When things just got worse, I was about 19. At the suggestion of my friend, I went to a spa that offered facials and extractions, which is when they just destroy your face every other week for a lot of money. It did work, though! If you're really at a loss, your zits are horrendous, in your late teens/early 20's, I highly suggest facials and extractions if you have the money. The products I bought to compliment that process were extremely expensive (hundreds of dollars expensive) but for the most part, they worked.. and at that time, I would do anything to have clear skin. Along with the extractions and expensive products, I also had a humidifier right next to my bed to keep my face from getting dry. All of this combined curbed my zits but didn't clear them completely.
After I quit my job, though, I had to cut this whole process out. I had to switch to something affordable and hope that the lack of facials and extractions wouldn't reverse everything I've done. I chose the Neutrogena Acne Stress Control line that I could easily buy at Target.
here's the entire set. I'd use these every day.
The most expensive product from this line was about $10, the rest no less than $5. You had to purchase the whole set for it to work, though - and it never really worked. It would always minimize the zits, but never fully get rid of them. Whenever I travel (which is often since I'm a flight attendant) I'd have to carry all of these products with me which was a huge hassle! They took up space, some would leak/spill.. it was vey frustrating! After about 2-3 years of this, I decided that there was no way Neutrogena was going to get rid of my zits for good. I was still getting them and sometimes I'd get them by the masses, so I was ready to try something new.. which brings me to the single most disastrous thing you can put on your face..
Proactiv. Listen, I think it works. But not only does it cost an arm and a leg, you have to suffer for a few weeks before it starts to work. I'd wake up every day and I would not be able to move my face because it was drying it out. I felt nasty putting pure chemicals on my face, and this only lasted a few weeks before I cancelled my subscription. I came to the conclusion that yes, zits suck, but I'm not that desperate to get rid of them.
Then, one day I ended up in the mall in Manchester with two groupons for the Body Shop. I decided to try something new, and asked the sales rep what she thought about acne control. My face at this point was disgusting - huge zits all around my mouth and chin.. it was embarrassing to even walk around! She took one look at me and knew right away what I was dealing with and led me over to their face wash section. She showed me their products and I figured "why not? I've tried everything else!". I also liked that she recommended using 100% tea tree oil on zits - something pure and natural. I decided to give it a try, and haven't been disappointed yet!
My simple routine - tea tree oil on each zit for 5 seconds, face wash and moisturizer
My "more involved" routine. Tea tree oil on the zits, then face wash, then exfoliating about 2 times a week. Then "day" creme and of course, moisturizer. Tea tree oil night lotion at night.
Since I'm on the go constantly, carrying around any extra weight is not an option. So most days, I do my "simple" routine, and when I'm home I'll do the extended. To date, my skin has never been clearer!!
Less is more? Yes, absolutely. When I was spattering chemicals upon chemicals on my face, I'd often dry out, get red blotches, and the zits would never really disappear. Ever since I switched to something more natural and simpler, it's like my face glows. Yes, I do get a zit or two from time to time, but it's much more acceptable than 40 zits on my chin at any given time. I don't stress about them anymore because I have the confidence in my products (and stress is a huge factor in zits!).
If you're having trouble with zits and you're in your mid-twenties, here's my suggestion:
Start with 100% tea tree oil. Use a cotton swab, dip it in the oil and then press on your zit for 5 seconds or so. Then use your facewash of choice after about a minute. After, you can use day creme if you'd like (I used to use toner, but honestly, I don't think it's necessary since I don't wear a lot of makeup.) and get some really good moisturizer. Moisturizer is mostly the same to me - I use the Body Shop, Neutrogena, Target.. I don't think I've never gotten more/less zits from using different moisturizer.
Note: Use the tea tree oil once a day at first to see how your face reacts. If my zits are really bad, I'll use it twice a day, but for the most part I only need to use it in the morning. At night time, I'll use the Body Shop Tea Tree Oil night creme.
You can buy tea tree oil at Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or at your local co-op. Tea Tree Oil at the Body Shop is expensive and it's only 15% oil.
The key is patience. Nothing happens overnight. It took a few days for me to notice a difference in my skin after I started my current routine, and a few weeks to actually get almost clear skin. Once I stopped stressing, that kept the zits away as well. So just relax, and make sure you wash your face 2x a day!
Good luck! And know this: you're not alone!!! You're beautiful no matter what, and don't forget that!!