Sadly – I don’t have any before and after references for you. . . I know, I know. I need to get better about taking pictures. I’ve been getting told for years “Pics or it didn’t happen.” Not like I don’t have a tiny camera attached to me at all times or anything. . .
So yesterday I mentioned that my skin is clearer on my cleaner diet.
This is true. Eating garbage is known to wreak havoc on your skin. It also probably makes you part Billy-Goat and you don’t really want to have to explain to strangers which one of your parent’s is a pet of Satan do you?
Ahhhh. I’m so funny.
So I just wanted to give a little break-down about what I consider to be the problems with my skin and what else I have been doing to improve the condition of that big ol’ organ.
- One problem I have is Acne and the awful scarring (but minimal and only really seen by me.) I have other scars on my face. Chicken Pox (hard to see anymore) and a good sized cut on my left occipital bone from a hockey injury. I am not concerned about this scar because I love this scar. Boom, bitches. (Let me know if the comments below if you want to see pictures of the fresh cut or hear the story. OR what kick-ass scars you have that you totally earned!)
- I’m getting old and getting wrinkles and I’m just vain enough that I am FREAKING OUT.
- I have extremely sensitive ginger skin, which is always getting sunburned, I have tons of freckles, oh, and my jewelry and clothes cover me with rashes.
First of all, you went to science class at some point in your life so you must know that your skin is an organ. No? It is:
Alas! The truth as told by the internet!
Okay – now that that is out of the way. . .
As with every human over the age of thirteen is – I am deeply concerned about acne. “The hell?” you say, “You’re thirty-three years old. You’ve got twenty years on that hypothetical pre-adult. You don’t have acne!” Piss off. Yes I do. Kind of.
To understand how to craft your own skin-care routine, you should have a basic understanding of two things: Pores and Acne.
An abridged summation of pores:
A pore is a teeny-tiny little opening on your skin that allows sweat or oil (sebum) to be excreted. You need this to happen because this is one way your body cleans out toxins (think about the world we live in, you are constantly exposed to toxic crap you don’t want residing in your body) and a very handy cooling system so that you don’t die when you’re running from bears. Or kickboxing. Who am I to judge what you do for cardio?
- Oil Pores – are associated with your hair follicles. These are the pores that become comedones (keep on a-readin’). This sebum that is excreted is important because it keeps your skin healthy and hydrated, allowing it to function properly.
- Sweat Pores – these guys are so teensy you can’t see them with the naked eye. Because they are not connected to a sebaceous gland, they do not get blocked, therefore, do not cause acne.
There are 8 types of acne that I’m going to detail for you here:
- Acne Vulagris: this is your common, run-of-the-mill acne. If you have this you get the whole shebang. Whiteheads. . . blackheads. . . pimples all over. AND a crap-ass social life. Go you! Common break-out areas are the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and back. Probably your butt. . . So you big toe might not get a zit, but the rest of you is fair game.
- Comedones: this is a group of acne lesions (ZITS) that are a result of hair follicles getting blocked up with oil (sebum, which you need a little of for your giant organ to function properly) and dead skin, as well as other pollutants such as make-up, et cetera. Comedogenic and Non-Comedogenic are terms used in skin-care and make up that refer to whether or not the product will trigger the comedone. (BTW non-comedogenic make up, which does not cause acne itself, can and will STILL block a pore, helping to cause acne, if it is not properly removed. Again. Wash your face like your momma told ya and don’t be a dolt.)
- Blackheads: (this is my biggest acne concern these days) So basically what’s going on here is that you have comedones that are open to the air (no skin covering). Contrary to what you’ve heard the other little punk bastards saying, they are not black because of dirt, they are black because of oxidation, much like how rust forms. There is a lot of speculation and mixed research that exists as the whether or not you should use a product like a Biore strip, or whether or not you can actually shrink or completely eliminate these little mother f**. . . s. Personally, and I will cover this later, I don’t believe you should use any form of extraction that involves manipulating your skin because wrinkles. But, for my own peace of mind, I am known to use a strip or two now and again.
- Whiteheads: Effectively what is going on here is that the comedone has been grown over by your skin. So, much like an ingrown hair gets irritated, your little blackhead has a covering over it, now preventing the oxidation process, and making the gunk look white. This “gunk” isn’t actually puss until an infection forms around it. Just lovingly call it sebum right now. (I find it funny that stuff like this, created by your own body, mostly, will piss your skin off, but something like a piece of glass can stay embedded in your skin for years. . . hmm? Shall I write about this? Comment your answer below!)
- Papules: So these are the little tiny sore, inflamed bumps you get that are like teeny tiny mean little whiteheads. I didn’t get many of those, but they were the culprit of much of my scarring. Because they are inflamed, which indicates infection, picking at them can spread the infection which causes the outbreak to spread as well. This is also noted as a common cause of scarring.
- Pustules: Another scarring culprit, these are the pimples you get that are clearly infected. You can see the greenish yellow puss under the skin and they hurt real bad. Generally the skin surrounding them is red.
- Nodules: So I didn’t really have these when I was young, but I do now. These are the deep rooted bumps that you know have a pimple hidden inside. They are firm to the touch and are quite painful. The kicker? Even if you try to pop them, they won’t budge and most over the counter medications aren’t powerful enough to treat them, so you’re stuck waiting it out in misery or going to a dermatologist.
- Cysts: These are they stereotypical acne lesions. They are similar to a boil and act like a nodule. They are far more sensitive and considered to be one of the most severe forms. My younger brother was miserably afflicted with these little bitches when he was younger. (One day we will talk about the dangers of Acutane, friends). These tend to leave the red and purple pitting scars that you see on people who had terrible acne as a child. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
There are also terms such as mild, moderate, severe et cetera that I’m not going to get into in this obviously long article.
Fun game – name your zits. . .
Now, why exactly do we have to live with wrinkles? Long story short, according to entirety of the internet, therefore it must be true, (yeah??? You see my theme here? At least I did my research. . .) is that basically collagen and elastin, which is a protein that gives your cells their structure and a fiber that allows your cells to be pliable respectively, begins to break down over time due to UV exposure and simple usage. This leads to loss of moisture and thinning of the skin.
Repeated activity such as squeezing zits, stretching your eyelids to get that perfect winged liner, squinting in the sun, pursing the lips to take a drag of a cigarette, et cetera, speeds up this process. It’s like your cells only have x amount of times they can move in a certain way and if you add to that, you’re speeding up the aging. It’s like you’re depleting your savings account by buying a bunch of bullshit you don’t need. So quit doing the things!
Also – do I even have to say this? Wear UV protection. Just do it and don’t give me any lip.
Which brings us to my terribly sensitive skin. I want to be careful here, because I’d like to save the physically cool weirdness of being a fabulous ginger for another post, but me being a ginger does contribute to my sensitive skin. So right now I will say this about it: being a ginger is a result of a mutated set of genes that affects your skin’s pigment, mainly. Okay so I have freckles and this is a big part of why. But because I have freckles, that means there is very, very little melanin in the rest of my skin to protect it from UV rays and other irritants. (Side note – I used to absolutely detest my freckles, but I love them now.)
To pan the camera out a little bit here, by all means we shouldn’t be using soaps and detergents with harsh chemicals anyway, but, because my skin is so sensitive, I get reminded of that every time I break down and buy another brand of laundry detergent or wear a piece of jewelry made of cheap metal. I get terrible bumpy rashes that burn and itch. This is called Contact Dermatitis.
I’m having a hard time really nailing down why skin is susceptible to this type of allergy, but yes, it’s an allergy.
Ohhhhhhhkayyyyyyyy – now that you’ve learned your science lesson for the day, let us talk about what I have been doing to combat this.
- I rarely touch my face unless there is a true need
- I’ve started using natural(ish) products in all manners of life, be it cleaners, skin and hair soaps, air fresheners on and on and on and on and on. . .
- I’ve switched my laundry soap to All Free and Clear (which works far better than any other brand I’ve used anyway) and ditched the dryer sheets for those bad ass wool balls you put essential oils in (and sometimes I don’t even add the scents, but I freaking adore essential oils. Also these babies help to dry your clothes up to 30% faster and make your clothes oh-so-soft.)
- I’ve created the following skin care routine:
- I wash my face with a blend of castile soap and tea tree oil and only wash my face with this at night.
- Afterwards, within 5 minutes, I slather on the retinol cream. (The brand I have linked is just what I use right now, I’m sure there is something better out there, but this is what I’ve settled on the start with.)
- Next I gently pat on some under-eye cream. (Again, perhaps not the best, but it’s definitely not the worst, but I’ve used it for years and I really do like it. Not to mention that I’ve always had a family member in some capacity or another that sells Mary Kay.)
- I let that set in and then I put on a collagen filling moisturizer and pat on some night cream (this time the brand is a must, because it is. . .) under my eyes (and on my feet and hands for added softness :)).
- In the morning I wash my face thoroughly with only water and then again with the collagen filling moisturizer and some sunscreen.
- and above all, DRINK ALL THE WATER!!!!
Now a lot of these products are not natural, and as I find an acceptable natural way to replace these things, I will let you know!
This post is getting lengthy so I will wrap it up today. Next week I will go a little deeper into the WHY of it all and we will talk about hair.
Thanks for sticking it out! I had fun gathering the information for this article and putting it all together for you!
Let me know below if you learned something new and what you do to help your skin!