As longtime readers will know, I’m borderline insane when it comes to skincare. And—by way of delusional quid pro quo logic that doesn’t actually work—I expect my perpetual obsession to deliver nothing less than flawless skin. So perhaps you can understand why I go ballistic over the stray blemish. A mild breakout, like the one I’ve been experiencing for the past month? Simply unacceptable.
Of course, while I’d love to wage full-out war on my face, that’s simply not how things are done. I’m no esthetician, but even I know hitting skin with harsh ingredients will do more harm than good in the long run. With that in mind, I turned to Dr. Sarah Villafranco, founder of one of my favorite all-natural skincare brands. Her first tip?
“In general, I think some focused attention on your diet can make quite a difference. Dark, leafy greens, protein rich grains like quinoa, and lots of water, while limiting sugar, dairy and wheat are good goals. Make sure you are cleaning your face really well before bedtime, every night.” P.S. It’s also imperative that you use a clean towel to dry your face and sleep on a regularly laundered pillowcase.
Ok, so we know how to care for our complexions from the inside-out—but that’s only half the battle (isn’t it delightful?). The all-important step is creating a regimen that diminishes breakouts without stripping your face. “That has been a big flaw in skincare for a long time, I think,” Dr. Villafranco told me, “Like when we all used to eat fat-free foods and feel chubbier than ever?? You have to work with the skin and its function, not against it. It’s supposed to secrete sebum and create a barrier to water loss, so if you are forever stripping its oils away, it will just get mad and make more—a lot more.”
While I’d highly recommend that you shop her line for the solution to all of your problems (more on that in a bit), here are some ingredients to look for in blemish-fighting products: antibacterial essential oils like thyme and lemon, soothing ones like lavender and parsley seed, and healing oils like rose hip seed and evening primrose (in small quantities to help blemishes heal with less scarring). For Osmia girls, she recommends a thorough cleansing with her Black Clay Facial Soap followed by the Facial Calibration Serum and Detox Mask (all three reviewed here) once a week. As for directly targeting breakouts, nothing is better than her Spot Treatment, the chicest rectangular rollerball that somehow vanishes my hairline problem spots like nothing else.
And with that, I impart upon you her final words of wisdom. Just call this your new anti-breakout bible:
- “Do. Not. Pick. Let me say that again. Do. Not. Pick. This includes popping, unless there is a clear white head on the pimple, and this process is not done in your car in the middle of traffic, but with clean hands, after steaming and cleansing skin, then using tissue and gentle pressure. If it doesn’t come out on the first try, it’s over.”
- “Don’t touch your face except to wash it and apply product with clean hands. The rest of the day, hands off.”
- “Normally I don’t like to use super drying products on pimples. In a pinch, though, dab a bit of Purell on the blemish—it can control bacteria until you get home to your better, gentler acne products.”
Full Disclosure: The product(s) featured in this post were submitted by PR for editorial consideration and review. For more information, please refer to my disclaimer.