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Face Matters

Hi guys! How is your week going? I said this last week but it’s happening again…my week is flying by. I am really busy at work right now and have a ton of teaching commitments this week due to subbing. I’m not complaining though, it’s wonderful!

Shocker…I did not get up for my Tuesday morning ashtanga practice today. I never miss it. I’m not sure what’s going on with my practice right now but I’m needing a step back. I am going with it, not stressing and enjoying running, BodyPump and teaching yoga. Things ebb and flow…I’m just having an off week.

I had some delicious overnight oats for breakfast and came home for lunch.

My mother in law made pimento cheese for us and it’s delicious. She used smokey peppers in place of the pimentos and it adds such a different flavor. I had a banana and carrots on the side.

I had the best snack ever…a healthy candy bar. Seriously, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Larabar is to die for. You must try. If you can’t find them in your area then order them online…or tell me and I’ll send you one! πŸ™‚

I wasn’t scheduled to teach today but got an email this afternoon from a friend and fellow instructor that she was really sick and in need of a sub. I ended up teaching a BodyPump class and it was awesome! I love the Tuesday night class. Always packed and fun!

We had homemade pizza and salad for dinner tonight. Spinach salad with strawberries, feta, dried cranberries and almonds. Honey balsamic vinaigrette.

Pizza was tomato sauce, sundried tomatoes, prosciutto, spinach, portobello mushrooms and mozz on Trader Joe’s whole wheat crust.

And speaking of pizza…I’ve been whining to Brandon all week about my “pizza face.” I want to share this with you guys because I think it’s a very relevant topic to healthy living and it’s something that I’m dealing with that’s havingΒ  pretty significant impact on my life right now.

I am really struggling with my skin. I have been experiencing bad breakouts periodically for the last six months. I 100% know that the cause is hormonal but it doesn’t make it any easier. My face never even broke out like this in high school. I’m to the point where I can’t just deal with it anymore. I have purchased an arsenal of products and am doing a ton of research on remedies. I’d love to find a natural or dietary solution if one is out there.

Do you have advice? I would love to hear what has worked (and not worked) for you.

{ 97 comments… add one }
  • Danielle May 3, 2011, 10:44 pm

    I know dairy has a huge impact on skin…I can’t eat it due to intolerance with my stomach but one of the leading negative effects of dairy are skin irritations/acne! Have you ever tried to cut it out and see if it makes a difference?

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:19 pm

      Danielle – I knew this was something I was going to hear. I have never tried to eliminate dairy from my diet but since receiving a lot of comments like yours, it’s definitely something that I’m going to research.

  • Laura @ LauraLikesDesign May 3, 2011, 10:45 pm

    Acne is super annoying–I always get it in random spurts but have noticed a few things that help:

    1. Wash your makeup off before you work out or when you get home and plan on staying in for the night…the less time you have things sitting on your pores, the better.
    2. Change your pillowcase every other day…your face is on it for 6-8 hours each night and there are oils that are left on it.
    3. ASTRINGENT is my favorite thing ever…I buy the target brand of it since it’s cheaper but seriously it works so well. I wash my face each morning with facewash and then apply astringent to a cotton ball and lightly scrub my face–especially the acne-prone areas.

    Good luck!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:22 pm

      Laura – I always, always wash my face before bed and never sleep in makeup but I don’t usually wash it off before working out so that is a great suggestion.

      Also, the pillowcase is something to consider! We change our sheets every week but I will try swapping out the pillowcase more!

  • Chris May 3, 2011, 10:45 pm

    Your pillowcase can trap a lot of dirt and grease, if you are’t using a satin pillowcase, you might want to switch to one. If you are, you could try putting a clean towel on your pillowcase each night.

  • Mari May 3, 2011, 10:51 pm

    I’ve had the same problems lately especially on my BACK! Yuck, right? I’ve found that tea tree oil works wonders and is a natural alternative to all of the chemical-laden medications out there. I love Desert Essence: http://www.desertessence.com/oils/kinder-skin-australian-tea-tree-oil
    I get mine at local natural food store, but I think it’s available on Amazon. It’s supposed to be great for bug bites, too!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:23 pm

      Mari – I’ve definitely had a few spots on my back too. I have heard great things about tea tree oil so it’s definitely something I will check out.


  • Kelly May 3, 2011, 10:52 pm

    only put stuff on your face that is natural, what you put in your body is just as important as what you put ON. I also use grapeseed oil as my moisturizer at night. I buy a lot of LUSH products, but stick to putting a few things on my face- don’t want to overwelm my skin.

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:24 pm

      great point, kelly! i totally agree with you and that’s why i’m interested in finding a natural solution rather than just piling on a lot of harsh products.

  • Sydney Robyn May 3, 2011, 10:57 pm

    I also have experienced some later-than acceptable skin problems, including chronic bad skin on my chin! I went and bought the proactive cleanser, which I only use in the mornings, subbing in a milder cleanser at night, followed by a gentle cleanser. The biggest difference I find though is if I just don’t touch my face. Which I find nearly impossible when I can see white heads on the horizon, but if I ignore them, that is really the best thing I can do.

    I am in total sympathy and I hope you find some relief!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:26 pm

      Sydney – I also struggle with keeping my hands off of my face throughout the day. I also try really, really hard not to pick at things though due to scarring.

      Thank you for your comment!

  • Sarah J May 3, 2011, 11:22 pm

    I totally sympathize! The acne I’m experiencing in my mid-twenties is so much worse than anything I dealt with in high school. I’ve often heard the same thing about dairy, but I just can’t seem to cut milk/yogurt out of my diet, as I’d expect you’d have a hard time doing! My secret weapon: Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. You can use it as an astringent (stinky!) or drink it like I do (2 tblspoons in water + 1 tbls raw honey for taste). Fair warning, it’s not for everyone.

    I’ve also found that products that combat acne seem to make the situation more irritated when used regularly. The most mild cleansers and moisturizers work best for me. Aveeno is my current favorite, the ultra-calming daily moisturizer is helping a lot.

    Lastly, facials are extraordinarily underrated. Best of luck!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:28 pm

      Sarah – thanks for your comment and ideas. The apple cider vinegar is something I have heard about but not researched so I’ll look into it.

      I agree with you that the strong treatment products are too harsh on my skin to use on a daily basis. I end up with dry, red, peeling skin. I have always done better with gentle cleansers and moisturizers.

      And my esthetician keeps suggesting facials. Need to give it a try! πŸ™‚

  • Trish May 3, 2011, 11:23 pm

    one of my young friends tried proactive and it didn’t work. so mebbe don’t go that route. at 46 I am done with breakouts. old age does have its compensations!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:29 pm

      trish – i am definitely a little hesitant to jump on the proactive bandwagon.

  • Emily May 3, 2011, 11:43 pm

    I had really bad breakouts in high school but then got on Yasmin which cleared my skin right up. I have been off of Yasmin for about 1 year now and am starting to break out again, but I have found that a simple facewash, light facial moisturizer, the the occasional spot treatment (that contains benzoyl peroxide) & drinking lots of water reduces the amount of breakouts I have. I also break out more when I am stressed out :/ But as far as cleansers and topical treatments go, less is more!!!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:31 pm

      emily – i am going through the same thing – experiencing breakouts after stopping BCP. Unfortunately, i’ve been following a similar routine to you and it’s just not working so i’m having to look for new treatments/solutions. i’m super bummed. πŸ™

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate) May 4, 2011, 12:27 am

    It is good you realized you needed to step back on yoga. I often keep pushing myself too hard when I should be resting.

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:32 pm

      i am sometimes very hard headed about listening to my body but for some reason taking a break from my practice is so easy right now. it just feels like the right thing to do.

  • S @ extremebalance.net/blog May 4, 2011, 2:27 am

    Mine was caused by an allergy to fish. Man, fish tacos and I used to be such good friends… πŸ™‚ Best of luck on this one—been there, and it’s no fun!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:33 pm

      oh wow! that’s crazy. life without fish tacos is a little sad but worth if it helps you feel better!

  • Caroline May 4, 2011, 5:58 am

    Alternating uses of Proactive with Skinceuticals exfoliating cleanser works for me. I got the Clairsonic Pro 4 speed skin care system for Easter and it is WELL WORTH the $$. my breakouts are face/upper back depending on the hormone cycle ie birth control

    I also go to bi-monthly acupuncture and my guy says he sees patients with an arsenal of concerns, so whatever stress you’re having in your life could be helped by this too.

    Not sure which is worse: your body is choosing acne as a way to deal with stress, vs. a sports injury to keep you sidelined from the teaching/workouts/yoga practice….that would KILL ME! Good luck.

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:48 pm

      caroline – i really appreciate your comment. first, i have heard really good things about the clarisonic brush but it is an investment. i think it would help me though…especially given how much i sweat and how clogged my pores must be.

      i have also heard really, really good things about accupuncture. i think that is something that could help me in many areas of my life! πŸ™‚

      and you make an excellent point about my body using this as a way to deal with stress.

  • ~Jessica~ May 4, 2011, 6:11 am

    I sympathise a lot: I have terrible skin on my chest/face/arms and even legs, and wish there was something I could do to solve it.

    Stress often plays a huge part in skin condition, and some people find that cutting back on sugar and dairy helps.

    I hope you find a solution but please know that from your pics you can’t see any flaws in your skin at all and you are truly beautiful: I admire your figure and hair so much!


    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:48 pm

      thanks for the encouraging words, jessica. i am overwhelmed by all the comments and so grateful for everyone’s input and ability to sympathize.

  • meghan May 4, 2011, 6:16 am

    I’ve struggled with awful acne since my teens, after every product and medication out there I’ve recently started to see a naturopath. Cutting dairy, nuts and seeds (these are a huge factor) really worked. I’ve also switched to a natural cleanser and eased way up on mosturizer – you’d be suprised how your skin will balance itself out.
    Good Luck!

  • Brooke @ Veggie Table May 4, 2011, 6:38 am

    Hey Jen!
    First of all, the pizza looks delicious – Forrest and I may need a homemade veggie one tonight!
    Secondly, I used to have occasional break outs in highschool and I would wash my face even more because I thought it was “dirty” but I think I was doing more harm than good (more red, more irritated, and I was opening my pores up to more air pollutants / dirty mess). Now, I rinse my face in the morning with water and when I exercise, I always take a towel with me and wipe my face a lot. I just feel like sweat sitting on my face/back for miles and miles can’t be helpful. I’m not sure of your routine or use of make-up but maybe you should try to do without for a few days and let your face “naturally breathe”…just a few thoughts πŸ™‚ Also, my sister wears make up and had a major problem with acne and ProActiv has been her life saver. Oh and drink tons of water!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:50 pm

      haha – we ate pizza last night because i was inspired by another blogger who had a delicious looking pizza on her blog! we’ll keep the chain going! πŸ™‚

      i think that the amount i sweat definitely has an impact on my struggles! thanks for all the suggestions!

  • Lauren May 4, 2011, 6:47 am

    This is not a natural way, but I got a laser treatment on my face and it worked wonders and my face cleared up in 3 weeks and I haven’t had any issues since then (it was 6 months ago). Laser treatments are expensive, but totally worth it in my opinion.

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:51 pm

      lauren – thanks for sharing this. unconventional but very, very interesting!

  • lauren May 4, 2011, 6:56 am

    tea tree oil works wonders!!!! that, combined with murad facewash (from sephora) and a ton of water with lemon keep my skin clear. good luck! i’m sure it’s just a phase. maybe due to the changing seasons?

  • April May 4, 2011, 7:20 am

    I’ve dealt with the same skin issues. I never had skin problems through high school. When I turned 35, everything changed. It’s definitely hormonal for me too. It didn’t matter what I ate and what products I used, there were times of the month when my skin was perfect and there were times I wanted to cry. I guess I am on the upswing now (hopefully at least). I still use great products and eat well and (cross my fingers), my skin has been great for the past 3 months. I know it doesn’t help, but I think it’s a timing thing.

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:53 pm

      april – i have a time of the month where they all hit like crazy and the rest of the month they just kind of pop up here and there. it’s encouraging to hear that your skin is clearing up. keeping my fingers crossed for you!

  • Holly May 4, 2011, 7:23 am

    When I cut out dairy my skin started to look fantastic. I still eat cheese sometimes, but stopped drinking milk completely. I also love Proactive!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 2:54 pm

      i’ve been reading about milk – very interesting stuff and worth considering…although cutting out dairy would be so hard for me πŸ™

  • Becky May 4, 2011, 7:25 am

    I really love your perspective on exercise. It’s so nice to read about someone stepping and back and simply enjoying what feels right each day.

    For years, I’ve struggled with my skin and haven’t found a solid answer to the breakouts. I own tons of products and have seen a dermatologist. My skin is clearest when I use the least amount of a products – gentle cleanser and light moisturizer (Cetaphil) – and very little makeup. It’s an ongoing process to get clear skin. I hope you find some solutions.

  • Lori May 4, 2011, 7:58 am

    I swear by Neutrogena On-The-Spot cream. At first sign of a pimple I put it on and it literally vanishes. I’ve always struggled with breakouts…this is the only answer I have found and soooo thankful for it. I sometimes put a little on if I even think my skin may be getting ready to do something. You should totally try it. its a small inexpensive tube that lasts for months…

  • Courtney May 4, 2011, 8:43 am

    Once I cut out sugar and dairy plus any types of processed chip my face cleared up. I honestly was shocked.

  • Colleen May 4, 2011, 8:57 am

    Not that it’s an easy solution by any means… but like a few others have mentioned, cutting out dairy (as well as any processed foods, which I doubt you eat much of) really helps! I used to have decent skin with the occasional really bad breakout, but since I went vegan about seven months ago there has been a noticeable difference in how clear my skin is. Can’t even remember when I had the last really bad spell!

  • Pure2raw Twins May 4, 2011, 8:57 am

    Sorry to hear about your skin! I have been struggling with skin issues for a few years now and have discussed it many many many times on my blog and know that most of my issues arise from stress and hormones! It sucks haha so I know how you are feeling! I would say just watch what you eat and see if you notice anything. I have been noticing when I eat cashews and/or coconut butter I tend to break out more; and I really watch my sugar which helps too. We have had so many readers email or comment about what works for them but honestly every one is different. I would say just remember you are not alone and try not to stress over them (I still struggle with this as my chin all of a sudden is breaking out like crazy). Hope this helps- hugs!

  • Margaret May 4, 2011, 9:02 am

    go to the dermatologist, it’s usually a quick appointment and they’ll have a remedy. i had adult bacne, something i never had before, and after one visit, my doc got it all cleared up, it was amazing!

  • Jen May 4, 2011, 9:21 am

    Aww Jen πŸ™ I am so sorry about your skin. I’ve had acne my entire adult life and nothing works. I’ve met with so many dermatologists and last year one finally told it to me straight: sometimes no matter how hard you try, you cannot control your hormones. I’m one of the unlucky ones, but I really hope something works for you!

    I’m so glad you’re taking a step back this week. Saying things ebb and flow is one of my favorite sayings. I know you’ll be flowing (haha) with yoga again soon enough!

  • sarah crosby May 4, 2011, 9:24 am

    Ok, I have not tried this personally but 3 friends of mine have and they LOVE it. It’s the oil cleansing method. You can read about it on their blogs or at this link as well




    I have been tempted to try it, so let me know if you do!

  • erin May 4, 2011, 9:27 am

    Goodness, this post is timely. I have shed tears over my skin, especially lately. Never had acne as a teen, and it really only started for me in my early 20s. The birth control pill helped for years, but I went off last summer for a variety of reasons. Since quitting the pill, my skin is going nuts!

    I’ve tried Proactiv, prescriptions, cutting out dairy, multiple natural products, etc. etc., and none of it has worked for me. I really wanted to use a more natural product and had a little luck with Desert Essence’s Blemish Stick. I’m currently using SkinMedica’s Acne Treatment system, which was recommended by my esthetician, and have definitely seen an improvement. Of all the things I’ve tried recently, I’m most impressed with this product line.

    I wish there was one answer, but everyone’s skin is so different. You are not alone, and I totally feel your pain.

  • Cate @ My Running Ambition May 4, 2011, 9:34 am

    I was struggling with that too because just teaching so much and makeup for work, life, all of the above! Same thing too, never ever broke out my whole life until a couple months ago. I use retinal products for winkles {im terrified} but they are great with cell turnover on your face, helping produce good clean skin cells faster. Seriously, wrinkles and acne gone. I use the nutrogena version and now instead of just under my eyes I use it all over, works wonders!

    Another good find, Olay scrubber. Just like the clarasonic mia but $200 cheaper and works the same with any facewash to clean deeper into your pores!

    Hope that helps πŸ™‚ Worked for me!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 3:30 pm

      awesome tips, cate! i will most definitely check out the olay scrubber because i’ve heard such good things about the clarisonic but it’s SO expensive.

  • Liz May 4, 2011, 9:39 am

    what a variety of suggestions you’ve received!

    For me, a combo of witch hazel and tea tree oil astringents has worked, along with a benzoyl peroxide product as a spot treatment.

    I also used to use a weekly mud mask.

    Many others suggested a change in your diet, but if you know for sure that your breakouts are due to hormones, then maybe you only need to make dietary changes for a week or so during the month?

    good luck

  • Erin May 4, 2011, 9:43 am

    Hi Jen! First off, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog for awhile and think this is the first time I’ve commented.

    I am compelled to respond because I assumed the older I get, the fewer skin problems I would have which was wrong (I’m turning 30 this year!). After a lot of research, a majority on the Cosmetic Cop website, I stick with drug store products that include salicylic acid and benzyol peroxide (also the ingredients in more expensive acne treatments). Occasionally I use tea tree oil, but that doesn’t work singularly for me. I recommend browsing the Cosmetic Cop website because she researches the ingredients in products you can find in the drug store to the department store. It’s actually a little bit addicting. As a final resort, because I’m also active and health conscience, I discussed this with my GYN and she put me on a different birth control pill which has also worked wonders. I hope this helps!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 3:25 pm

      erin – thank you so much for the tip about cosmetic cop. i am going to check it out. so far, i have mainly been relying on the types of products that you refer to and i’m nervous to use anything more intense because my skin is prone to drying and peeling.

      unfortunately, i think the cause of my skin problems is going off of birth control and my body trying to deal with the crazy hormonal imbalances that are going on. it goes beyond skin issues!

      • Erin May 5, 2011, 9:55 am

        My pleasure! I understand what you mean, I wanted avoid using prescription treatments because too much to the skin usually results in it going haywire. It’s wild to see what changes in hormones will do to your body! Good luck!

  • Marian May 4, 2011, 9:48 am

    My face soap – sea mud soap by Erno Laszlo – has COMPLETELY changed my skin, 100%. I had terrible breakouts before and now i really only have pimples once or twice a month. it’s pricey, but great, and you can get it from the saks website. it works so much better than the chemical-y products i used to use, which would just dry out my face. this face wash plus moisturizer 2x/day is my only skin regimen – try it!

    p.s. you are beautiful and awesome regardless!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 3:27 pm

      marian – thank you so much for the tip about your face soap. i always love hearing about any products that people are really crazy about. i will check this out as i would love to avoid harsh/chemical-based products.

      and thank you for your sweet comment! it’s hard to feel beautiful when your face is going crazy!!! πŸ™‚

  • Cameron May 4, 2011, 9:57 am


    First time posting, but love your blog! I an a dermatology RN. We usually recommend an OTC skin care wash with benzoyl peroxide 1-2 times a day. If you want to stick with over the counter products you can use a salicylic acid based gel after that. If it is hormonal, more than likely, and unfortunately, correcting your hormones (through either a BCP or spironolactone) is your best best. Dont fall for the expensive skin care products, all of our dermatologists stick with products such as cerave, aveeno, cetaphil. SOmetimes too, when the seasons change, you may either need to go without a moisturizer, or make sure it is an oil-free one. Charlotte is so humid! Have you been using any new sunscreens on your face? I wonder if that could be it…
    Good luck with it, my heart goes out anyone who is having breakouts!

  • Sara May 4, 2011, 10:24 am

    I think a lot of people have already said this, but dairy is definitely a factor. Consider reading “Crazy Sexy Diet” by Kris Carr. She talks about it some in the book. Essentially, we’re really not supposed to be eating/drinking milk from other animals (aside from human milk as babies!) and people can either have major allergic reactions (like lactose intolerance) or they can have smaller ones like acne breakouts, rashes, sinus issues, etc. I haven’t entirely eliminated dairy from my diet, but I’m definitely not eating cheese every day now and I’ve noticed a significant change in my skin.

  • LeeAnn May 4, 2011, 10:37 am

    Once again, I love your blog. I have been going through this issue as well – and I am 43 and have NEVER had skin issues. I went to my dermatologist and got a prescription for Finacea, which seems to keep it contained, but it still has not totally gone away. After reading all of these posts, I may work dairy back out of my diet. Good luck – I totally understand the stress involved – and thank you for raising the issue!

  • Michelle May 4, 2011, 11:38 am

    It’s already been said. Dairy. Avoid it as much as possible. Especially since your problems are hormonal. When I turned 22, my hormones changed just enough that I turned into chronic pizza face for well over a year. It wasn’t until I implemented a trial separation from dairy [about 3 weeks] that I realized that was the culprit. Goodbye cheese and yogurt. It sucks. Sometimes I still cheat, but I make sure it’s worth what might crop up on my face.

  • Krista (kristastes) May 4, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Skin issues are SO frustrating, especially when they arrive out of nowhere. I struggle on and off with breakouts. I am on hormonal bc, but even with that I get breakouts. I used to use physical exfoliants with a very expensive ‘sensitive skin’ gel cleanser, but found that microbeads etc. actually broke out my face more.

    I picked up a very light glycolic daily cleanser from ‘skineffects’ (bought at CVS) – here is my initial post about it http://kristastes.com/2011/03/15/mechanical-vs-chemical-exfoliants-skin-effects-glycolic-cream-cleanser/

    I have been using this every night and moisturize with the regular old Aveeno daily mosturizer and it seems to be working like a charm. If I need to wash my face in the morning, I use Aveeno ultra-calming cream cleanser. Neither of these washes break my sensitive skin out, and the glycolic wash gets rid of dead skin cells effectively. You actually reminded me that I want to do a follow-up post on it.

    Hope this helps and good luck!!!

  • Alaina May 4, 2011, 12:26 pm

    I used to have the worst skin too. I really think the amount of water I’ve been drinking has been helping. I also realized I have very sensitive skin and I’ve been using the Body Shop aloe vera line. I haven’t seriously broken out in months. πŸ™‚

  • Becca May 4, 2011, 1:11 pm

    Are you still reading? πŸ™‚

    I had bad acne as a teen and have had a resurgence since turning 30. Went to the dermatologist and have been taking Doryx, an antibiotic for about a year. It has helped tremendously. I have very mixed feelings about taking it, but honestly nothing else has worked. It’s worth looking into.

    Good luck!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 3:18 pm

      becca – i am SO still reading. completely blown away by the responses and learning from each and every one. i hear you on not wanting to be on a long-term antibiotic but if it’s the only thing that has helped, it’s understandable.

      i used to go to the derm regularly but i’m on a high-deductible insurance plan now so i’m just not wanting to spend the money to go but i think i’m going to have to just suck it up and go! πŸ™

      • Becca May 5, 2011, 2:45 pm

        Good luck with whatever you decide! I feel so stupid when my face is broken out. I mean, I’m 31 years old, isn’t acne supposed to be over by now?

        I meant to say in my first post that I have been off the antibiotic for about 2 weeks now, and my skin seems okay. I’m hoping that taking the Doryx for about a year did the trick, and I can just use topical products from now on. I really hate taking any sort of medication (Advil, the pill, you name it), so my fingers are crossed! Thought it would be worth mentioning to you in case you go this route, since maybe it’s not a “forever” thing you’d have to do.

  • natalie May 4, 2011, 2:43 pm

    zero advice from me, because my skin SUCKS

    can I make a request for the pimiento cheese recipe?!!! πŸ™‚

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 3:04 pm

      i’ll see if my mother in law has it written down!

  • Kira May 4, 2011, 2:46 pm

    My skin has been bad lately too. Usually it’s under control, but I think stress + changing seasons has done a number on it. I’ve found that what works for me is washing with Cetaphil twice a day, applying an oil-free moisturizer in the morning, and using benzoyl peroxide on any spots that pop up. I tried Proactiv, and it dried out my face like crazy. Hope you find something that works!

  • Miriam May 4, 2011, 3:10 pm

    Hi Jen, sorry for the frustration! Have you changed your birth control lately? If you’ve stopped it you may notice an increase in breakouts.

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 3:13 pm

      miriam – yes, i stopped taking the pill about six months ago and have struggled ever since. really wanting to find a way to control my skin without the help of hormonal birth control. i would like to think it’s possible since i didn’t even have bad skin in high school! so frustrating!

  • Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) May 4, 2011, 3:11 pm

    Argh bad skin sucks!! I used to get it pretty bad, and saw the doctor about it. He called it ‘Runner’s Acne’, and advised me to start washing my face straight after runs/workouts, and it’s really helped me! And I echo the other commenters with the natural products too! πŸ™‚

    P.S. I’ve actually always thought that your skin looks GREAT!! Seriously, in every picture it looks so clear!!

  • ErikaMC May 4, 2011, 3:23 pm

    Aside from dietary changes (which you’ll just have to figure out by trying) I really noticed a big change in my skin when I used MD Forte. I got it through my derm but you can order it online. The price seems a little high but the stuff lasts a long time and works great.

  • Rachel May 4, 2011, 3:28 pm

    I had this same problem last year. I think it was a number of things- warmer weather so I’d sweat in my makeup, working out often, having bangs. Even though I’d wash my face morning, after workouts and at night it was still pretty bad. I got proactiv (believe me I held out for a long time) and it really worked. I think the key is some kind of moisturizer with acne medication that stays on your face all day. Hope it clears up soon!

  • Catie May 4, 2011, 3:35 pm

    You have my complete sympathies with the breakouts. I had mild acne as a teen but my face decided to really rebel in my mid-twenties. I finally had to go the accutane route after a few years of trying everything from the natural tea tree oil/oil cleansing to awful antibiotics. Definitely not the way I hoped it would go, but I’m so glad I did it now. All I use are cetaphil and cerave now. Regardless of age, acne is no fun! You are beautiful inside and out and your blog is such a bright spot on the web!

  • Jilli May 4, 2011, 3:43 pm

    Hey girl!

    Long time reader / first time commenter bc I really feel you on this one! I used to break out pretty regularly and have awful redness afterwards, until I discovered this little life saving combo.

    Magic E-lemon-ader
    1 egg white
    Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
    Blend together until frothy (I whirr it in my lil’ magic bullet)
    Put on affected area for at least 30 minutes twice per week

    The facial makes your face SUPER tight while you have it on so get ready for a temporary Joan Rivers makeover! πŸ˜‰ But, the results are almost immediate so it’s totally worth it. And my husband finds it very entertaining haha.

    Good luck!

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 4:09 pm

      first, so good to hear from you! thanks for the comment! πŸ™‚

      regarding the suggestion, this is super interesting. i’ll try anything once. thanks jill!

  • Katy May 4, 2011, 3:47 pm

    Hey Jen!

    I just wanted to comment and let you know that I think you are BEAUTIFUL! Every time you post a picture, I am so incredibly jealous of your skin! It never looks “broken out” or ashy or dry; AND you have a great color — olive tan (even in those winter pictures) — that I would KILL to have :).

    Anyways, I have no particular words of wisdom for you but I just wanted to let you know that you may see yourself differently than others — like me, who would trade skin with you any day :).

    • Jen May 4, 2011, 3:50 pm

      katy – thank you so much for your incredibly sweet comment. i know that we are always more critical of ourselves than anyone else and i try to put it into perspective and just get over it. recently though i’ve just had some really intense breakouts that have made me feel embarrassed – which i hate.

      i think i’ll be brave and give you guys a no makeup shot tonight. get ready!

      again, thank you so much! you are awesome!

  • Ally (oatsandspice) May 4, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I feel your pain – my skin has been awfulllll lately – I have no idea why because I eat really healthy and take good care of my skin! ARGHHH – veryyy frustrating! Let me know if you get any good tips from your followers πŸ™‚ I would love to hear them!

    The pizza looks awesome by the way! Have a great day girly!

  • jennifer May 4, 2011, 4:18 pm

    i feel your pain! i had a horrible hormonal outbreak when i turned 30. it was worse than high school and i eventually had to see a derm. about it. oil of olay makes a much cheaper version($29.99) of the clarisonic and it works wonders! i only use it at night b/c it’s too much on your skin twice a day. i also use the neutrogena anti wrinkle/anti acne face wash, kiehl’s ultra facial toner, and cerave moisturizer(recommended by derm.) which you can by at any drugstore, and it works really well w/o breaking me out. i still get the occasional break out on back and chest, but use the neutrogena body acne spray every other day and it works well too. good luck! i know how frustrating dealing with adult acne can be. it sucks!

  • Julie May 4, 2011, 4:39 pm

    I’m in my late 30s and started having terrible skin problems for many months, especially my forehead. Tried everything and nothing worked. I knew mine was hormonal related. It had NOTHING to do with food. Don’t give up dairy until you try this. I came upon this site on the internet and followed this regime (except I didn’t use as much as he said because I have very sensitive skin). Now my skin is clear!
    Hope it helps

  • Raffi May 4, 2011, 5:04 pm

    I’ve been told by my doctor that if you’re not going the natural route then Salicylic acid is better than benzoyl peroxide. And don’t overwash. once after a workout per day is probably all you need.

    We usually use the Clean and Clear blackhead eraser in the dark purple bottle (http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-lh4HN7iC3K4/TV6w3h1t7iI/AAAAAAAABNM/SeGBugtNM0A/s320/clean-clear-blackhead-clearing-scrub-salicylic-acid-acne-medication.jpg) but last time I bought the Walgreens knock off and was happy with that. http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/walgreens-blackhead-clearing-scrub/ID=prod5848966-product

    My cousin used Proactive in high school. She said it cleared her skin up for about a year, and then it had no affect, like she became “immune” to it.

    By eliminating dairy, you might see a change in 4-5 days. It’s probably worth it to try it for a week… you might also consult an allergist. I’m allergic to tea so I can’t use ANY of those cleansers with white tea or green tea. I get flushed and feverish!

  • Jenn May 4, 2011, 5:46 pm

    Hi Jen,

    I was dealt a pretty bad set of skin cards, if you will. I had terrible acne in high school and was on every topical and oral antibiotic under the sun. I even went on accutane, which finally cleared up my cystic acne. Everything was great until about a year ago, when I stared getting the dreaded ‘hormonal acne’ around my mouth and chin. Even with the arsenal of knowledge I had from my previous experience I could not get it under control. I too was looking for answers into what I may be eating, etc. and there are no scientific studies that prove dairy or soy cause or prevent breakouts. It’s all up to your body and what type of hormones it is producing. I produce too much Androgen, therefore that causes an imbalance and creates breakouts. So…go see a dermatologist! Absolutely make the dietary changes you see fit, whether it be hormone free dairy/meats and/or organic soy, but seeing a dermatologist will get you on the right track. Remember, it always gets worse before it gets better! Be direct and upfront with your doctor, too. Best of luck and keep up the great work here on peanut butter runner!!

  • LM May 4, 2011, 5:47 pm

    I agree with Marian and most others so much! I began using the sea mud bar after I’d been told I was overworking my skin with Proactiv. I don’t use it anymore, but I understand the concept of less is more and gentle is kinder (for my skin). Now I use the Alba Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser and Avalon Organics Vitamin C oil-free moisturizer. (links below and I did NOT pay that much for the avalon product! Got them both at Publix)

    Once I quit drinking milk and eating a lot of yogurt (I can’t give up cheese!), between being gentler and cutting my dairy intake, my skin hasn’t ever been as good as it is now. I’ve also found making sure to take complete rest days when working out (my body does best with 2 a week, but I sometimes ignore it and just take 1!) has helped SO much, too! Rest + gentle products = happy skin for me.

    I hope you find what fits you best soon! Upset skin is no fun!



  • Mixed martial arts los angeles May 4, 2011, 7:20 pm

    The picture of the pizza is making my mouth water. I have the same problem that you have been having. I never suffer from “pizza face,” but this year it’s been an all-out warfare. I don’t know if it’s my hormones or what, but don’t you wish there was a fix it button?

  • Megan@eatmybeets May 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

    This post totally hit home with me. 1 – I am so busy right now that I feel like I have a neverending to do list that gets hardly any progress made on it. (It’s been almost a week since I posted on my blog) and 2 – My face never seems to fully clear up anymore!! It’s so annoying- ever since college started I break out on my cheeks.
    If you find anything that helps, please send the advice on my way.

  • Holly @ Rust Belt Runner May 4, 2011, 8:03 pm

    Drink a lot of water.

    Also, could it be the makeup you are using? I just switched to Bare Minerals and my skin is loving it!

  • Jackie @ Baking Charms May 4, 2011, 9:00 pm

    Wow this is a hot topic Jen… makes me feel less alone though, for sure. I’ve had skin problems all my life and have tried every product – expensive, drugstore, infomercial, prescription. Sulfur based products are the only thing that ever helped!

    Also, make sure your nighttime moisturizer doesn’t have SPF in it!

  • Pamela May 4, 2011, 9:39 pm

    Hey Jen, I can completely sympathize with what you’re going through. Although I always had pimples as a teenager, I started breaking out pretty badly in my twenties. I tried every over the counter facewash, lotion, astringent, etc. on the market, but they actually only seemed to make matters worse. Not only that, I probably spent a fortune! I finally went to a dermatologist and I’m not even being dramatic here when I say that the derm changed my life. After receiving a prescription, my face cleared up and my confidence went through the roof. Not only that, but what she prescribed is also good for anti-aging πŸ˜‰ My face has been clear for years now and I often get compliments on how nice my skin is. I totally recommend that you see a professional, even if it is just for a consultation. Good luck!

  • Caitlin May 4, 2011, 10:04 pm

    I can totally sympathize! Your skin always looks so gorgeous and glowing in pictures, in a way it’s nice to know you have normal skin too! I have struggled with terrible skin problems all my life, and even went on accutane. Since the accutane my acne REsurfaced, and I have been on a strict glycolic acid toner routine – I dab it on a cotton ball and use it at least twice a day (once when I wake up, and once after I’ve washed my face before bed). I can honestly say that after being on accutane and trying everything from Proactiv to prescription medicines, using a glycolic acid toner twice a day has been my saving grace.

  • Stefanie May 4, 2011, 10:53 pm

    “clindamycin” comes as a topical solution, gel, & lotion and simply destroys the bacteria that is deep in your skin no matter what the cause. It works for a lot of people but isnt as common or as well known because you have to get it through certain derm’s. I was having hormonal jawline breakouts for half a year & started using the topical solution about 2 weeks ago and the breakouts I had for months are finally budging & clearing up! Highly reccommend.

  • lindsay cotter May 5, 2011, 9:59 pm

    I actually heard that seasonal allergies can affect that with humidity and charlotte is one of the highest levels of allergies. I think you are gorgeous, skin and all, but maybe seasonal allergies remedies would work?

  • Amanda P July 25, 2011, 11:22 am

    Hi. So glad to see others are having the same problems as me! I never heard about the “cut out diary” idea, but I’m interested. –>Question though, how do you supplement the lack of calcium? Aside from taking a vitamin. I LOVE cheese, milk, yogurt. Never knew it could be the cause of the problem!

    Also, I’ve found that using an exfoiating wash PLUS an astringent with a light moisturizer is the best facewash combo. I’m now wondering if cutting back the diary will be the final piece of the puzzle?!

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