My Skincare Regimen For Acne

Randa Salloum

My skin has been an issue of mine since I was around 11 years old. I received my first breakout during the beginning of my menstruation cycle and it hasn’t slown down except the time that I was on Accutane 3 years ago. I’ve struggled with acne on my face, chest and back since I was a teenager. Your skin can make or break your confidence, it’s the first thing that someone sees and it’s single handily affected my life in more ways than one. Today, I’m going to talk to you about my new skincare regimen for acne.

I’ve tried more cleansers and skincare regimens for acne than you can think of, and fast forward to my age at 32 and it’s almost worse than it was when I was younger! My skin is red, it hurts, it’s very scarred from my hyperpigmentation and I consistently wake up to at least 5 new pimples. How frustrating is that!?

I’ve seen numerous professionals who did not understand what was affecting my skin. The number one solution was antibiotics and Accutane. Eventually, after trying to remedy it myself, I caved and went on both for almost a year. Accutane was a blessing… it cleared my entire body overnight but unfortunately, it all came back when I ended my treatment and after my second dosage, I didn’t feel well and had to end it.

I decided to go to a Naturopath for a different perspective and within the first hour of meeting him, he pointed out that I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and that I essentially have diabetes for my ovaries. He also pointed out that my hormone levels are completely out of wack and I have much more testosterone than I do estrogen. Both of these challenges result in the acne that I develope among other bodily issues. The first method was to cut out refined sugar. DONE. I’ve done it for almost a year and it’s ended all of my large cystic acne! What a relief! The second method was to regulate my hormones. I took 8 supplements/antibiotics a day for what felt like forever… it regulated them and then stopped and I went back to square one. For the last 6-ish months, I’ve cut out meat, testing out home remedies and gut hacking my way to clear skin. It’s been less than manageable until now, enter Touch of Joy!

I received the opportunity to experience a facial called the Pico Facial at Touch of Joy, which is a laser treatment that focuses on pigmentation. So, of course, I jumped at the chance! I simply intended to go in and test out a treatment that I could potentially recommend and instead left with the overwhelming feeling that I’m going to end up with clear skin after I met the owner, Joy.

I’ve never had someone react so empathetically to what I’m going through but Joy experienced bad skin herself and understood how it affects me. Joy and her team promote a holistic approach to skincare and focus on healthy skin and lymphatics. They feature techniques and knowledge gained from a variety of cultures and countries and their treatments go far beyond skin services. They design skin programs to effectively treat specific conditions or reach a skin goal. Joy and her team took my lifestyle and medical challenges (like PCOS) into consideration so that I can receive the best treatment that I can get.

Almost immediately, Joy pointed out to me that I have melasma and no doctor has ever brought that to my attention. Melasma is a common skin condition that showcases discolouration of areas of your skin (mainly face) caused by sun exposure, birth control, pills, makeup, and other factors. I was shocked! I always noticed the area around my mouth and chin were darker but didn’t know why.

After my assessment, Joy and her team walked me through the treatments I would receive and what my aftercare would be and that included a new skincare routine, diet shift and supplement routine.

Touch of Joy is able to get me 50% to clear skin and the rest is up to me! Below you can see what my skin looks like now and I’m going to write a post in 3 months with an update on where I’m at.

Touch of Joy treatments that I have experienced over the course of 2 weeks:

  1. Pico Facial – This treatment stimulates the natural skin-refreshing processes, PicoSure is the only picosecond laser that can effectively shatter and treat: Pigmented Lesions and wrinkles.
  2. (Yellow) Light Therapy – This treatment uses four clinically proven wavelengths of UV-free LED lights that claim to boost collagen production and treat existing acne and redness.
  3. Extractions – This treatment is the process of clearing a clogged or compacted pore. Essentially, they’re cleaning out your pimples for you!
  4. Chemical Peel – This treatment technique improves and smoothes the texture of the skin. Chemical peels are intended to remove the outermost layers of the skin to rejuvenate your pores, scarring and other areas of issue.

As mentioned above, these treatments can only get me halfway to the goal. With a healthy diet, customized skincare routine and taking the supplements my body needs, I will get myself to healthy, glowing skin. Scroll below to see my skincare routine and what supplements I will be taking for the next 3 months.


SKINCARE

I’m no stranger to switching up my skincare routine. We need to be adjusting our products as the seasons’ change and also as our skin changes. We shouldn’t be using the same products all year round and be sure to use products that are meant for your skin type. This week, I’ve begun to use the Alumier Skincare system. Alumier uses science as their foundation but use clean, natural ingredients and are 90% vegan as they use honey in their ingredient list. Scroll below to view which products I’m using and why. I know it looks like a lot of products… 10… but I can apply it all in under 5 minutes.

MY MORNING ROUTINE
Alumier MD Purifying Gel Cleanser – Soothes & replenishes lost moisture (I have dry skin)
Alumier MD Bright Clear Solution – Brightens skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines. Gently exfoliates dead skin cells, protects from free radical damage and soothes the skin.
Alumier MD AluminEye – Lighten the appearance of under-eye darkness.
Alumier MD EverActive C&E – Vitamin C for my skin! Brightens my skin, reduces fine lines, improves skin tone and texture and antioxidants protect from sun and pollution.
Alumier MD Ultimate Boost Serum – Hydrates and reduces the appearance of fine lines, strengthens, firms and improves elasticity, restores hyaluronic acid, smooth and firm skin.
Alumier MD Alumience A.G.E – Pollution shield and provides ultimate daily protection from pollution and UV damage.
Alumier MD Intellibright Complex – Evens out my skin tone.
Alumier MD Clear Shield SPF 42 – This is a sunscreen that soothes & relieves redness to target blemishes.

WHY IS SUNSCREEN SO IMPORTANT?
Sunscreen isn’t just something we need to apply during the summer months and when it’s hot outside. Sunscreen is an active fighter of UV rays from damaging our skin! UV rays can oxidize the squalane in our skin, meaning clogged pores and breakouts. Wear your sunscreen all year round, even when it’s not sunny outside. In fact, we should wear sunscreen even when in the house because of all of the light that enters! Add it to your routine, and apply it like any other product regardless of the weather.

MY EVENING ROUTINE
Alumier Purifying Gel Cleanser – Benefit listed above.
Alumier MD Ultimate Boost Serum – Benefit listed above.
Alumier MD Acne Balancing Serum – Maintains my skin natural barrier and penetrates pores to reduce acne.
Alumier Retinol Resurfacing Serum 0.25% (not photographed) – Increases skin firmness, strength and elasticity.
Alumier MD Intellibright Complex – Benefit listed above.

SUPPLEMENTS

Since I don’t eat red meat or fish, I’m not receiving a lot of the vitamins and nutrients that my body needs to stay healthy so supplements are the way to go. Joy at Touch of Joy helped me put together a program that works for me.

Here is a list of what I am currently taking every day.

  1. Bend Beauty Marine Collagen + Co-Factors – Collagen is the primary “structural protein” making up 75% of our skin. This is how we get firmness and elasticity in our skin. This collagen powder helps in collagen formation, maintain healthy skin, hair and nails is a source of antioxidants that helps protect against free radicals and helps in wound healing.

    This is not vegan or vegetarian-friendly. This collagen is made from fish scales! There is a vegan option available from other brands. Why did I choose this one over a vegan option? Fish-derived collagen peptides are better absorbed in the body and vegan options are not actually collagen as it needs to be derived from animals.

    This specific powder is from food-grade wild cod, haddock and pollock sustainably managed in Icelandic fisheries.
  2. Bend Beauty Anti-Aging Formula (OMEGA 3) Capsules – Fish oil contains two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA keeps the brain functioning properly and EPA greatly benefits the skin by regulating oil production to boost hydration and prevent acne, and by delaying the skins ageing process to stave off wrinkles.
  3. Vitamin C – Necessary for the growth, development and repair of all body tissues. It’s involved in many body functions, including the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth
  4. Magnesium – Needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heartbeat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps adjust blood glucose levels. It aids in the production of energy and protein.
  5. Probiotics – A live microorganisms that may be able to help prevent and treat some illnesses. Promoting a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system are their most widely studied benefits at this time. These are also commonly known as friendly, good, or healthy bacteria.

DIET

Your diet is A HUGE part of healthy skin! Like I mentioned above, my Naturopath urged me to stop eating refined sugar because it was creating large cystic acne on my body. It was one of the hardest shifts in my diet and I still struggle with it but I had a true addiction to sugar. I was able to scale back my sugar consumption from 100% to 5% to leave room for things like birthday cakes, etc. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a change occurred in my skin when I stopped eating it!

So, STEP 1: NO MORE REFINED SUGAR. Check!

No tropical fruits – Fruits like mangos, pineapples, bananas and even oranges are high on the glycemic index. It creates acidity in the gut that can result in an imbalance and could be the reason that I’m breaking out around my mouth area.

No gluten – I’m not celiac and gluten did not cause my acne but it can inflame it. I’m going to try avoiding this for the next 3 months.

No soy – Soy affects androgen levels, which are related to hormonal acne. Androgens are a group of hormones that play a role in male traits and reproductive activity. I have more testosterone than I do estrogen so this is a no-go for me!

No cashews – Cashew are high in oils and I’m currently challenged with clogged pores and oil build-up. Cashews can increase my sebum (oil) production.

No caffeine – I already don’t drink caffeine but some info for you guys, the increase in cortisol can trigger a boost of sebum (oil) production, which can result in acne breakouts

No dairy – Similar to caffeine and cashews, dairy can overstimulate your sebum (oil) production.

Add more greens – The more vegetables you incorporate, the clearer your skin!

MORE WATER – I have a hard time drinking water but I think I’ve got a system down now to remind myself to drink it. As recommended by Joy:

“Our skin needs more water than oils. If the skin is dehydrated, it’ll send a message to your brain to dictate the chemicals your body needs to hold water but if the water is not present, you’ll get an imbalance response. To make up for the deficiencies, your body will use anything to create lipids, it cannot differentiate water and oils, so oils glands can become overactive, creating more oils, this then causes an inflammatory response to your skin, that can lead acne-causing bacteria to awaken. “

For the next 3-months, I’m going to treat my diet as a vegan (minus eggs, honey & fish oils) and gluten-free. After the 3-months, I can asses how my skin has healed and begin to reintroduce some of the above. If you’d like to follow my progress over the next three months, find me on Instagram at @RandaSalloum and look for my story highlight titled “SKIN”.

This is going to be a complete lifestyle switch for me! A few of you spoke to me about your treatments at Touch of Joy and how much they’ve been able to help you! I’d love to hear more acne and skincare stories. Feel free to drop them in the comments or send me a message.

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