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Why Nothing I Try Is Working For Clear Skin?

how to get clear skin, how to test new products for acne-prone skin, a pimple doesn't form overnight, stop switching products all the time

Today’s post is inspired by my favourite client. She’s a great girl, super beautiful, super sweet, but unfortunately she’s dealing with cystic acne. We’ve worked on her diet, and even got her off soy and birth control pills. She’s followed almost all my recommendations…

Except when it comes to skin care.

She’s amazing in so many ways, but there’s one way that she frustrates the hell out of me, and it’s her endless product experimentation!

I’ve never met somebody as hell-bent on trying new products. Every time we talked, she’d be trying out a new set of products…

She’d try a new product from ONE day to THREE days, and then freak out over one or two new pimples. She’d blame the new product/s for the new pimples, instead of considering old habits causing current pimples.

Or she’d try part of a routine, leaving out a moisturizer… Or change everything in her routine to good products, leaving in the cleanser that we agreed was crappy for her skin… Every step of the routine matters and helps build upon the following step. If one product is damaging, then the whole routine is likely to suck.

As I mentioned in the previous article, pimples take up to 8 weeks to form. The pimples you see today, are pimples that have been forming for quite some time. The fact that you can see them now, is a sign that it’s too late.

That’s why prevention is so important. Read about 8 ways you can prevent pimples from forming here.

She’d get frustrated after trying a few products unsuccessfully, and come back and complain about it to me.


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And we always seem to end up having the same conversation that goes something like this…

Me: “Have you quit using that cleanser that we’ve determined break you out?”
Her: “Not yet, I’m nervous to switch to another one.”
Me: “It’s time to be consistent with the routine that I recommend. It’s going to work, but you’re going to have to stick to it, all of it — for at least 30 days before you freak out and tell me the routine isn’t working.”
Her: “But, what if it doesn’t work? What if I start breaking out?”
Me: “You might initially, but these ‘new’ pimples are from the stuff you’ve been doing to your face two months ago. You won’t see a result if you don’t switch to stuff that is proven to work.”
Her: “I just want an easy skin care routine that will keep my skin clear.”
Me: “Here it is.”
Her: “Maybe I should try x, y, and z, first.”
Me: *Face palm*

How To Test New Products

The fact of the matter is, you cannot come to a conclusion about a product after trying it for 1-3 days, and even trying it for a week or two.

Nothing you do is working, and will never work if you switch your products every 3 days.

The best way to really test a product is to first try it on ONE part of your face, and make sure your face isn’t irritated by it — no redness, no rashes, no tightness.

Read about 3 factors you need to consider when getting a new product for acne-prone skin.

Another area where you can test a product is on your neck. For me, my chest is an area that is very sensitive to comedogenic ingredients, so it’s a good place to test products too.

If after a few days of applying the new product you don’t experience any irritation, it’s time to apply the product to your face — for 30 days!

Anything less is not going to show you the real efficacy of the product. When I tried Jojoba Oil for the first few days, I loved it! I thought it was a genius product!

It took 14 days for my face to get congested, and about 4 weeks for my face to start breaking out on it. The same thing happened on Argan Oil — after 30 days I could see that my skin HATED oils.

Had I tried the product for 3 days, I would not have known if it was any good or if it could clog my pores.

What’s more is — it took a little over 2 months of my regular skin care routine to clear up all the damage I created with oils.

It’s no coincidence that the life cycle of a pimple is 2 months — that’s the best approximation of how long it will take for you to see positive results after making a change in your skin care.

From personal experience, it seems like negative results only take 3-4 weeks to notice.

And Then There’s Purging

Some products speed up cellular turnover — they contain ingredients called actives. Actives include scrubs, chemical exfoliants, vitamin C, and retinoids.

When you first use actives, you might actually see yourself breaking out *GASP* MORE.

But don’t stop using them — actives are clearing out old gunk, to make way for clear pores.

It might take up to 2-6 weeks on actives to get totally clear of new breakouts. But these new breakouts are actually old clogged pores, that are coming to the surface FASTER.

Purging is a good thing, but it might feel uncomfortable for the first little while. Be patient and understand that it’s a process.

And Then There’s Your Diet & Lifestyle

We forget that makeup and skin care are not the only factors influencing your pimples. The fact of the matter is, if your immune system was healthy, you’d be able to fend off clogs without them ever getting inflamed.

But if you eat too much sugar, gluten, dairy, caffeine, alcohol, or soy, you might be creating an acidic and inflamed environment in your body that creates the super red, swollen pimples that you want to get rid of.

Maybe you weren’t getting enough sleep last month, or you weren’t going to the bathroom very regularly… Your face might be paying for it this month and the next.

Today’s pimple is not because of yesterday. Today’s pimple is because of a combination of things you’ve been doing up to 8 weeks ago.

If I ever break out, I don’t blame it on my products because my products have been tried and tested and proven effective time and time again — especially saving my skin after my disastrous experiments.

When I get a pimple here and there, I know that it’s a sign for me to either up my water intake, or sleep more, exercise more, stress less… A pimple is a sign of inflammation, so I know that I need to take better care of my body.

The answer is more self-care and self-love — not a new product in my rotation.

Final Thoughts

What you do to your face today, will most likely only show up in about 8 weeks, meaning you have to start taking really good care of yourself NOW — this includes skin care, diet, lifestyle, mindset.

Start thinking long-term, and be consistent.

You are loved,

P.S. I’ve shared my best 28 hacks for clear skin in my 28 Days Of Clear Skin video series. You can sign up to get every single hack in your inbox here!