How I Manage Acne (without going to war with my skin)

managing acneAcne is the destroyer of souls, the devil in blemish form, and quite possibly a manifestation of original evil. I’ve basically been fighting off zits (with varying degrees of success) ever since the great spooky awkwardness of puberty, so I thought I’d share some of the ways I keep my acne at a manageable level.

less is more

When I first got slammed with acne, I had absolutely no idea how to handle anything to do with beauty because I was a middle schooler who thought that makeup belonged to the mean girls. When ignoring my zits didn’t magically make them go away, I went in the opposite direction: I bought some concealer (would 100% use time travel to go tell myself not to bother with stick concealer) and put every ounce of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide that I could get ahold of onto my face.

When my face dried out, it responded by giving me more zits. I was devastated, so naturally I continued this shenanigan until I graduated high school. I used the same counterproductive products for three years, so take a second to learn from my mistakes and don’t be afraid to change your skincare routine if it’s not working for you. 

After I finally got around to not being a total dingus about skincare, I went and asked the person with some of the best skin I’ve ever seen what she washed her face with, and she recommended the St. Ives blackhead clearing scrub which I tried and loved and realized worked for me for one reason: even though it’s an acne scrub, it’s not too strong. Keep this in mind when you’re trying to figure out what you should use. Having a lot of zits does not mean you need the strongest facewash possible. Drying the fuck out of your skin, even if you moisturize after, can still be irritating, and the same goes with exfoliation. I would definitely recommend starting with a gentler facewash, and then work up to a harsher one if you need to.

hormones, M.D.

Hormonal birth control is definitely not for everyone, but if it works for you it can really, really work. A lot of people who menstruate experience breakouts that are linked to their cycle. I currently take birth control for the sole purpose of managing PMS, which for me includes headaches and an increase in acne. If you decide to go this route, be very clear with your doctor that you want a prescription that will help you manage acne — some brands of birth control are actually designed to help, while some have it as a side effect.

If you’ve tried over the counter face wash and haven’t had any luck, it’s also worth considering a dermatologist, if it’s available to you. It can seem embarrassing, but in my opinion getting over that fear is worth it to get rid of painful acne.

stop fucking touching your face + dealing with scars

Listen — I’m the queen of popping my zits, even though I know I’m not supposed to. I’ve kind of accepted that it’s gonna happen, because I get totally obsessed with a zit when I have one until I just have to. It’s bad and gross, shame me in the comments or whatever, but it’s unlikely to change.

That being said, there’s a couple of big things I try to do to keep my hands off my face in order to reduce my acne:

  • Keep your phone screen away from your face.
  • Be conscious of whether or not you lean on your hand, because the dirt/oils/whatever on your hands can cause acne if you do it. A friend of mine, for example, leans on her hand in lecture/when she’s studying and tends to get zits on that side of her face.
  • Try to avoid popping zits, but if you must, wait as long as possible. I play a game with myself where I tell myself I just need to wait until tomorrow, and then try to push it off another day, and then another twelve hours, etc. Even though I eventually give in, it seems like the longer I leave it alone, the less scarring I get after.

Since I have this totally gross habit of popping pimples, I’ve also been blessed with quite a few scars on my cute lil face, reminding me of past zits. I primarily deal with this by using moisturizer that I think is actually supposed to be an antiaging product — I use the Walgreens generic brand, which is nice and light and actually makes my skin feel less oily than some specifically-for-acne moisturizers. That, as well as time, has faded my acne scars enough so that bb cream pretty much covers them.



Sleep will help heal zits that you’ve already got.

Sleep will help prevent you from getting zits.

Sleep will make you less stressed and therefore prevent zits even more.

Fucking tuck yourself into bed and go to sleep because it’s so unbelievably good for you so just do it already.





Tell me about your acne in the comments and whatnot.


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