My Mostly Cheap Skincare Secrets For Dry, Oily, and Acne-Prone Skin

So I don’t know about you, but I’ve had skin issues for a really long time. It started in 9th grade when all of a sudden I turned into a self-described pizza face; a GREASY pizza face. It was so bad that my 3-year-old nephew actually asked me about the owies all over my face. I know he was just trying to show sympathy, but it had me in my room bawling my head off. I had all these friends who were so pretty and never got a zit and here I was, just one big zit. And not just on my face, but I had eventually got really bad body acne as well. I never wanted to get into a swimming suit and I got to the point where I would no longer wear tank tops, or low-cut shirts. I wore so much fabric to hide it that I felt like a boy. I would never be pretty. Never be sexy. Never be attractive. No matter what I tried (and I’m going to be honest and say I’m lazy when it comes to skincare), those dang zits just wouldn’t go away.

Just before I turned 16, I finally became a woman. Unfortunately, it also came with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I went from being a lanky, but muscular, girl to this whole other body what felt like practically overnight. And my hormones weren’t how they were supposed to be. I felt like it made my acne go kind of crazy, if it couldn’t be considered that already. I was just this shiny and zit-riddled face. The best oil blotter I could find was Post-It Notes. Literally. They were so good at getting rid of the saturation on my face. Other than that, it was tons of makeup to cover them as best as I could.

As for my zits, I’m a picker. Not just with zits. I have some Spidey sense for when there’s a piece of dry skin on my face. It drives me nuts. Makes me go crazy. I HAVE to get it off. I HAVE to pop that zit. Get rid of that pressure before I go insane. So I can’t keep my hands off my face, and we all know how bad that is for your skin. I tried going to a dermatologist and he put me on a body wash for the body acne. Then I started using the Neutrogena wash for body acne. It helped some, but not enough.

Silver lining was that for the PCOS, they put me on birth control. Suddenly my zits were better. They weren’t gone by any means, but they didn’t make me feel so embarrassed about myself. I stayed on birth control for a few years. But that, added to the PCOS, made me gain weight. Then more. Then more. Then, just from working minimum wage, I could no longer afford the birth control. So I stopped it. The zits came back, this time much worse. Now I didn’t just have tiny zits everywhere, I had cystic acne. These ginormous zits that hurt so much and yet nothing would ever squeeze out for days as well as makeup was pretty obvious over them since they’d get so crusty. There are years (about a decade) where I wouldn’t allow my picture to be taken at all because I was so ashamed.

Finally, it got so bad that I started actually trying to take care of my skin. I tried Proactiv, and that kind of helped. Mostly it was the sulfur mask that helped. But my skin is so sensitive that I couldn’t really handle any of the rest of it that often. It got better, but my skin lost its youth. It looked awful. It wasn’t really worth it. Not to mention that Proactiv isn’t cheap. Not expensive, but not cheap either.

When I finally made peace with what my skin was, I ended up getting diagnosed with this evil ear disease called Meniere’s. The treatment was a water pill to help keep too much fluid from building up in my inner ears. Man, did my skin become awful. It was dry and flaky and gray and just ugly. I’m someone who really loves a bit of dewiness to skin to make it look healthy so I avoided looking in the mirror. It was just something I was going to have to live with. Or so I thought. Then I went into Sephora one day and this sweet cast member was going to school to become an Aesthetician. She suggested I come see her for a chemical peel. Man, that thing was amazing. Though even the easist one on the skin would leave me red and peeling for days. But then after that my skin had a glow I hadn’t seen in years. It was expensive though. Not something that I could keep doing if I wanted to do anything else nice for myself.

Finally, for a different reason, I went to the dermatologist again. I was diagnosed with mild adult cystic acne (which was really bad on my jawlin) and drastically dry skin. Man, I went out of there with so many prescriptions. I had Atralin to work as sort of a daily exfoliant ($50 a tube after insurance) and then a cleanser for my face and body made out of 10% Benzoyl Peroxide (another $50 after insurance). Also, for the zits, clindamycin ($25 after insurance).

Now, those all worked, but all together, you can see that they weren’t cheap and, again, I’m going to reiterate that I’m lazy with my skin care. I don’t want 80 things to put on my face. I want only a couple. That led me to start doing research. I wanted an exfoliant that didn’t leave my skin red and burning, or my skin peeling for days. I wanted to get control of the oil production on my nose and forehead without drying it out. I wanted something that would keep the zits at bay without drying out spots on my face.

I didn’t think I’d find those things, but I did. I found products that work for me. Products that have turned my dry and oily skin, my cystic acne, into problems of the past. And best of all, most of them are cheap and don’t require daily application.

The first thing I found was a good homemade mask that ate dead skin as well as was an anti-bacterial to keep zits from forming. I like to do it once a week. All it contains is you pour honey into your palm (I like to use organic). Then sprinkle enough cinnamon so you can make a paste. Then I like to add a tiny bit of nutmeg. The cinnamon and nutmeg can burn if you’re too rough with your skin. You don’t really spread it on hard. You do it softly. It usually takes a couple mixtures to make enough for the whole face though. I leave it on 20-30 minutes and then I like to put it under running water in the shower. Again, so I don’t rub the cinnamon really deeply into the pores, which can kind of sting. My sensitive skin is a little red for an hour maybe (only when I’m too rough or use a washcloth), but then the skin looks so amazing. It glows. Zits don’t form as much. It’s amazing. And the hardest part about it is not eating it!

Another thing I like to do is I found this really cool exfoliant that is really gentle on the face. Believe it or not, I found it at the mall. But it was expensive there. But recently I found it on Amazon for $8! Seriously. I bought a whole bunch because I’m really obsessed with it. It’s from the Vivo White Collection. It’s their Facial Peeling gel with Dead Sea minerals. I use it once a week (usually Sundays so my skin will look awesome for the new week). You just dip your finger in the gel and then put it to your face and rub in circles. If you have dead skin or oil or residue or anything, it comes off in huge chunks. I’ve noticed that if I do it more often than once a week, nothing really comes off. Afterwards, my skin feels soft and looks younger.

But even with all that, I could tell my face was missing some crucial ingredient. That’s when I discovered oils. At first I thought what most people think, “Why would I put oils on my oily skin? How could that not make it worse?” Well, I was wrong. I read an article about Argan Oil and decided to try it out. It wasn’t cheap. I’d suggest eBay if you want to find it cheap. I would also suggest you get Josie Maran’s oil since it’s purer. A lot of other ones are watered down, which is why they’re cheaper. But good thing is that you don’t have to use much so a bottle lasts quite a while. I like to put it on before bed. Maybe an hour before so it can really get into the skin since I’m a stomach sleeper and I don’t want the pillowcase to steal it from me.

Man, I’m telling you, I’m obsessed with this stuff. It helps with so many things. Wrinkles, dry skin, oily skin, and so much more. It does a lot of this by restoring your natural balance of oil. See, most things you put on your skin strip it of its natural oils and then the oil glands respond by creating more. But not this. I haven’t noticed oil on my face since I started it. At least not unless I miss putting it on one night. Then I notice my nose gets oily again. And even though it’s an oil, it soaks right in and doesn’t leave an oily residue or anything. What it leaves is a nice glow like that of a celebrity’s. Massaging it in, and just watching my skin get better, always makes me happy. It’s one of the favorite parts of my day because I feel so beautiful with it on my face.

My skin doesn’t even need an Instagram filter! I’m almost 32 and, minus the zits, it looks young again. If you ever only buy one product, I suggest it be that oil. It’s life changing. Even for my sensitive, acne-prone skin. See, the oil isn’t thick enough to block the pores and create acne. I went from bumpy skin to smooth skin. Skin that’s complimented all the time. On Instagram, I never even have to wear makeup because my skin is so dewy and clear, nothing else is needed. And not just there, I don’t have to wear concealer or foundation or powder in my every day life either. What people see is the real me now. I’m no longer hiding.

I’ve attached some of the worst photos of me in my life. And those were taken on the days when I felt pretty. And with tons of makeup to make my skin presentable (minus the oh so obvious bumps), so you can imagine how bad it was under all that. I vowed that these pictures would never see light. They’re awful and unflattering and make me feel, just by looking at them, the way that I felt back then. Just looking at them brings so much pain to the surface so please know that I’m trusting you so much to share those so you can see how much I’ve improved. How much my skin truly has changed by doing these things. (Oh, and please forgive the one with my huge scar and shaved head from a craniectomy I had, but it was such a good photo of my zits. And so unflattering in every way. I must be crazy to share that. Really, to share any of those).

(To see photos, go to the original post on Convozine at

I’m sorry the pictures of me now are only from Instagram but that’s where the pictures where I feel pretty end up and I’ve had an intense hip injury that makes me too lazy to even try to look for the originals in my millions of folders of pictures from my phone and I feel too crappy to take a picture. So sorry they’re not the best. And that most are black and white. I’m a sucker for a black and white portriat. I’m not photogenic so I feel like, in those, I look the way I look in real life. With the shadows in the right places. All the pictures from now, I’m not wearing any makeup at all. So you can really see the big difference. 🙂 (The pictures of the models are photos of the skin that epitomizes what I think of as perfect, even though they’re wearing makeup to get that “bare-faced” look).

Now, if you didn’t notice, I don’t have a cleanser listed here (and I would never, NEVER use a toner). That’s because I don’t really even wash my face. It no longer needs it. If it feels dirty, I merely use a make-up removing cleansing cloth. On the rare day that I do get a zit (usually around the evil time of the month we all dread), I do use something. I like to use PanOxyl 10% Benzoyl Peroxide foaming wash ($10 at the drugstore). But that’s maybe once a month, if that. For some reason, the other things all together have made washing my face with anything stronger than water in the shower a non-necessity. Which for someone like me is perfect. I have better skin than women who spend hours on it a week. And I feel it’s due to all these products because I definitely wasn’t born with it.

These things might not work for you, but they might. They worked for me when nothing else did. And again, they’re easy and cheap. They’re worth trying if you have any of these issues. I’d try the Argan Oil first. You can use it on your hair, nails, skin, whatever, and it works miracles without clogging the pores. I’ve tried tons of those “non-clogging” treatments and guess what, even those clogged my pores. But this doesn’t. This is AMAZING. It gave me my self-confidence back and I really hope it, and these other products, or products I don’t even know exist, can help do that for you. Because really, isn’t that the most important thing of all?

For more of a fashion fix, check out Fierce and Free Fashion on Facebook,, Tumblr,, Pinterest,, or my Instagram

© 2014 A.D. Seeley

All Photos From:,,,, my own personal awful pictures, pictures from my Instagram @adseeleyauthor

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