This might be slightly awkward, part 2

On Monday we talked about uncomfortable situation that is pelvic floor disorder. I hope it was educational and useful for some of you. And I hope you don’t mind if I take a minute to talk about acne. Yeah, not quite as uncomfortable as peeing when you sneeze, but it does mean that I have to own up to the fact that I still breakout like a teenager and basically don’t know how to take care of my skin.

For nearly two decades I’ve been experimenting with various regimes, cleansers, masks, methods, etc. to try to conquer the acne problem that has plagued me since my pre-teen years. All of my efforts have only taken me so far. I still get breakouts, I still get whiteheads, and I had basically thrown up my hands and said, “Well, it could be worse!” See, I can go outside without wearing make-up and still be happy about it (as long as I don’t know a picture is being taken):

However, my friend Kathleen was kind enough to treat me to a free mini-facial at a fancy spa in SoHo a few weeks ago. I was a little self-conscious about having a “beauty professional” that close to my face since I knew what was coming: comments about the acne, questions about what I use on my face, suggestions on how to clear it up — which would probably cost a bundle of money. I was right on all three accounts, but the mini-facial was so relaxing and I felt so good afterward that I didn’t mind a bit. And the lady did give me a gem of a tip, and it doesn’t cost me a penny: I should wash my face with warm water to open and clear out my pores, but then I should splash some cold water on my face after I rinse the cleanser off to close the pores back up. So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two and a half weeks and, honest and true, my face has only been this clear when I’ve been pregnant or breastfeeding, only I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding. I’ve also tried to be a little bit more gentle when I dry my face, and between the cold water splash and the gentle drying, my skin is feeling better and smoother than it has in ages. Go figure.

This may be old news to many of you, and I’m sure I’ve heard it before as well, but since I’d never been consistent with it until now, I’d never seen results. Nice to know it works, at least a little bit, at least for me. Maybe it will be helpful for some of you who are reliving your adolescent years with astonishing (and unpleasant) frequency and wondering if you are single-handedly keeping Clearasil in business. If you have an acne-clearing tip, please share.

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5 Comments

  1. Lizzie:You look absolutely lovely in the picture! So incredibly photogenic.

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    lizzie Reply:

    Meg, you are too kind.

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  2. I feel your pain! My skin’s the same way except when I’m pregnant or until my postpartum fertility returns and the hormones start raging again. Boo! Maybe by 40 my skin will finally be clear on a permanent basis? For now, I’ve just learned to accept it and break out the cover-up. I will try that tip your spa lady recommended. Figure I’ve got nothing to lose!

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    lizzie Reply:

    My fingers are crossed for 40, too. Although maybe I should be optimistic and hope for clear skin by 30. Hope the cold water trick works for you!

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  3. I love that tip- I’m gonna do that form now on! I used to break out in on my chest and back when I was exercising a lot and then I read that you should immediately peel off your exercise clothes the minute you get home and shower so you don’t clog your pores with sweat and whatnot after a run…. it seems so obvious now, but at the time I was like OF COURSE! You mean sitting around in my running clothes for hours after a run was causing this problem? Who knew? 🙂

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    lizzie Reply:

    Hahaha! Another of my friends recently mentioned that rinsing your face off after a workout is probably a good idea on the acne-front. I should take that to heart.

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  4. Great tip. I’ll definitely be using that.

    I think my acne is actually worse now than it was as a teenager (probably due to the fact that I was, ahem, a “late bloomer” and my stress levels are a little higher now…) I’m often miffed at the amount of acne I have, but like you have stopped worrying about it and accepted it and tried to mitigate it as best I can.

    Anyway, another tip that I have to offer is to change your pillowcase frequently. I bought a few extra just so I don’t have to do all my laundry just to get a clean pillowcase, but it seems to help, and makes me feel nice putting my clean face on a clean pillow.

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    lizzie Reply:

    I should change my pillowcase more frequently. Maybe I’ll make a bunch during conference this weekend. 🙂

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  5. I only do the warm wash, cold splash method. Then moisturize after with Cetaphil. No cleansers or anything and ever since I started a few years ago my face has always been clear.
    It’s the only way to go!

    [Reply]

    lizzie Reply:

    No cleansers? I’m amazed. I don’t know that I’m ready to try it, though. My face is so oily, I need something to cut the grease.

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