As I got older, I started questioning my whole face care routine. I learned that I had hormonal acne (a genetic thing). Once a month I would get cystic pimples that were so bad that they could barely heal before the next month’s round would begin. It felt like a never ending cycle! My acne was so bad that I needed thick, thick makeup to cover it. I was pretty sure the makeup inhibited healing and probably caused more acne, but what else I could do? I was deeply embarrassed to be one of the only adults I knew that still had full blown skin issues. Something had to change.
Eventually, I consulted my doctor about my skin issues, and he recommended acne medicine. I knew that I wasn’t comfortable with taking skin medication for the rest of my life. I wanted to fix the problem, not barely manage it. I decided it was time to rethink the whole mainstream face care strategy. I couldn’t help wondering how the ladies of generations gone by had managed their skin without all of our modern medicated washes and creams? I get the impression that acne was not a big epidemic in the early 1900s. I decided that I needed to step away from modern advancements and maybe try something a little more basic.
I started with something SO SIMPLE. My tiny, beautiful, crunchy Momsie was telling me how she started washing her face every night with coconut oil. Coconut oil!?! Ugh, I have acne problems, the last thing I need to do is add MORE oil to my face. It was absurd! But, I also trust my Mom. She has been crunchy since long before being crunchy was cool. She said that coconut oil isn’t greasy and has never clogged her pores. It took a few months to build up the courage, but I finally decided to try.
It is a very weird thing to go from stinging, medicinal face washes to simply wiping an oil that smelled like heaven onto my face. There were no suds! Um…..weird? How was this supposed to penetrate my thick, armor-strong makeup? But do you know what? It totally did!
So, I daily slathered coconut oil on my face, and then wiped it all off with a steamy hot cloth. The oil just melted the makeup away, even my waterproof mascara. And frankly, the whole experience just felt luxurious. It was so nice, that sometimes I would do it in the morning too! I kept waiting for my skin to break into a pimple-mask of epidemic proportions, but the acne-explosion never happened. In fact, I started noticing that my breakouts were smaller and seemed to heal more quickly than before.
So inspired by my progress with this new, natural (and CHEAP!) face cleanser, I decided to push the envelope. I started looking for more natural makeup options. I tried a few that weren’t bad until I came across a good quality mineral makeup. THIS, I believe, was another important aspect of my healthy skin journey. I started to realize that the makeup I had been using made the breakouts worse. Which in turn made me need more makeup to cover them up. And so on and so forth, until the situation was out of control.
Now, before I go further, I want to insert a little courtesy heads up. When I cut out all my medicated products, and industrial makeup products, I did notice a small detox. My face was wonderful, then broke out a little bit (but differently than before, little pimples). It seems that my face was expelling the chemical buildup from my pores, now that it was able to breath. It only lasted for a short while, and then…..
As my skin got rid of all the (years’ worth) of buildup from synthetic ingredients, chemicals, etc, I started noticing that I needed less and less makeup. One day I even went to the grocery store without makeup on. I hadn’t even realized until I got home! ME?! I used to be so hyper-focused on keeping my skin covered. I had makeup in my purse, my car, my work…all so that I could constantly touch up my face as the day wore on. And now I felt so comfortable in my own skin that I forgot to wear any makeup at all?!? Out in public?!?!?! When I got home and realized what had happened, I looked at myself in the mirror for a long while, and decided that I really wasn’t embarrassed at all. I looked great on my own. And then, yes, this realization brought me to tears.
The freedom I feel now, that freedom I had always dreamed of, is such a gift. And I truly wish it for those out there who feel like they are constantly hiding. I want people to know that there are options other than what comes from the drug store. What worked for me might not work for everyone, but please keep trying. Go back to the basics. Use real ingredients. And don’t be afraid.