Farm to Face, How-To/DIY, Personal

Yesterday I Quit My Dermatologist-Prescribed Acne Regimen–Here’s Why

This blog is an experiment that is part of the Farm to Face collection, launching this holiday season. You can learn more about Farm to Face here.


This may be my craziest stunt yet!

Except it’s not a stunt at all, and I am terrified.. but nonetheless committed.

I alluded to it in the previous blog, but today I’m diving in with all the deets.

After 7 years of using benzoyl peroxide face washes and creams to control my acne (plus a few years of daily antibiotics, followed by a few years of being constantly sick.. ahem), I am done.

After 7 years of using benzoyl peroxide face washes and creams to control my acne.. I am done.

Is Benzoyl Peroxide Aging My Skin!? What Started it All..

Earlier this summer I said to my boyfriend, “Does my skin look old? I think it looks older than it should for a 24 year old who wears sunscreen everyday.”

“Quit using your face wash” he said.

I thought he was crazy. My doctor gave it to me. It works for me. Does he know how I would look without this stuff?!! I have moderate to severe acne, and I finally found something that works consistently. There’s no way I’m giving it up.

Benzoyl Peroxide may Pre-maturely age your skin

A few weeks laters, I was reading the latest copy of Beauty Store Business (yes, I’m that person) and saw something that caught my eye. It was an article called – something to the effect of – “Is your acne face wash aging your skin?”

..HUH?!

In the article, two dermatologists gave their opinions on whether or not benzoyl peroxide acne washes were in fact prematurely aging your skin. One said yes, definitely, and here’s why. The other said, the research doesn’t show that.

Hmm..

I know that using benzoyl peroxide products makes your skin more susceptible to sunburn and therefore sun damage. But are the free radicals causing damage on the epidermis?

Experts online are basically divided on this one, too.

Hmm..

I do like to play it safe with my skin, and I am definitely a skeptic.

I’m just going to take a safe bet and say it probably is aging my skin, and I should stop using it now.

UNLESS this expert is a horrible, terrible mistake.. in which case I will probably have to kowtow and come running back to my benzoyl peroxide wash. But I’m really going to try to get off of this stuff once and for all, whatever it takes.

Other Considerations in Ditching Derm-Prescribed Products

It’s expensive. Along those same lines, I spend 75%+ of my year in Asia. It can be difficult to impossible to get the products I am prescribed over there, and even if I do, sometimes I really pay for it. If I try to stock up before I go, I have to pay the real price for my “prescription face wash” because my insurance only covers a month at a time.

Do you know how much that is?! It’s over $100 for a 30 day’s supply. It’s $35 with my co-pay. I have health insurance. If you don’t, or yours isn’t the best, good luck to you, my friend.

You need a constant, continuous prescription. Then, when I had a second to come back to the states, the pharmacy told me “You’re out of refills.” Oh, so I need to pay to go see my doctor again just so he can give me the same prescription and keep trying to push me onto some T-blockers that I don’t want? No thanks.

They keep trying to push things on you! Since moving from my college derm to a private practice, my dermatologist keeps telling me I NEED prescription products, not generics. I NEED to get this done and that done. I NEED to take testosterone blockers. He laughes and calls me “sassy” everytime I ask “why?” Oy.

I don’t think I need to make much more of a case. Here we go..

Castor Oil + Sage: a Hypothesis for Fighting Adult Acne Naturally

Left untreated, I have moderate to severe acne. If I stop using my face wash for a day, I will see a rise in comedones and pimples within the next 3-5 days afterwards. If I stop for 2-3 days, we’re talking about huge patches of comedones and larger pimples.

I’ve had to do this before when I ran out of medication in China. I didn’t wash with my prescription wash for 1 month during my first trip and spent the next 9 months clearing up my skin and getting rid of the evidence (read: redness and scarring). My friends’ faces said it all: they felt bad for me.

I’m 24. I still have acne – which sucks – but I’m not the only one.

I’m 24. I still have acne – which sucks – but I’m not the only one. There’s millions of us stuck in the same boat, on these same prescription products that we’re afraid to get off of.

So here’s what I’m doing: I’ve done a lot of research. I think the best way to treat acne naturally is with castor oil. Dark, rich castor oil. Castor oil has been used for centuries in Jamaica to treat acne as well as inflammation, redness, itching, burns and everything else you can think of. It’s a great anti-infllamatory oil. You probably know a lot about it already from WINK.

Another great way is with sage. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, there is an ester present in sage oil called linalyl acetate. This ester can reduce skin inflammation and works as a natural remedy for acne and skin irritations. It also regulates the production of oil by the skin and prevents the growth and spread of bacteria. (Source)

Awesome. All good, right? Well.. theoretically yes, but in practice, no.

The bad part? Castor oil is thick as hell. It is the most viscous oil I have ever encountered.

The bad part? Castor oil is thick as hell. It is the most viscous oil I have ever encountered. It is REALLY difficult to wash it off of your hands, and leaves a pretty sticky residue. How can you wash your face with it, then? I’m not really sure.

So I decided to try it for myself.

My Test: a Sage + Castor Oil Combo

This summer, I took some sage that has been in my family for 4 generations and started extracting it with castor oil. Yes, that’s right: I used castor oil as the carrier to extract the essence of sage. That’s my new acne medicine.

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Yes, that’s right: I used castor oil as the carrier to extract the essence of sage. That’s my new acne medicine. 

Starting yesterday, I ditched my derm products and started washing with this sage-castor oil. At first, I had no idea what I was doing. I have my strong-smelling smoky-sage oil in a dropper bottle. I put a few drops on my extra gentleViaBuff (here) physical exfoliator, and started scrubbing around my face, sans water.

That kind of worked, but not really.

I kept adding more droplets and scrubbing around, then dry rubbed my face with a washcloth to remove any excess dead skin cells. My skin was still sticky to the touch. Yuck!

The much less viscious pomegranate carrier oil in SHINE helps dissolve the thick, sticky castor oil without removing it.

Thinking on my toes, I grabbed my SHINE bottle and rubbed a dropper full all over my face and neck. Ahh.. that’s more like it. The much less viscious pomegranate carrier oil in SHINE helps dissolve the thick, sticky castor oil without removing it. Acne-fighting and brightening all in one routine. I love it!

I then applied WINK to my lashes and brows and called it a night for my skincare!

So Will it Work?

It should! In theory! I am literally being the human guinea pig for you all right now, live, right here on the blog, and I willtell you the truth.

Yes, I’m still scared, but I will know in a week if it’s working or not.

This is 7 YEARS of skincare routine being overturned for this experiment! Literally.

But if I can find a solution that will work to control acne, I will very happily share it with the world. On the flip side, if it doesn’t work, I do not want to be caught dead trying to sell it as something that does.

You Said You Made Some.. Where Can I Buy It?

If this experiment works, the sage+castor combo will be available for sale under the name “CLARITY” as part of our “Farm to Face” collection that I spoke of in the blog yesterday, along with two other products–one for anti-aging (REWIND) and one for eczema (CALM). I know that the eczema-assuaging oil CALM works — and works fast — from firsthand experience (blog to follow later), and we’ll have to see what our testers have to say about REWIND!

Stay tuned for more – and if you’re interested in our Farm to Face collection, including the growing, extracting, formulating and testing of these homegrown, handcrafted products, head on over to our sign-up page (here), to get updates!

Sign up for Farm to Face updates here!

Do you think I’m crazy (I know I do!)? Have you given up your Rx skincare for more natural solutions? Weigh in below!

1 Comments

  • I quit early on April 10 with the dermatologist s approval, though he did mention I could choose to continue the medication for 3 more months to further reduce the chances of relapse.

    Reply

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