Trouble with Acne, Part 2

Q: I’m so excited to share this post with you! For all you acne sufferers out there, I am pleased to introduce one of my favorite people on the planet, Amy Intriago. Amy is not only one of the kindest people I have ever met, but she has also revolutionized my face care routine. I asked her to share some of her experiences and face-care secrets with you too.

Jessie: Why are you so passionate about skin care?

Amy: I had severe acne from ages 12-29. In middle school, there was this antagonizing boy that would follow me home. He loved to smash yellow flowers in his hands and then rub them on my face. He sure got a kick of how that pollen (or whatever it was) would stick to my “zits”. It got even worse as a teen; the acne was even on my chest and back. Trying to find a homecoming dress or bathing suit to hide back acne isn’t easy. I hated having my picture taken, and destroyed all of my graduation pictures. I didn’t follow the advice you give in Trouble with Acne, Part 1. Those are wise and helpful reminders. But I’m afraid that deferring to a dermatologist isn’t always the best way to go.

Jessie: Why? Tell me about your experience with dermatologists.

Amy: I saw two different dermatologists. One was relatively kind, the other brutal. They were both the “scientific type,” and I received definitions and prescriptions. None of them worked. I was hoping for compassion and hope, and maybe a few tricks that would give me some sort of control over my skin. But all I got was a ban from the sun and a prescription for birth control (you have to take it while you use the acne “cure,” Acutane—which definitely did not cure mine).

Jessie: That sounds awful! How did you eventually beat your acne?

Amy: Eventually I saw an esthetician who gave me some real help. Most of the advice I have for your readers is from her, but I also “accidentally” found some great tricks while working as a missionary in Ecuador. No hot water, no make-up and lots of humidity helped my skin tremendously. So here are some tips I’d recommend for acne suffers:

  • Try washing with cold water. Even in the shower, resist the temptation to stand under burning hot water. I know it’s the most natural thing to do, but it’s very drying.
  • Use a moisturizer morning and night, even if your skin feels oily. In fact, if your skin feels oily, you could be over-drying your skin. (Your skin pumps extra oils when not moisturized properly.)
  • Use trial and error until you find the right moisturizer for your skin. You will know right away if one isn’t right for you. I am sorry you will have to spend more money, but try again. There are actually generic brands at, say, grocery stores that do not irritate the skin.
  • Try using a kitchen “Handi-Wipe” instead of a washcloth. It exfoliates well and gently. Clean the cloths frequently.
  • Try washing your laundry with unscented detergent. Many break-outs are caused by sensitivities to fragrances.
  • Use an unflavored lip moisturizer.
  • Go a few days or so without make-up. (Impossible, right?). Let your skin breathe, if and when you can. Also, choose make-up that won’t require your fingers or sponges for application. I like brushes and mineral powder. Clean brushes from time to time.
  • Dove soap (unscented) is a safe bet for your skin when you do not know what else to use. It will keep the moisture in better than other choices. Bonus? It’s cheap compared to other name-brand cleansers!

Jessie: Those are great tips, Amy! Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

Amy: For acne sufferers and non-acne sufferers alike, when you’re talking with someone, avoid the temptation to stare at the other person’s imperfections. Discipline yourself to look away from a distracting feature and give the person the courtesy of eye contact. You can empower them to feel less insecure so that their true colors can shine through.

Jessie: Amy, thank you so much for sharing this great skin care advice with us!

Girls, I have to tell you that since hearing Amy’s great advice a few months ago, I’ve ditched harsh cleansers and hot water, and found a great moisturizer. The result? Skin love! In fact, yesterday someone told me my skin “glowed.” A million thanks, Amy!


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