I have had the biggest struggle with my skin over the past three to four years, it's been extremely difficult to deal with and has really taken a toll on my self-esteem. Prior to that my skin was perfect, it all started when I discovered my interest in makeup. I didn't know or care much about good quality products vs. bad ones, ingredients used, animal testing etc. and considering I had developed fairly normal skin after puberty, I figured I wouldn't run into too much trouble. One day I went into MAC because as a beginner, you figure THAT is the place to go for all your makeup needs. I have heard of other makeup artists conveying MAC Studio Fix Full Coverage Foundation as their holy grail product so I immediately bought the liquid and powder and began wearing it daily as I practiced my makeup skills. I instantly fell in love with the finish but quickly started a notice a horrible change in my skin. Uneven skintone and texture quickly took over my face, painfully large bumps and blemishes became impossible to get rid of (getting cystic whenever I would near the time of the month) so I would use more MAC foundation to cover it up. I was so embarrassed of my new skin but it didn't click that it was the product that was causing it. I have worn makeup since middle school and never had any problems so I didn't think anything of it. I would continue to hide all the marks and scars with it, thankful, that at least I had this full coverage foundation to cover it up. After I figured it out, I obviously stopped using it but that didn't make the problem go away by any means. I went to see a few dermatologists, the pills they prescribed me didn't work so I tried natural remedies, those didn't work either. I was devastated that I had ruined my skin forever. I saw another dermatologist just recently and they prescribed me topical Retin A, I rolled my eyes as I put it on my skin knowing that there would be no difference the following day but I was so wrong. That, birth control (to monitor my period/hormonal breakouts - TMI get over it) and a few other natural necessities have helped improve my skin SO much in just a one month's span. Now, these products are what personally work best for ME, I am in no way promising this will work for you. I am just sharing my struggle. Everyone's skin is different, I tried hundreds (literally hundreds) of products before I figured out what my body needed to fight off acne. This is what I do NIGHTLY:

1. WASH YOUR FACE I use Organic Refined Coconut Oil and cotton pads to remove my makeup and Shea Moisture Black Soap (CF & V) to wash my face afterwards. I want to avoid any chemicals that over the counter face washes and makeup removers had. Depending on how much makeup I wore that day, I will apply the soap to a spin brush to REALLY get all my makeup off (optional). Leftover residue from removing your makeup can really make your skin acne prone.

1. WASH YOUR FACE

I use Organic Refined Coconut Oil and cotton pads to remove my makeup and Shea Moisture Black Soap (CF & V) to wash my face afterwards. I want to avoid any chemicals that over the counter face washes and makeup removers had. Depending on how much makeup I wore that day, I will apply the soap to a spin brush to REALLY get all my makeup off (optional). Leftover residue from removing your makeup can really make your skin acne prone.

2. APPLY ACNE CREAM AND MOISTURIZE I wait 20 minutes for my face to completely dry off after removing my makeup, apply my Retin A cream and dilute it with moisturizer (Retin A can only be prescribed to you, see a doctor to see if it's right for your skin). I have the lowest dose of the medication but it still manages to dry out my entire face so I went to Lush and found Imperialis (CF & V). This moisturizer has ingredients that gently calms blemishes, balances my skin and keeps it soft. This one works best for me because I have combination/sensitive skin now. Lush employees are great, in my experience, they can help you find what skincare item works best for you and their return policy is wonderful. If you don't have a store in your area, order online but check the reviews and descriptions! I finish off moisturizing with Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm (CF)

2. APPLY ACNE CREAM AND MOISTURIZE

I wait 20 minutes for my face to completely dry off after removing my makeup, apply my Retin A cream and dilute it with moisturizer (Retin A can only be prescribed to you, see a doctor to see if it's right for your skin). I have the lowest dose of the medication but it still manages to dry out my entire face so I went to Lush and found Imperialis (CF & V). This moisturizer has ingredients that gently calms blemishes, balances my skin and keeps it soft. This one works best for me because I have combination/sensitive skin now. Lush employees are great, in my experience, they can help you find what skincare item works best for you and their return policy is wonderful. If you don't have a store in your area, order online but check the reviews and descriptions! I finish off moisturizing with Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm (CF)

3. MOISTURIZE MORE The weather has been increasingly rough in California this year. I'm dry in places I didn't even know I could be so I had to get some backup. These have been my saving graces this winter. I apply the Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray (CF & V?) after I take off my makeup. It works as a toner that doesn't try out my skin. Then before I put on moisturizer I apply Lush Full of Grace Serum (CF & V). It's a moisturizing bar that ENHANCES your moisturizer! Somedays, because of the combination of cold weather and the Retin A cream, I would still wake up with dry patches even after applying Imperialis. I didn't want to get a stronger moisturizer because, like I said, I have combination skin and too much oil can break me out. This rosey spray and serum bar are the extra boosts I needed.

3. MOISTURIZE MORE

The weather has been increasingly rough in California this year. I'm dry in places I didn't even know I could be so I had to get some backup. These have been my saving graces this winter. I apply the Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray (CF & V?) after I take off my makeupIt works as a toner that doesn't try out my skin. Then before I put on moisturizer I apply Lush Full of Grace Serum (CF & V). It's a moisturizing bar that ENHANCES your moisturizer! Somedays, because of the combination of cold weather and the Retin A cream, I would still wake up with dry patches even after applying Imperialis. I didn't want to get a stronger moisturizer because, like I said, I have combination skin and too much oil can break me out. This rosey spray and serum bar are the extra boosts I needed.

Now, that I have finally gotten my acne under control I can began focusing on ways to keep my skin looking young and healthy. I'm currently in the search of a good eye cream and facial sunblock that is good on sensitive skin. Suggestions are welcome! 

I really hope this somehow helps even a little bit! If you're under 20 with acne issues, wait it out. It's very possible you will grow out of it. It will help to avoid harmful makeup and chemicals! Try to get cruelty-free and vegan products even if you are not one, I'm only vegetarian but these types of products are typically better for you (not to mention the environment). All these products mentioned are CF & V with the exception of the rose water spray, I am unsure if it contains any non-vegan ingredients. I am aware this skincare routine is a bit pricey but I personally think once you find a regimen that works for you, it is worth it!

*None of these products are sponsored. These are all my honest opinions