Be Well: My Favorite Products - Clear Skin Edition

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I realized yesterday that it's been quite awhile since I last wrote about my favorite beauty products. The products I use and the routine I follow have actually changed quite a bit in the last few months, so I figured it was about time I filled you all in!

As you may remember from some of my other posts, I've been in an almost life-long struggle with my skin. I've been fighting the good fight against acne for 10-15 years now. Some days have been darker than others (middle school, when I went on Accutane for the first time and it gave me the worst acne of my life for several months, when my dermatologist unexpectedly died of a drug overdose, etc.) but the issue has always been there.

After trying to hack it on my own for the last year, I finally decided to visit a well-reviewed facialist in my neighborhood - leave no stone unturned, right? During my first appointment she was full of optimistic statements about all the changes I was going to see in my skin if I adopted her regimen. To say that I was skeptical of those statements would be the understatement of the year. But hope springs eternal, so I somewhat begrudgingly bought the products she recommended to me, and went home and stuck to the skincare regimen she recommended to me like my life depended on it.

And you know what? It worked. Okay, my skin is far from perfect. FAR from perfect, still. But the products she turned me onto (mostly natural stuff) have caused a noticeable improvement. I always thought that my skin problems were internal - after years of religiously washing, moisturizing, and applying acne treatments to my skin, I thought I was beyond help. But it seems like my skin was revolting against all the unnatural ingredients in the products I was using. It's almost depressing to think that some of my worst acne troubles could have been lessened by just swapping out what I was putting on my face.

All of this is the VERY long way of saying that I'd like to introduce a few of those products to you now - this isn't all of what I'm using, but it's a good start.

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First up: La Bella Donna mineral foundation. When my facialist first recommended that I switch to this foundation, my only reaction was NO. WAY. NO WAY is that loose powder going to be enough to cover all the redness, scarring, and acne I have hanging out on my face. But my facialist insisted I let her try some on me, which helped me realized that this stuff provides a surprising amount of coverage. I also realized I needed to embrace that skincare is a continuous loop - having bad acne makes you want to put heavy makeup on your skin, which causes bad acne. I desperately needed to break out of that cycle, and this foundation did it for me.

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Osmosis facial cleansers. This stuff just makes my skin feel good. I wash with "Cleanse" in the shower every morning and "Purify" with my Clarisonic brush every night. My facialist advised trying to wash my face for two minutes straight every morning and every night - something I've been sticking to.

DSC_1556And my last (new) favorite product - an everyday makeup brush cleaner, which can be found at Sephora. Seriously - how was I not using this before? I've always been pretty good about cleaning my makeup brushes, but I would only get the opportunity to do a full clean every few weeks (or months, when I got lazy). Now I use this stuff every day - you just spray a bit on the brush you just used and rub that brush on a clean towel to remove the makeup. I feel so much better about the tools I'm using on my skin now - I can't recommend it enough. Plus, it's only $7!

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Well, another fun weekend comes to a close. Some of our weekend's highlights included: making a return trip to TBD for dinner on Friday night because they have the most paleo-friendly menu I've seen, getting about 10 hours of sleep Friday night after an exhausting week, going to brunch with friends on Saturday morning, cooking on Saturday night for the first time in FOREVER, then spending Sunday walking around in the beautiful weather, taking a nap, making a big dinner, and, as always, watching Mad Men.

The only sad part of the weekend was not getting to be home for Mother's Day and my brother's graduation. I love living in San Francisco, but living 2,000 miles away from your family never stops being hard. Luckily, my youngest brother and sister are coming to visit this Thursday, and I couldn't be more excited. Not only do I get to spend three fun-filled days with them, but their arrival marks the end of our Whole30. Pretty great stuff.

Have a wonderful Monday.

Be Well: Confessions of an Accutane Patient

I, like many other bloggers out there, have a host of beauty products that I use, love, and look forward to sharing with you guys. But, before I post about any of those products, I have something to confess: I am currently taking Accutane to treat my very serious acne. And I'm on the drug for the second time. I have had stubborn, consistent acne since I was 11 years old, the kind of acne that simply can't be treated by over-the-counter facewashes, pore-clearing strips, astringent, or any other topical beauty product. I want to be clear, here in my first post about beauty products, that nothing that I use is capable of clearing my skin. Except Accutane. So if you have always struggled with broken out skin, if you know what it's like to feel like you can't leave the house without makeup, if you know what it's like to cry yourself to sleep because you spend ten horrible minutes getting ready for bed and staring at your scarred skin every night - I just want you to know that I understand one million times over. Accutane is not something I wanted to resort to, especially not a second time. I don't know why it didn't work for me the first time I took it, but things are looking good this time around. No twentysomething (or thirtysomething! or fortysomething!) should have to have the skin of a high schooler. I wish I had pictures to show you of how awful my skin was before I started taking Accutane two months ago, but I essentially refused to step in front of a camera for the recent eight months that my skin looked akin to a mountain range. I don't think there is any way I would have ever started this blog if I hadn't found an acne treatment that worked for me. Maybe it sounds like something out of a Neutrogena commercial, but clearing my skin truly gave me my confidence back. If you are feeling down about yourself and your looks because of your skin, I urge you to do what I did, make a dermatologist appointment, and proactively start down the road of getting to a place where you like the way you look. Trust me on this one: rejuvenating your confidence often pays dividends in your life ten-fold. Have a very confident Thursday.