T-shirt this: Pimples & Zits & Blemishes & Acne.
Tell me a more perfect shirt that describes my very existence at this very moment. Tell. Me. TBH, it’s been an extremely tough season for my skin this summer in New York City. The city’s pollution, mixed with high heat, humidity, and yeah, stress, have not been very kind to my skin – like, at all. We’re talking about multiple blemishes sprouting up in a row, forehead acne on display on my forehead and cystic ones nefariously burying deep into my pores. Was I a hormonal teenager again? Was this my new reality? Could I be a beauty editor with an imperfect complexion?
I decided I needed to take matters into my own feeble, manicured hands. That is, battling acne once and for all. For an entire month I did ~everything~ I could do to prevent any new blemishes from appearing and treat the ones I already had. Throughout a more holistic approach and a wonder product, this is what happened.
I used an acne mask. Even on the subway.
Spot treatments? I’ll swipe left.
Whether it’s benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or even tea tree oil none have been effective at getting rid of my blemishes. But the one thing that I probably was looking over was sulfur. When Sunday Riley (with its cute AF emerald green products like the U.F.O. we reviewed here) sent me their newest product, the Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment mask, I was totally game to try. I mean, I was desperate to get rid of these mother suckers.
The yellow green mask comes in an emerald tube and contains 10% sulfur, 4% niacinamide + 1% zinc with bentonite clay, manuka, tea tree, turmeric and neem. All ingredients that are said to clear acne altogether. Instructions say to place on your face for 20 minutes and wash off or use as an overnight spot treatment. I went above and beyond and actually placed my acne mask on whenever I had the moment. Whether I was walking down to get my coffee, riding the subway from Brooklyn, I was diligent in spooking away my future spouses all the while scaring off my pimples with this beautiful green mask.
And voila! After a day or two, I noticed that my blemishes were smaller, the acne spots were less red, weird ugly bumps were going away and my cystic acne started to die. The best acne mask I’ve used? A hard swipe right.
Get yourself a kale bouquet.
My friend Ann Yee, a designer in NYC, is notorious for insisting we all eat at least one side dish of greens for every single meal. It’s petulant, of course, when you’re sitting down for dinner, minding your own business, salivating over the thought of burgers and fries to find she’s a complete buzzkill and forces a side of spinach. Popeye I am not, Ann! But I now see how it’s been working for her. Her skin is translucent. She’s blemish-free! Pimples be damned.
For an entire month I’ve followed Ann’s lead and found that I was detoxing by eating fresh greens. Greens like spinach are super high in antioxidants and have high levels of Vitamin C, B and E, which allow your skin to get its best natural glow. Detoxing your skin by simply chewing some crunchy kale has allowed my skin to regenerate. After forcing greens into me by any means (except injection) I can conclude that I do see a healthy, natural, even complexion.
Become a Dairy Soy Kween.
News flash: Dairy might be causing you to break out. Yeah, I know, this is devastating news to people like me who pour half and half into their morning cold brews. Huh?
The study suggests that consuming low fat or skim milk can inflame your skin and trigger acne production. Dairy, of course, contains lots of hormones like estrogen and can definitely affect any person drinking it. It also can stimulate production of hormones, which as we know, cause inflammation. It then in turn, causes acne.
Knowing this fact, I completely switched to soy and almond milk and cut out dairy altogether. I even nixed frozen yogurt and ice cream from my diet (trust, it was nearly impossible), opting for coconut ice cream or anything soy. It’s not as satisfying as dairy, of course, but it was well worth it. I found almost immediately after a week, my skin was less red, oily and inflamed.
Clean your skin under every circumstance. Even while eating a hot dog.
Or in my case, have an angel, like my intern, Bella Cacciatore help remind you that your face is filthy. I think a huge reason for my breakouts have been pollution mixed with humidity, which just sticks to your skin completely. For that reason alone, I’ve been taking a good cleanser to work and washing my face once before lunch and once after lunch. If not, I’ll carry around a makeup wipe for these purposes. Bella’s been really good at reminding me of when I need to do something and actually brought these wipes this very day. What will I do without you, Bella?
Become a vampire (or Asian granny)
While my friends have been going to Rockaway Beach all summer long, I’ve been happily trapped indoors dreaming about milky, beautiful, KPOP skin. It’s no secret at all that sun damage is real and I’ve since researched that the sun can actually be helping to break you out. And so, I’ve adopted a huge azz visor that Asian grandmas use on their daily hikes and walks.
While some may have debunked how sun promotes acne, there’s research that says that UV rays can inflame skin. Because the sun is so strong, it can then lead to an overproduction or overgrowth of sebaceous glands. Which makes sense why I’ve been breaking out so much this summer. Hot sun + humidity = oily AF and breakouts galore.
I’ve since been wearing hats a lot more, using physical SPF 50 sunscreen and avoiding the sun like old coworkers from my past. My complexion has never been so … allergic to daytime. My vampire fantasies are finally coming true.
So there you have it folks. My month long saga of doing the most and being extra extra miraculously cured my blemishes. Of course, there’s an angry zit here or there, but God is just. God is fair. And God just told me it’s time to wash my face again so can you please pass the cleanser?
Buy Sunday Riley’s Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment mask here for $55.