Beauty advice from a former acne struggler

To people who have never dealt with acne before, it may seem silly to stress over. However, dealing with acne is something that can deteriorate your self confidence completely, and result in mental health issues.

Acne took over my entire life. I vividly remember times where I didn’t want to leave my dorm room and was failing classes because I didn’t want to show my face to anyone, meaning I didn’t go. I woke up in the morning and the first thing I would do was wash my face and nitpick every inch of it to see if I made any positive outcomes.

I felt ugly. Not the type of ugly that you feel when you are having a bad day, but the type of ugly where I couldn’t even look in the mirror.

I knew I had to find a way to feel comfortable going out in public and not wear a hoodie or a hat to cover up.

This led me to the one amazing thing about my acne struggle: the community of people who are dealing with the same thing. I found a profound amount of people who were willing to help and understood what I was going through. Failure was not an option, and I knew getting rid of my acne wasn’t going to be an overnight fix.

I dove into the makeup world, learning how to apply foundation perfectly and blur out redness with concealer with the help of YouTube videos. I also got advice from other acne-strugglers and listened to their product recommendations and skin tricks.

If you’re like me and are trying to love and care for your skin, here are 10 beauty hacks I learned:

1. Drying out your skin will only produce more oil.

I know it’s totally frightening putting oils onto your skin if you deal with oil-production problems.

The only reason your skin is getting so oily is because you’re dehydrating it.

I’m guilty of doing this. I was beyond scared to add oils to my face because I thought it was just going to make my skin worse. However, by moisturizing everyday it hydrated my skin so it didn’t have to try to overproduce its own oils.

2. Find a regimen that’s perfect for your skin.

Photo by Alexis Paige

This was yet another mistake I made while dealing with acne. I thought, “Oh, my favorite YouTuber uses this product, and she says it made all her acne go away. I’m going to use that!” No. Ask your dermatologist what she/he recommends and use that. Your favorite YouTuber probably doesn’t have the same skin type as you and you’re just going to waste money and time trying something for oily skin when you have combination skin.

3. Being patient is key.

I thought it was going to take maybe a month to clear my skin, but month one was only the beginning for me. Your skin has to dig out all the gunk that was sitting right below the surface and then heal it once it popped up.

The healing process can take months because hyperpigmentation and scars form after acne pops up, and those suckers are hard to get rid of.

Find what works for you and stick to it. The more you jump around to different products from impatience, the more that it’s going to irritate your skin and start the process over.

4. Beauty blenders are amazing, as long as you clean them.

Photo by Alexis Paige

Yes, yes, yes. Beauty Blender is the one holy grail product I could not live without in my makeup bag. It helps to give full coverage that isn’t cakey because it’s puffy powers make the product sink into your skin.

Its magical powers do have a minor setback: It sucks up product and holds it in for life unless you wash it. Use a makeup removing wash such as the Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover and scrub-a-dub-dub that beauty blender after each use. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it’s worth it. That way the old dirt and makeup left behind won’t clog your pores the next time you use it.

5. Set your foundation with a powder for a cleaner, neater look that lasts longer.

A powder setting product will lock in your foundation and concealer, as well as minimize oil.

My favorite powder is the Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation by Tarte Cosmetics, and I use the Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush to pop that on.

6. Don’t be afraid to throw color on your face when you have acne because you’re scared it will intensify it.

Photo by Alexis Paige

If you use too much, it will cause your acne to stand out more. By just dabbing a little powder blush on the cheeks and a tiny bit of bronzer around the corners of your face it will leave your skin looking even.

7. Only put makeup on a clean face.

A clean face plus clean brushes equals a happy face.

If you leave your clogged pores open and seep makeup into them, the skin will get irritated and more clogged. Start by a simple wash right before applying makeup with something simple and light.

8. Never sleep with makeup on.

Photo by Alexis Paige

I know this one can be hard for those college girls out there. Whether you’ve gone out and you’re exhausted after and just want to pass out on your bed, or you’re feeling lazy after a long day of school and the bathroom seems 500 miles away – I feel you. However, make it your priority to clean that little face of yours before passing out. It takes an extra couple of minutes, and your skin will be thankful the next day.

If you seriously don’t think you could make this change, buy some makeup wipes from the drug store and keep them next to your bed. This way, if you’re really not feeling anything besides your bed, you can just grab a wipe while laying down and remove your makeup.

9. Use as many non-comedogenic (pore-blocking) products as possible, but really focus on using a non-comedogenic foundation.

The foundation I use by DermaBlend from their Smooth Liquid Camo collection changed my acne game.

Before using this product, I was constantly coming home with a new pimple because I was using oil-based products that were clogging my pores even more than they already were. This product didn’t irritate my skin or clog me up, and gave amazing coverage when the perfect amount was applied with a beauty blender.

10. Exfoliate, but don’t over exfoliate.

Mix equal parts honey and brown sugar for a DIY scrub. | Photo by Alexis Paige

Exfoliating can be fun because it seems like you’re getting all the gunk out and you’re reborn again. However, it can strip the essential oils that your face needs to stay hydrated.

Make sure you’re not over-exfoliating by doing it only a few times a week. I exfoliate three times a week with either an intensive mask or an exfoliating scrub in the shower. My favorites are GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Face Mask and the Yes to Grapefruit Daily Facial Scrub