HOW I STOPPED RUINING MY SKIN

Allow me to shill.

From the age of 14 onward, I was in a constant battle with the seemingly omnipresent 2-3 zits that have always been trying to set up shop on my chin or below my nose. Like an endless game of Whack-a-Mole, I’ve struggled to obliterate them with pretty much every anti-acne face wash or cream on the market, always with unremarkable results. Proactiv? Yeah, right. Mario Badescu’s Drying Cream? Boo you. Even a prescription sulphur face wash ($23 a bottle with insurance, $96 without) offered limited results. I had a routine of using thick concealer and foundation every day on these areas of my face in efforts to combat the boorish teenage brat living in my pores.

Listen up, pizza faces.

Endlessly envious of and mystified by my friends who didn’t wear a single smear of makeup and somehow still had glowing, uniform skin free of miniature pus volcanoes, I resigned myself to “bad skin.” Whatever. I was just grateful to avoid Accutane, which makes you have eyeless alien babies or whatever. Assured by mainstream beauty brands that I had oily skin that needed to be blasted with industrial-strength salicylic acid day and night, I never moisturized (didn’t want to aggravate the oils!), piled on the chemicals, and strove for that just-scrubbed taut feeling in my face as often as possible.

Then, this past Christmas, I received a gift of some of 100% Pure‘s products, including its Mint White Tea Cleanser. I scanned the ingredients list and noted that many of the ingredients were actually plant, fruit, and vegetable oils. MY NEMESIS. But regardless of my aversion to that vowely word, I started using it (it smells nice, which is my primary criteria for any bath or beauty product) and developed a routine. Every night, I just gently rubbed it on my face with my fingers and splashed it off with lukewarm water, and once a week I used it with my Clarisonic Mia.

Within a week, my existing zits were gone. My skin was softer. There was no “taut” feeling, but instead one of  balance, peace, bodily serenity. I almost completely stopped getting blackheads and no longer felt the need to constantly pick at my skin in the mirror. I hadn’t had a zit in four or five months. And then finally, the other day, I went out in public without any concealer or foundation, which I never thought was possible.

I feel both relieved and pissed. Relieved that something can be done to tame the shrew, and pissed that for well over a decade I’ve been believing that all I need was more salicylic acid, a higher concentration of benzoyl peroxide, something more astringent and powerful. Could companies really be urging us to smear all sorts of bad-for-us stuff all over our faces and bodies? Yes.

So fear not the oil, my friends. It just might be your new best friend.

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