Simple face routine to help get rid of acne

by purelytwins

hello friends!

thank you all so much for the sweet comments on our issues of getting rid of acne for good. we are always blown away by the support we get from our readers!! THANK YOU!

we are going to share some pictures of our face (skin) and what we are doing now to help get rid of acne through our face routine.

but before we get into all that we wanted to mention that everyone gets acne for different reasons. that there are different types of acne. so you need to understand your own body and make the call on what type of acne you have. now you might be thinking, ” how do I do that”?

we thought the same thing. there are moments when we think our acne breakouts are just hormonal issues due from us dealing with imbalanced hormones. which we still feel our first MAJOR face breakout over two years ago was due from going off the pill. but now we are getting more deep cystic acne that makes us question everything all over again. we will share more on this topic soon.

like we have said we have read so many articles and books on skin and acne. now we are getting down to a few ideas of what might be causing our acne flare-ups.

*side note – Michelle did not take any pictures of her skin when she was at her worst, as it was too hard for her. Lori is much stronger in sharing in hers! thanks for stepping up sis

also please keep in mind we are human. we have feelings, so please no harsh judgement here. these pictures were extremely hard for us to post. but we wanted to share are struggles with acne and show others you are not alone!!

back in September/October time of last year I, Lori, got a really bad flare up that caused my face to be all red along with cystic acne. as you can see in the pictures below. this was an extremely tough time for me. I got really depressed again and cried every night. thinking to myself why is this happening to me? what am I doing wrong?

again these two pictures were taken back in Oct, around my worst!

 

it was then that I took a deep look at my diet and lifestyle and made some changes.  will share more on that in another post.

here is a my skin a few weeks after above pictures in early November.

some improvement! but not healed.

 

now here are pictures of us that we took yesterday after our video (we do have a little make-up on due to making the video)

going back to face routine that Michelle and I do now for our skin and it has been working!

in the video from yesterday we use the Body Deli products along with jojoba oil. and for me lately these past two weeks I have been using neem oil at night along with my cucumber moisturizer. at first my face broke out a little more when I added the neem oil back into my face routine, but now I can say I just have a few pimples and acne scars left to go away. (remember when you do something new to your face it can cause more breakouts but in a way this is good as it brings out toxins)

small improvements, but feel like I am heading in the right direction.

we know that many people are afraid of using oils on their face. especially when they think they have oily skin. well we have oily skin too! and the oils have been a blessing for our skin!!!  use natural, organic, cold pressed oils on face. play around with what oils you find your face likes the best and keep with it.

we love jojoba oil the best followed by neem oil, coconut oil, and castor oil.

Twins Night Time Face Routine to help get rid of acne:

  • make sure have clean hands.
  • splash face a few times with luke warm water.
  • put about a dime size amount of jojoba oil for face cleanser. gently rub face all over in circular motions for almost 2 minutes. splash face again with water to get cleanser off.
  • lightly pat face with clean towel.
  • *if we had make-up on, we do our apple cider vinegar on face.  then place some aloe vera juice on a cotton pad and rub all over face. (since Michelle is not as inflamed as me she does not do aloe on face)
  • then put a small amount of more jojoba oil and neem oil. rub again gently over face.
  • place a clean towel on pillow and go to sleep.

Upon waking we either rinse face with a few splashes of water or do nothing. And that is it.

we try to keep it really simple, gentle, and natural. and we only like to wash our face at night. we feel when we wash it again in the morning it is too much and makes our face worse.

we still have a lot to learn about our face. and we still have a lot to share with all of you about more findings we have learned about other causes and issues with acne.

Twins Question: What do you like to do for your face routine? How many times do you wash your face a day?

.

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79 comments

Kate January 13, 2012 - 8:29 am

thanks for sharing since going off birth control almost a year ago I have been majorly struggling with my complexion its so great to see that you were able to get yours under control naturally!!

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Heather @ For the Love of Kale January 13, 2012 - 8:22 am

First of all, you girls are SO brave and SUCH an inspiration to acne-sufferers everywhere. The mere act of doing this is so commendable. Thank you for being so open and honest! You are both so strong and intelligent, and radiate from the inside out! <3

I wash my face at night with clean, make-up removing wipes. To be honest, I have never had problems with acne so I cannot directly relate to you. However, one of my closest friends suffered for years and was constantly teased at school. I held her when she would cry over those cruel comments from our peers, so I can sympathize with what you girls have gone through.

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 8:30 am

Heather – Hugs to you friend, we feel her pain!! And thank you for your kind and supportive words, it means the world to us!

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Sarah February 4, 2012 - 10:19 pm

I just want to say thank you to you both for sharing your struggle with acne publicly. My experience pretty much mirrors your own and it’s a tremendous comfort to know that I’m not alone. I too went off the pill and have since been experiencing terrible acne on my face. I too turned to diet to try and fix it, and am also searching for an all-natural skin care regimen to help cure it. Thank you for sharing your trials. It inspires me! I look forward to continuing to track your progress, and hopefully it will match mine too. If I find any miracle treatments I will be sure to share them with you.

PS- You’re both beautiful just the way you are. Even with acne. Remember, the acne is not you. It does not define you. Your character does. Your beauty outshines your acne!!

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Lori and Michelle February 5, 2012 - 6:46 am

Thank you so much Sarah!!!!! It is nice knowing too that we are not alone with our struggle with acne! Yes we shall keep sharing our acne story and hopes that it helps others 😉
xoxo
HUGS

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Lisa January 13, 2012 - 8:24 am

Thank you for being so open and honest and sharing this. Sometimes in the online community it is easy to think everyone is just “perfect” …of course we all like to put our best selves out there, the pics that make us look best and not vulnerable. It takes a lot of courage and maturity to put out there your most vulnerable selves. I appreciate it. I am at a point where my skin is better than it has been in decades—but I am also probably close to a decade older than you, ok maybe not that much older, but I’m 33. I’ve tried tons of products and facials and chemical peels in the past. When I went grain free and low carb (less than 50 grams a day), and low dairy (only some aged cheeses and occasionally plain yogurt), my skin changed 180 degrees. Once it started to improve (which began instantly when I changed my diet…in one day the inflammation was less), I knew for me it was all about what I was ingesting and not what I put on my skin.
I use a clarisonic exfoliating thingy with tea tree oil cleanser once a day (or twice if I shower twice), and toner (cucumber, aloe, witch hazel) in the morning and evening. I keep it simple and don’t pick anything no matter how much I want to. I also pinpoint when it flares up—and what I’d been eating (usually too much carbs/dairy are the culprits now).
Thanks again, for sharing your journey. I’m rooting for you both—and I KNOW you can keep making progress and one day have perfect skin. I know it’s true because, although my skin is not perfect yet, it is 100% different than it was, and I had all those same feelings of hopelessness about it.
I’ll be doing a toast to you with my wine this evening, Lori and Michelle—and someday we’ll toast together with our perfect skin 🙂

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 8:32 am

Lisa HUGS!! Love ya girl, thank you so much for sharing your story and yes cheers friend!!

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Felicia (Natural + Balanced) January 13, 2012 - 8:31 am

ladies.. i am so sorry you are going through this. i can relate and i know how you feel. when i was in nursing school i was at my worst with cystic acne, and did not even want to leave my house. over time (3 years) it just healed on its own, and for me it was diet changes that helped a lot, along with managing stress. it was also related to PCOS, which i’m keeping “under control” through a very clean diet, exercise, and acupuncture. i know you girls eat clean and have tried so many things, and i’m sending you some positive vibes that you can find your answer soon.

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 8:33 am

Thank you Felicia for your support and glad to hear you have found your way to clear skin! We hope we are too.

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Clara January 13, 2012 - 8:42 am

I totally understand your struggles with adult acne. I’ve suffered with acne since I was about 14 years old, and I’ll be 30 this year. I used proactiv for a long time with success, but it eventually stopped working for me. And after my daughter was born over 2 years ago, I wanted to use more natural products, and I started doing a lot of research on natural beauty (highly recommend reading the book No More Dirty Looks if you haven’t already!).

I have come to really love the Thoroughly Clean face wash by Desert Essence. It has tea tree oil in it and has really helped me – although I only use this at night, to remove my makeup. Sometimes I wash my face at night with honey and baking soda, which is also great. I do not wash my face in the morning, but I do splash a little warm water on my face and do an ACV toner (love the recipe from Crunchy Betty found here: http://www.crunchybetty.com/crunchy-teens-acne-busting-aspirin-honey-mask-and-toner — she also has a new book out with natural treatments for acne and oily skin, AWESOME resource, her site has lots of free info too on naturally treating acne).

I am prone to those cystic breakouts as well, and the one oil I’ve found particularly helpful in relieving inflammation and healing my acne more quickly has been Tamanu oil. It’s a thicker oil, so it is great for applying as a spot treatment or over an affected area (my chin has been particularly bad lately). I also mix it with some jojoba oil and a little bit of both lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil as a night-time moisturizing treatment.

While I have banned benzoyl peroxide, I still use some salicylic acid treatments as a spot-treatment (I like the acnedote spot treatment by alba) but I also like the blemish relief balm by Rose of Sharon Acres that does not include salicylic acid – it’s very soothing (I just wish it came in a bigger tube!).

Thanks for being so brave and sharing your struggles – know that you are certainly not alone! Keep up the good work 🙂

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 8:50 am

Clara thank you sharing all this great info, lots of stuff for us to check out! and yes we are not alone, thank you!!

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Lisa January 13, 2012 - 8:45 am

My sister had the same problem as you girls after she had her child and the only thing that worked was to go on a birth control pill (yaz). She tried products, treatment, diet, etc. She was about to resort to the acutane; she was desparate.

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Maria@healthydiaries January 13, 2012 - 8:46 am

Hey guys! I love reading you blog and trying all your recipes 🙂

My twin sister and I have dealt with acne issue’s since high school (10 years). Our main problem has always been the cystic acne on our chin area. My acne got worse this past spring/summer. I kept breaking out and my skin always had several blemishes. I was even constantly breaking out on my forehead, which wasn’t normal for me. I also had some hormonal imbalances and other symptoms I was dealing with. I started seeing a homeopathic doctor 3 months ago (same one as Gina from fitnessista). After one month of taking the prescribe supplements my skin was SOO much better. Not I’m just waiting for these pesky scars to fade. I still get tiny breakout, but they havn’t been any deep cystic ones! Yay! If you would like his info, please e-mail me! He does over the phone consults and is helping people all over the world for various reasons. He truly is a genius! I hope you guys both continue to see improvements with your skin. Good luck!

P.S. I will be doing a post on my homeopathic doc next week, and will also be posting pics of my skin improvements.

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 8:51 am

Maria – thank you for sharing and we look forward to your post! and yes we remember Gina saying she really liked him. so we will think about it!! thanks again

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free January 13, 2012 - 8:51 am

You girls are so strong and brave for sharing these. it will definitely help others. And either way, I think you two are always beautiful!

P.S. Love love love the new header! I especially love the picture of the donuts and coffee 😀

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Lauren January 13, 2012 - 8:57 am

Hi Girls,

First off you ROCK for putting this out there! There is nothing more frightening then revealing your insecurities for the world to see although I know that is what it feels like when you are dealing with acne. It sounds like your external treatments are working out well for you but have you thought about doing any internal cleansing? Usually when the skin breaks out it is directly related to hormones and to the digestive system. When the body gets overwhelmed with toxins, which happens to all of us, especially if you were on birth control ( i know I was there 2), it pushes them out through the skin.

I had gone through a very similar thing when I stop using BC, and I started doing a few cleanses like liver/gallbladder flushes (the liver controls hormones and the gallbladder is usually really damaged by BC), I did an enzyme cleanse (eats up all the “junk” and toxins in the blood) and played around with a no-sugar and no-gluten diet as well. I had amazing results.

The thing is that we must remember that our external is a reflection of the internal, and although we clean up our diet and are healthy in the present, often the body stores all the toxins that have accumulated over the years so we have to clean those out. I would suggest looking at any other symptoms (bloating, headaches, rashes, pms, missed periods, foggy head..) you might have to see which direction would be best for you.

Love!
Lauren

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 9:17 am

Lauren oh yes we have done cleanses. and saw some improvement but never healed. it always came back. we have tried everything for balancing hormones. we have done colonics, live/gallbladder flushes, candida cleanse, elimination diets. we do believe it is internal just confused why nothing lasts for us, so we are trying to figuring that out. we appreciate you sharing your thoughts and advice!!

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Ashleigh January 14, 2012 - 9:47 pm

I totally totally understand. I’ve struggled with skin stuff for SO long and have tried everything. I’ve gone to some of the best doctors in the world for this stuff but only recently have the pieces really started coming together, and even so I’m still breaking out.

Here’s the key piece of the puzzle that was missing for me the idea that the colon has to COMPLETELY heal to eliminate breakouts. That means that even for me, while I think I do so much right — high vegan diet, lots of veg and green juice and colonics and the whole nine yards, if I never give my colon the space to COMPLETELY heal, then even the good stuff I’m eating can irritate it more. Anything undigested causes the digestive tract to become inflamed, even good stuff. Even that hunk of broccoli if my body can’t break it down, will cause my skin to flare up. So my current thing is taking a lot of digestive enzymes. In addition, I’m gearing up to do a massive break from all foods except fruit and vegetables for a prolonged period of a couple months. While I DONT think that is a sustainable lifestyle, my hope is that it will give my colon long enough to heal fully. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on and tried so much, this really seems to be the right thing for me right now. I’d love to keep you guys posted on my progress and if you’re curious for more details please please email me. Also, you’ve inspired me to write about this on my blog sometime soon. Thanks for being so brave.

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ela January 13, 2012 - 9:12 am

Look at your beautiful new site design! And look at you beautiful brave girls! I’m blown away that you’re so courageous and generous to share all this. You are so beautiful.

That recommendation about oil is so smart–neem oil is magical.
I don’t really do anything for my face, and it seems like how it is depends on what else is going on in my body. Last year I was broken out for ages and it was no fun, all to do with some detox and allergic reaction to a medication…

I’d love to hear about what adjustments to diet and lifestyle you made that helped.
love
Ela

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 9:18 am

Ela thank you!!! you are too sweet, and yes we will keep sharing more thoughts on what we have been doing besides topical stuff.

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Emma January 13, 2012 - 9:23 am

Thank you girls for your braveness and sincerity =) i have a friend with the exact same problem and i’m always feeling bad when she constantly calls my face perfect! I am supportive and am always researching ingredients in skincare and telling her about products. i told her about organic skin care products and homeopathic treatments.next,her acne has gotten better since she threw away a bunch of chemical products that she’s been using. Keep up the good work and hope you can achieve what your looking for!!! 🙂 oh one more thing since i have never been a sufferer of acne i would like to share with you some things i use. ACURE SEA KELP+CHLORELLA GROWTH FACTOR as a SCRUB…BUBBLE AND BEE ORGANICS FACE CREAM….BENTONITE CLAY AS MASK ONCE A WEEK 🙂

p.s you girls are radiant and beautiful just the way you are 🙂 Emma!

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Emma January 13, 2012 - 9:26 am

sorry missed some words, since i have not been a sufferer of acne i do use some products to still keep my skin clear and so far they have worked wonders for me! they are listed above.acure,bubble and bee organics and bentonite clay.

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 9:38 am

Thank you Emma for sharing and for your kind words. and glad to hear your friend has found relieve and thank goodness she has you too!

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The Robertsons of Mumbai January 13, 2012 - 10:00 am

Hi ladies,

Great post – it touches home for me for sure. You already know that I have had struggles (and like this for over 20 years!!). Four courses of Accutane and I still have problems, although not nearly as bad as I used to pre-tane. I am still swearing on the microdermabrasion, although if I go more than 4 weeks without getting it, I am breaking out again. My heart goes out to you both – Lord knows I have also cried myself to sleep thousands of times over the past 24 years. High school was a nightmare. Anyway, I salute you for your bravery, and I think that as odd as it may seem, you will have connected with a lot of people by sharing these photos. I wish you both a future of calm, clear skin. Somehow, someday, we will all get to the bottom of the mystery of why we break out!

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 10:09 am

Thank you sweetie! We knew you would understand.

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The Robertsons of Mumbai January 13, 2012 - 10:04 am

And I will say that when I had the crazy walking dandruff mite infestation of my cat, which then spread to me and I had over 100 bites on my face alone for about 3 months straight (this was a BAD time and I thought I would go insane), it was neem oil that finally helped to heal my sores. I was putting it on straight-up (stunk like heck, though!). For me, it seemed to help heal the broken skin and hyperpigmentation. I stopped using it after the infestation was gone, but perhaps I should dig it out again…

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 10:09 am

we love neem oil!

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LizAshlee January 13, 2012 - 10:23 am

I wish you both the best in discovering what works for your skin care…it’s crazy how unique our bodies our-what works for one person does not work for another..I use Olay face wash…probably not the most natural but I use a very small amount morning and night when I am in the shower…

Happy Friday!

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 10:24 am

thanks Liz, and yes it is crazy how each person reacts differently to different face products.

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Kate W. January 13, 2012 - 10:58 am

Hey again! Wow, so much courage in posting the pictures. I have very similar ones, and totally understand the frustration and humiliation that you felt.

Face routine that has worked for me (as in, still have minor breakouts, but nothing like before)
Morning and night:
Wash gently with clinique sensitive skin bar soap
use a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar/or clinique’s toner (it’s a bit gentler), to get off dead skin
Use gentle moisturizing face lotion from clinique
clean and clear’s spot treatment

And for makeup, the best thing for my face has been physician’s formula cover up and powder makeup. It has had much less adverse effects on my skin.

For dealing with my hormone’s I use the inflammation pill 1-2 times a day.

Totally going to check out body deli products =)

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kate January 13, 2012 - 11:35 am

You girls are awesome and so cute with or without acne!! This is probably the last thing you want to hear, but have you thought about your protein intake and meat? Did the acne get worse when you went raw? I believe there is a connection between insulin and acne. It can be tough to get enough protein going raw without also getting too many carbs. It’s amazing what healthy carbs such as veggy juices will do to insulin levels. It might be something to look into and think about!!

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bitt January 13, 2012 - 11:51 am

Thank you so much for sharing this, I know it can’t have been easy. When I would post pictures of myself online, I would edit out blemishes and my undereye circles too! I was a little insecure. I remember looking at such pretty pictures of you two and thinking how perfect you looked and of course I realize no one is perfect (I knew that before, but it’s a good reminder). I am so glad you are sharing your beauty routine because I HATE the toxic stuff that is out there like Proactive, it literally bleached through our towels and people’s shirts who use it (I have a few loved ones who did it for awhile) and imagine how toxic that is to your body! I think it’s also best to heal from the inside out with diet.

On hormones, yes I definitely notice a huge difference in skin during time of the month. I also am getting certain hormones tested and I think the doctor can correct the levels if they are seriously off.

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Tamikko January 13, 2012 - 12:43 pm

I have no idea what you could do differently food wise. You are missing a huge step though that will make a world of difference. Tea tree oil, as in essential oil, is antiviral and antibacterial. You can look up all the benefits easily online but basically it cleans cuts and in this case pimples from all bad things and doesn’t allow anything to grow that isn’t beneficial. It dries them up quick too so they go away fast. It’s really stinky, but you get used to the smell, and it doesn’t stay on you forever it will subside. I do hate when you have to put it right on you nose or, especially, right under. I recommend every 4 hours during the day starting with after you wake up and have used your apple cider vinegar. Just put a drop of two on a cotton swab (q-tip) and touch to a couple of pimples. It makes them shiny so you’ll know when you need to flip it over and touch a few more with a fresh side of the q-tip and a drop or two more. There is at least 100 drops in a small vile of essential oil, so it should last a while, even though the bottles look so small. You can find them at health food stores and some grocery stores. Hope you try it out because I know for a fact that it works wonders and it is considered one of the most important of all the oils.

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 12:51 pm

thanks Tamikko, we have used tea oil before and did like it, we use it from time to time as a spot treatment 🙂

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Samantha January 13, 2012 - 12:55 pm

You girls are absolutely amazing for sharing this with everyone. I understand what you’re going through, I had very similar problems last summer/fall – although a lot of mine was also stress related.

In the morning I was my face with Apricot Scrub (I have to wash in the morning as I have a terrible sweat while sleeping problem). Then I use Neutrogena oil free moisturizer for combination skin with spf. At night, I clean all of my makeup off with clean and clear wipes and then wash again with apricot scrub.

You have me thinking though, a lot of what I use is chemical based. Have you found a difference in using all natural versus chemical products?

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 12:59 pm

thanks Samantha!!! yes we have found that our skin is more soft when washing with natural products and never feels like we over washed or anything. we love our natural products feel on our face 🙂

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Jennifer January 13, 2012 - 2:38 pm

You are beautiful and brave young women! I’ve had similar problems off and on for years….and I work for a dermatologist. Ironic much? Even in medical treatments for acne, there is so much trial and error and finding something that works and then doesn’t. It can be so frustrating. So, I definitely know where you are coming from.

Thanks so much for sharing!

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 3:54 pm

thank you so much Jennifer and yes it is all about trial and error, which sometimes be the hard part.

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MizFit January 13, 2012 - 3:14 pm

Lets just forget for a moment all the amazing information here which u and so so many of us need— I freakin adore you both. You’re real and string and honest and amazing. You’re true role models

Carla

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 3:55 pm

Thanks Carla! you are so sweet! lova ya! HUGS

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Dani Page January 13, 2012 - 3:37 pm

I give you girls a ton of credit for baring your naked face to the world, it takes guts to do that ! I feel my breakouts that I’ll get are mostly hormonal. I have, in the past gotten upwards of 12 zits on my face at one time (that was at my worst) although not cystic and small it was annoying. Then they got to be only about 4 at a time. Now for the last month I’ve had completely clear skin from following a different routine than normal. I wrote an article on what has worked for me here: http://www.examiner.com/beauty-in-jackson/do-this-not-that-for-your-acne-prone-skin I believe that weather it’s your hormones or not diet is THE contributing factor to your breakouts. Best of luck!

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Dani Page January 13, 2012 - 3:39 pm

Ha just noticed I spelled whether above like “weather” wow it’s been a long day eh? Ha ha……

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Lori and Michelle January 13, 2012 - 3:56 pm

haha Dani no worries we appreciate your comment! we will check out your article! thanks!

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Rebecca @ Naturally Healthy and Gorgeous January 13, 2012 - 4:07 pm

What a frustrating situation. It’s hard because so many of the medicine used to treat acne (Vitamin A derivatives) have such terrible side effects. As a future physician scientist with an interest in nutrition and overall well-being, I hope to find and develop more natural ways to help diseases such as acne.

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amber January 13, 2012 - 5:07 pm

I never had acne as a teen. But now in midlife I have it horribly. I am going to write some of your tips down and try this. Thank You for sharing your story.

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Heathy January 13, 2012 - 6:41 pm

I truly admire you girls for opening your lives to all of us. It takes so much courage to do it and you’re helping many people in the process. I look forward to your progress and whatever new insights emerge along the way.

I’ve been fortunate with my skin overall, but minor things here and there. Lately I’m having a little rashy type thing around my mouth/chin area and trying to figure out what the heck it is – actually, I know it started before Christmas when I was eating waay too much sugar/cacao but now that I’ve been completely off those foods for 10 days I thought it would have cleared up. I guess this is where patience comes in. So maybe its the same for you – you’re doing the right things and the skin and body are still catching up.

My skin regime is very simple – I wash my face morning and night and then use coconut oil or Weleda calendula baby (yes baby) cream. I like that its a thick, rich cream but also intended for babies so sensitive enough for my skin.

Love you both! xo

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Lou January 13, 2012 - 8:05 pm

You guys are awesome…. I can relate big time – I got really bad acne when I started on anti depressants – ironic as the medication made me feel better mentally, but it gave me acne which in turn made me feel depressed again. I have now managed to get my skin + mental health back in check by eating a vegan diet, cutting refined sugar and drinking heaps of water…. still get my break outs but it is well improved. I’ve only use oatmeal, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, tea tree oil and neem oil on my skin. Nothing else, and it works for me.

Again, you guys are awesome… hope this new regime is a winner for you 🙂

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Sabrinashelbalina January 13, 2012 - 10:11 pm

You girls are soo brave and such an inspiration. You all are the reasons in which I changed my eating habits and realized that I couldn’t have any gluten at all.
I had the same exact problem with the cystic acne up until December. This was really traumatic for me as I teach and always have to have my face out there. Growing up I never had a problem with blemishes. After trying countless things…proactive, tea tree oil, Burt’s bees products, Aubrey products,etc…the only thing that I have found to work for me is the use of a clarisonic with dermadoctor ain’t misbehavin’ cleanser. I didn’t believe the lady at ultra when she said it would work, but I was soo depressed and desperate that I had nothing to lose. I started using it in October and by December…all cystic acne is gone!! I was my face in the am and before bed. Give it a try, like I said I was soo totally desperate and didnt want to go out anywhere or see anyone. I just wanted to hide away and die…I cried ALL the time 🙁

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Lori and Michelle January 14, 2012 - 6:16 am

Sabrina thank you so much for your sweet comment I am so glad that we inspired you to make some changes 🙂 and sorry to hear that you dealt with acne as well, no fun, but so glad to hear that you found something that works!!! yay! and we shall look into it. thanks! HUGS

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lindsay January 13, 2012 - 11:20 pm

look at how beautiful you both are!!! just amazing outside, but even more inside. Thanks for sharing this, such encouragement for us.
Keep us posted on the progress and stay strong.

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Lori and Michelle January 14, 2012 - 6:17 am

thanks Lindsay!! at times we do not feel strong but know we can help many people so trying to be brave 🙂 thanks for the support it helps!!!

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Sasha January 13, 2012 - 11:28 pm

I’ve been a long-time (silent) reader of your blog. I just had to come out and salute you for your courage, and maturity in posting your progress pictures and your compassion that it may help others like you. That is huge. I know it can’t have been easy to put yourself out there like that and I’m so proud of you both.

I’ve never had to deal with much acne when I was young, but now at 38, I have adult acne, especially at my time of month. I use jojoba or coconut oil as a cleanser, massaging my face with it and then use chickpea flour to scrub it off gently (it’s a very common practice in India where I’m from!).

I also use fresh milk cream on my face as a moisturiser when I’m at home (yes, it sounds gross but its high in Vitamin E and great for removing stubborn acne scars!)

I never use any store-bought face wash — just the oil + chickpea flour routine to clean my face.
I also use tea tree oil sometimes for spot treatment on acne.

I’m happy that you’re not just looking at topical solutions but also working on your diet. That is so sensible and I pray that you find what works best for your skin and you reach your healthy, happy skin soon. God bless!

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Lori and Michelle January 14, 2012 - 6:20 am

Sasha thank you so much!! We are hoping that we are on the right path, we feel we are 🙂 and using fresh milk cream sounds wonderful for the skin, we used to put goat kefir on face, maybe we shall try that again. thanks again! great to hear from you 🙂

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KaterinaBonVora January 14, 2012 - 4:25 am

You both are so brave for sharing your story. I’ve had skin problems since puberty as well. I’ve had many guesses as to how breakouts occur. 1st guess: I need to exercise to help the skin drive out those toxins instead of blowing up on my face. 2nd: I need to eat less (or none) processed sweets or deep fried food and meats – this I based on my experience one time I went fruitarian and had amazing elastic soft skin. Then I moved to Italy and experienced winter which introduced a new kind of skin enemy: the COLD. I’ve had breakouts since but I need warm food every now and then and can’t completely obliterate cooked and even some meat (I’m breast-feeding too so guess it has something to do with hormones as well).. anyway.. thanks for your tips and sharing as you go along. im learning much. best regards and much love, Kat

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Lori and Michelle January 14, 2012 - 6:21 am

thanks Kat, we hope our next few skin post can help you in some way 🙂 you will figure your skin out here soon too HUGS

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Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance January 14, 2012 - 5:58 am

You two are SO inspirational for gathering the bravery to post these photos! I’ve struggled with acne my entire life, and it’s encouraging to hear that I am not the only one.

I actually started getting horrible cystic acne in the beginning of college, and finally resorted to Accutane to calm it down. I’ll admit that it wasn’t the safest of options, but my face was really getting bad and I was unfortunately facing a lot of rude comments because of it. Thank God that my case turned out fine and although I still get the occasional pimple here and there, it truly is nothing like before.

Again, thank you so much for sharing. You two are such beautiful people, inside & out! <3

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Lori and Michelle January 14, 2012 - 6:22 am

Thanks Brittany!! and yes you are not alone 🙂 HUGS

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Desi@ThePalatePeacemaker January 14, 2012 - 7:14 am

Lori and Michelle, this post made me WEEP. I cannot express how deeply I can relate to your pain and struggles! When I started (very suddenly) breaking out in cystic acne over a year ago, I was immediately and desperately proactive to get to the bottom of it. Like you, I started doing all sorts of holistic healing practices on my own, but none of it truly clicked until I started working with a naturopath/holistic doctor. She was able to show me how so many of the things I did on my own were on the right path, but having some ORDER to everything and adding a few missing pieces were essential to the healing process. I ended up completely shifting my diet – no sugars in any form, very low carb, following essentially phase 1 of the anti-candida diet, while also incorporating liver cleanses and colonics, a variety of supplements, and changing my skin care regimen.
Regarding the regimen – First off, I know you both aren’t unfamiliar with using oil on your face, but if you haven’t tried the oil cleansing method – DO IT. It is amazing! http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/ I use it only at night to remove my make up and cleanse my skin before bed. In the morning, I’ll use a homemade cleanser (I found that ALL store bought cleansers were not right for me) made of white clay, dried lavender, dried rose, ground flax seeds with a little water and manuka honey added to it (per usage daily). I’ll use lavender oil or tamanu oil after washing. And usually, I find I don’t need moisturizer. If my face is dry (dryness prevents healing! EI: think of covering a wound with a bandaid – keeps it moist to allow for healing! same concept), I’ll use a bit of jojoba oil, like you!
Lastly, I think the BIGGEST contributor to skin trouble is our emotional and psychological state. I was resistant to this philosophy for a long time, believing there had to be SOME concrete thing I could do that would fix everything. Once I embraced the possibility that there wasn’t something necessarily I could PHYSICALLY do to heal, that’s when the true healing began for me. Check out Tracy’s site: http://www.thelovevitamin.com/ and read the e-books she recommends about emotional healing.
In case you’re wondering, I started with my naturopath last March and I’m still continuing with the diet and lifestyle she prescribed. Today, my skin is clear. I’m dealing solely with scars that I’m trying to get rid of now. 🙂
Also (I’m sorry – I’m writing a novel – but I could talk to you both about this FOREVER) – something that REALLY helped me through the worst of it was remembering: We, as humans, always make the mistake of believing that an obstacle we may be dealing with currently is not something that has come and will eventually go, but rather a permanent change in our lives and state of beings. You WILL overcome this. And, as hard as it is, you will do so by obsessing over it less. I think giving it my attention actually FED the problem itself, you know?
Alright. I’m done now. Thank you both for being so brave. I’m sending SO much love your way. Soon, this tough time will be nothing more than a memory! Stay strong!
xoxo
Desi

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Lori and Michelle January 14, 2012 - 8:25 am

Desi thank you thank you thank you!!! your comment says it all. we recently came across Tracy’s site and love it. we have been learning a lot from her. and so happy you have found someone to help guide you to clear skin, so happy for you 🙂 Michelle did a see a holistic doctor last year, but we could not afford to keep going. so we took it all in our own hands, and boy have we learned a lot. and finally starting to feel like the end is near. again we both cannot thank you enough for your sweet words and thank you for sharing your story. love ya!

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The Delicate Place January 14, 2012 - 8:01 am

you both are so brave to post all of this! i went off birth control just before christmas and so far i haven’t had a breakout but i’m just waiting for it. i’ve been juicing 1x daily to try to stave off the crazy flare up. i have oily skin too and here’s my routine: am: wash face for 1 min with clarisonic and juice beauty exfoliating cleanser. apply oil free moisturizer and done! pm: with my hands, wash face with juice beauty cleanser (green apple), pat face dry and spray 1x with eminence organics lime refresh toner, apply oil free moisturizer again and go to bed. 2x during the week, i use a nighttime exfoliate after i wash my face to help shed any dead skin (i have some areas on my face prone to flaking). i feel this helps skin cell turnover and help speed up any healing from a breakout i may have had. hope it helps!

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Lori and Michelle January 14, 2012 - 8:26 am

Thank you for sharing your routine Melissa!! we know everything reacts differently after stopping the pill, so we pray you have a clear journey!!! xoxo

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robyn January 14, 2012 - 9:54 am

I wanted to applaud your openness — I know how hard it is to expose yourself to vulnerability and critique online. I think you are very brave and I am inspired by your path to healing. You are both very appreciated! xp

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Jane January 14, 2012 - 12:16 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this, and for the links! I’ve had off and on acne problems, but nothing like you too! I appreciate your honestly, and definitely am going to look into some of those products!

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Stephanie January 14, 2012 - 1:37 pm

I think it’s truly brave and inspiring that you posted this. I’m so glad to hear things are getting better, and I hope others will benefit from this post as well.
I’ve been reading lots of traditional/paleo articles lately; I know you guys prefer a high-raw diet, but perhaps you could give things like bone broths, chicken (with skin) a try…I’ve read animal foods are beneficial for your skin, reducing cellulite and combating harmful bacteria on skin by boosting immunity.
I wish you good luck, and now I’m off to make your hazelnut cake! hehe

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Rachel January 15, 2012 - 6:10 pm

Hi Girls! Congrats on being so open about your skin issues! I know it can be very difficult to share the things that we have the most trouble with. One approach I wanted to share is eliminating all flour from your diets for a while. I know you have worked with a colon therapist in the past and they may have shared different information, but my colon therapist explained to me that any form of flour (even gluten free) basically forms a paste in our intestines that coats the walls and prevents absorption of nutrients in addition to trapping undigested food and producing toxins. I know you guys experiment with a lot of flour for your bakery, but maybe it would be worthwhile to completely eliminate all forms of flour for a month and see what happens. I know for me it made a huge impact on digestive issues I was dealing with. Best of luck and keep up the great blog!

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Dov January 17, 2012 - 7:25 pm

This works: Earth to body naturally crafted skin nutrition
Their shampoo bar used with the Clarisonic and their skin manager oil applied after to clean skin will completly clear everything. After skin is clear sea buckthorne oi is good.

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Violets and Cardamom January 19, 2012 - 8:31 am

Thank you for sharing this information and for talking about your struggles. I admire your courage to do so. As someone who has had similar struggles, I know how difficult it can be to talk about. I have definitely learned some new tips and I look forward to following as you both learn more.

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lindsay January 22, 2012 - 3:32 pm

I’m with you, ladies. Acne sucks! Apparently it’s common for cystic acne to pop up in your 20s-even if you never had it before. It’s not your fault. I have also dealt with this problem for years and have found a few things that work for me:

Jojoba oil- you’re right on track. This stuff totally normalizes an oily face. It’s practically magic.

Retin-A is a miracle. Retin-A is basically fancied up vitamin A. I’ve heard of people buying vitamin A and piercing the capsules to put on their faces OR extremely increasing the amount of carrots you eat/drink daily.

If you are willing to try it, benzoyl peroxide 2x daily also works really well. You can check out acne.org to hear about all the testimonials of people who tried this method. Slightly less effective on the cystic variety, but amazingly effective overall. And cheap.

I wish you both luck in your journey to clearer skin!

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Lori and Michelle January 22, 2012 - 4:10 pm

Thank you for sharing Lindsay! and yes love jojoba oil and we are working on more vitamin A

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lou January 27, 2012 - 2:06 pm

you girls are beautiful. thank you for showing your bravery and for sharing your story. you two are an inspiration.
have you ever tried evening primrose oil? i read that it helps with hormonal acne(along the jaw/chin are). i take two 1,000mg tablets a day and it has helped alot with my hormonal acne.

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Lori and Michelle January 27, 2012 - 2:21 pm

thanks Lou! we have heard of evening primrose oil, we have thought about it but we have also heard that it may increase your risk of getting pregnant, and I (lori) do not want that chance. but I will look more into it! thanks!!!

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Jessie February 1, 2012 - 3:12 pm

Both of you are beautiful and very brave! I too suffer from acne… I’ve had it since I was 10 years old and I am 30 now. I have tried a lot of diet changes and products, but I found that the only thing that is working for me right now is making a solution of 3 part water and 2 part vinegar in a bottle. I put some on a cotton ball and use it as a toner in the morning and at night after I wash my face. My acne is slowly going away and I believe it is because of this. I wish both of you the best! (((HUGS)))

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Sonya February 15, 2012 - 5:32 pm

Have you tried or heard of Simone France? I highly recommend her routine, she’s a famous and much sought after French skin care expert and aesthetician to celebrities. Her philosophy is that we do not cleanse the skin properly and especially with the tons of foundation we tend to use, our pores are overly clogged. She also says that we typically do not moisturize right. She has a strict system of cleansing in the morning with something called a “sandwich” and using a light milk and toner on the face at night. I’ve been using her line since Dec and my skin has never looked better. Worth researching to see if it’s right for you, I’ve only read rave reviews.

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Erin March 9, 2012 - 8:26 pm

Hi Girls,
I just started reading your blog not too long ago. I used to run a vegan/raw food blog, so I would do lots of “research” on most everything. A year ago, as I started facing my own acne problems, I was reading a lot of raw books. Certain ideas appealed to me. I read Frederic Patenaude’s “Raw Food Controversies,” and it made me think a bit. I then looked into the 80/10/10 diet, more as a conceptual study.

Eating raw/vegan food seems to come with a certain type of lifestyle. Lots of fruits and veggies, of course, and whatever else you have to fill up. Since it’s so hard to fill up on calories with just those foods, it’s easy to eat tons of fruit and fat. A standard American diet may not even contain as much fat as a raw food diet can. With all the nuts, avocados (some eat many a day), and oil. I thought, “Sure, maybe sugar contributes, but what about fat?” The logic is that good fat is still fat, and could be contributing to imbalances and acne.

For the past several months, I have been great decreasing the amount of fat I use in cooking (cutting the oil WAY down to almost none), and even in raw food (decreasing tahini, avocados, other oils, etc.). My face has completely cleared up.

I know these things are different for everyone, but I feel the raw food movement kind of misses some key factors when it comes to nutrition. One being “Fat is still fat,” and yes, you can have too much.

Thank you for posting your story. It is very brave and very becoming. Thank you for the great blog, and experimental attitudes. You are both super.

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Lori and Michelle March 10, 2012 - 9:36 am

thanks Erin, we are looking into our fat intake as we try not to go over board with the fats but have a decent amount since we cut so many other things out of our diet. we do not eat many nuts, some days we do have some but in general we try to eat very little nuts. but we have heard good things about the 80/10/10 so we will look more into it. thanks.

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Alex October 17, 2012 - 4:00 pm

I can definitely relate with acne issues that you girls have gone through. A couple of years back I got an iud put in and my skin went AWOL. It was terrible. I had a few acne issues in the past, but this seemed to have made it 10x worse. I tried everything. I bought expensive products, cheaper products, all natural products etc. I asked my friends an family for ideas about how to make my skin less inflamed. Though all of them were good, my mom’s advice was the best of the bunch. She is 49 and has almost no wrinkles. The only thing she has been doing to her face for years is washing it with a warm facecloth at night. Well, I upped the ante on this one and decided to try oil cleansing. First I would take off my eye makeup with a makeup remover. Then I put a glug of grapeseed oil in my hands to warm it, then I would ‘massage’ my face for a couple minutes (feels amazing) and then with a warm wrung-out facecloth (mama’s advice) I would set it on my face, giving myself a little steam action. Then I would wipe off the excess oil. My face had never felt cleaner.

It cleared up a lot of the acne issues I had, however, I was still breaking out. So though it was an huge improvement, I was still not happy with the way my skin was. Then I got lazy one day while in the shower and decided to use this all-natural goats milk soap I got from whole foods. [I had bought it because I find that my chest reacts whenever I use body washes (even ones from the body shop) and I realized that my skin is really sensitive] I haven’t stopped using it since. My face has never looked better and my face care has been so cheap ever since!

I know everyone’s skin is different, but I wanted to share with you girls in case that it may help you too!

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purelytwins October 17, 2012 - 5:17 pm

Alex thank you so much for sharing!!! We will have to look out for that goat soap!

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lynne @ lgsmash January 14, 2013 - 6:54 pm

Thanks for this post! Like you mentioned, I started breaking out like crazy after I went off the pill (had been on it for YEARS!). Now I’m using Mirena and I think my body is just spazzing out with the change – breaking out on my face, back and chest. No fun.

I’ve started to do what you mentioned here – following a standard routine (something I didn’t have to do on the pill – my skin was wonderful!) and transitioning to natural products. I’m noticing a difference now (~1month after breakouts started) but it’s hard to stay positive when something so focal to our appearance and, unfortunately, self-esteem is sabotaging us. But reading your post gives me hope that routine and better products CAN heal.

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