pcos acne

my affordable, cruelty-free skincare routine for sensitive, acne-prone skin

I have terrible skin. Maybe it’s the Celiac Disease, maybe it’s the PCOS, maybe I’m just unlucky… whatever the case, on bad days I look a lot like Deadpool without his mask. To top it off, my skin is extremely sensitive, especially on my face, and I’m allergic to benzoyl peroxide, which is the active ingredient in most acne treatments. (Luckily, I’ve gotten pretty good at covering my acne with makeup.) I’ve tried just about everything you can try for acne, from Neutrogena to Proactiv to a prescription cleanser my doctor gave me, and most of it just made my skin worse. Then, when I was just about ready to sell my soul or start bathing in virgin blood, I found these products. All of them are all-natural or mostly-natural, none of them are tested on animals, they’re all fairly cheap and available at most drugstores, and all of them WORK. My skin looks and feels amazing – for the first time in years, I don’t have any big spots or breakouts. 

First of all (and this is probably not what some of you want to hear, but it really is true), what you put into your body effects your health and appearance, especially your skin. Someone who eats a lot of greasy, artificially flavored, or highly processed food will almost always have worse skin than someone who eats a healthy, balanced diet. That’s just a fact of life. And there are always going to be a few people who just have ridiculously good genes, and can consume a family sized bag of Doritos and a two-liter of Dr. Pepper every day and still have perfect skin, as unfair as that might seem to the rest of us. 

My skin has gotten significantly better since I was diagnosed with PCOS (that’s Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and insulin resistance (which is often caused by PCOS and can lead to full-blown diabetes if not treated) last November. My doctor put me on a couple of medications to regulate my insulin and my hormones, and also suggested that I switch to a low-carb diet – both of those things have improved my skin a lot. If you have chronic or severe acne. especially if acne does not run in your family, talk to your doctor. Sometimes, skin conditions like acne can indicate a bigger, underlying health issue. If that’s the case (as it is with me), treating the underlying issue will often improve your skin.

Anyway, now that the PSA is out of the way, here are some things you can do to improve your skin from the inside out:

  • Take zinc supplements. (Just be sure to take them with food – taking zinc on an empty stomach can make you very nauseous.)
  • Take fish oil. (This one is a bit more expensive, but one bottle will last you almost a year, since you only have to take one a day.)
  • Drink green tea every day. I’ve talked about the benefits of different teas on this blog before, but green tea in particular has been proven to improve your skin over time if you drink at least one cup a day. My current favorites are Tazo’s Zen and Green Ginger blends, but Yogi’s Skin Detox blend is delicious and contains other herbs that are good for your skin. 
  • Avoid artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives in your food. 
  • Switch to a low-carb, or even paleo, diet. (This one is a pretty extreme solution, but if you decide to try it, just know that it’s actually normal for you to feel sore, tired, grumpy, and sick during the first two weeks eating low-carb. This is so common that it has a nickname – they call it “the carb flu.” Don’t let those first couple of weeks discourage you – you will feel much better once they’re over.) 

And if all of that sounds like way too much effort, don’t worry, because what you put on your skin makes a big difference, too. Here are the products that I use in my day-to-day skincare routine, in the order that I use them:

  1. Yes To Tomatoes Activated Charcoal Bar Soap - (Please note that, normally, using a bar soap on your face is a very, very bad idea. But this one is specially made to be gentle enough for it, even if you have extremely sensitive skin like mine.) I just rub it on my face, lather it up, (gently!) scrub a bit, and then rinse it off. It’s very convenient and easy. 
  2. Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner, Original - (As you may have already learned the hard way, toners with alcohol in them can be damaging, so even if you don’t use this one, look for one that’s alcohol-free.) I pour it onto a cotton ball or cotton pad (or, in cases of emergency, a folded up paper towel) and swab my face with it. Again, pretty easy.
  3. Yes To Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturizer - (Part of the reason I love this product is because it smells really good – but it also works really well. My skin looked visibly clearer and less red after one use!) This is EVEN EASIER than the previous two steps. I just apply it immediately after toner, and use my fingertips to massage it into my face. 

Those are the three products that I use twice a day, every day, but if you want to really go all-out, here are a couple of others you can try:

  • Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Mask - (It looks like mud. It kinda feels like mud. But it also makes my skin feel smooth, soft, and buttery, and does a really good job of clearing up acne and redness.) You just smear it on your face, leave it on until it dries (I usually do 20-30 minutes), and then rinse it off. I like to use it immediately after washing my face with the bar soap, then after I wash it off I skip toner and go straight to moisturizer.
  • Lush Dark Angels Scrub/Cleanser - (Are you picking up on a theme yet? Turns out, charcoal is amazing for clearing up acne. I debated even putting this one on the list, because unlike all these other products, it is definitely not cheap, and you won’t find it at your local drugstore. Honestly, it does almost the exact same thing as the Freeman mask – which is $17 cheaper – but this one has a bit more of an exfoliation factor to it, and smells really nice.) I’m currently out of it (because it’s expensive and I’m a bit low on funds at the moment), but when I used it before I would pinch off a small amount, mix it with water to make a paste, and use it on my face instead of my normal cleanser. Then I’d skip toner and go ahead and moisturize. 
  • Biore Deep Cleansing Pore Strips - These are really handy if you have a lot of blackheads. You just wet your nose, smooth the strip down on it, wait for it to feel dry and stiff, and then rip it off. It is NOT painless, but it’s not as bad as waxing your legs or ripping off a band-aid. And it removes all of the gunk clogging your pores. My favorite part is looking at all of the nasty stuff left on the strip after you rip it off. It’s disgusting, but kinda fascinating. Glad all of that isn’t in my pores anymore. 

Those are all of the products I like to use on my face. All of them are cruelty-free, none of them give me an allergic reaction, and all of them help my skin a lot. 

Here are some extra tips for keeping your skin as soft, clear, and glowing as possible:

  • If you wear makeup, you might wanna invest in a primer to create a protective barrier between your foundation and your skin. I’m currently using e.l.f.’s Poreless Face Primer (which, btw is sold at Walmart for half of the price Amazon is asking).
  • Also, you should never, ever sleep with makeup on, or leave your makeup on overnight. It will damage your skin and make you break out, no matter how prone to acne your skin normally is. Even if you’re too tired to do your full skincare routine, at least swab your face down with a makeup remover wipe before you go to bed.
  • Look for makeup products that are labelled “non-comedogenic” and “hypoallergenic.” Usually, these products are the safest bet for people with sensitive skin.
  • Exercise has been linked to clearer skin. Even little things like walking your dog or ten minutes of yoga can make a difference.
  • Lack of sleep can and often does cause breakouts. I literally cannot stress how important getting enough sleep is, not just to your skin, but to your overall physical and mental health.
  • Don’t wash your face more than twice a day. Washing too often can cause your face to produce excess oil, which clogs your pores, which causes breakouts.
  • Do not exfoliate more than three times a week, and never exfoliate two days in a row. 
  • Using pore strips too often can be really bad for you. After using one on your face, wait at least 2-3 days before you use another.

And finally, remember that other people do not look at your skin as closely as you do. Most of the time, other people don’t think your acne is as bad as you do. Your friends don’t care if you have a huge pimple on your chin, or if your nose is covered in blackheads. And even if you follow all of the advice in this post, never miss a dose of vitamins, wash your face twice a day, every day, and use masks and special treatments several times a week, you might still have occasional small breakouts or redness. And that’s okay, because no one’s skin is always perfect. Having acne or bad skin doesn’t make you ugly, and investing time, effort, and money in treating your skin doesn’t make you vain. Do what makes you feel happy, comfortable, and confident. 


2013 to 2015! I started my journey one year ago in July 2014.

Pcos makes it hard, but I’m fighting it every single damn day and I’m never going to stop.

These photos are really emotional for me because the two from 2013 represent a time in my life when I wasn’t unhappy, but I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin either. I had accepted that my body would just gain weight indefinitely because of pcos and felt lacking in control. Skip forward to the photos taken last night before a wedding reception and you’re looking at someone with a whole new outlook on life. I finally feel in control. I felt so self conscious last night but also SO confident at the same time.

These photos represent my health to me. My hormone levels have dropped to within healthy ranges, my periods are back and regular like clockwork, my acne is gone and my moods are much more stable.

Have a beautiful Sunday!



these saved my life so i must share !
I have really sensitive skin and pcos so no matter if i didnt deviate from my skin care routine at all, i would still breakout randomly and i’m really sensitive to dairy so i breakout anytime i have the slightest bit of cheese or a bowl of cereal.
These plants aren’t usually used in american skincare so if you think you’ve tried everything but nothing works, try these!!! Neem has been used for centuries for skin problems and its!! a life saver!!!
They’re all natural (which i usually opt for because my skin is really sensitive and i just don’t like risking it bc if i react to a product badly it’s Hell and also u kno like. the environment or w/e), and contain tulsi/neem, kaolin, fuller’s earth, and calamine n thats it! u just mix the powder with a little water and use it as a mask! it healed my skin and also just leaves u with a fresh clean feeling.
These are only $4 at most indian grocery stores or on amazon (search ayur face pack) ! Which is the best part ! Because we all know obviously good skincare products out there exist but $$$ :/ These are really affordable, the best thing i ever put on my skin, and last you a long time.
The neem one is better if you have a lot of large cystic acne and oily skin, because for me it does dry out your skin a little bit so make sure to moisturize. I usually only put it on problem areas. The tulsi one is good if you have more manageable acne or combination/dry skin.

I was going through some pictures today and found one from when I went to get some new frames for my glasses. My mom wanted to take picture so I could see what they looked like and I was so uncomfortable. My PCOS had flared up again and my acne had gotten really bad. It was so painful. I hated going anywhere because I felt like people were staring at it constantly; it was hard not to. My skin is still scarred from that bought but its gotten SO much better! I know one of the big factors for me is that I had stopped taking my birth control and clearly my hormones were out of whack. I hadn’t had my period in a few months, and to top it off, the foundation I had been using made my skin worse. I got back on BC and switched to using Bare Minerals and I kid you not, I could see a huge difference in the inflammation the day after I started using it. I highly recommend their products. Their new cream concealer is pure magic. I also have to advocate for eating healthy in relation to clearing up my skin. There were a lot of variables that I changed at once to eliminate my acne but eating healthy and giving my body the nutrients that it needs rather than processed crap has worked wonders! My best friend told me about a new cream she started using for her acne scars (her break outs were way worse than mine) and her skin is practically flawless now. I think I may have to invest in it and I’ll share how it works :)


I’ll definitely lose followers for posting this but I don’t care. I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and want to share it so that I can possibly help other women who are struggling. First picture is from May 2015, second is from February 2016. I still have a lot of scarring as you can see (which is expected with how bad my acne was) but my acne is gone (with the exception of one or two spots here and there… but nothing at all compared to what I had. no cysts!!!) All thanks to a miracle drug called spironolactone that I did extensive research on and begged my gynecologist for. It blocks androgens from negatively affecting my skin. This drug has immensely enhanced the quality of my life, I was miserable for years and years with my acne. This is the ONLY thing that has ever cleared me and it is much safer than accutane or antibiotics (which are bull shit, btw). I never thought I’d see a day of clear skin in my adult life.

Please take a chance and ask your docs about this drug if you’re a woman and have exhausted all other options!!!

I have PCOS so I get cystic cheek acne and have acne scarring especially during my time of the month. I used to be really self conscious about it and want to rip my skin off but I’ve gotten to a point where I dont care so much about it and it’s not such a big deal as I think. Still, sometimes when a breakout gets really bad I need a reminder that I’m still cute as hell and spots on my face aren’t gonna change that! I hope it helps you remember how cute you are too.


The hairdressers always take too much off, and as my slow hair growth compadres know, when too much is taken off, you’re back to square one. So I’ve taken to chopping about quarter of an inch off every 4/6 weeks and it keeps it fresh and spurs it on a bit!

Freshly washed with Lush shampoo bar - (don’t know it’s name now) but it’s henna and coffee, especially good for brunettes!
Jojoba oil on the ends and in my little spray bottle is rosemary and water spritzed into my roots!

I think the bit about pcos which has caused me the most grief for so long, and has affected my self esteem the most, is my slow growing hair. Nice one hormonal imbalance -.-

(& acne but it’s not as bad as it used to be) though I’ve got a spot the size of the moon on my chin so I’m layered in tea tree oil tonight! Go away spot!!!

I’d love it if this bloat finally went away too! :’)


Update 3: The oil cleansing method

I have just discovered the application “photobooth.” This will make these updates much, much easier. I never claimed to be tech savvy….

I have fallen off the wagon of doing the OCM exclusively. Somewhere around day 15, my luck with not having to go through a “purge” period finally ran out. The familiar song and dance I’ve gone through with cystic acne started up again, and I stuck it out without any soap for a couple of days, but I caved in the end. I expect this backslide in my skin is largely hormonal. It’s too much for me to get into in detail right now, but I have PCOS and one of my symptoms is acne secondary to an androgen imbalance. Ho-hum, pig’s bum, I’m tired of it altogether. Suffice to say, I had to stop taking a particular medication roughly 4 months ago and the effects, positive and negative, are just coming to light. But, another topic for another day.

The new regimen is:

  • OCM with 2 parts jojoba/1 part castor/5-10 drops tea tree oil every other evening after a steam
  • wash with baking soda/castile soap mixture every other evening
  • wash with water OR plain castile soap in the morning (depends on the day which I do)

There you have it. These changes seem to have gotten me back to where I was around day 11, hopefully it’s only up from here. Anyone else have an update to share? I’d love to hear your experience.

anonymous asked:

Should I be embarrassed by going on the pill when I'm 14? I'm going on it to regulate my periods because they come really often, but I'm worried what others will think of me..

Why is that embarrassing?! Don’t be embarrassed at all my love! The pill is used for all sorts of different reasons. Kaelyn uses it for her endometriosis. It can also help treat PCOS, cramps, acne, PMS, the list is endless! Over 60% of women take birth control regularly. If people judge you for taking it, you don’t need them in your life. :)