I’ve had to live with acne my whole adult life. Nothing really worked and I’d always have issues crop up all the time. But with my new routine, I’ve got it under control and while I don’t have 100% clear skin, the ones that do pop up are small and insignificant. As of this writing my current acne busting routine is to wash my face twice a day with WSP’s Charcoal Face Soap. Sanitize with unscented aftershave. And finish up with WSP’s tea tree face lotion.
A little history – I’ve been suffering from acne since I was a teenager. I’ve always had oily skin and it just never went away. I’ve tried EVERYTHING that was over the counter. Neutrogena, Origins, Cetaphil, Clearasil, Proactive, Proactive copies… seriously, I’ve tried every major brand. And while some of them worked okay; none of them were truly easy to use or solved the problem completely. And they all used the same concoction of chemicals: salicylic acid, detergents, an antiseptic, etc.
My last face routine before I started creating my own product was Cetaphil face wash with Aveeno (or whoever) face lotion with salicylic acid. It was okay, but not great. For stuff that I can get from Target, it was okay and did an okay job. But when I started up WSP, I knew I wanted something better, and I was determined to do it.
I Wanted a Face Soap that Actually Worked — So I Made My Own
From my years of researching the plague that is acne, I knew that a gentle face cleanser was the first line of defense. It shouldn’t strip the skin of all the natural oils, but it does need to clean it. As nearly every dermatologist says, “a gentle cleanser”. I also included lavender & tea tree essential oils for their soothing and anti bacterial properties.
The result was an all natural gentle cleanser that pulled out the impurities and achieved the same results (for me) as those over the counter face washes with salicylic acid. And, without the peeling or harsh chemicals.
Aftershave Is an Astringent
The next step in any acne busting system is the toner/astringent/sanitizer. Honestly, this is basically the same darned thing as diluted rubbing alcohol. The alcohol kills the bacteria still left on your skin and dilutes & breaks down any remaining oils. The active ingredient is the alcohol. There’s really not much else to them.
So, I just swapped out the expensive water & alcohol solutions for unscented aftershave. I find the aftershave to be better because I include a healthy dose of witch hazel in my formulation. The witch hazel helps to soothe my skin & lessens the harshness of the tonic. I opt for unscented or true lavender because I use it all over my face as a tonic.
I Still Needed an Acne Busting Moisturizer
The last step to any acne routine is a great moisturizer. This does several important things: 1) it stops the oil glands from secreting excess oil by rehydrating your face after washing it; 2) it shouldn’t clog pores (non-comedogenic); and 3) ideally it should have an acne busting ingredient.
Prior to formulating my own lotion, the last one I was using was the Aveeno blemish free version with SPF or something else over the counter with salicylic acid. Now don’t get me wrong, SPF is good for you, but it clogs pores like no one’s business. So unless you can’t wear a hat or stay in the shade, it’s probably not a good idea if you want to stay acne free with problem/oily skin.
With those requirements in mind, I set out to create a better lotion. It had to be noncomedogenic, full of natural face nourishing ingredients, and have an acne busting ingredient. Preferably a natural one. So, I did the research and came up with tea tree oil. While there is only one published study about the effectiveness, the conclusions were promising. It showed similar results to salicylic acid in reducing the occurrence of acne. And while some people are allergic to it, it had no other side effects. So, knowing that, I formulated it in.
Putting it All Together
My personal routine is to shave in the morning and shower at night. Incorporating these into my morning shave, I first wash my face, shave, then finish with a lavender essential oil aftershave tonic and the tea tree face lotion (I use both on the entire face). For fragrance I spritz on some EdP.
At night I wash my face in the shower and then splash the tonic on my face and then apply the lotion. Easy as 1, 2, 3. And yes, my face does smell a bit like tea tree oil if someone were to lick it or make a real effort to smell my face, but the alternative is much worse and tea tree isn't a bad smell.
The Rest is History and So Are My Acne Woes
And the rest as they say, is history. I’ve been using this system since I first started cranking out the face lotion and my face has never been clearer. While I still use benzoyl peroxide for the occasional breakout, they have been few and far between and the ones that do show up are very small compared to life before this system.
To recap, I still utilize the tried & true three step system of a gentle cleanser, an astringent, and a moisturizer. I’ve just managed to create a more natural & effective system by utilizing tea tree & lavender essential oils in place of salicylic acid. And I stay out of the sun and in the shade as much as possible. It’s also hot as Hades in Phoenix, so that’s another incentive to stay in the shade.