Growing up I had clear skin, but when I was about 15-years-old, I started to develop mild acne, the kind that most teenagers get at that age. My mother suffered from severe acne when she was my age and thought it was something I inherited from her side of the family. As a result, after trying several products that were not effective, my mother took me to a dermatologist who suggested I go on birth control pills. The pill ended up taking care of my acne.
I remained faithful to the pill until I was 27 years old when I decided to go vegan. I realized that I had developed some health issues as a result of taking the pill. What I didn’t realize is my hormones would freak out because I was no longer getting estrogen from the pill and I would get full blown acne.
At the time I was working as a music journalist and interviewing bands — I couldn’t afford to have my appearance affected. I opted to go to a dermatologist. Looking back I wish I didn’t make that choice. My doctor ending up putting me on medications that, over time, had to be prescribed stronger and stronger to be effective. After three years, I stopped all the medications because I needed to put my health first.
My acne came back with a vengeance, and having sensitive skin that scars very easy didn’t help because every mark, every welt turned into a scar. There were days I wished I could hide my face under a paper bag. I suffered scaring all over my face that I learned to hide with a good foundation. My body was slowly flushing out the medication. It is now four months since I stopped the medications. My skin has begun to heal.
My best advice to any parents with teenagers or anyone dealing with acne is to let it run its course because it won’t last forever. If you choose to see a dermatologist do not be afraid to ask lots of questions. I know having acne can be frustrating but there are also a lot of natural products on the market that can be just as effective. Know your body and what you are putting into it. A lot of us don’t realize we have allergies to foods we eat every day. In my case I found out I was allergic to foods containing soy.
Below are some of my favorite products I have used for about three months that I strongly recommend giving a try.
Best Facial Soap
The Body Deli - Rose Geranium Cleanser
Founded in 2002 by “Cosmetic Chefs” David Parker and Margaret Skarin. This California company’s name is as good as it sounds. All the ingredients that go into their products are natural, fresh and obtained from local farms.
I use their facial cleanser every morning to wash my face and I have really grown to love it because it is effective, soothing my sensitive, irritated skin. When I did breakout the Arnica in this product played a big role in reducing redness and inflammation of my skin. The smell of the Rose Geranium fragrance is a great pick me up to start your day.
Twig and Leaf Botanical - Organic Tea Tree and Heather Vegan Soap
This is a wonderful vegan company based out of Boulder, CO. All products are sustainable, organic and great for the body inside and out. The owner is amazing and played a large role in advising me how to handle the acne by telling me what to expect as the medications I was on leave my body.
While I love the smell of this soap, I do not use it every day because although it is gentle I found that Tea Tree is a little strong for my skin so I use it twice a week at night. However, I recommend trying the soap in the shower if you have body acne as it works wonders.
Twig and Leaf Botanical - Organic Healing and Hydrating Facial Toner
This toner can be used by anyone because it contains soothing ingredients such as organic calendula and organic aloe vera gel. Although a lot of people swear by using toners every day. I’m not one of them. I use it whenever my face feels oily or after a workout since it helps balance the ph levels in skin.
Best Facial Moisturizer
Pai Skin Care - Chamomile & Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream
Launched in 2007 by Sarah Brown, this West London company's product line focus on sensitive, allergy-prone skin. Pai uses only organic naturally-derived ingredients that are approved by the Soil Association. All packaging is recycled and the company believes in testing their products on humans not animals. Pai was also the first company to ever have been accredited by The SEE Companies kitemark which recognizes the company's social, ethical and environmental credentials.
This is my all time favorite moisturizer. I love this product because it has dramatically calmed down my skin and improved the texture. This product has rosehips which naturally contains Trans-Retinoic acid which converts to Vitamin A and aids in the skin's natural healing process by reducing scars and blemishes.
Photo credit: Twig and Leaf Botanical