Growing up, the biggest skin problem I had was acne. None of my family members ever had any acne issues, so I don’t know what’s going on with me. Even though my acne was never severe, it was obvious enough to be noticed and made my teenage years very self-conscious.
As a teen, I had very little budget to experience acne products. So instead, I’ve tried other ways, such as staying away from fried food, spicy food, stop touching face with my hands. I’d even wash my face in between every class periods (don’t do this), I ate lots of fruits and vegetables and limited my chocolate and coffee consumptions. My lifestyle choices were made with cautions on how it’d affect my skin, but that did not stop acne from breaking outs.
People told me that my skin will clear when turning 20, but it didn’t. My war with acne lasted all the way into work life. The best acne treatments I could find on market in all those years could only temporarily reduced the symptoms but not entirely clear it. Nothing I did can last. Treatments that would work to keep my skin clear, once I stopped using it, my acne would come back. It was not until I finally discover this one particular thing to do — entirely stop consuming anything cold or icy.
Weird right? Who would thought of that…
The story began years ago when one day I noticed a very bad MC cramp. I used to have no menstrual symptoms at all. I could run or ride a horse without feeling any mc discomfort, but one day it just started to hurt. Knowing I don’t have any clinical conditions and unwilling to take any chemical pills, I went to see a Chinese herb doctor. There I was told that I should stop consuming anything cold or icy during mc time or even at all from now on.
His theory, which I found quite interesting, was that before civilization and technology, nature does not offer human icy foods unless you are living in high latitudes. Mammals naturally want to stay warm in winter and there’s no ice in summer, thus rendering ice consumption an entire artificial act. Therefore, it’s against the law of nature and bad for your body. He said our body was like a stress ball, having taken enough harm from the consumption of cold food and beverages for years, it is now wearing off.
So I thought, ok, I’d stop consuming anything that’s below room temperature. In summer, I resisted all the tempting ice bubble teas, ice teas, fruit slush, ice creams, cold beer, and cocktails. I even make sure the fruits I ate were not refrigerated.
Just like that, my mc cramp faded and to my surprise, my acne problem also gone away! There were still some usual blackheads at the T-zone and occasional whiteheads if I didn’t wash my face properly or if I use the wrong skin care. But, there’s no more large pimples or acne that used to break out for no reason.
I carried on that habit until now, and I no longer suffers the acne problem that haunts me since teenage years. No hormone pills, so special supplements, just proper skin care routine and stop consuming anything cold or icy all year round. People who see me with acne were surprised by the obvious change of my skin. The first one or two years I was really strict to carry this habit out, but now even I occasionally let it slide, my acne won’t come back.
With that said, I’d still like to list a few products which I tried over the years and had worked quite effectively. Some of those I still use to treat occasional breakouts.
First is Proactiv®, this is the 1st acne treatment kit I found back in the years that were truly effective. I got the basic 3 bottles set (cleanser, toner, treatment). I think I used total 3 sets of this kit consecutively before I stopped. To my amazement, this actually worked within just a week of usage and my skin was cleared. This kit was very effective but has a downside for drying and thinning my sensitive skin (not sure if it has to do with SoCal’s dry weather or my lack of sunblock knowledge back then). Yet to be fair, its power to clear acne was great and the time I tried it was long ago, which I’m sure they must have improved the formula now since beauty industry is so advanced today.
(Image credit belongs to PROACTIV official website)
Next is Murad’s acne product line. I tried their Clarifying Cleanser, Skin Perfecting Lotion, Acne Spot Treatment, and Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel. Out of all these, the Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel worked the best. It was meant to be applied full-face, but that irritates my skin too much so I only use it as spot treatments. Something I still use occasionally these days.
(Please excuse me for my bottle is a bit old)
I also really like PAIR W Acne Cream. I picked up this spot treatment cream from the drugstore when I visited Japan last year. It’s very popular acne treatment cream and it doesn’t burns and exfoliate your skin like Salicylic Acids or other sulfur ones. It’s a white cream that contains ibuprofen piconol and isopropyl methylphenol. It’s anti-inflammatory and with pH value that’s close to the skin, minimizing allergic reactions. I only bought one tube and mine is almost up with packaging so distorted and hard to tell its original look. The photo below is from their official site.
(image credits to PAIR W Acne Cream official website)
I also want to bring up DHC, another Japanese brand. They have so many products I love, and their DHC Medicated Pimple Spot for Acne Clear is very effective and handy to carry. It has a clear and watery formula that absorbs very well into the skin.
(image credit belongs to DHC website)
For DHC I also must talk about their Acne Whitening Gel. It is one of my must-have product from DHC. It not only reduces acne blemishes, this gel actually whitens my acne scars. This is the only acne related product that I can apply full face without feeling any discomfort. One of the few whitening product that works and at an affordable price. Mine is an older version package, their new package color is baby blue with the exact same formula.
THE BODY SHOP®
Last is The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil. It works very well to reduce spot acne and has such natural minty smell that’s super refreshing. It doesn’t dry up the acne like how the acid does, but it calms the acne inflammation very well. Again, because a little bit goes a long way, my bottle is the old packaging.
So those are the products that worked very well for clearing acne. However, these are more like the SOS emergency treatment I’d use only once in awhile. The fundamentals of a clear skin still require a healthy lifestyle with proper skin cleansing and hydrating routine. For me, my trick was to just stop consuming anything cold and icy. If you can’t resist the temptation of cold beverage sometimes, at least try to avoid them during the menstrual periods and minimize as much intake as possible throughout the year. It is one of the cheapest things to try because it is totally FREE! :3