My Skincare Story and Current Routine

It's finally here! My most highly requested posts are this and an apartment tour (coming soon!) so get ready because it's a long one!

My Skin Type: I have combination skin that changes with the weather but mainly super oily in my t-zone. I also have super sensitive skin!

My Skin Problem: Hormonal acne, larger cysts and breakouts

My Skin Story: I've been pretty fortune that all my life I've had very minimal acne. I would (and still occasionally do) break out around my period --- mainly on my chin and in-between my eyebrows. But when I did, it was never something time, a little mask, and a spot treatment couldn't handle. Other than that, my main breakouts and acne in high school -- and some college years -- always seemed to show up on my back or chest.

But I never really took care of my skin much either -- would wash my face here and there with whatever face wash I had around (one of the upsides to not wearing makeup is you don't have to take it off) and I would never put anything on it except for a light moisturizer.

My skin normally: 

(you can see my skin normally was in the past in the photo above or a little more in-depth in this video HERE or HERE -- a little worse HERE)

It wasn't until I was 6 months in to 26 when my skin had a major (what I like to call) panic attack. Getting pimples (one or two) here and there was totally within my realm of doable. Everyone gets acne. But this time was different. I had deep cysts showing up on my cheek or back of my neck -- in addition to my normal t-zone area. What was confusing to me was nothing had changed. I wasn't eating or doing anything different. It's just one day my skin woke up and was like, NOPE. Can't do this anymore. 

(you can see my skin breaking out in the photos above and in this video HERE or HERE)

Having grown up with minimal acne, it was really hard to experience it as an adult. I felt like I was trying all of these new products to help and my skin would clear up a day or two here and there but it would come back just as quick as it left. And that was really frustrating! It seemed to all culminate around November/December of 2016 and that's when it got really bad. So I decided to see a professional in the new year and I went to Bonnie based on recommendation from Julia of Lemon Stripes.

I think it's really important (especially with your skin) to ask and seek help when all roads are at a dead end. I needed to know what was wrong and how I could fix it to better my skin for the long haul. It was a pretty big step for me because I really didn't love the idea of facials. I always left with more pimples than I went in with (which I now know is a good thing). But I can honestly say getting them has changed my life and it's why this post is so highly requested!

Getting Help: I went in with a completely open mind and eager to learn because I really had no where else to turn. When I came in, I brought Bonnie my entire skin care routine and with the 7-10 products in front of her, she said I could keep using one (the eye cream) but the will need to be put  on the backburner because they were the reason I was breaking out. Which was SO eye opening because these were top of the line ($$$) skincare products!

When I go in, I always get the signature facial with the LED light therapy treatment (and after the first time, a light peel). The facial includes extractions which is Bonnie taking a close close look at your face and clearing out any pores where pimples will turn up (if left untreated). The first time I went in my day after extractions were BAD. I had a legit pizza face and was so self conscious for the rest of the week. But the more you go, the better the day after gets (because you have less acne). 

Here are some photos of my day after in order (and please note these photos were just meant for me, not the blog so the faces I'm making are weird). 

Before I get on to the rest of this, I wanted to take a moment and talk about why Bonnie is so great. She doesn't even know I'm writing this so don't think we're trying to sell you but she has been the sole reason for my skin transformation. She is so extremely knowledgeable and is there day or night to answer questions. I'll text her ingredients of skin care or fish wash and she tells me either yes or no to use (other than one product, it's been all no's). 

When I have a breakout in between sessions, she helps me minimize it and also allows me to come in for free so she can treat it. Not only that but she is SO nice! She's a great person to talk to and laugh with and I just cannot say enough good things about her.

Some fundamental tips I've learned from Bonnie:

Ice Your Face: You should ice your face every single night and especially when you're about to or have a breakout. Ice keeps redness and inflammation down and it's been SUCH a help with my skin. Acne occurs because a pore is enflamed (why it's red and big) and ice --- NOT heat (which I was using all the time) --- will reduce the swelling and help with the redness. There have been some BIG under the skin pimples that have started to come up and I religiously iced them for a day or two and they went away. 

I use this ice mask once a day for about 5-7 minutes but really any ice pack will do!

Hydrogen Peroxide (HP): Did you know that HP helps with breakouts? After my extractions as part of my recovery routine, I dab a q-tip of HP on my open breakouts and this not only helps to clean them out but also helps them to close quicker and scab over sooner. It's kind of cool too because you put it on and it starts to fizz over and while it's freaky at first (because they look like they turn into white heads) it actually turns out to be super helpful. 

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for:

My skincare routine: 

Cleanser: This is the ONLY cleanser Bonnie currently allows me to use. Which is really saying something because she's said no to a lot of my face washes (there are a lot of bad ones out there!). Good thing is I really love this cleanser and the brand (I'm a loyalist) and same with all of my friends. I have yet to find someone who doesn't love them!

So don't hate me but most of the skincare line I use is from Face Reality and they don't sell online. You can see a full lists of products HERE to reference when I talk about them below but they are only sold to professionals. Bonnie has them in store if you want to buy from her!

Face Reality Acnebeta-C Toner: I put a little on a cotton pad day and night and go over all of my face. I never really used a toner before but it has really been a game changer!

Face Reality 11% Mandelic Serum (day): This is for the morning routine but I pump two pumps onto my hands and pat this into my face.

Face Reality Acne Med 5% with 3% Sulfur (night): This is a mask I use at night and only put on for 30 minutes (it's serious stuff). I usually only use it around my t-zone and on my cheeks where I really need it but I can 10000% tell the difference in my skin when I skip it for a couple of days. This is the stuff that keeps my pimples away.

SPF Moisturizer (day): Ok so this I can actually link to and it's the BEST! I really am understanding the importance of taking care of my skin and with that I know to wear SPF everyday no matter what. The problem is a lot of SPF creams or moisturizers totally break out your skin. This one is MADE for acne prone skin and is my favorite product to use ever!

Face Reality Cranberry Cream Moisturizer for acne prone skin (night): I use this at night when I don't need to waste my SPF and it smells delicious and helps me say hydrated over night!

Where My Skin is Now: My skin has seriously never looked this good. It means the world to me when you guys compliment it because it's been a lot of hard work and I'm glad the changes are noticeable and GOOD! I'll even catch Andrew looking at me in a weird way and he's be like 'your skin just looks so good' -- I mean if a BOY notices then you know it's working.

I still get the occasional breakout but this time when I do I have a plan in place. Just know that no matter what we're all humans and breakouts are inevitable. But also know that if your skin is getting bad, go seek help. I never really thought of facials as a priority but now they are the top of my to-do list every month and are worth the money. Knowing that I'm taking such good care of my skin early on only means good things for the future.

And here is a fun little before and after -- we started in February and the other photo was taken in April.

(top is Feb)

(top is May)

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