How to Get Glowing Skin – My Make Your Skin Glow Post!

I want to preface this by saying my skin is not perfect, but it is getting there! I’ve struggled with skin issues since I was about 18. Oddly enough, I had great skin in high school:

(Do you know who you are, people with cropped arms? I know at least one of you is reading…)

But in college it began to deteriorate. I don’t have a single picture that illustrates how bad my skin was at its worst because I deleted them all! I just couldn’t make skin glow. You can see a bit of acne here, even after a round of photoshopping, wedding day makeup, and strict use of the AcneFree skincare line leading up to the big day (this is from July of this year at my wedding):

I could never figure it out, and all the medications from my dermatologist did not work. I have tried a bunch of different ones – the only one I didn’t try was Accutane (my mom wouldn’t let me, thank goodness). I have also gotten facials (I’ve done them monthly, semi-monthly, or as little as once or twice a year) but they haven’t had any lasting results.

How to Get Glowing Skin

BUT – This is my skin now (not the best picture, but the lighting shows that my skin really is clear; photo courtesy of Coco) – definitely making progress towards glowing:

Finally, about 2 weeks ago (the day of the eat like a kid post) I got a facial from this lady. (More of my recommendations from that week here.) She actually explained to me how my skin works! Which was fantastic. For me to listen to someone and do what they say, I have to understand completely what is going on. (This is why I hate when doctors don’t explain anything!) I will break what she said down into one major issue: blackheads v. whiteheads (there are also enflamed red things, but those are just more advanced black- or white-heads).

  • Blackheads: these are clogged (open) pores. They’re also called open comedones. They’re filled with sebum and dead skin, and the reason they are black is because they’re exposed to the air and they have oxidized.
  • Whiteheads: these are not pores! They are (closed) follicles. They’re also called closed comedones. They’re filled with sebum and dead skin, but they are completely under the skin. So no oxidizing, which is why they stay white.

You can extract blackheads yourself, but don’t try to extract the whiteheads. Some people might say you can get them out with a hypodermic needle, but I wouldn’t trust anyone but a facialist to do that for me! Unfortunately, until 2 weeks ago, I thought that whiteheads *did* have an opening and that it was possible to get them out by squeezing. Bad idea! Don’t do it! Leave them alone. You should probably leave the blackheads alone too, because in general, my new rule of thumb is:

Don’t Touch Your Skin

Just don’t touch it. If you try to “help” speed up the process of getting rid of pimples (blackheads, whiteheads, or those mean and nasty red guys), you will undoubtedly spread germs and bacteria from your hands and from the pimples all over your face. Just don’t touch them. Please. They will heal on their own and you just have to trust that your skin knows how to fix itself. I know it’s hard to trust your skin, because it seems like it doesn’t know what it’s doing, but I’m going to hazard a guess and say that you probably touch your skin often (even if you don’t realize it) – which is not helping matters.

Don’t Dry Out Your Skin

Even if you have oily skin you should not try to dry it out! If you try to dry out oily skin, it will just make more oil which will make lots more of those fun whiteheads I talked about. This was another major problem I was having. I tried to dry my oily skin, which made it get whiteheads, and then I would try to get them out because I thought they had an opening. Instead, use an oil-free moisturizer 2-3 times a day. Your skin will learn that it doesn’t have to make so much oil and it will eventually start to chill out. (This may take a week or so because it was so used to over-producing.)

Things that should not go anywhere near your skin in any situation include (but are not limited to):

  • glycolic acid
  • salicylic acid
  • benzoyl peroxide

If you dry out your skin you’re going to piss it off – and maybe it will be clear for a little while, but it will definitely not be clear forever. Drying out your skin is not getting to the root of the problem.

Have a Skincare Routine

My skincare routine now is:

  • Morning: rub my face with a lemon slice then rinse with water, moisturize with oil-free moisturizer, makeup, and go
  • Mid-day and / or After work: splash face with water if I’m feeling icky and pat with a paper towel
  • Night: rinse with water; if I’m wearing makeup I will wash it with a plain old face soap that doesn’t have any sorts of weird chemicals
  • Weekly: a basic mask
  • **Never touch my face**

My Current Products:

(The only reason I have 2 moisturizers is because I thought I lost one, but then I found it. I like both of them; the Garnier feels less oily even though both are oil-free. I will buy more Garnier when I run out but probably won’t buy Mario Badescu again.)

Reader Questions (and here):

Agnes asks, “I would love to hear your opinion on breaking-out on a very clean vegan diet. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!”

My response: This could be a variety of things. First, make sure you’re doing the things I talked about above for how to get glowing skin. Next, make sure that:

  1. You are getting enough fat (I say 40% of calories should come from fat, but this can be different for different people). I notice my skin is bad when I don’t eat enough butter/nut butter/avocado. (Since you’re vegan I guess you can’t have butter though.) I honestly do have better skin when I’m eating meat and animal fat, which could be because the animal protein is easily converted into the protein that our body uses to repair itself, or it could be because my body likes animal fat. That is just me though.
  2. You are not too stressed. This is another huge factor. Stress can also lead to touching your face which leads to breaking out. If you know you’re going to be stressed, drink extra water and try doing something every single day that relaxes you (like yoga or listening to your favorite music).
  3. You might have a food allergy. This is iffy. 15% of the population thinks they have a food allergy when in reality only 5% actually do. I might experiment with a gluten-free week to see if that helps things.

Mimi asks, “I used to have perfect skin. Now, I have mild acne. A facialist said it was probably my birth control. However, this one works better for me in all other areas than previous ones I’ve been on. And skin recommendations, or should I just switch?”

My response: Hm. I have been on and off the pill and I eventually opted to go off of it for a number of reasons. It probably is your birth control, but try all the things I talked about above if you really like the one you’re on! Another option for birth control is the hormone-free IUD, which I have heard great reviews of. And since it doesn’t have hormones it shouldn’t affect your skin.

Coco asks, “How to deal with stress-caused acne? I’ve been breaking out a lot lately because of work stress.”

My response: There isn’t much you can do about this aside from making sure you drink water and making sure that you do something every single day to relax. You have to take care of yourself. Stress shows up in your skin, but it’s also damaging to your health in ways that aren’t quite so visible. Drink water, don’t touch your face, moisturize, and do something like yoga or meditation daily.

Pearl asks, “I have oily skin so i can’t get away with [not washing my face often]… what did the facialist say about the scrubs?”

My response: Be wary of scrubs. Read the labels. If they have the ingredients I listed above, don’t use them. You should probably only exfoliate 1-2 times a week. If your skin is oily, try just rinsing it by rubbing your face (gently) with a slice of lemon and rinsing. You can use a plain old regular (not an acne product) soap if you really want to. If you don’t try to dry your oily skin, it’ll definitely start to realize that it doesn’t have to be so oily!

Make Skin Glow Resources:

  • High on Health (she’s a raw foodist from Australia! Wicked accent)
  • Stop Picking on Me! (picking / touching your face is more than just a habit – it can be due to stress or anxiety or other underlying issues, and it’s majorly hard to stop. This also goes into much more detail about how your skin is structured and what happens when you try to pop things, and how your skin works.)
  • Update: Gena posted about skincare today too!

I hope this helped! If you have more questions please ask below and I will either post about them or reply to you directly.

Stay tuned – later today I have a promotion I’m going to post, and tomorrow I’ll post a great giveaway! I’d post them now but I want skincare to be the star of the show this morning πŸ™‚

P.S. I updated my 30 Days of Yoga challenge.

35 Replies to “How to Get Glowing Skin – My Make Your Skin Glow Post!”

  1. Great tips! And I love all things Mario Badescu! Such fabulous products, and many are reasonably priced, I feel. The Drying Lotion is fabulous for “emergencies.”
    Your skin looks lovely!

  2. This is the best post ever. I really need someone to TELL ME to STOP TOUCHING MY FACE because I do it all the time, even though I know it’s awful. But maybe thinking about spreading germs all over my face will help… that’s a good visualization. I use Mario Badescu also, it works well for me (when I let it!)

    1. @Toni Jo: I KNOW! It’s so so hard to stop touching my face. I finally listened to this facialist because she actually explained what was going on, and then I found that “Stop Picking On Me” site, which goes into even more detail. I need to know exactly why I shouldn’t pick otherwise I keep doing it.

      1. Maggie!! I have been reading the “Stop Picking On Me” site for almost 30 minutes now. I can’t thank you enough for linking this. I get my breakouts around my chin and I am finally realizing why!

        1. @Toni Jo: I got hooked too! I read the whole site one night and didn’t get anything else done, haha. It makes so much sense πŸ™‚

  3. Your skin is glowing now! I can totally see the difference between now and the last time we met in SF. I’ll remember these tips and hopefully de-stress too. πŸ™‚

  4. Great post. You have beautiful skin!

    I tend to have dry and sensitive skin to deal with. Someone told me last week that her anestetician told her to stop using so much moisturizer because the skin needs to produce it on its own. Just like when you use too much lip balm, you can get dried out lips–the lips stop making enough moisture because you’re putting so much on. Really interesting and seems to make sense.

    1. @Stephanie: Interesting! I have never really had dry skin but this makes a lot of sense – if it’s dry, and you never let it figure out how to moisturize itself, it will stay dry (just like if it’s oily and you keep trying to dry it it will just get more oily).

  5. What a terrific post, Maggie! I’m the same as you – I went all through high school with perfect skin that my friends hated me for. Then when I hit 18 or 19 my skin turned horrible and I’ve been battling it up until about a year ago. I finally realized I was inflaming it by constantly picking at it and using so many harsh chemicals. In my own self experiment I cut back on everything and just use a basic soap in the morning and at night if I need to remove makeup. My skin has been so much better. I still get a small pimple here or there, but I know now to leave it alone and it’s usually gone in a day or two, versus a week or two before when I used to irritate it and dig at it!

    1. @Christina: Yeah, I never realized how much picking can affect it! Sounds like you figured it out already πŸ™‚ Your skin always looks great.

  6. I love the tip for using an oil-free moisturizer a couple times a day for oily skin. I am definitely going to try that out. I have never heard of using a lemon on your face. And I touch my face allll the time without realizing it! I notice when I rest my chin on my hand more often, I break out on my chin from it. I should pay more attention to that.

  7. I like a lot of Mario Badescu’s products too, Maggie! Another great skin company is called Paradise Skin Products and is based out of Hawaii. There stuff is absolutely AMAZING!

    I’ve been lucky that my skin has always been pretty good. Ironically though, except when I was anorexic, but I think that’s because my kidney’s weren’t functioning properly. :/

  8. Thanks for sharing this girl, we suffer from acne our whole life is seems. And we are just now getting better results and clearer skin. One reason why we eat a high raw foods diet was we thought it would help give us glowing skin, but for us it did not. I think it has helped but there were more underlying factors that I think caused my acne. I am still learning about my face and why things happen. I agree having good moisturizers is key and eating the healthy fats! LOL

    1. @Twins: Yes! I was raw very briefly and I actually saw a decline in my skin πŸ™ But I think that skin issues have to do with more than food. Stress is a major factor. And I was touching my face much more than I realized and I didn’t realize how much that can affect breakouts. Definitely check out the Stop Picking On Me site – really good info!

  9. Hi Maggie,

    This is such a great post! I was so inspired that I’ve been following your routine for the past couple of days–what a difference it has made! I do have a question for you. How do you treat your face right after you exercise? I know that you said that you mostly walk for exercise now, but given your new regime and advice from the woman who gave you a facial, I wondered what you recommended.

    1. @Becky: I’m so glad it’s helping! As for exercise – that would probably be a good time to rinse your face with lemon water. I would definitely splash your face with water and maybe wipe it with a clean towel as soon as you finish, but aside from that I wouldn’t do much. I did ask my facialist about washing it after exercise and she said basically that – that water is enough, you don’t really need soap. Just make sure that you wash it soon after and don’t let it sit.

  10. hahaha I do believe I see my cropped arm there, Mags πŸ™‚

    You know, I used to work in marketing for a beauty and skincare company, and I had the best products on the market at my fingertips, but I’ve learned that simplicity is the best. I have sensitive skin, and even the most non-comedogenic ingredients messed with my balance. I think skincare is entirely subjective to the individual.

    My routine is so simple these days – I wash my face with mild Dove soap in the morning because it dries out excess oil while cleaning, and I use a light Stem Organics moisturizer. I cleanse with Dove in the evening and use a lemon slice to invigorate my skin overnight. I do a plain oatmeal mask once a week to keep my skin rejuvenated and firm. It’s the easiest and most effective routine I’ve found. I also wear so little makeup these days that I don’t need to scrub haha

    1. @Melissa: Yep, that’s you! Simplicity is definitely the best. That sounds like a great routine πŸ˜‰ I will have to try the oatmeal mask. Yeah, I don’t really wear much makeup either. I do a tinted lotion but I just ran out! (Clinique)

  11. I have dry skin, and I do nothing – absolutely nothing to it. It stays fine, and doesn’t peel or feel really dry… but I do notice that my skin looks every so slightly better when I am washing and moisturizing it. (That’s just a lot more work for an ever so slight improvement, so I just let it be.)

    1. @Jennie: I am noticing more and more that the people with perfect skin do nothing. I’ve done nothing the last 2 weeks now and it’s so much better. I don’t even use soap!

  12. This is an amazing post! I have always had very oily skin, and I will admit to doing a lot of damage by trying to dry it out.

    Unfortunately I have yet to find a moisturizer that doesn’t make me break out – even if it’s oil-free. The moisturizer from my dermatologist even made me break out! So of course then I just stopped using it completely.

    I’m wondering if any moisturizer will make me break out a little bit more at first, but then after a few weeks it will balance out. What do you think?

    1. @Katie: That could be possible! Have you tried any gel moisturizers? Or a very generic one? The gel one I am using now (see above for link, it’s Garnier) is not making me break out, and most moisturizers do. Let me know how it works for you if you try that, or if you give one a few weeks.

  13. I’ve never had skin problems like acne, but I definitely *have* skin problems because my skin is so dry – especially in winter, when it’s cold and dry outside, it tends to burst. πŸ™ That hurts, and it also looks awful. πŸ™ It got better when I started to eat more fat, but I think *very* dry skin will always be an issue for me.

    1. @Kath: I find that even though I have oily and dry skin at the same time, natural oils help a lot! Like tea tree oil or vitamin e oil. I have a rose oil (I think?) that also does the trick. If you don’t break out from it, I’d recommend trying coconut oil on your face! It’s really nourishing.

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