Face Matters: Part Two

by Jen on May 4, 2011

I am completely overwhelmed by your comments, advice and sympathy on last night’s post about dealing with skin issues. I feel so lucky to be a part of such a smart and supportive network of women.

I have a lot to research and consider after reading all of your comments. There were so many helpful and interesting suggestions. Since so many of you seem to be dealing with similar issues, I thought it would be helpful to summarize some of the comments but if this is something you are experiencing, I highly suggest that you read through all of the comments.

Olay Pro-X  Advance Cleaning System

Coming in at just under $30, the Olay Pro-X Cleansing System is just a fraction of the price of the highly touted Clarisonic Mia. It promises to wash away much more dirt and residue than cleansing by hand. I haven’t tried it but I have read great reviews of the Clarisonic.

Avoid Dairy

I received TONS of comments suggesting that I forgo dairy. I did some preliminary reading (I still have much, much more to read before I eliminate dairy from my diet) and found this interesting article. My regular readers know that while I don’t drink a ton of milk, I do eat a lot of Greek yogurt and cheese. Giving up dairy would be a challenge for me but I’m not opposed to the idea. It’s definitely something I’m going to research further.

Find a good skin care routine.

I received numerous suggestions for various cleansers, moisturizers and treatment creams/gels. There are so many products that I’m going to read more about but I think that the biggest lesson here is that I need to find something that works for me and stick with it. One reader pointed me in the direction of an awesome site, Cosmetic Cop that helps you find the best product for your skin.

And when I find products that work for me, then it’s important to administer them properly. Check out “The Regimen” on acne.org.

Limit Stress, Rest and Drink Water

Some of the hardest hitting comments were those about acne being a way for stress to manifest in our bodies. It’s no secret that my life has been really crazy lately and I don’t get as much rest and relaxation in as I probably need. Maybe our vacation will help me turn that around a bit. I also heard that staying hydrated has helped many of you with controlling breakouts.

Natural Remedies

The natural remedies that were brought up were everything from tee tree oil to apple cider vinegar to homemade face masks to the oil cleansing method. I would love to find a natural solution. I’ve also been reading a lot on my own about evening primrose oil supplements.

See A Dermatologist

This one is a no brainer but I received many suggestions to visit a dermatologist. In the past, I have always had a dermatologist but since moving to Charlotte, I haven’t. The main reason for this is that I’m on a high deductible insurance plan and I haven’t wanted to deal with the expense of going but I definitely believe in the benefit of seeing a dermatologist. I saw one regularly the year before our wedding to keep everything in check. I have been hesitant to run to a dermatologist because I don’t want to be immediately put on antibiotics and strong medicines but it might be time to finally go.

And finally, here are the first ever NO MAKEUP pictures on PBR. Love y’all! :)

These are close but not close enough to see everything but I’m dealing with a few things here. 1) Breakouts and tons of bumps between the eyebrows. 2) Lots of the cyst-type bumps on my chin and jawline – hormonal! 3) Hairline blemishes which I’m guessing are due to the crazy amount of sweating I do.

I am the first to admit that things don’t look so bad in these pictures (I guess that’s a positive!) but trust me…the painful and angry bumps are there in full force! Like to the point where not even makeup has been able to hide them the past couple days. Big boo.

Enough skin talk…here’s what I ate today!!!

Breakfast was overnight oats.

Lunch was leftover pizza with a salad.

And dinner was more leftovers (so unlike me!), Herbs de Provence Chicken with Orzo. It was even better the second time.

Today’s activities outside of work included meeting my friend Sarah for a four-mile run after work and teaching yoga. Teaching was interesting tonight because the music wasn’t working. We always play music during class – you guys have seen my playlists! At first I kind of freaked out about the no music but I actually ended up loving the quiet. The sound of my students breathing was absolutely beautiful and I think it took the class to a more spiritual place. Thanks to them for going with it!

Off to bed…considering an early morning solo ashtanga practice in the morning but not sure yet.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cindy May 5, 2011 at 1:25 am

You are so hard on yourself. You look beautiful! And the way I avoid hormonal outbreaks is by avoiding periods! I only get 4 a year with my birth control method and it’s great for curbing breakouts and the migraine headaches I would get each month.

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2 S @ extremebalance.net/blog May 5, 2011 at 1:59 am

My chin-line cystic acne was fish—so it’s maybe not ALWAYS hormonal! (I don’t know if that’s a comfort or not…).

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3 Lou May 5, 2011 at 6:38 am

your pretty smile way overpowers any skin issues you have – you are beautiful! i know you want to get answers tho – maybe you should hit the dermatologist now with all of this info and see what he/she says – they should be impressed that you have all this knowledge–tell the derm to have a seat and get out your check list!

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4 Amy May 5, 2011 at 6:57 am

So I’m sure this isn’t the answer for everyone, but I struggled with painful acne for years until I changed my makeup (accidentally). I went back to Clinique, which I hadn’t used in years. Like I said, it’s probably only me, but I thought I’d mention it just in case!

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5 Jen May 5, 2011 at 7:01 am

Good luck with the skin issues, it can be so frustrating sometimes to find something that works!!

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6 Kate May 5, 2011 at 8:51 am

Went to your class last night – it was great! And often I choose Yoga One over Y2 for the very reasons you described. (You gave great cues and adjustments by the way.)

Have similar problem – have gone to dermatologist. It’s either hormonal or your diet. If this is a new issue for you, cleaning your skin more won’t help – it will only frustrate you, aggravate your skin, and cost you unnecessary dollars. If it’s hormonal, the pill is your best shot. For diet – just start removing and slowly adding back foods – same approach as feeding an infant.

Look forward to seeing you again at Y2. (Very smart, by the way, to put your blog in your profile!)

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7 Becca B May 5, 2011 at 9:21 am

i don’t drink milk (i drink soy or almond milk…i just don’t like the way milk tastes) but i do eat an inordinate amount of cheese and greek yogurt and it has never affected my skin. my skin has been terrible lately and i am conviced it is from sweating and waiting too long after i workout to wash my face. ew i know…sometimes food is my number one priority post sweat, not bathing! oh and clean and clear moisturizer is great because it is slightly medicated for acne but actually moisturizes and doesn’t dry your face out! seems to be working for me!

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8 erin May 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

I commented on yesterday’s post, and I just read through all the other comments. I want to thank you for being honest and bringing it up. I hate that so many of us are dealing with it, but it really was comforting to read everyone’s stories and advice.

On another note–I’ve never cooked orzo, but that dish looks really good. I’m going to have to try it.

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9 CRO May 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

Made your orzo chicken dish last night it was a hit with the whole family!

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10 Annie May 5, 2011 at 10:03 am

Im a y2 frequenter and I was in your class last night – thank you for the Thoreau quote! What a great focus for the class! I really appreciated the take-home quote as well. As a reader, I also wanted to comment that It’s important to remember that oil is not the enemy! So many people try to strip oil off their skin to get rid of blemishes- in reality, taking away oil makes skin freak out and overproduce more oils. Like so much in life, balance is everything. Don’t shy away from moisturizers when fighting the good fight against pizza face :) And again, thanks for a great class!

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11 Sara May 5, 2011 at 10:48 am

Hey Jen – Forgot to mention yesterday that you should try the Antibacterial Complexion Mit from Earth Therapeutics. I found it’s a good alternative to the Clarisonic and it’s only $5!

It really takes your makeup off well. The mit is made of bamboo fiber, which is naturally antibacterial, so the mit will stay clean after each use for up to 3 months. I usually replace mine after 2 months though because it makes me feel better!

I got mine at Healthy Home Market, and I’m pretty sure you can find them at EarthFare, and maybe Bloom too. Check it out here: http://www.earththerapeutics.net/prodinfo.asp?number=7323

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12 Amy May 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

I think you look gorgeous with no makeup!

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13 Carolyn May 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

You look absolutely beautiful without makeup! I didn’t read all the comments to the prior post so someone may have already raised this, but the products you are using on your hair could be causing your skin problems. This is what I experienced and I wouldn’t have made the connection myself, but the esthetician suggested it when I was having a facial for “problem skin”. It doesn’t just affect your hairline because the products can end up on pillowcases, etc that both your face and hair lay against. I made that change to my hair products and use dermalogica anti-bac cleanser, daily microfoliant and active moist moisturizer and my face is 100% better. Good luck!!

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14 Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) May 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

You look SO BEAUTIFUL Jen!! You have such natural beauty! :D

And I really recommend seeing a dermatologist!! It really helped me! :)

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15 Marie May 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm

You are truly gorgeous! While it doesn’t look bad, I know that it will make you feel better to have clear skin. I hope you find a remedy soon. I always get a few each month if I’m not on the pill, but I’m fine on Yasmin which I take for other reasons, obviously. ;)

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16 Kristy@RunTheLongRoad May 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm

You look beautiful without make-up!

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17 Amanda Mormon May 5, 2011 at 5:42 pm

Hey Jen,

Just a few thoughts:

I eat TONS of yogurt and cheese and have never had issues with it irritating my skin. I’ve heard the affects it can have, but haven’t experienced any myself.

I often get little bumps between my eye brows and around them when I have them waxed. Sometimes the lotion or gel they put on after makes me break out and sometimes it’s just the simple fact of having them waxed. It’s REALLY frustrating, but I now ask them not to put anything on after the “pull”!

The hairline bumps are most likely from sweating. I get these often too, so I’ve learned to keep all the hair away from my face while running and working out. The sun will also cause little bumps around my hairline if I’m out a good bit (longer runs, pool, etc).

Lastly, try to NEVER workout/sweat with makeup on your face. It’s just a terrible thing!

Good luck and don’t stress about it! The more you stress, the more you’ll see!

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18 Alaina May 5, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Ummm…you’re gorgeous :-) I would kill to have your skin tone. Mine is definitely uneven.

I get the bumps between the eye brows and hair line too. No matter what, they just won’t seem to go away. I also breakout frequently around my jawline and I think it’s because I talk on the phones all day and I’m sure the fact that everyone else uses the same phone, germs will spread. But luckily my cleansing routine keeps everything pretty much in check.

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19 Megan@frizzybaker May 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Look into the kind of make-up you use. You might need some for sensitive skin or organic brands. Or you could go without makeup! The most beautiful women embrace imperfections!

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20 Mary Ann May 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Your skin problems mimic mine. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that mine is due to excessive sweating and hormonal issues. So until I turn into a couch-potato boy, I just deal with it. On another topic your banana muffin recipe is great. I substituted almond flour for the peanut flour and the flavor was great. I also liked that it only made 6 muffins. Perfect for the hubby and me. Jen, you are a beautiful woman with such a positive attitude and a gift of motivating and supporting others. I know that this is so frustrating. Your readers have given you (and all of us) great ideas. I hope you find something that works.

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21 Kelly May 6, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I had some skin issues in late 2010 and I wish I could say that I did X and they all went away, but I literally just woke up one day and they were gone. I know what you’re going through. I hope you figure out what you need to do to get rid of your skin issues.

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22 Cate May 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I had perfect skin until I graduated from college, and then it got horrible! I’ve finally figured out a regimen that seems to be working with Clinique wash, toner, and moisturizer.

I hope you find something that works for you (but I agree with everyone else, perfect skin or not you still look beautiful!)

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23 Buffy May 9, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I use to have really bad cystic acne. I spent thousands on products and procedures and the dermatologist – nothing helped. Then someone told me that trying to ‘dry’ my oily skin was actually stripping away its natural barrier and causing it to produce extra sebum to compensate. The fix: More oil. They suggested I try Decleor Rose d’Orient face oil. It totally freaked me out, but I was desperate.

http://www.decleor.com/produit.php?id=171

Godsend. I’ve moved on to some of their stronger oils (Neroli and Ylang Ylang) but I still use the Rose oil to battle my rosacea. I would HIGHLY recommend you give it a go. Decleor has a really good cleansing milk (not the cream) and toner as well.

Other things that really worked for me when my skin couldn’t tolerate anything without an eruption:

Honey
Anti-bacterial and moisturizing. If your face is really aggravated, use this as a cleanser. It’s messy but leaves your skin feeling so lovely. Also, you can pronounce all the ingredients. :)

Baking Soda Scrub/Vinegar toner
Make a paste of baking soda and water and use it as a scrub. It’s super gentle so it gives you the exfoliation you need without stripping the oil/moister from your skin. After the scrub, get a spritzer bottle and mix 1pt apple cider vinegar to 4pt water and use it as a toner…leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing. Good, all natural way to balance your skin’s ph.

Aspirin
Crush a handful of aspirin, as fine as you can, and use a tiny bit of water to make a paste. Dab it on regular acne spots. Aspirin is basically just salicylic acid and it does all the things most acne creams do – without the dry, red irritating bits.

Egg Whites
If you can’t tolerate moisturizers, use an egg white mask. Fantastic.

Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5
My dermatologist prescribed this for me a few years ago. It’s for fine lines and wrinkles but I use it for the very rare cystic acne spot that pops up. If you feel one beneath the skin – this will catch it before it becomes visible. Once or twice a day, no more than two to three consecutive days (otherwise it will dry your skin out terribly.)

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