I’ve always struggled with my skin, some times worse than others, but I never took care of it until I got older. My main problem has been acne, and the scars from the leftovers. My skin is also very dry and sensitive. I also had pityrosporum folliculitis, which I diagnosed and cured myself. That’s been a pretty popular topic on my instagram, and I can make a separate post about it if anyone is interested. Let me know in the comments if that’s something you’d like to see.

I’ve tried all types of skincare, from harsh charcoal scrubs to Clinique bar soap and cold cream over the years. And once I found a routine that worked for me, my skin went through this weird second puberty that no one tells you about, and I had to figure it out all over again.

I love skincare. I try new things out all the time, but these are my tried and tested favorites that work for my skin. Bonus: they’re all vegan and cruelty free, so they’re good for the environment, the animals, and you. I’ll have all my favorites linked below.

 

1. salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a product I never had much use for when I was younger. I’d tried various spot treatments which used this as a main ingredient and it never seemed to do much. I moved onto benzoyl peroxide, which is a bit harsher, and would use this all over my face. All that really did was dry my skin out.

Salicylic acid is a BHA, which means that it works beneath the surface layers of the skin. Not only does it help prevent breakouts before they start by cleaning out pores, it also helps me even with my hormonal acne, and fades dark marks and scars they leave behind. It’s also good for fine lines and wrinkles. I do have some laugh lines starting around my mouth and eyes, and I’ve noticed them decreasing since I started using salicylic acid. I never go a day without it. It can be a little harsh at first, so give your skin some time to get used to it by using it once a day or once every other day at first. It’s also extra important to use an SPF when using any acids on your face- but you should be wearing SPF every day, anyway.

My pick: Paula’s Choice Salicylic Acid

2. aloe vera

I don’t mean the green gel stuff- it actually contains alcohol! No wonder it hurts when you put it on sunburn. I mean the stuff straight from the plant. Real, natural, organic, aloe vera. Now, I don’t have an aloe plant- I order mine off Amazon, but it doesn’t have any additives and works better than anything else I’ve tried.

I use this every single day, morning and night, after serums and before moisturizer. It sinks right into your skin and leaves no residue, so it’s fine to wear under makeup. On the days that my skin is frustrated, dry, and breaking out, I’ll wash my face and apply layer after layer of this and either go about my day pottering around the house, or I’ll go to bed. In the morning I’ll wake up and my skin is soothed and refreshed, and a lot less red.

It’s also amazing on sunburn, and great for pets with dry coats or sore paws. Sometimes my husband gets really dry, flaky skin around his forehead and nose, so I’ll put it on him before bed and when he wakes up, it’s all gone. This stuff is a miracle.

My pick: Amara Organics Aloe Vera Gel

3. steam facials

I stole this from Audrey Hepburn. Literally all you do is boil some water, pour it in a bowl, and lean over it with a towel over your head to hold the steam in. That’s it. They use steam like this at spas in expensive facials, and you can buy the machines they use online, but a kettle, a bowl, and a towel work just fine. I try to do this for about 5 or 10 minutes a couple of times a week. It opens up your pores, so it’s great to do it before applying your skincare so that you get the most out of your products. I truly notice a difference in the clarity of my skin when I do this regularly, and if it’s good enough for Audrey, it’s good enough for me.

 

4. clay masks

There are a ton of clay masks on the market, and they all do basically the same thing- pull the gunk out of your pores. When my skin is feeling congested and textured, I’ll use a scrub and then go in with a clay mask at night. You don’t want to leave it on too long- once it dries out, take it off with a warm cloth, or else it’ll start to pull the good stuff out of your skin too, like your natural oils. I’ll follow this up with a moisturizing mask if I’m feeling fancy, a ton of aloe vera, or else I’ll just put on my night time skin care and go to bed. The next morning my skin is smooth and clearing up.

Note: as clay masks work by pulling things out of your pores, you may experience break outs after using them as dirt is pulled to the surface, so I wouldn’t use one of these masks the day before a big event, for instance.

My picks: Shea Moisture Radiance Mask and Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

5. moisturizer

Yeah, I know, this one is basic. Everyone knows this already. But I hear from so many people with oily skin that they don’t need to moisturize. The thing is, your skin will over produce oil if you don’t moisturize, especially if you’re using other skincare and makeup that’s mattifying, so you could be making your oil problem worse inadvertently. Gel and water-based moisturizers are great for oily skin.

People with dry skin, like me, need moisturizer to avoid looking like papier-mâché versions of ourselves. A great tip though, regardless of your skin type, is to use a separate day and night formula. Night moisturizers can be thicker and include oils and other beautiful ingredients that can soak in overnight and leave you with healthy skin in the morning. It doesn’t matter if they leave you shiny, because you’re not going anywhere but bed. Day moisturizers are lighter, and can contain smoothing or pore filling ingredients to help your makeup look even better. It’s all about finding what works best for you.

My pick: Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Moisturizer

I hope this has been helpful, and please let me know if you have any questions! Meet you in the comments!

Check out my Top 5 Supplements here.

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