Monday, July 14, 2014

Combating Oily, Acneic Skin

I have suffered from oily skin for going on ten years now; my first spots started showing up when I was eight (forehead acne caused by those dreadful childhood bangs) and became full-fledged when I was in middle school. When I got to high school, I was on a mission to try to find solutions to my oil, even googling ways to dry out my skin. Yet, I soon came to realize there was nothing I could do, aside from overdosing on apples (the vitamin A in them supposedly helps..? I never did test that theory). Instead, I learned tips to cope, and cope I did. 

So, I will share with you the fruits of my trial and error labor. I practice these everyday, and they take little to no time at all. Read on, my friends!

1) Sleep with your hair up. The reason why I was getting acne so early is because I constantly had my hair touching my face, thus trapping sweat, oil, and dirt. Starting years ago I started to sleep with my in a bun, and I slowly started to see my acne reduce along my hair line and forehead. I would definitely recommend following this tip during the summer months, because you know how sweaty things can get if you forget to turn your fan on before bed. 

2) Clean you're sheets. If you think about it, you're face rests for at least 8 hours (ok, maybe 6 during the school year) on your pillow case. So if you think about it, thats 42-56 hours of your face and hair transferring gunk on it, and vice versa. And if you are into on taking naps in makeup, then there's that, too. I personally wash my sheets every week on the weekends. I would recommend setting up a routine like this, because fresh sheets every week a) smell good and b) can get rid of the rubbish left behind throughout the week. If you are really keen on this idea, I have heard of people changing their pillow cases every evening, but I personally think that is encroaching on Rain Man territory. 

3) Give Black Soap a try. I have been using black soap for about five months now, and I can honestly say that it is a gift sent from above. It gives a deep cleanse yet doesn't strip the skin (due to it containing shea butter), and one bar of it will only run you about 5 dollars and last for absolute ages. It also helps keep oil at bay, and I can notice a difference in oil production when I do and don't use it. I have tried countless drugstore and department store products claiming to clear the skin, but this is the only thing that has truly worked for me. It contains the "it" product of the moment, charcoal which help draw out the impurities that cause both excessive oil production and acne. Many brands make a version, such as Nubian Heritage (what I currently use) and SoapBox (a new brand I am currently obsessing over). 

4) Oil Blotting Sheets are your friend. Oil blotting sheets can be used in a variety of ways. First, after you are done putting on your liquid foundation (and before you powder), lightly blot your face with a sheet in order to absorb an excess moisture after your foundation has set. I personally only do this on special occasions or very long days when I need my makeup to last forever and ever amen, due to the fact that blotting sheets can get a little expensive. Also, when you are using touch up powder throughout the day, use a blotting sheet before powdering down. By doing this, you are actually removing the oil instead of just covering it up. But let's say that you don't feel like buying blotting sheets. What can you use instead? Starbucks napkins, toilet paper, and tissues (pulled apart to one ply) are all fine (and free) substitutions. 

5) Clean your brushes regularly. I must say that at times I will go weeks (dare I say months) without washing my brushes, and then I will turn around and brush them religiously every week. I get it, life is crazy and during the precious few moments of downtime we get, washing our brushes is the last thing on our mind. But, I find that it really is a necessary step in keeping the skin clearer. I have heard that some people spot clean their brushes after every use; I personally am not that neurotic, but each Sunday I allot 10 minutes to do some hardcore cleaning. As for what to use to clean your brushes, I personally use Palmolive or any other dish soap we have on hand. If you feel that using dish soap might be too harsh for some of your brushes, baby shampoo is a great alternative. If you are in a serious time crunch, only wash the brushes you use on your face (powder, foundation, etc) and skip the lesser used ones (blush, eyeshadow, bronzer, etc). 

6) Ask the good doctor for his/her advice. If following a skincare routine isn't enough, I would wholeheartedly suggest going to your doctor and asking to be put on medication. I was first put on Benzeclin, a topical gel, and was happy with it for about four years. However, the summer going into my senior year, I had a major skin freakout and was getting severe, severe breakouts. I finally went to a dermatologist, and from there she prescribed two more topical gels and two pills. Now, my skin is finally getting back to how it was and I know that it wouldn't have been possible without professional help.

And finally, the pièce de résistance...

Milk of Magnesia. 

When I was a sophomore in high school, I was desperate to find something to help my oily skin. After doing Google search after Google search, I came across a YouTube video singing the praises of Milk of Magnesia. I thought, this has to be too good to be true; nothing can just make oil go away. But alas, my dear friend, this godsend does. And the best part? It takes less than a minute to achieve skin that will stay matte until you tell it to stop. I simply apply it to my T-zone, avoiding any area that is normal/dry on its own. I use my fingers, but other people use a spray bottle or a cotton ball. I find that fingers are the most economical choice, but to each their own. Also, make sure that it is the "Original" and doesn't have any flavoring! I know that that seems like a given, but still, I'm here to help. 

P.S. When applying, make sure that you rub it in really, really well. It can tend to have a white cast, which easily covered up by liquid foundation, but can be visible if you are going natural. Also, if you work with powder foundations, it is key to make sure there is no white residue left over once it has dried, simply because the powder will catch on it and look like an odd patch. If you want to cover all your bases, you could spray a setting or facial spray, which will remove all traces of white cast/patches without removing the product itself. 

As for how it is on my skin, I must say that it doesn't irritate it at all, even though my skin is known to be sensitive at times. But if you feel odd putting a constipation relief product on your skin, trust me, you aren't the only one. I was skeptical as well, but after trying products from Origins, Becca, Philosophy, and Murad, this was the light at the end of the tunnel. Furthermore, every other person I have recommended it to has had fantastic results, noticing less oil production throughout the day. However, I would only recommend this product for the truly oily. If you have normal skin that might get a tad oily during the summer months, or you want to stay matte for a very long time (wedding, long day at work, etc) I would recommend using the products I have linked above. I feel that using this "industrial strength" product might be too rough on skin that doesn't produce enough oil. 

Alas, we have reached the end. Do you have any tips you swear by? 

Happy Combating!

Stay Excellent, 


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