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My Skin Saviours: Acne

I've always been relatively lucky with my skin. Through high school, I had very few blemishes, if any.  My brother had quite serious acne so my mom started me on facials when I was 12 or 13, in hope of avoiding any emotional or physical scarring.

It worked, sort of.  It worked right up until I stopped getting facials, which was when I went off to university and got lazy about them.  I don't blame the facials for this exactly -- I think what happened was that I never really bothered to take care of my skin because someone else was taking care of it for me.  When someone physically squeezes the gunk out of your pores every two or three weeks, it's hard to understand the merits of regular cleansing and toning.  Throw in the typically terrible eating habits of a first-year, and already-grubby face was due for a massive eruption.

It cropped up slowly, and I think the absolute worst of the breakouts didn't show up until my third year.  That was when I started to do some massive research into my skin type, finding out what was triggering the breakouts and what I could do to calm it.  I went on a round of antibiotics, which helped, but it was such a pain I quickly gave up on it.  Nearly three years later, my skin has calmed down and I've got a small by formidable army of products that I call upon.

You'll remember my first Clarisonic post -- I don't use it as religiously as I used to.  It got really expensive to replace the pads, and once my acne calmed down, using it twice a day seemed rather abrasive.  I've cut it down to once a week (if that) when my skin starts feeling sort of ratty.

The next thing that made the biggest difference was regular zinc intake.  I got this tip from an old coworker, and I've never looked back.  The first few days I took, I didn't see a huge difference in any existing acne, but I knew it was working because the skin around my acne suddenly looked healthier, brighter and more even.  Zinc works by boosting your immune system, so any acne that does crop up will heal faster.  A word of warning:  take it with food or live to rue the day.

Clay masks -- I don't even care which kind any more.  It could be my beloved Indian Healing Clay, Queen Helene's version or you could be super-chic and find a legitimate clay bath (which I've always wanted to do) and it'll help.  My skin feels so smooth and matte afterwards.  Sometimes I use clay masks as cleansers -- just mix with a little water, smooth over your face and remove immediately.  Instant pore-less-ness.  That's a word.

Apple Cider Vinegar is such a workhorse.  I mix it with my Indian Clay Mask and use that mixture to spot treat any major cystic acne -- they usually don't even come to a head and just shrink down into whatever hole they came from.  When I'm feeling super diligent, I'll take a shot of this every day.  Chase with a glass of water and you'll be doing your body a serious favour.

Tea tree oil is simply the best, most effective acne treatment I've found.  I've tried everything else -- Differin, PersaGel 10, Clindoxyl, everything.  Tea tree oil is simply the best at reducing pimple size.  I use it full-strength on a q-tip, but those who have more sensitive skin should try to mix it with another face oil.

You'll notice that most of these are home remedies, things that are relatively inexpensive and widely available.  I know not everyone has access to things like the Clarisonic, but that is the least crucial part of this routine.

Tell me about your acne heroes in the comments!


  1. Clay masks and my Clarisonic are definitely my acne warriors. Clean & Clear 10% benzoyl peroxide treatment is the only thing that helps my spots. I also can't live with my Clean & Clear benzoyl peroxide face wash. My acne is hormonal so I have to take birth control and a medicine that is normally used for blood pressure.

    I think I might try the zinc and apple cider vinegar. Thanks for the information

    1. You're so welcome, I hope it helps! I also take birth control and that's helped, but these help banish the extra non-hormonal blemish that just crop up.

  2. Great to read about what has helped, I'd not heard about Zinc helping so will give that a try :)

  3. i'm so trying the zinc and clay tips :) thanks for sharing!

  4. Take zinc with food. Yeah, that was very important. We can only take a substantial amount of it, no matter how it works. Mushroom and egg yolks are my usual source of it, apart from the supplement. It is one way to speed up the results. Accompany it with internal treatments. I love it that they’re my one of my food pleasures, and I get to improve my skin by eating such!

    1. I love mushrooms and eggs, but I definitely don't cook them often enough!

  5. Great post. I've dealt with severe acne breakouts, and tea tree oil is definitely a savior. I do a facial steaming with 5 drops of tea tree oil in steaming hot water. Wrap a towel around the head and let the steam cover the face. Then I use the Moor Mask natural mud clear skin treatment. Use this daily if needed, it really works to get a clear complexion. Finally, follow up with an anti-oxidant rich moisturizer. This is the fastest way to get rid of acne.

    1. That sounds like an amazing treatment, I'll have to look into it!

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  7. I really can’t blame you for not being able to maintain your skin regimen, because there are times were people are too busy to prioritize those facials and skin treatments. Anyway, it’s good to know that your skin is back in good condition now, after all those years of searching for the cause and finding the right cure for your breakouts. Thanks for sharing your skin saviors!

    Hugh Barber @ Laser-Clinique


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