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I was made to believe I always had good skin, but that was just the Birth Control talking.
I was on birth control for almost 16 years. I went on it went I was 15 years old, before I had even gone through puberty. My body never learned how to create and balance hormones on its own. January of 2019, I decided I wanted to get off the pill. It was making feel crazy, my libido was non-existent, and I was frankly just tired of pumping my body with synthetic hormones. When I went off, everything was okay – until the 6-month mark. I woke up and it was almost like a bomb went off on my skin. It was full blown cystic, hormonal acne within just a few days. I was doing everything they say you should do for acne – cut out dairy, drink a ton of water, change your pillow cases, healthy diet, working out, etc. But, when your hormones are out of whack, none of that matters.
I went to get a blood test in July of 2019 after knowing something was seriously wrong with my body. The doctor had told me that my progesterone levels were the lowest she’d ever seen in someone my age – they were nearly zero (.012 ng/mL). She said that since I had started birth control at such a young age, my pituitary gland (responsible for the communicating to the reproductive system) had stopped talking to my body to create hormones, because I was supplementing them. Going back on the pill wasn’t even an option for me at this point. She started me immediately on vitamin supplements and phyto-hormones. These phyto-hormones contain estrogen and progesterone mimicking ingredients that she hoped would kickstart my pituitary into realizing it needed to get back to work.
While I’m usually one who liked to use clean and natural skincare like Cocokind, Even Healy, and Well People, this hormonal acne was calling for something more extreme. I had to switch out all of my natural skin care for medical-grade skincare, partnered with pricey skin treatments to really get after the acne. While I know this is expensive, and not normally how much I spend on skincare, this was something I needed to do in order to get my face back to where it was. If you’re struggling with acne and you feel like you’re doing everything that you should be doing, it may be worth getting a blood test done to check your hormones. Also re-consider your skincare routine. While I know it’s fun to buy the skincare that you’re marketing on Instagram because it’s cute packaging and their marketing is on point, it’s most likely not doing any favors for your skin. If you’re blessed with non-problematic skin and those products work just fine for you, do your thang.
Here is my new (and improved) routine:
- Wash with La Roche Posay – Effaclar Gel Facial Wash To put it simply, you sweat a lot when you sleep. My body, personally, runs at what feels like 104 degrees. I give my face a quick rinse to rid of sweat, oils, or any germs from my pillow cases. This cleanser is available at Target and is only $14.99 – $19.99 depending on the size you get.
- Lather on the iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum. HOLY GRAIL #1. This is one of the items that really transformed and healed my skin. This antioxidant-rich serum combines time released vitamin C with a blend of botanicals to treat acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis and even insect bites. I’ve seen some insane transformations from people using this serum.
- Origins GinZing Eye Cream. This eye cream helps to de-puff and brighten the eye area. It helps achieve that “awake” look.
- Moisturize with Keihl’s Ultra Face Cream. If you live in a dry area, or experience a winter season of dry skin, this moisturizer is the best.
- Load up on sunscreen – I currently am using Revision Intellishade Original Tinted Sunscreen, but will most likely be switching to something less expensive when this runs out. It works incredibly well, but there are so many great brands out there so finding something in your budget is easy. This is THE. MOST. IMPORTANT. STEP. If you are not protecting your skin from the sun, all the work and money you’re putting into your skin is pointless. This one is lightly tinted and does not leave me feeling oily or cakey.
- Lather on Cleansing Balm by Beauty Counter. I do this before using a wash to help break up my makeup and any dirt/grime from the day. After massaging into skin for a minute or two, I take a wet wash cloth and gently wipe away the oil from my skin.
- Cleanse again using La Roche Posay – Effaclar Gel Facial Wash.
- Apply a small amount of Reveskin Esstential 1.0% Retinoid. HOLY GRAIL #2. I was always using the Differin gel, which is considered a retinoid but a very, very light one. I now use a stronger, medical-grade retinoid as opposed to over-the-counter and my god, the difference is crazy. Retinoids are a derivative of Vitamin A, which speeds up the cell turnover process, aiding in anti-aging, preventative for acne, acne scarring, fine lines, etc.
- Put ZO Skin Health Brightalive over entire face. This cream helps brighten the skin and even the skin tones. Also just recently received this ReveSkin Hydroquinone Cream as part of the at-home skin care with my chemical peel, and the results are incredible! It helps with fading post-inflammatory acne marks, melasma, sun spots, etc. I may continue with the ReveSkin one and ditch the Brightalive, but both work great!
- Eye cream by origins
- Moisturize with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream to give it an extra boost of moisture and lock in your serums. Sometimes if I’m feeling extra dry, I’ll add the Chia Facial Oil by Cocokind.
All of these treatments have to be done at a clinic that carries the proper equipment. *Do not try these at home*
- Microneedling – This treatment consists of a “skin pen” that has 12-15 small needles on the end that go into the skin (they numb your face), creating tiny punctures that eventually heal and generate new collagen and skin tissue for smoother, firmer, more toned skin. There is no down time, you’re just a bit red for a few hours after. It will feel like a sunburn. I absolutely love these treatments, I try to get 2-3 a year.
- Hydrafacials – Like a traditional facial, but WAY better and way less painful. This facial using a vacuum tool to do extractions instead of manual extractions which have you leaving the office looking way worse than when you came. Every hydrafacial is different for everyone, as it is personalized to your skin type. First they will lather on serums and oils to help break up the debris on the skin and open up the pores, and then the vacuum tool with basically suck everything out of your pores. These are great to do a day before a big event because your skin will be glowing with hydration after.
- Chemical Peel (I only had 1) – I did the ReveSkin Enlighten Peel. The down time for this is about 6-7 days depending on your skin. I was pretty red and peely for the 5 days after, followed by lighter peeling for the next 5 days. This is the most expensive and committal treatment I’ve had done but the results are unbelievable. It truly is like getting a new set of skin. It helps with fine lines, post inflammatory acne scarring, melasma, freckling, sun damage, etc. I will most likely try to do this once every year – year and a half.
If you’re struggling with acne and you feel like you’re doing everything that you should be doing, it may be worth getting a blood test done to check your hormones. But also important to invest in your skin. Use high quality products that will you will see noticeable change when using them. Treat yourself to a skin treatment every now and then, your skin will thank you.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Listen to what it’s telling you, or showing you. Take care of it, invest in it, and START YOUNG. I spent way too many of my teenage years laying at my parents’ pool with no sunscreen on – and my skin is paying for it today. If you have any questions about skincare let me know! Also tell me some of your favorite products to use – I love learning about new ways to improve my skin.
Some of the most common questions that I get regarding Health Coaching is about the school that I went through to get to where I am. I went to school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition – an online-based Nutrition and Holistic Wellness school that set […]
Ah, mornings. You either love them or you hate them. I’ve grown to love the morning sunlight as I’ve taken it as an opportunity to set the tone for a new day. I have developed a routine that keeps me checking things off my to-do list and feeling accomplished by the end of the work day. The way we choose to spend our mornings lays the foundation for mediocre or extraordinary results. Find what works for you and your personality – here’s what works for mine:
Make the bed.
It’s a simple task that gives you that sense of accomplishment first thing in the morning. It gives you a feeling of “BOOM. One thing done. Onto the next one.” It’s one of first steps that some of the most successful people in the world have in common for their morning routine. For anyone that has a hard time starting their day, this quick chore is an easy way to ignite positivity and drive to accomplish more.
Read meditation book.
My favorite read in the morning is Melody Beattie’s Journey To The Heart. I find that when I read something in the morning, instead of sit in bed on social media, my mind is clearer, I am generally in a better mood. Waking up and instantly scrolling can subject some to comparison and raise anxiety levels first thing in the morning. This book is filled with short meditation scriptures that are warm, honest, and compassionate. It has helped me find a path of spiritual growth and renewal in times that I feel stuck through energizing and confirming words that allow me to reflect. I bring it with me anywhere that I’ll be spending the night – on a vacation or a weekend getaway.
Make a nutritious breakfast.
It’s not a lie that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It can play a huge role in blood sugar levels, cravings, and satiety. Having a balanced breakfast of healthy fat, fiber, greens, and protein gives you energy well into lunch time so you can get as much done while not being distracted by tummy rumbles and cravings. My favorite breakfasts are egg scrambles with a bunch of veggies, avocado, and protein like turkey bacon or a steel cut oatmeal with nut butter, berries, chia seeds, and pure maple syrup!
After I have a bit of quiet time, I put on my favorite upbeat song and dance. My dog looks at me like I’m insane but I started doing this about a year ago when I fell into a bit of a depression after returning home from living in Southeast Asia. Whether its Taylor Swift, Purity Ring, or Grateful Dead, dancing sends a slew of endorphins through your body. It gets my blood moving first thing, starts my day out with a smile and makes me feel like no matter what is situation is thrown my way, I’ll handle it from a positive and optimistic perspective.
Make a to-do list.
Laying your tasks out for the day is a great way to feel grounded and gives you a chance to look at your day from a more organized and manageable perspective. I make to-do lists because I like to get stuff done, and I get a small high when I get to check something off my list. Being able to fall back on the comfort of a list allows your brain to take a break from the stress of trying to make sure all your tasks are remembered. It’s a great time management strategy by eye-balling the amount of time each task will take to do and prioritizing more important items first. You’re also more likely to get that one thing done that you’ve been putting off for weeks if you write it down – cause nobody likes staring at an empty check box.
Leave my apartment.
As someone who has the flexibility to work from home, it can be easy to talk yourself into staying your PJ’s all day and working from the comfort of your dining table, or even your bed. I find that if I do that consecutively for 2-3 days (usually happens during the unforgivable Minnesota winters), my anxiety increases, I’m more irritable, and I seem to get in slumps of not working out and craving sugary foods. I find so much comfort in cozy coffee shops surrounded by other hard-working individuals. Your home should be a place for things other than work – like relaxation, intimacy, and a safe space – it can become complicated when you’re mixing the two.
Finding a routine that works for your personality style, the amount of time you have, and what brings you joy is a good starting point to figure out a routine that will work for you. Making habits of these small action steps in the morning can make for big changes in your life and your mental health.
What are some of your favorite things to do in the morning? Leave a comment below and let me know.
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