I've found it! Oh yes I have! The one thing that took my skin from okay to amazing...
So what's step one you ask? Go back to basics. This is seriously overlooked. Cleanse, tone, exfoliate, treat and moisturize. You'll be amazed at just how much your skin can change when you religiously follow these steps.
I can personally attest to the benefits of this first step. Since I got engaged, I've visited two estheticians - one when I lived in San Luis Obispo and another here in Seattle since I moved - both focusing on completely different techniques. Back in SLO, we focused on chemical peels and LED light treatment. Now don't get me wrong, I did find I had less acne and the spots I did get seemed to heal faster. But I was still oily, my redness had barely diminished, and I still had spots consistently every month. After a few visit to the lovely Cristina here in Seattle, my skin has, in my opinion, done a one eighty. Her focus? The basics. Consistently. Can I stress this enough? Since I've been seeing her and using what I call the dream team of products, my redness is 80% gone, and my oil production is faaaaaar less (I now consider myself to have combination skin instead of straight oily...wahoo!) Talk about a happy girl who now actually leaves the house with no makeup! An unspeakable thing just a few months ago. Now you may be thinking "what about your breakouts?" Yes, yes, my breakouts too have decreased because of "the basics," but as these were mostly hormonal I accredit most of my near breakout-free skin to step two...
Two words: Zinc supplement. Holy-oh-yes-where-have-you-been-all-my-life. It's been an interesting journey to get to the conclusion that zinc was the mineral helping cure my acne. I had been taking zinc a while back for dry scalp (yep, it has multiple benefits!), but quit taking it shortly after my issue was resolved. At the time, I didn't even blink at what it might be doing for my acne. A few months back, I was going through my vitamin cupboard and found a near full bottle of zinc. Literally, all I thought was "maybe I should take this before it expires." So I added it to my daily vitamin routine.
Month after month, I'd go back to see Cristina and she'd ask me "how's your skin?" I was so pleased to tell her how ALL of my skin concerns were drastically improving! We were going over any changes I had made, and I first thought of the natural energy supplement I had been taking before the gym. I was convinced this was my miracle product, but couldn't seem to find anything on the ingredients benefiting skin. Then, it hit me. Zinc! I had started taking it again around the same time as my energy supplement. Sooooo after all this jibber jabber, I'm so happy to say that I really only get a spot every two or three months. Yep! You read right! And when I say "a spot" I truly mean one.
So why did Zinc improve my acne breakouts? Making up six percent of our total body zinc in our skin alone, zinc is found to repair damaged tissue and improve the recovery time of wounds. Direct skin care translation: zinc helps increase our skin cell turnover. If you've read any of my previous posts, you'll know that this is essential to achieving amazing skin. By shedding the top layer of dead skin cells, which can make your skin look dull, it exposes the healthy skin cells below giving you radiant looking skin! Think about it, if your skin is constantly turning over, that means the life of a pimple is shortened as it's being pushed to the surface faster (and pushing out all that nastiness with it) and pigmentation and scarring is going to fade. If we experience slower skin cell turnover, ALL of those skin conditions stick around longer. Additionally, zinc is known to reduce the production of sebum that makes our skin look oily throughout the day. If your acne is caused by excess oil clogging your pores, then this is just one more reason I would recommend taking a zinc supplement.
Now, zinc doesn't only benefit the skin. You'll find zinc in eye drops, shampoo, toothpaste...the list goes on and on! It's immune system boosting properties make it something EVERYONE should use. Note: if you plan to take it daily, make sure you take no more than 50mg per day. Excessive zinc can cause stomach and kidney problems. Please consult a physician before taking if you have any concerns.