I’ve been getting so many questions about skin care. I also receive tons of comments and questions on my article about oils for acne prone skin. I read comment after comment about something working for a reader for only a short period of time, sometimes readers trying too many different things, or someone being in complete turmoil not having an idea on where to start with clearing their skin.
I honestly can only share what I’ve learned from my own personal experience. I will also admit to being frustrated at times as I feel others think that there is a magic topical solution that will clear all skin issues. Well there isn’t one magic product. Today I wanted to share the full picture and exactly what I do to keep my skin clear, and how I got it clear in the first place. It really is a multifaceted system!
My Skin History
First let me give you a background on my skin then go from there. I have never had severe cystic acne, yet I have had hormonal acne cysts (which this supplement really helped) maybe two or three at a time along with other smaller breakouts. They would come and go. I would have clear skin for a short period of time then would break out all over again. What came along with this cycle was acne induced hyperpigmentation. So as one scar was finally healing, I’d have another breakout and the cycle would begin again.
Someone asked me this week how I cleared my acne scars. It was just then that it occured to me that I was no longer spot concealing marks with makeup. I had finally eliminated the cycle of breakouts and scars. Once this vicious cycle of breakouts ended, my scars slowly faded over time using my simple skin care regimen which I describe below, and after I stopped focusing on the scars. My skin is by no means perfect at all, yet I have learned a lot about my skin, and will share what that is.
I realized I was no longer stressing about my skin. I used to be very obsessed with how my skin looked, and I would spend time in the mirror actually picking at my face. It was then that I decided that I really needed to step away from all of my skin care madness, organic and DIY skin care included, and for the entire weekend I stopped my skin care regimen completely, and didn’t wear any makeup. I washed my face with water only.
Psychologically this was a much needed break from my obsessing, and physically my skin actually started looking better. It was at this moment that I realized that our skin has the ability to heal and balance itself. I was doing way too much to my skin in the first place. Being healthy and whole is our bodies default setting, yet we create a lot of stress and anxiety on ourselves, and also don’t always use the tools that we could to soothe ourselves from the stress we experience in daily life.
Expensive to Simple Organic Skin Care
Prior to beginning Minimalist Beauty in 2010, I was spending about $100 every month or month and a half on organic chemical-free skin care. I loved the products that I was using, yet my skin never really looked consistently good, and I was “randomly” breaking out. At least that is what I thought because I did not understand what my skin was trying to tell me. That was when I started using the oil cleansing method with olive oil and castor oil to find something a lot simpler and more affordable. As I mentioned in the article on carrier oils for acne prone skin, I had not yet learned how carrier oils differ, and that oils high in linoleic acid helped to soften our natural skin’s sebum and unclog our pores. Olive oil is high in oleic acid, and although a wonderful oil, not good for acne prone skin.
Next I followed up with cleansing my face daily with rhassoul clay which really helped to gently exfoliate my skin and rectify the damage that oil cleansing with an olive oil and castor oil mix had caused. In the end rhassoul clay was too drying for my skin to use daily, yet a great hair cleanser. So I then enjoyed cleansing with raw honey and learning more about other natural beauty remedies while sharing them here. I continued to have ups and downs with my skin.
Diet Plays A Major Role
During this time I was eating a vegetarian diet, yet I was also not necessarily a “healthy” vegetarian. At this time I was eating a lot of processed vegan foods (faux vegan meats, frozen veggie burgers, tofu, chips, health bars, etc.), sugar (evaporated sugar cane, honey, agave, coconut nectar/sugar, etc.), breads, and gluten. When I am talking about processed foods, I mean anything that is prepared and prepackaged that is not something like quinoa that needs to be cooked.
Finally I STOPPED EATING ALL PROCESSED FOODS! I cook almost all of my food from scratch, so I know exactly what is in it. I also only buy organic produce which is the best priced at farmer’s markets. When I eat out I avoid processed vegan meats and vegan cheeses, or other processed foods, and enjoy hearty salads, macrobiotic dishes, omelets, and other simple vegetarian foods. Every once and awhile I will treat myself, yet it is once in a blue moon. I have also eliminated sugar of all kinds (honey, coconut sugar, agave, evaporated cane sugar, brown sugar), and gluten from my diet. I don’t eat gluten-free breads much either. I also don’t drink alcohol or smoke for health reasons.
I eat a lot of alkaline and detoxifying foods throughout the week. This helps keep my digestive system clear and moving. When you have a sluggish digestive system, toxins get into your blood and you have breakouts. Eating easily digestable plant based foods help to sweep out the digestive system. I eat a lot of fiber and fruit. I also drink lots of water and herbal teas. Read a few tips on creating a healthy gut here.
Exercise To Detox The Body & Centering Activities
I’ve always been active all of my life mainly because I’ve been dancing all of my life. What started when I was seven became a career. I work out three to four times a week hard to the point I am dripping in sweat, and also do other things such as yoga and stretching on other days. Working out really helps the skin detox.
Lastly I try to do centering activities such as meditation and/or yoga daily. When my thoughts are clear and positive I don’t have skin eruptions from anger and stress. When I don’t do my meditation or yoga, I can definitely tell the difference. Your thoughts and emotions play a big role in the appearance of your skin.
My Skin Care Regimen
When I learned the theory on oils high in linoleic acid, and tested it for myself by eliminating all high oleic oils/butters from head to toe, I found that the scientific tests were correct. Oils higher in linoleic acid made a HUGE difference in my skin, and I only use these types of oils for my hair and body as well. When I have incorporated oils high in oleic acid back into my regimen just to see if it would make a difference, my skin has always had a break out.
In the morning I wash my face with water only and moisturize with an oil high in linoleic acid. I then apply my makeup. You can see the makeup that I use listed at the bottom of the page here. Using makeup with chemical ingredients or high oleic oils is a “no-go” in my opinion since I honestly desire clear skin.
At night I remove my makeup by oil cleansing with a soft microfiber cloth also using an oil high in linoleic acid. A microfiber cloth removes all dirt, oil, and makeup during the cleansing process. You can read in detail how I oil cleanse with a microfiber cloth here. I dampen my skin with water then moisturize with a high linoleic oil. I’ve recently added the 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream back into my regimen again after receiving a sample in my last 100% Pure order, and falling back in love with it.
The high linoleic oils that have worked best for my skin are pumpkin seed oil, hemp seed oil, and rosehip seed oil. I have also tried grapeseed oil, yet I prefer the others I just mentioned. I find using organic unrefined oils to be the best. I honestly don’t like suggesting which high linoleic oils to use mainly because I really don’t know exactly what is going to work best for everyone. I usually reply to use your intution on choosing a high linoleic oil to try.
You may wonder if I ever get any blemishes now. In general no. I may get a slight blemish on a very rare occasion, yet nothing to the extent prior to using high linoleic oils. If I see something beginning to surface, I put a tiny bit of pure lavender essential oil on the blemish, and it is gone by morning. The blemish never ever comes to the surface. Using pure essential oils is never suggested, yet in this article I am sharing what has worked for me. I find that lavender essential oil is gentle on my skin.
Deep Cleansing Skin Treatment
At least once a week I do a deep cleansing skin treatment. This is possibly the step that keeps oil cleansing working so well for me. In general I do a weekly herbal facial steam which I give details about here. This opens my pores and provides a deep cleanse for my skin. If I don’t have the time, I will use just plain oats to do a gentle cleansing and exfoliation. I have also used rhassoul clay on rare occasions since I still have some, yet not too often.
What I am trying to explain in this article is that when you tell me what is going on with your skin and are looking for answers, in my head I am wondering about ALL OF THE OTHER FACTORS that have nothing to do with your skin care regimen. I’m wondering if you are going through a stressful time in your life, are you eating processed foods, do you drink enough water, do you eat lots of organic fruits and vegetables, how active are you, have you ever done a detox or cleanse, are you happy, what kind of makeup do you wear, etc. I also wonder are you using too many different products, drying out your skin with cosmetics geared towards acne, or being too rough on your skin, etc. There are SO MANY FACTORS that contribute to the appearance of our skin. What I have shared is what has worked so well for me with consistent results. It really is never just one thing.
Our skin is a huge reflection of what is going on inside of our bodies as well as our state of mind.
I hope this helps!
Update… Organic Skin Care by Minimalist Beauty ~ i am AZUHA ~ Created With Oils High in Linoleic Acid
(Image by Dawn Michelle)