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Fight Breakouts Naturally!

Here’s my theory – if we have to deal with wrinkles, shouldn’t we be done with pimples? I mean really – isn’t one of those enough? Sadly, however, breakouts are a fact of life at ALL ages.  Like it or not. But we don’t have to sit back and take it, right? Here are the Garden Girl natural skin care tips for keeping skin clear – without using harsh chemicals or expensive “seen on TV”, celebrity-endorsed systems.

The best defense is a good offense. Heard that before? Well it actually applies here pretty nicely – a good daily skincare regimen will do wonders for keeping you clear from breakouts.  Our recommended system includes 3 daily steps plus another you do 1x to 3x per week. We recommend washing morning and evening, but if you can only do it once a day, then definitely pick evening. Why? Because you don’t want to go to bed and leave icky junk on your face for those extra hours. In the morning you can just skip straight to the toner step! (And as always – look for natural skin care products that are paraben-free, sulfate-free, petroleum-free and phthalate-free for best results)

  1. Wash using a sulfate-free, paraben-free face wash with either Tea Tree Oil or Glycolic Acid.  This will clear out pores and remove irritating oil, grease and other environmental elements your skin is exposed to each day.
  2. Tone with a revitalizing and cleansing toner that will leave your skin fresh and primed for your moisturizer. For oily skin, you’ll want to look for a toner that acts like an astringent as well – such as one with amazing witch hazel. Toner is an often overlooked step that is vital for keeping skin clear. It not only removes the last traces of makeup but it also clears out pores which helps them to close back up and shrink back down. Clear pores obviously means less of a chance for breakouts. And the toner prepares your skin by balancing its pH so that it will maximize the effects of the moisturizer. After you cleanse your skin, the pH naturally gets altered so if you cleanse and then immediately moisturize your skin won’t take that moisture in as effectively. 
    • As a side note, toner can make a great “pick me up” on hot summer days. A quick spritz can cool off your face without ruining your make-up. As a matter of fact, it even works great to set mineral make-up. For added “ahhhh” store one in the fridge.
  3. Moisturize using a face cream that yes, even has some oils in it. I know, if you have oily skin the word “moisturizer” can make you a little, um, anxious. So you tend to avoid it like the plague, right? Well, fear not, because here’s the thing: if you don’t moisturize your skin properly your skin will actually start to think that it isn’t producing enough oil. Uh oh. Because that means that it will start to overproduce oils. And that is where you can get additional breakouts. So yes – embrace your moisturizer – just find one that doesn’t irritate your skin.
    • Look for one with a high concentration of hyaluronic acid which is a humectant which means it draws moisture in and traps it in the skin. It works best in combination with other emollients so provides balanced moisture and hydration. Another great ingredient to look for is Zinc PCA which can naturally help to keep skin clear.
    • Alternatively, a moisturizer with Alpha Hydroxy Acids can help to get rid of dead skin cells which in turn keeps pores unclogged and skin smooth. And I know this may seem obvious, but choose one for faces. Don’t use a body moisturizer on your face as it can be too heavy and too harsh for your more sensitive facial skin.
  4. Exfoliate one to three times each week. If you have sensitive skin, stick to once per week, but if it is normal to oily and not sensitive, then you should be able to handle 2-3 times per week. Exfoliating is a very key step. This is where you can really see a difference. Not only will your skin look smoother, with fewer lines and wrinkles, faded/fewer age spots and acne scars (yea!) but it will keep your pores clearer and your skin less hospitable to pimples and breakouts. Nice, huh? It’s really an amazing tool – but it has to be used correctly.
    • First and foremost – exfoliating exposes “newer” skin so your skin is highly susceptible to sun damage after any exfoliation. Be very diligent about using sunscreen that day and the next day (well really, you should be wearing it every day anyway…). The other is that it can irritate skin if it is overdone or done too harshly.There are 2 types of exfoliators – chemical (by that we mean anything from harsh chemicals to natural “chemicals” like fruit acid) and physical (anything with scrubbing pieces in it – microderm crystals, crushed dried fruit pits or beans, plastic beads  etc.). Seek natural choices, but ones that are also safe for your skin. Crushed fruit pits (think apricot scrubs etc) or similar things can be very rough on skin causing micro-tears that can damage skin. And plastic beads? Just plain bad – especially for the environment as those things go right down your drain and into the water system.
    • Both physical and chemical systems basically do the same thing – they remove the dead skin cells and smooth skin. But a physical exfoliant is something that you scrub on your face (in a gentle, circular motion), while a chemical product is something that you put on your skin and leave on, as it does the work for you. Both are great choices – it’s just up to you how you’d prefer to do it. And if you are really struggling with breakouts, the chemical peels can be a better option as depending on the product, it can be a bit stronger and more effective.
    • For example, for a chemical system you can look for a fruit acid gel (one that has AHAs like glycolic, lactic,  and pyruvic acids) and that is “unbuffered” which means it is faster acting and more effective than most fruit acid peels you will find for home use – yet it is still safe for non-professional use. (Typically you will find “buffered” peels which are somewhat less effective.) If you’re interested in the physical exfoliator, then opt for a product that has natural micro crystals (the same ones used by dermatologists for their microdermabrasion treatments). And again, avoid any products with crushed seeds or similar as those have jagged edges that can cause microtears to your skin.
  5. Fight a pimple naturally. Sometimes you just can’t avoid it, no matter how well you stick to a good skin care system, once in a while a little “spot” pops up. Don’t panic! Here’s what we recommend – and it really works! Tea Tree Oil. But be careful when you use it – it shouldn’t be used at full strength on your skin. What we suggest is to dip a Qtip into the bottle of Tea Tree Oil and dampen the tip with the oil. Then run that Qtip under a trickle of water just enough to dilute it a bit. You’ll be amazed at how strong it still is! Then dab the Qtip on your pimple. Do this after you have washed and toned but before the moisturizer. Do it morning and evening. Usually after the first 1 or 2 treatments the pimple will start to disappear. You can find Tea Tree Oil online or at Trader Joe’s (it’s the cheapest there) if you have one near you. Tea Tree Oil is a great thing to have on hand.

And one last but important thing, in this day and age when we are attached to our phones, it is vital to keep the phone clean (wipe it with a cotton ball dampeded with rubbing alcohol) and keep your hands away from your face. The number of germs and bacteria transferred these two ways can easily ruin all of your cleansing/skin care efforts.

So that’s it. This system will work incredibly well for most people – even those that have done the whole dermatologist thing. Save yourself some trips to the doctor’s office and try this instead. You just might be amazed at the results!