MY STRUGGLE WITH ADULT ACNE: ACNE SCARS EDITION

 


Thank you to Banish for sponsoring this post, all opinions are, of course, my own.

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So now that we’ve discussed how I cleared up my acne, it’s FINALLY time to talk about one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. You can read part one and part two to hear more about my struggle with acne & see some before photos. Yes, I always say I think dealing with hyperpigmentation and acne scars can be even harder than dealing with the actual acne. It sticks around for a lot longer. SO after 6 years of acne and finally figuring out what has been causing it, I was left with scars and hyperpigmentation. A LOT OF THEM. I had acne over acne so I literally had dents in my face. Fun stuff.

So here’s the thing, these things take time but there are ways to speed up the process. I’m really excited to share something that helped A LOT! Like game changer and it’s affordable! It’s super important for me to share with you guys products that work and at all price points. I totally get it, not everyone can afford laser. And even after any laser, it’s inevitable to get more hyperpigmentation & scarring if you break out from time to time. Which is definitely my case. I still break out here and there and they still leave marks.

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Everyone, meet Banish! It’s an amazing company that is known for their acne scarring deminisher. All the products are freshly made daily and are vegan and cruelty free! I’ve been using Banish since summer 2009. I even looked up my first order to confirm because I don’t think there’s a product I’ve ever used longer. Their “Banisher” is seriously heaven sent. It’s a microneedling tool, which is a collagen inducing tool. Before I explain the product further, I want to mention the importance of cleaning the tool before & after each use. I soak the tool in rubbing alcohol for 30 minutes before and after. That ensures the tool is clean. Okay, so let’s get into it. My first purchase from Banish was their Banish Starter Kit. It includes all of the following:

  • Banish Oil (vitamin c serum) It is their signature product and made with the most potent form of vitamin c: L-ascorbic acid. It’s proven to improve radiance and texture and reduce the look of acne scars and hyperpigmentation faster compared to other forms of Vitamin C.

  • Banisher 2.0, the tool that changed it all. Features gold plated titanium bristles which gives an additional collagen boost.

  • Vitamin C Beauty Elixir is the perfect pick me up when you need a boost of vitamin C and to add moisture back to your skin.

  • Pumpkin Enzyme Masque is made out of real pumpkin. Packed with AHAs & BHAs which are natural exfoilents. Two of my all time favorite ingredients. It sloughs off dead skin cells and improves the texture of your skin AKA smooths out those indents in my face from all the acne.

  • Activated Charcoal Clay Masque is a powerful mask that will absorb all those impurties up to 100 to 200 times its weight. Crazy right?

  • Vitamin C Creme is a skin repairing creme concentrated with 20% vitamin C. It’s also light enough it doesn’t leave a heavy or greasy feel. Sign me up! I’m obsessed with everything Vitamin C, btw!

I’m obsessed with each item and each item plays a different role in my routine. I look at the Banisher as magic but since most of you are going to want a real answer as what it is and not just magic, here ya go!

As mentioned above the Banisher is a collagen inducing tool and the way it works is the small bristles on the Banisher is creating micro channels and micro trauma to the skin. Before you freak out, this is a good thing! Once this is done the skin is forced to produce more collagen and heal the skin AKA heal your scars and any other imperfections. It improves the appearance of acne scars, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, gives you a more even skin stone and firmer skin. One of my favorite parts is it actually increases the effectiveness of topical skin care.

So the first step would be to add rubbing alcohol to the cap to cleanse the tool. Very important! You’re going to want to do this on clean, dry skin. I start by pressing the tool onto my face. I like to concentrate on my most troubled areas, my cheeks. Do not use this on any active acne as it will just spread the bacteria, not good! Your face will get red but it will not hurt. Once finished I then apply the Banish Oil which is a vitamin C serum. I LOVE applying a Vitamin C serum after using the Banisher. Vitamin C also helps with scars and hyper-pigmentation so combining the two is a game changer.

Although I have fixed my consistent adult acne, I do still break out from time to time. That time of the month, stress, eating excessive amounts of sugar, dairy and gluten. Using the charcoal & pumpkin enzyme mask will help a lot with breakouts!

So with most things, it’s not an overnight fix. It does take some time but it works. It took about 3 months for me to see a big improvement. I still breakout now from time to time and my skin easily scars so I still use this to heal any scarring or hyperpigmentation I have. It’s a game changer and I’m so excited to got to share it with you!

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MY JOURNEY TO CLEAR SKIN: WHAT CLEARED MY ACNE (PART 2)

 

This is the second part of the My Journey to Clear Skin series. You can view the first part here and the third part here.

If you’ve suffered from any kind of acne, gut issues, or hormonal issues, you know how hard it is to diagnose the exact problem. I had IBS (which is a whole other blog post that I’ll work on) for 22 years before I was diagnosed or even introduced to the idea that I may have it. I went to doctor after doctor and their only answer was meds. So, I went on them and they kind of worked. I was still breaking out though. Everyone in my life was basically telling me to wash my face more. Ugh. I literally cringed when I heard those words. Everyone around me thought it was a topical thing, but I was trying everything in the book. Trust me, I know people were trying to help but I was sick of hearing the same thing over and over again and not seeing any results.

Once I moved to San Diego 5 years ago, I went to a naturopathic doctor (the doctor I shared my acne photo with in my first acne post here). They can be one of the most helpful doctors but can be very expensive, since insurance doesn’t cover it. After spending $$$ on meds, doctor’s appts, aesthetician’s, proactive, other creams, and everything else people recommended, I was willing to try anything.

We sat down and we discussed the many issues I was having, specifically, my digestive system issues, hormonal issues, and of course, my acne. My acne was always top priority because it was the first thing people saw. Yes, there were more important issues I was experiencing, but the world didn’t see them.

I had basically every blood test in the book done, and there wasn’t any signs of any hormonal balance or anything that was alarming. Which honestly, seemed like the story of my life. Nothing ever came up, yet, I was breaking out like crazy for 6 straight years. It was so frustrating. The naturopathic doctor saw my hormonal issues as a priority. She wanted to get to the root of that problem. She had me eat 3 full meals a day and add more fish into my diet. I’m a huge snacker, so truthfully, sometimes I would skip a meal because I snacked so much. She had me go on: DIM, a supplement that helps balance out your hormones (this stuff is amazing, btw!), Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex Plus, Vitanica Women's Phase I (I’m maybe on my 10th bottle of this stuff, it helps with every PMS symptom in the book and honestly a gift to the world, hello no mood swings!). She was definitely very specific with the brand of vitamins I use. They’re not all created equal.

After a couple of months of just doing that, I was still experiencing the usual breakouts. A month after that, I had my worst breakout ever (posted a photo of it here). This was when I emailed her a photo of my face (I was traveling abroad) and she suggested upping my supplements. I was also doing my own research and it seemed like I had high levels of estrogen. From experience, balancing hormonal issues takes a long time. Although, I 100% had imbalanced hormones, it wasn’t the only issue I had.

Once I got back to San Diego, a coworker suggested I go to an allergist and also suggested I give up gluten and dairy. She knew it worked, from experience. I had a doctor and aesthetician mention cutting out dairy and gluten but they never made a big deal of it. They were more set on their other suggestions, so I never made it a priority. I was too busy trying their other highly recommended suggestions.

It really hit me when I was at the allergist and he told me,

“stop looking for a diagnosis and try cutting foods out until you figure out what’s triggering the acne”

It’s true. I was always looking for a diagnosis. I saw a diagnosis as an easy way out, ya know? It would tell me what was wrong and then I would google it and google would tell me ways to fix it. Well, instead, the doctor recommended I follow an elimination diet (which I’ll write a whole post on) but basically, it’s a short-term eating plan that eliminates certain foods that may be causing allergies and in my experience, digestive reactions. Then you reintroduce the food one at a time in order to determine which foods you’re able to tolerate and which you are not.


So I gave up many things I loved in my diet:

  • Coffee

  • Gluten

  • Dairy

I added anything with probiotics and collagen into my diet:

I also kept taking all the supplements the doctor recommended, in addition to others. As they were working for my hormonal/digestive issues I was having:


My biggest surprise was the coffee. I had 2 friends tell me to cut it out about a year prior but I was in complete denial. I refused to believe coffee caused acne. It actually isn’t the caffeine (luckily! Hello new tea drinker), It’s the coffee beans itself.

In just 3 months of cutting out and adding the above, I went from breaking out all over my face to getting maybe a breakout a month. The acne that I had for 6 years, basically gone. Just like that. Not only was my acne barely visible anymore, but I was no longer on any meds for my IBS. I still get chills from it. I had a leaky gut and had no idea what that even meant. In college, I was all about the ramen and pasta sides. Obsessed with them. Give me a plate of Alfredo and I’m in heaven. I was always dairy obsessed. It all makes sense now. So two years out of the rut, I for sure had a leaky gut and hormonal issues. But instead, I only saw it as an acne issue.

I’ve learned good digestion is essential for gut health and gut health is essential for clear skin.

My journey to clear skin has taken YEARS and although I don’t breakout like I used to, it’s still a work in progress. I still breakout here and there, especially during that time of the month or when I’m eating too much sugar, dairy, or gluten. During the holiday season this year I was breaking out more than usual and I cut out sugar, dairy & gluten and just like that, it was gone again. It was also pretty ironic because I was in the middle of writing this blog post. Here I’m thinking I finally cured it but was it making a come back? From this entire experience, I learned that not everyone is the same and just because something worked for me, does not mean it will work for you. It’s all trial and error, just don’t give up and be open minded to what may be the cause of it all.

If you experienced something similar, please share! I’m sure everyone wants to know what worked for you so they can add it to their list to try.

 

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