I’m not even about to get into why I haven’t posted in over a month. I am so crazy busy! ugh ): But here is an update on what I’ve been using to clean up my skin.
First: a back story.
Rewind to April. My skin, all of a sudden, went into full-on panic mode. I had the nastiest, most painful, itchy, and unsightly rash of bumpy cystic acne all over my cheeks and forehead. It was so bizarre. Usually, when you go vegan, you will experience a purge period within the first month, where your skin might break out and your hair may even feel fragile. However, that simply was not the situation!! I went vegan in October of 2014 and therefore a crazy breakout in April of this year just didn’t add up. After having a total drop in my self-confidence, and being extremely frustrated and upset about it, I decided to look into what has changed in my diet/lifestyle/skin products that could have produced this almost allergic-reaction type crap on my face. I considered a sensitivity to soy, as at this time I was consuming more soy than when I first went vegan; so I scaled back on that to no avail. I even pursued an esthetician’s help, getting a super expensive facial and chemical peel. NADA. I tried changing my facial products and going back to what I had been using my senior year of highschool (even though they weren’t all vegan), but this didn’t help in the slightest. In May, while on my road trip to Florida, I went to a Lush store for the first time and tried out the Herbalist face scrub and the Grease Lightning tea tree cleanser. I didn’t notice a huge difference, if I noticed anything. Honestly I just felt like I was shit out of luck. I tried an oil free diet this summer paired with coconut oil toner, Burdock Root and Vitex berry supplements, and again liitle to no soy. But nothing I did made any ounce of difference. I was so depleted. Not only had I nearly lost all my self-confidence , but I never woke up feeling pretty, and no one should feel that way.
Finally, at the end of July, I came to a couple realizations. First – I was not getting nearly enough protein in my diet. Second – I needed some authentic Eastern medicinal help. I have always believed that eastern medicine far surpasses any type of drug for things like acne, back pain, hot flashes, etc. So, not only did I start adding sources of protein into my diet, but I made an appointment with my mom’s acupuncturist. The first appointment was only a consultation, but after about 10 seconds of examining my heartbeats, tongue patterns, and skin, Peter Stewart, the acupuncturist, was able to identify my issue. He informed me that I was eating WAY too many grains. According to ancient monks, grains are not technically part of a well-rounded diet. Furthermore, Peter told me that even grains we think are healthy, like rice, are heavily processed. An excess of grains creates damp heat in the stomach channels which, in turn, produces that unfortunate mess that stretched over my cheeks. It all made sense. Not only were grains causing this acne, they were also causing my weird bloating that I get in my lower stomach nearly all the time.
Long story short, I totally revamped my grain consumption. Pseudograins like quinoa and wild rice were added into my diet and common grains were removed, with the exception of a half a cup of brown rice max a day. In addition to this, I began getting acupuncture to aid the diet changes. I also began taking an herbal supplement called Forsythia 18 (3 pills 3X a day). Fast forward 3 months: my skin is remarkably better!
In addition to these lifestyle and diet changes, I found a beauty routine that has made leaps and bounds from that of April. For a cleanser, I am using Derma E’s Anti Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Scrub. I started using this my senior year and then totally forgot about it until recently. I love this stuff! I used it on face neck and chest/back once in the morning and then in the shower and at night.
After I use this, I either apply Lush’s Grease Lightning if I am going out/don’t have a huge zit at night, or I use Mario Badesco’s Drying Lotion on zits at night time (it dries pink haha). I don’t know how I feel about grease lightening right now; it’s doing a fine job but I don’t think it miraculously clears up small zits. If anyone has a good suggestion let me know, I am currently just using it up. This stuff lasts forever!
After grease lightening, I use Image Vital C hydrating anti-aging serum. This stuff is pure gold. My entire life I have always hated lotion (really of any type). I never put lotion on my face because I am a huge sweater, so I just sweat it right off as soon as I step outside. This stuff is thin but hydrating, plus it smells like oranges. I got this stuff way back in May from my facialist in Wilmington AND I’M STILL GOING THROUGH THE SAME BOTTLE. You hardly need a full pump each time you use it (I usually do twice a day). It’s expensive, but I’ve had it for seven months and it’s still got a bunch left: totally worth it!
When I shower, I use two scrubs in addition to my Derma E scrub. First (before Derma E) I use Lush’s Dark Angels. THIS STUFF IS GOLD. Trust me, after the first use you’ll be hooked for life. I have read so many great things on different vegan blogs about this black sugar and charcoal scrub. And I am happy to say that they’re all true. It leaves your skin feeling beautifully soft. I’ve been using it 4-5 times a week for the past 4 weeks and I will never stop using it. My store only had the small tub, so I got that. I’m about a quarter of the way through right now. After this scrub, I use Derma E’s Microdermabrasion scrub. MORE GOLD GUYS. This stuff smells like fresh squeezed lemons. It has very fine granules that exfoliate your skin leaving it fresh and soft. I love it! I got this last year around Thanksgiving and loved it then too! Both of these scrubs are helping me battle the scars left from the catastrophe on my face earlier this year. This process takes time and dedication, but I think I have the perfect team to beat it!
I use a face mask a couple of days a week, not only to help my skin but also to relax. In the past, I have used GlamGlow’s super-mud clearing treatment. I love that stuff to death, but lately it wasn’t doing what it used to do for me. I generally jump around and change up my mask all the time. Right now I am using Ahava’s Time to Clear purifying mud mask that I purchased last year. I am enjoying this mask, but don’t think it is super duper, at least for me. I would definitely suggest to anyone struggling with pimples, to check out GlamGlow’s acne mask, especially if you have bad blackheads; it works wonders! It’s definitely an investment (I think it’s around $60-70 per tub) but it is so worth it!
To further my scar-battling attempts, I have also been applying Derma E’s scar gel 2-3 times a day. I can definitely tell already that my scars are lightening up. In time, they’ll disappear too!
Beyond all of these great products, I have been taking a high potency Biotin supplement once a day. It has visibly helped my nails be stronger and my hair not fall out as much. I think it’s helping my skin too in addition to all these other things I am doing!
My advice to anyone who’s tried a million products and/ord diets to help their skin, would be to consult an herbal specialist. Definitely check out their reviews before you go, but this is your best bet if you’ve been super unsuccessful in your pursuit for clear skin, or any other issue. Even if you are hesitant to try acupuncture (I promise it’s relaxing!), consulting someone in this area of expertise would be highly advisable! I am so happy that I have finally found something that is making a huge difference in my life. I cannot wait to go back and see Peter this winter!