By: Emily Oberg
Before I get into it, I want to start off by saying two VERY important things that are often overlooked.
- THERE IS NO MIRACLE PRODUCT THAT WILL MAGICALLY CHANGE YOUR SKIN OR GET RID OF ACNE.
- THE LESS PRODUCTS YOU USE, THE BETTER.
Read that again, and again, and then again. It does not matter if you have a 12 step skin care routine, if you use the most expensive products on the market or if you get 5 facials a week. If you don’t change your diet, lifestyle or figure out what’s going on internally either with your hormones, digestion, allergies etc- your skin will not change and you will not see any results.
Your skin is directly affected by what you eat, your digestion, lifestyle and hormones. I always say that the best skincare routine anyone can have is a proper diet, high water intake, adequate + quality sleep and a regular exercise routine.
When I say proper diet, I mean a diet that includes healthy fats (avocado, salmon, olives and olive oil), fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C (green & red peppers, papaya, tomatoes and strawberries), beta-carotenes (carrots & dark leafy greens), zinc (meat, seafood, nuts and seeds), Polyphenols (oranges, apples and berries) and antioxidants (70% or higher dark chocolate, berries, grapes and sweet potatoes). These are all nutrients that are crucial in helping you achieve healthy, glowing, clear skin.
I used to be obsessed with skincare and would try new products all the time. I had all the top rated cleansers, serums, masks and oils and I would switch my products every other week. But after dealing with acne and rashes I now know that no matter what products I try, nothing makes my skin look it’s best than when I’m using as little products as possible, drinking plenty of water (3 litres a day at least), eating a balanced diet with lots of fats and cutting out sugar, dairy and refined wheat.
Don’t fall for skin care routines that promote using 5-10+ products. Your skin is at its happiest when you do as little as you can to it. If you are eating the right way, being healthy and everything is working well internally, your skin won’t need a ton of products to make it look good. When I’m on vacation, I don’t even wash my face because I don’t wear makeup. I’ll wash it only with water and just use SPF and face oil. Other than that I leave it alone and my skin never looks better.
I don’t use all of these products all of the time, they’re just my favorites that I’ve found have worked well. All you really need is a good cleanser and moisturizer, the rest is optional. These products also don’t cost a fortune. It’s important to know that it's possible to have a great skin care routine without breaking the bank. I also try to use the most natural and chemical free products as much as I can as irritants like parabans, fragrance and oxybenzone can severely disrupt your skin.
Cleanser- I’ve tried every top rated cleanser on the market and I swear by Tulura’s oil cleanser which uses Salycic Acid and Tea Tree Oil. I used to think oil cleansers were useless and that they weren’t cleansing enough. But I’ve used this for the past 3 months and my skin has reacted super well. It also feels soothing when you put it on and I like to give myself a face massage each time I wash my face with it.
Toner- I’ll use a toner every few days when I want my face to feel extra clean. This alcohol-free one by Thayers uses witch hazel, aloe Vera and rose water. It cleans out your pores and tightens them while locking in moisture in.
Moisturizer- I like the EltaMD Am Therapy moisturizer. It’s lightweight and doesn’t make you greasy or oily. It’s nothing special but it gets the job done. I use this in the morning and face oil at night.
SPF- EltaMD also has a great SPF which is good for acne-prone skin and uses ingredients like Zinc Oxide, Vitamin E, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Antioxidants, Lactic Acid— all things our skin loves. I’m also a huge fan of this Supergoop SPF Face Mist. I’ll reapply it throughout the day as the protection from SPF tends to fade within a few hours.
Face Oil- I’m obsessed with face oil. I love my skin to feel dewy and oily, but not in a gross way. I’ll use either 100% pure Jojoba Oil mixed with a drop or two of Tea Tree oil, or the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. It’s hydrating without being too heavy and smells great.
Eye Cream- I love love love the avocado eye cream by Living Libations which is a brand that uses 100% plant derived ingredients. It’s creamy and super hydrating. Again, no eye cream is going to remove dark circles or puffiness even though they may promise to. Those things will depend on how much sleep you’re getting and your diet.
Serum- I like to use a Vitamin C Serum which is meant to brighten and even out your skin tone. I use one by Skin Ceuticals and I’ll use it only at night. It’s expensive but it’s the best one on the market with a very high percentage (15%) of L-Ascorbic Acid.
Face Mist- I love a good face mist. I use it in the morning and throughout the entire day for an extra boost of hydration. My absolute favorite is the Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosenbrook, a clean brand that uses completely natural and organic ingredients. The main ingredient in this mist is Aloe Vera Leaf juice which is known to be extremely soothing and calming. It smells INSANELY DELICIOUS and comes in a travel size which I keep with me at all times.
Spot treatment- Pure tea tree oil is still the best thing for acne in my opinion. Anytime I feel a bump under my skin I put on tea tree oil diluted with some water and it completely goes away. Be sure to dilute though otherwise you will burn your skin.
Masks- There’s a few masks I like but if I had to use one for the rest of my life it’s the Aztec Clay Mask. It’s made of 100% Bentonite clay and thoroughly cleanses your skin. After using it your skin feels tight, smooth and extremely clean. I mix it with Apple Cider Vinegar for extra effectiveness. It will also dry up all of your breakouts.
Infrared Light- It has been proven to aid in the healing of wounds and scars by penetrating the deep layers of our skin to stimulate cellular turnover. I am an avid user of Infrared light and do it for 10 minutes everyday using my JOOV. I notice that it helps my skin heal faster and also increases my energy and overall mood. I’ll dive deeper into the science behind Infrared in a future post.
An important part of my skincare routine is giving myself a 5-10 minute lymphatic face massage every morning and night using my hands and fingers. It’s definitely an added bonus for your skin but if you have the time, do it as often as you can. Facial massage has been known to lift your skin and reduce fine lines with regular practice. I find that it gives my face a nice glow and plumps it up, it’s also very relaxing. We all get massages for our bodies but forget that our face needs them too! Delphine Langlois who is based in Paris gives the best facial massages. If you don’t get a chance to visit her, you can follow her tutorials on Instagram.
These products have worked well for me, but depending on your skin type, your reaction might be different. And again, if you are struggling with skin issues, you should seriously consider changing your diet and lifestyle and finding the root of the problem. It may seem like a quick fix to use a bunch of products to solve your worries, but all you’ll be doing is wasting money and upsetting your skin even more. Get your hormones checked, up your water intake, and switch to a “clean” eating plan— remove dairy, sugar and gluten. It takes your body a minimum of 21 days to reset and adjust to a new regiment, so you should try sticking to it for that amount of time or longer.