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  • Emily Woods Wellness

How I Cured My Oily, Acne-prone Skin, Naturally

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

I think there is this huge issue right now where the social media movement for self love, treating yourself, glowy skin, and supporting your influencers and the products they endorse has MAJORLY overcomplicated the ways that people are approaching makeup and skincare. The advent of beauty gurus on Youtube and paid product promotions on social media has muddied the waters for people who have a specific issue that they need a solution for. For today's purposes, that issue is problematic skin. I want to share a little of my own skin-healing story in the hopes that someone will realize that healthy, resilient skin may be only a few simple steps away.

As always with these things, a disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist, gynecologist, or any type of doctor. Some skin issues are the product of severe hormonal imbalances or genetics, in which case I am an unqualified advisor. This is how I personally healed and changed my skin, and I believe it is a good starting place for anyone who is struggling with their skin or is overwhelmed by their routine.

To keep things brief, I only began to struggle with my skin when I started using various skincare products that promised to help my skin. Hm. It started out in middle school with redness and dryness around my nose, an issue that progressively worsened as I tried to hide it under foundation. In the later years of high school, I developed semi-severe, painful acne on my forehead that persisted for months. I believe this was caused by wearing foundation after a 3 week travel period where I wore no makeup. Once this acne began to clear, I continued to struggle into college with severely oily skin. Like, I was an oil slick by mid-afternoon and it was not cute. I finally started to change my diet and to assess what I was putting on my skin my sophomore year of college.

Let's think about the standard young adult skincare routine for a second:

-Scrub face with highly drying, chemical-filled cleanser (because your face is oily and breaking out, so it needs to be drier and cleaner, right?)

-moisturize overly-dried skin with chemical-cocktail moisturizer (that salicylic acid will have your face feeling so tight and dry that you can't reach for the moisturizer fast enough)

-cover blemishes and discoloration with pore-clogging makeup and wear this throughout the day as dry skin overproduces oil and causes breakouts (your dry skin is pumping out oil underneath a layer of moisturizer and pore-clogging makeup. yummy.)


Once I was fed up with the circus mentioned above, I took a 180 degree turn with my routine.

I threw away every drying, acne-preventing cleanser, serum, and cream.

I stopped wearing foundation and concealer. You heard it here first, it's ok to let your breakouts breathe. It's the only way they will heal.

I bought a huge jar of coconut oil.

Although it was honestly terrifying to be smearing oil on my already oily skin, I trusted in the logic that I could train my skin to stop overproducing oil if I stopped drying it out excessively. Anything that said Clean-n-Clear, salicylic acid, bursting microbeads, exfoliating, or acne-curing on the bottle was out; I was trusting my body's ability to cure itself.

Before every shower, I would remove any eye makeup that I had on before coating my face in a mix of coconut oil with 2 drops of Tea Tree oil. This did 2 things:

1) Tea Tree oil, being antibacterial and antimicrobial, kept my skin clean without me needing to remove my natural oils with cleanser. Here is the brand that I use.

2) Applying coconut oil before the shower created a barrier between my skin and the hot water. This prevented my skin from drying out and the warmth allowed the oil to melt into my skin. When I got out of the shower and dried my face with my towel, I was already perfectly moisturized and ready to go. I still stand by the fact that this is the most gentle and healing way to clean and protect your face.

About once a week I would gently use my fingers to wash my face with Dr. Bronner's soap to remove any outstanding residue. Other than that, I only used water on my skin if I felt it needed refreshing.

Before bed, I would again apply coconut oil and Tea Tree oil so that I could wake up with hydrated, calm skin.

I drank a TON of water.

For 2 years, I continued with this exact routine and enjoyed the skin of my dreams. I have since consciously added a few products to my regimen, all of which are described and linked in my Morning Skincare Routine post that will be going up soon.

For many people, myself included, complete elimination of dairy from your diet can be the final step in healing your skin. Experiment patiently with this if you are experiencing stubborn issues.

The moral of this story is that everything that was supposed to help me (yes, Proactive included) only hurt me more. It was only when I took the simple, educated approach that I saw progress. I go into detail about this process on my YouTube channel if you'd like to check that video out. I hope you see the same and never hesitate to email with any questions!


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