At 23 fucking years old, I’m experiencing breakouts for the first time in my life. It’s profoundly distressing. I mean, I’ve had pimples here and there before, but they’ve grown more and more frequent and the zits are more abundant.
One specific complexion defection was the last straw for me; it was in that crease between my upper lip and nostril. The offending blemish was stressing me out so horribly, I dramatically wondered whether or not it was okay for me to leave the house without a veil. Years of blessedly clear skin kept me from learning how to properly treat and cover up distracting, upsetting pimples, so I popped the fuck out of it and it looked like hell. Teary eyed and bloody faced, I called my dermatologist’s office to set up an appointment. My exchange with the receptionist went something like this:
“Does Dr. Skin* have any appointments available today?”
“There are no appointments left today, but we can get you in tomorrow.”
“It’s an emergency.”
“What would your visit be concerning?”
“I feel hideous!”
“We can fit you in tomorrow at 4.”
“See you then.”
Obviously, my dermatologist needs a new receptionist who knows to prioritize a 23 year old girl with one zit over any patient that has skin cancer or some other shallow waste of time. At least 24 hours later, when I finally got in to the doctor, she looked like such a beautiful angel (with a giant engagement ring gleaming in the natural sunlight of her SoHo office) that I forgave her for her receptionist’s dismissal of my life threatening emergency.
“Tell it to me straight doc, have you ever seen anyone with such terrible acne and deep wrinkles at the same time?” I asked (not verbatim). She assured me that I am actually totally nuts** and over-reacting, making mountains out of pimples, but that there are things I could do to help with breakouts and the condition of my skin.
Here are the 6 super easy tips my dermatologist gave me:
- Simplify by not using so many products- I love trying new potions and tonics and masks and goos on my skin, but I wasn’t giving any products a chance to work because I was switching them up all the time. My product-slut ways were irritating my skin and preventing it from reaping the benefits of diligent skin-care.
- Use gentle cleansers and moisturizers- My dermatologist and I are both into Cerave for cleanser and moisturizer. I’ve been laying off more experimental products and my skin has improved big time. Cerave and Cetaphil are the obvious choices. You can get them on the cheaps at drug stores. I feel like a dope having wasted money on fancy cleansers while I could have been buying the spermy looking stuff frome Duane Reade.
- Stop using the Clarisonic Brush- This was heartbreaking because I love my clarisonic(I still use it on the ol’ bod), but it was tearing up my delicate face skin and spreading blemish causing bacteria all around. This tip was specific for my sensitive skin, but it might be worth giving your clarisonic a rest if you find yourself breaking out a lot. See if it helps.
- Same goes for gritty exfoliants- I still use them on my body, but I’m being way gentler and exfoliating my face with less frequency. Trying to let it do its thing without my interference. I was just bothering it more and again spreading bacteria around into little cuts caused by harsh shards of whatever in my scrubs.
- Wash pillow cases, clean cell phone- Your cell phone is basically a glass rectangle covered in feces, your pillow cases are similarly disgusting, though in a slightly less scatological way.
Basically, just simplify your whole routine. I thought I loved my complicated skin rituals and experiments, but I love having my nice skin back more.
*Not her real name
**By the way she said it was really soft and lovely and I want to brag about that since it’s literally the best compliment a vain loony-toon like me could ever receive.