Monday, April 28, 2014

Feed yo face


This has been a rough year so far, so writing has taken quite a backseat. To be honest, caring for myself took a backseat this winter. But I shan’t go into it here, because this is my drama and stress free zone. To make an untold story short, life is getting much better for me and my family, and I now have a little free time to pamper myself. This pretty much just consists of taking uninterrupted showers that last longer than 2 minutes, drinking an entire cup of coffee whilst it is still hot, working out, and reading a book in silence. After 2 years of homeschooling my son, we all decided it was time for a change, so he now attends school 3 hours a day.  It is the perfect amount of time for him to enjoy some more social time with friends, get in a little extra academics, and give us both some much needed time apart. I love the hell out of that kid, and he loves the hell out of me, but we are so alike that our heads pretty much stay butted.

Moving right on to the entire point of this slightly coherent rambling, the point of this is that I am aging. I know. I know. Despite my almost embarrassing love of young adult novels where children slaughter each other (because reasons) and obsession with celebrity gossip, I am not 22.  I have fought a 20 year battle with acne that is still raging at 36 years old. It started when I was 17, and because of my OCD, I popped every glorious pimple that erupted on my face. Of course I had no idea that the consequence of that sweet release would be permanent pitting and discoloration. When I was in the Army, I had a series of glycolic acid peels, which back then actually felt like someone throwing acid on my face and did nothing but make my face insanely red for days and then peel. Not the best way to blend in like a good little soldier. I gave up. At 20, I finally found a sulfur-based facewash that worked to keep my skin clear, but it was crazy hard to find and expensive for my broke ass. Still, I used it faithfully for years, and my skin was free from breakouts for years. Then I had a baby, and my skin decided it wanted to be disgusting again. So I used Proactiv, which was brutally harsh and tore my face up even more. And all the while, I was slathering on layers of makeup on top of damaged skin that yearned to breathe free.

Then I finally bit the bullet and decided that it’d be worth the credit card debt to be free of these scars, so I endured months of photofacials and microdermabrasions. While it didn’t eliminate the scarring, I finally felt like I could go swimming without makeup on and worry that people were staring at my red cheeks. I found a regiment of Aveeno facewash and Alba oil control lotion and stuck with that for the last two years. It dries the hell out of my face and contains a shit ton of salicylic acid and chemicals I can’t pronounce, and I worried about what all those chemicals are doing to my skin in the long term.

Enter oils. Yeah, it sounds nutballs to intentionally slather oil on your oily skin, but consider me converted. I was inspired to give it a try by the girl who did my facial a few weeks ago, so I did a crazy amount of research on the topic and came up with these two badass sites that go into great detail about which kinds work for each skin type, gives great ratios to try, and guided me through each step.

I have been using this method for a little more than a week, and I have been amazed at how different my skin feels. No more dryness at night, no more disgusting oil slick when I wake up, and my skin tone is more evened than it has been in years. Here’s what I have been using.

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And here’s what I do. If you decide to give this a try, read as much as you can about the different carrier oils and figure out what type of skin you have. I plan to try out a variety of oils in the future, but this is what I’ll stick with for now because I love it like Joanie loves Chachi.

In the morning, I wet my face with warm water and rub on a nickel sized amount of the raw honey for about a minute and rinse off. It smells awesome, and my skin is so smooth and clean feeling afterwards. Then I use the Alba sunscreen – It has natural ingredients without harsh chemicals that sting like a lot of sunscreens seem to do for me. I was using Acure Facial Cleansing Crème with argon oil and mint, but it so drying that my skin was flaking pretty badly, and I needed to spot moisturize with the oil blend. Here’s some great info on raw honey, and why it so kickass.

At night, I slather on my blend of castor oil, sunflower seed oil, and tea tree oil (I mixed 2 tsps castor to 1 tsp sunflower seed with a dash of tea tree oil and keep it in a little glass bottle). Then I followed the instructions from Crunchy Betty. It feels like an at-home facial leaving my skin clean and refreshed. Plus, the oils have no smell at all, and such a tiny amount of tea tree oil is pretty mild smelling, and I dig it. After I’ve scrubbed all the oil and makeup off, I rub on a very tiny amount of tamanu oil while my face is still wet and hot, letting the oil seep into my open pores. Tamanu oil is supposed to be amazing and magical for acne and scarring, so I’m optimistic. It is a pretty decent moisturizer and blends in quickly. IT does have a rather weird smell, but once it’s blended in, it pretty much dissipates. I had my husband sniff my face, and he didn’t vomit, so it’s fine. Since I’ve been using it, my skin is hydrated without being oily in the morning. It did cause a little redness and dryness the first couple of nights, but this morning I woke up to glowing skin. 

Now, the photographic evidence!! I have not allowed my naked face to be viewed by human eyes not married or blood-related to me since 1995. It’s not perfect, but I no longer feel like a beast. I’m being brave and facing a fear, so be kind.

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When I started this routine, my forehead was covered in little breakouts, and I had a huge zit between my eyes. Two days later, it was gone, and I haven’t had a single breakout since. I haven’t needed to blot the oil off as much throughout the day, and my makeup glides on much more smoothly.

I’m still on the hunt for a decent mineral makeup that I like, because my fancy Korean bb cream is now making my eyes sting, which cannot be a good sign. I’m sure it’s chock-full of delicious poison anyway, so I need to stop wearing it. But that is a tale for another day.