I Finally Found Out What Was Causing My Adult Acne- And It Has Changed My Life
A few months ago, I posted vaguely on the Instagram about why I had been so silent on the site and social media for about two weeks. I wasn’t completely open about what was going on, but I did tell you that I would let you know in time once I worked through it, and I think that time has come.
For almost my whole life, I was lucky to have virtually blemish-less skin, save for some hormonal acne around my period. I do suffer from quite dry skin, but other than that and some redness, my skin was essentially perfect. That is, up until mid September of 2018.
I started getting texture on my cheeks that looked like small little raised bumps. At first, I just assumed it was texture that would go away after a week or so but for the next few weeks it spread across my cheeks underneath my eyes, my forehead, and the moon-shaped area on the outside of my eyes, and then it began to appear on my chin. The bumps were the same color as skin, not red, and never came to a head or were able to be popped. In the morning, they’d be better, but as the day wore on it would become more and more raised.
First, I tested out going makeup free, but that didn’t make a difference, so I went on to trying a few one-brand skincare routines, hoping that that would help calm my skin. I also tried Drunk Elephant’s skincare but to no avail. The acne remained, and kept spreading on my face.
At this point I was at a loss. It had been months and no matter what I did, my acne only seemed to spread, so I finally picked up and went to a dermatologist to hopefully figure out how to fix this.
After looking at my skin, he said I had some acne mixed with a bit of clogged pores and sent me off with a strong Retin-A to help clear it up. While using this, I had to completely revamp my skincare because I had to be completely oil free and non-comedogenic. My new routine included Farmacy’s Green Clean cleansing balm as my cleanser and following that up with my prescribed Retin-A and then in the morning, rinsing that off with water and then going in with the Alba Botanica Oil-Free Green Tea + Aloe moisturizer to try to keep my skin somewhat moisturized. During this time, my skin became extremely dry, as does typically happens when using a prescription acne treatment, and I started using pure Aloe from my aloe plant as a serum in the mornings and while it did help, my skin was still super dry.
During this time I was struggling with creating posts for Edith & June, as I felt like a fraud: someone who pushed for clean beauty but then was struggling with acne and using a Retin-A to “fix” my skin. I couldn’t test new products for fear of them making my acne worse, and I found myself wearing less and less makeup and I felt extremely self conscious about my skin.
After three months of use, my acne had gone down a lot, and while I still had some problem areas, it wasn’t nearly as bad. But because of a vacation I had pre-planned, I had to stop using my Retin-A (as sun exposure can cause a rash) and using the kick start of the Retin-A, decided to find out what had been causing my acne in the first place.
After a lot of trial and error, I finally realized that after using certain products, my skin would start having those small bumps again, and the one thing all of those products had in common: oil.
Oil cleansers, oil serums, oil-based moisturizers, and makeup that has heavily oil based clogged my pores enough to give me adult acne, and it was something that I was shocked by- I loved oils!
As someone with dry skin, I found that oils gave me that gorgeous dewy glow, and oil cleansers made my face feel smooth and hydrated- but it was all just sinking into my pores and giving me acne. I had to sort through everything in my skincare and revamp it all to give myself the best skin of my life.
Through all of this, I’ve learned that just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it’s good for your skin, or that it will work for everyone. Some of the products I’ve had to get rid of were cult favorites in the clean beauty community, but that doesn’t make them perfect!
Now, when I stick with the above routine, my skin is soft, smooth and blemish-less, but sometimes I go a little wild and try a new product and my skin will flare up again. It’s all trial and error, but I know that this is a routine that works and I can always go back to as a plain, non comedogenic routine.
I would love to hear if any of you have dealt with adult acne, and how you were able to calm it down? What are your favorite clean products for acne?
Photo: Sam Riles Photography