It’s a very heavy molecule that will clog up those pores and trap the bacteria under the surface of your skin. It’s ok to use on your body and hair, but not your face. Face cleansing wipes leave behind surfactants and detergents that can cause inflammation and irritation. Also, just the act of wiping your face with those is a bad idea, it can be too harsh. So cut those out, they aren’t good, even if you follow with a face wash to cleanse the rest you’ve already angered your skin. AND STOP IT WITH THE COCONUT OIL, WE GET IT. I blame pinterest for this trend.
- Go to bed with clean hair and hands. Or at least tie your hair back when you sleep. Whatever hair products you use or the natural oils in your hair will get all over your pillow case and skin. So wash the pillow case weekly, and keep that hair clean and out of your face. You may also be touching your face in your sleep, so make sure that you have hands that a free of heavy body moisturizers. A good cream to keep by your bed if you have dry hands is something gentle like CeraVe or Cetaphil. I also like that Honest face + body lotion, thanks Jessica Alba.
OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s get you fixed.
I have a 7 step process, I know it’s a lot, but it’s working.
DO THESE STEPS TWICE A DAY
Step 1 DOUBLE CLEANSE:
I use a gentle cleanser to remove everything from my face. With tepid water I wash for at least 60 seconds. This ensures that everything is getting removed. After that I follow with my second cleanser, a 10% benzoyl peroxide wash for another 60 seconds. After that I PAT my face dry with a soft clean cloth and let the rest air dry for around 2-3 minutes. That way the benzoyl peroxide has some time to work, and leaves your skin ready for the next step.
Step 2 HYDRATE (tone):
I use the word hydrate because I want you to get it out of your head that toners full of isopropyl alcohol work. They don’t. Like I mentioned in my little educational section, drying your skin makes things worse. So use a toner that has AHA and BHA’s in it, and only that. Especially BHA at this point, it can work very well when your skin is clean and dry, and after you use it your skin shouldn’t feel drier. This is also the first step to adding back the hydration your skin needs because the benzoyl peroxide wash will dry it out. So this is kind of a treat/hydrate step.
Step 3 & 4 TREAT:
After letting the toner settle in and absorb for about 60 seconds or so, use your treatment. I use a 5% benzoyl peroxide treatment that has hydrating properties to it. I let this dry on my skin for at least 2 minutes. Your skin should absorb it pretty quickly if it’s been toned properly.
- Before you treat, 2-3x a week you should use a treatment mask. I use a honey and charcoal mask that I leave on for 20 minutes. I like to do this in the morning because I noticed that it makes my makeup go on much smoother. Again more details will be at the end.
Step 5 MOISTURIZE LIGHTLY:
Get a lightweight lotion/serum with some sort of AHA and hylauronic acid in it and spread a thin layer of this all over. Again, let it dry for a couple of minutes. This will help push more treatment into your skin while it’s still open to receiving product.It will also start the process of locking in the treatments and moisture to prevent more oil and sebum from forming.
Step 6 REALLY MOISTURIZE:
Don’t be afraid of this. Use a real moisturizer, I recommend something with a teeny-weeny bit of retinol. This will seal the deal. Keep all of that stuff locked in place, and prevent your moisture barrier from freaking out on you. If it’s day time USE SUNSCREEN. Don’t argue, just do it. Your skin is vulnerable and afraid, protect it. You also don’t want to end up with more wrinkles than you started out with so definitely do this.
Step 7 SPOT TREAT:
I spot treat at night after everything has soaked in for a good hour or so. If my skin feels a bit dry after that hour I moisturize again, and then wait for it to sink in before going in with the spot treatment. Be generous, but don’t spread it all around. I go back in with my 5% treatment on a cotton bud and place it on anything red and raised. The cotton bud ensures precision, and cleanliness.
Now for the products that I use and work for me, and also highly recommend. Also, these are all affiliate links generated through MagicLinks.org , but I am not sponsored by them. I do get paid if you use these thinks, however you don’t have to use them! It’s all up to you.
This provides my gentle cleanser, toner with BHA that is also anti redness and my 5% benzoyl peroxide treatment. They use the best ingredients, are decently affordable as far as effective acne products go and give quick results. If you are also experiencing pre mature aging and wrinkles I recommend this kit. It treats acne and wrinkles. I will be switching to this when my kit above runs out. If you want a trial of this and don’t want to shell out the cash straight away this is a good trial size of the kit I use and will give you a good idea of how it will work for you.
For my second cleanse I use this.
For a hyrdating first treatment/moisture barrier repair I use this:
To seal the deal and really moisturize I use this: * disclaimer – this is a bit pricey so you can use whatever moisturizer you want as long as it is non comedogenic. I highly recommend CeraVe Night Lotion .
Now for the mask, my favorite part because it’s DIY and very cheap. I use a mixture of honey and activated charcoal.
The honey is antibacterial and moisturizing, and the charcoal helps pull everything from the pores like a magnet.
I would get an empty squeezy travel tube for this. All you need to do is fill it up mostly with honey and then add the contents of 3-4 charcoal capsules (which can be messy) and you’re all set. You can buy both of these things at a drugstore, or target. I use whatever honey I have on hand and regular activated charcoal capsules found in the vitamin aisle or here.
I don’t have perfect acne free skin yet, but it’s no longer an active volcano and I look decent without makeup because of this routine. My scars are starting to fade, and during my cycle I still get breakouts (can’t be helped), but overall I feel better about my skin because of this routine and change in diet.
Whew, ok. I broke into a sweat busting this blog out. It’s long AF. I feel really passionate about skin care, and I hate seeing others suffer from acne. It’s horrible. And I wanted to make sure you have good information that will hopefully help you. Acne and epilepsy suck, don’t let one more thing weigh you down.
Share this if you think someone else can benefit from it, and I would also benefit from it! Thanks!
*If you’re a blogger and interested I use MagicLinks for all my ready-to-shop product links. Check it out here: https://www.magiclinks.org/rewards/referral/epileptea/
** Update 2/10/17 – I joined MavenX! So I created a board with most of these products on them, I say most because there is an acne update post with a few different products I swapped out. So of you want them all in one place click here for everything! Also check out this post for the update.
Also, if you are interested in makeup to cover the acne while you’re going through the healing process I made a board with tried and true products that don’t fail.
p.s. Acne is still far and few between for me. My skin has been consistently clear for 6 month.