I spent a lot of time dealing with acne in my 20s. It started around age 23 and continued until my early 30s. When I first started Cocoon Apothecary, I made aromatherapy remedies and bath/body products. I didn't dare sell facial care because who was I going to sell it to with pimples all over my face? Eventually, as I ventured into body lotions, I was able to formulate a cream just for myself and those natural ingredients (that are the basis for Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream) made a big difference. My face cleared up and I could finally give myself permission to venture into skin care formulation. I still get the odd break out but I know how to clear it up and get balanced again. I know that I would never ever have a pimple if I cut out wheat entirely but seriously? I live in Canada, it's what we grow and what we eat. I try. Just let me eat cake! With clear skin.
Here's how I keep my face clear:
1. I never wear foundation except on special occasions (fancy dinner out, tradeshow etc). If I do, I will break out. There are definitely some exceptions to this such as Sappho Organic Cosmetics and some mineral powders but most of them are pore-clogging nightmares. Take a foundation vacation for a week and see what happens. You might be afraid to go nude in public but anyone that judges your skin is a jerk so who cares? Your face will be 100% better off. Foundation is great for looking flawless but do we have to be perfect 24/7? No one expects this from men (but that's a whole 'nother blog post).
2. I exfoliate daily. I know some of you just gasped but that is the basis of most medicated acne treatments. For example, salycylic acid is a chemical exfoliant. I use a Petal Purity Exfoliating Cleanser, which has gentle jojoba beads that are spherical and will not irritate acne (do not wake up the beast with something harsh). It loosens up dead skin cells and allows excess sebum to move freely without getting clogged in the pore and erupting into a pimple. Usually I exfoliate and then massage my cream into my skin which releases blackheads and other hardened substances. Very gratifying experience. I also use Ancient Mud weekly to draw impurities out of pores and exfoliate a tad deeper than Petal Purity.
3. I never touch my face. Don't pick. Don't touch. Your hands are the Times Square of bacteria. You don't even want to know what's on there. People say, "I can't help it"! Yes you can.
4. I don't use chemical sunscreens. They are really irritating and anyone with sensitive skin can probably attest to this. The way they work is that they turn UV rays to heat on your skin. What could go wrong? Well, I'll tell you. Your skin can easily get red, inflamed or just plain stressed out - especially over time (hello low grade inflammation). Go with a mineral sunscreen, zinc preferably. It acts like teeny weeny mirrors that deflect the sun from your face. It's the ultimate protection.
So those are my 4 best tips for being acne-free. I know diet is a big factor but to be honest, I've known some really clean eaters that had acne so I'm not 100% convinced that it's the only factor. I think there is plenty that you can do on the outside.