I've Tried Everything But I Can't Clear Up My Acne

You’ve gone to Dermatologists, tried various over the counter products that promise you clean skin, and have may even gone for facials but you still break out. Over 28 years I have heard this time and again. I have also heard “there are so many products, I don’t know what to choose” or “I used (fill in the blank) and my skin cleared up at first but then it got worse.


The reason why these products work at first but then stop is really quite simple. Most of these products are designed to dry out the skin. Harsh products strip your skin of oil and leave your skin feeling taut, dehydrated and flaky. This can cause a reaction known as reactive seborrhea, where the oil glands work overtime to compensate for the loss of natural oils but the upper layers of the skin have shrunk due to the dehydration.  This restricts oil flow through the pores leading to blockages and breakouts

Of course this is not the cause of your acne but a continuation of the problem, adding to your frustration.

There is no quick fix, so first and foremost, be prepared to make the commitment. Your skin is your largest organ, and as a Holistic Esthetician, I believe in a multi pronged approach to healthy skin . (This does not constitute a medical prescription or treatment.  Please consult your physician before taking any of the suggested herbs/ vitamins)

  1. First we look at your diet. Most Holistic and Functional Medical Doctors believe most illness and imbalances begin in our gut. Therefore it is best to start with an elimination diet to see if you have any food allergies or food sensitives. Dairy and Gluten seem to be the most common culprits but for others it can be sugar, soy, or even all grains. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a wheat or gluten sensitivity, intolerance, allergy, or Celiac Disease, the high amounts if glyphosphate used in wheat could also be a trigger. If you’ve eliminated all the above and still have issues, you could have an undiagnosed food sensitivity, allergy, or intolerance and may want to see a doctor for food sensitivity testing.

  2. Take a probiotic. Taking a good propbiotic (at least 30 billion CFU promotes a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system ,

  3. There are many herbs that can be helpful in gently assisting detoxification. However, I suggest you consult with either a Holistic Esthetician, Herbalist, or Functional Doctor before taking herbs as some have contraindications.

  4. Eliminate processed foods.

  5. Change to a healthy diet, which includes fresh fruit, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.   Cut back on sugar, alcohol, fatty foods, process foods and caffeine.


Now that we have discussed what to do internally, let’s look at external skin care. Let’s first look at what not to use.

  1. Retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid are all acne preparations which can be drying, irritate the skin, and eventually lead to inflammation..

  2. Products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, artifical color, synthetic fragrance, Isopropyl myristate, sodium lauryl sulfate, laureth-4 and D & CD red dye.can clog the pores and irritate the skin which will have the same effect as the above.

  3. Ingredients like parabens are hormone distrupters.

  4. Certain essential oils should never be used on the skin even if diluted beacause they can cause irritation and in some cases, many of the citrus oils will cause burns if expose to the sun:. cinnamon, clove, (should never be used); lemon, grapefruit ,lime( unless it is distilled), and Bergamo( okay in a cleanser but not a leave on product)

How to treat the skin externally. I suggest you meet with an Esthetician to have your skin evaluated and to choose the best products for you. Even acne skin can differ from person to person. If your skin is inflamed, dehydrated, flaky you may need different products from someone who has an oily, acneic condition.

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  1. Use a cleanser that will not leave your skin feeling taunt. Look for ingredients such a activated charcoal, herbs such as burdock root, clays, essential oils of lavender, tea tree, manuka, German chamomile, distilled lime, cedarwood. You must cleanse your skin berfore going to bed to remove the days dirt and grime.

  2. If you use a toner make sure it is free of alcohol. Witch hazel is also too strong and will dry out your skin. A good choice orange blossom or lavender flower water or something formulated to tone the skin without drying it out.

  3. It is important to moisturizer, even if you have oily skin. Choosing the appropriat moisturizer is of utmost importance. You want to a) keep the skin hydrated and b) treat the acne. Moisturize twice a day.

  4. While exfoliation is an important part of your regime you should never over exfoliate. Once or twice a week is enough. If you use a scrub it should be a finely ground product that has the consistency of cornmeal. Another option is to use an enzyme based exrfoliant. Always gently massage, never rub hard or use a brush like applicator. Follow with moisturizer

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