17/05/2017

Dealing With Breakouts


My face hasn't been cooperating with me lately and I don't know why. I have small zits around my mouth, on my chin and some are starting to appear on the sides of my nose. While my T-zone is always red due to rosacea, this breakout came off as a little surprising for someone who doesn't break out often. At first I thought it was because I took accutane last week but after a week, I'm not so sure anymore.

Aside from the suspicion I have that accutane is the one to have caused my breakout, I harbor a suspicion towards my makeup. Before I had a job, I only wore makeup when I need to be somewhere important — for instance, when I have a date, go to the mall or meet people to practice my nonexistent socializing skill. Other than that, I don't bother slathering anything on my face other than my skincare regime and SPF. I tried washing my brushes and beauty blenders too (because lord knows how easy it is for a beauty sponge to get dirty) because I thought my tools were getting dirty. It's not rocket science to know that dirty tools equal to clogged pores and breakout. For a moment there, my face didn't go batshit crazy and there was no new pimple.

A few days later, I saw new zits popping up like they're corn kernels ready to be bagged. Okay, that's an exaggeration but you know what I mean. It's so annoying to see quite a lot of these on my face even though I know I should say be grateful for my acne-free forehead and cheeks. Hold up, I can almost hear people with acne-prone skin screaming in my head, "oh puh-lease. Stop being dramatic. Those are nothing!" But acne is acne and I hate all sorts of acne.

Following this invasion, I've been trying out several things like DIY natural products and regime to hopefully calm these corn kernels down and speed up the healing. Keep in mind that I am in no way an expert so take my advice with a grain of salt and while these are something I've been doing, it doesn't mean that you have to do it unless you want it.

Aloe vera


Aloe vera has built its reputation as the miraculous medical plant that works wonders when it comes down to skincare. Even though it has been a staple in my skincare routine since eons ago, it wasn't until I recently use it to replace my moisturizer. For someone with combination skin, a gel based moisturizer is the best choice and aloe vera gel sinks into my skin just like that. I sometimes use my cream based night time moisturizer on top if I need extra moisture. It's also a good moisturizer for people with really oily and acne-prone skin.

Right now, I'm using the Innisfree aloe vera gel that I mentioned in my April favorites but I personally recommend using the real plant instead. It may sound disgusting but trust me, natural aloe vera juice works like magic. It calms my rosacea, hydrates my skin, helps reduce inflammation and blurs my blemishes. If you suffer from those white bumps called milia, aloe vera is definitely worth the try — Kathleen, my favorite YouTuber, has helped confirmed this.

Take note that the actual plant is the best option to go. I don't know about you but in where I live, aloe vera plant is both affordable and easily accessible. If you cannot find the natural plant, please buy one that is free from harmful chemicals and urea.

Garlic cloves


Garlic? Yes. Garlic. When I was in high school, my T-zone tend to break out in cysts. Not small spotty acne but cyst. A huge, red and swollen looking cyst that turns my already round nose into a mashup between Rudolph and fresh, raw potato. My mom was the one who told me to do it. Basically, what she did was cut open a garlic clove to extract its juice and told me to rub it raw on my pimple. While it didn't cure my cyst overnight, it helped reduce the inflammation. I had to repeat it every night for 2-3 days before seeing result. Keep in mind that if you are allergic to garlic, it's better to skip this method. Some dermatologists think this is not a good way to heal acne, however in my opinion, if it works then I'd rather rub some garlic cloves onto my face and not waste a crap ton of money on topical creams and whatnot from a dermatologist.

Diluted tea tree oil


The keyword here is diluted. Never apply pure tea tree oil on your zit because it will burn like crazy — at least that's what happened to me when I first bought tea tree oil, thinking that I could just use a cotton bud and apply it directly onto my cyst. It was not awful in a "oh man, this stings but I know it's working" way; it actually felt like my skin was on fire and close to irritation. So be sure to mix and dilute tea tree oil with water or aloe vera gel.

Epsom Salt mixture


One reason why I love the ocean is because saltwater helps all my skin condition and disorders. Unfortunately, I don't live by the beach so the only imitation of nature I can get is by combining 1 cup of lukewarm water and 2 teaspoons of epsom salt. I then grab a cloth, soaked it in and compress my zit. Sometimes, when I'm feeling insane, I rinse my face with the epsom salt mixture before rinsing my face again with cold water. Alternatively, you can do an apple cider vinegar + water mixture as a DIY compress if you don't have any epsom salt.

Chinese herbal oils / balms


If you're Asian or Chinese, chances are you'll know what I'm talking about: tiger balm. Yes, that tiger balm our grandparents or parents often use to provide sprain relief. When I was a kid, I tried dabbing some tiger balm on my cyst and believe it or not, it helped toned down the inflammation! Another Chinese herbal medicine that helps heal both acne and abscess is the Imada seasons safe oil. They can also be used to treat sprains, pains, burns, cuts and bruises. Do take note that these products are hella spicy so not a lot of people can deal with it.

'Spot conceal' is not 'cake your face'


I don't care how people do their makeup but caking up concealer on my face is a big no no. You know how beauty gurus tend to overuse concealers on their face to conceal, contour and highlight? Yeah, I'm not about that life. If you have a clear, perfectly flawless and blemish-free skin then you do you; but if you have lots of acne (or worse, sudden acne like I do), it's probably better to spot conceal than draw mountains and triangles on your face.

Keep products to extremely minimal


Believe it or not, now that my face probably needs more makeup-free days and not the whole primer-foundation-concealer shebang, I skipped primer and foundation and go immediately with a concealer. With concealer, I only spot conceal my dark circles, blemishes and redness and that's it, I walk out the door. Sometimes I powder my T-zone a little (because I have combination skin) and sometimes I don't. Today, I tried not setting my under-eye concealer with a powder and nothing went wrong. This, however, may not work well if you have extremely oily face.

The best way is to, of course, avoid wearing any makeup but I understand that some of us have day jobs where we have to meet people.

Double cleanse


I don't know about you but if I don't double cleanse on the day I wear makeup, I feel like I haven't properly cleansed my face. I highly recommend the double cleansing practice to make sure all traces of makeup is completely gone from your face. I also do not recommend using only makeup remover wipes or cleansing milk since they're pretty weak at removing (especially heavy) makeup, especially if you wear waterproof ones. In my opinion, micellar water and cleansing oil do way better job.

Exfoliate & mask


Last but not least, just a reminder that we all need to exfoliate once a week — or depending on the schedule your skin agrees with. I personally exfoliate 2-3 times a week, sometimes with a pore exfoliator, other times with a clay mask. For people with oily/combo skin, I find clay mask to be a necessity. It's like I can get away with not having any moisturizing cleanser but never a clay mask.



I am fully aware that this is such a cliche post and it sounds like I'm trying to update my blog with a filler post. Trust me, I'm not a sellout. While I know this is such an ordinary topic, I really am currently dealing with impulsive breakouts from an unknown cause. The only thing I can do is eliminate and reduce some things, sort of like a trial and error so my skin can go back to normal.

If you have any more advice and suggestions, please add them in the comment box below.

image source via glossier

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