There are many unanswered questions that come to mind from time to time. What is the universe expanding into? How is Jennifer Lopez aging backwards? And WHY do I have acne at 30?
I had luck as a teen in the field of skin. At 13 and 14, I WANTED acne. I know that sounds insane but I wanted to wear pimples like a badge of puberty, show everyone I was growing up and becoming a “woman.” I made my mom buy a zit cream that went unused because the hormonal bumps never came, the way you buy a bra before there’s even the smallest sign of a growing need for one.
Today I’m almost certainly an adult and I know now why they say “be careful what you wish for.” I was sure I had dodged it but late into my twenties I started seeing blackheads, whiteheads, big under the skin ones, all kinds of imperfections that I thought were reserved for teens who had nothing better to worry about.
I’ve tried many things in between compulsively reading the New York Times, signing petitions, and cooking Blue Apron. I developed a habit for deep cleansing masks and spot treatments, only to find out from the skin pros that you can’t use those too much when you’re 30 because it will dry out your skin and risk speeding up the appearance of lines. I went to sleep almost every night looking like a polka dot and it didn’t work that well anyway.
I then got on a strict facial regimen, deciding to make taking care of my skin a budgeting priority. Leave it to the pros! Get a facial every (other) month! Most of the facial is spent squeezing things out of my pores, extraction time as Gabriela calls it. It really does work but it’s also given me one of my most destructive habits, squeezing my own pores. If Gabriela does it, it must be good, so I can just do it myself in between facials right? Wrong. You probably already know that attacking your face in the mirror is a terrible idea. I even saw a dermatologist who gave me a prescription spot treatment. It’s a band aid, and though it works to get rid of pimples, it doesn’t address the obvious imbalance that causes them.
Finally, I took the best step in the fight against adult acne that I had taken so far and it’s so obvious – Use less. Less products, less cleanser and as contradictory as it may seem, more natural oils. Yes, oil fights oil and that is probably the best skin lesson I learned this year. Adult acne, according to my research, is partly hormonal sure but also caused by the combination of dirt and dryness, and skin producing extra oil to make up for said dryness. Oils are key and so is the word “natural.” I stay on a very strict and very minimal all natural regimen — a cleansing oil, a hydrating oil and no attempts at covering up with thick heavy foundations. I have to let my skin do its thing, and it will and does reward me by not completely freaking out and breaking out, thus allowing me to be one step closer to being one of those girls with super glowy perfect skin.