Skincare is no easy feat. Finding a routine that is right for you might take a while, and when doing so on a tight budget it might seem difficult.
I first developed acne in high school (as one does.) And when I started university, it got much worse. I spent three years trying different products and wasting money on things that either didn’t help or made my acne worse. I was trying my best to care for myself but it was costing me.
When my skin finally began to heal, I wish I had known that I didn’t need to spend a big chunk of my paycheck on brand name products to heal my acne. Regardless of the room you have for skincare in your budget, you can heal your acne without excessive spending!
Know Your Skin Type
This is the most important step in healing your acne. For the longest time, I was using products that were unsuitable for my skin type. You can likely determine your skin type, and even acne type, on your own. But if not there are quizzes and articles available online to guide you.
Typically you’ll fall under one of the following categories:
And of course, keep in mind any sensitivities or allergies you have!
Build your skincare routine based on your skin type!
Now, I don’t want to claim to be a skincare pro, but through my trials, tribulations, and many dermatologist visits, I’ve learned a few things. Here are some things you might want to include in your skincare routine:
If you have oily skin, a gel-based moisturizer is ideal. You still need moisture and a gel cream hydrates without producing more oil or clogging pores.
If you have combination skin, look into a gentle, foaming cleanser. Combination skin is undoubtedly tricky to manage! By using something simple, you can cleanse without stripping your skin of its nutrients or producing any extra stress.
If you have dry skin, seek products rich in Vitamin E. Vitamin E is known for its moisturizing properties. And of course, if your skin is naturally dry, you need a little extra!
If you have blemish-prone skin, try a spot treatment. You want to avoid overly-chemical products. But, a simple tea-tree oil-based spot treatment for stubborn pimples can be a lifesaver!
Keep It Simple
You don’t want to overwhelm your skin. When it comes to healing your acne, the simpler the routine, the better! All you need are some staple products:
- Scrub or Mask
- Spot treatment
Product breakdown: some cheaper skincare options
- Cleanser- Equate Foaming Facial Cleanser
- Moisturizer- Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
- Scrub- St Ives Acne Control Apricot Scrub
- Mask- Garnier Charcoal Sheet Mask
Consider the environment
In her article Veganism is Classist (and so is Climate Change) Meagan writes: “Although our environmental impact is imperative, the responsibility cannot rest solely on our shoulders.”
And this statement is exactly right. If you have a low income/budget, you likely can’t afford to do what’s best for the environment (i.e going vegan) all the time. But when it comes to purchasing skincare products, there are definitely things you should be able to consider in regard to environmental impact.
Avoid products with excess packaging, products containing palm oil, and anything containing plastic microbeads. Making things from scratch is another great way to reduce the environmental impact of your skincare routine!
Making my own skincare products is one of my favorite things to do! It’s usually pretty simple and most ingredients you likely already have at home. Here are a few of my go-to home remedies for acne and skincare:
Apple cider vinegar spot treatment
Simply dilute some apple cider vinegar with a bit of water (ACV without the dilution will sting and dry out your skin) and dip a Q-Tip into the mixture. Dab the treatment onto reddened blemishes and leave it overnight.
Baking soda scrub
Mix a couple of teaspoons of baking soda with water until it has a paste-like texture. Wet your face with warm water and apply the scrub in circular motions. This remedy is great for blackheads and whiteheads but isn’t too rough on the skin.
Oatmeal and coconut oil mask
Mix coconut oil with plain oats until the mixture is thick enough to apply to your skin like a mask. The oats help reduce redness from dry skin and blemishes while the coconut oil moisturizes! You can even add a bit of turmeric for some extra acne-fighting power. Make sure to rinse the mask off thoroughly to avoid leaving your skin excessively oily.
Vitamin E capsules
This idea might sound a bit odd, but trust me, it works. Simply poke a small hole in a Vitamin E capsule and apply the gel to blemishes and/or scars on your skin. Not only does Vitamin E moisturize, but it promotes the healing of skin imperfections. I usually leave this on my skin overnight, but if you do so, lay a towel on your pillow so you don’t stain your linens with the oil.
Little Things That Help In The Long Run
Probably the most annoying thing for any acne sufferer to have suggested to them is “drink more water!” Trust me, I’ve been there. And despite the four large bottles of water I drank every day, my acne wasn’t clearing any quicker. Of course, hydration is important for anyone’s skin, but there is much more to it than that when it comes to chronic acne.
A few simple things you can do to aid in the healing of acne are:
- Getting fresh air
- Ensuring pillow cases are clean
- Ensuring you have clean towels that you use only for your face
- Keeping your hands clean and not touching your face
- Letting yourself have makeup-free days
Probably (and unfortunately) the best acne-healing tip I can give is to de-stress.
I say unfortunately because, of everything I’ve mentioned, this is probably the hardest thing to do. Especially if you have a tight budget, stress is nearly impossible to eliminate. But, trying to is important for your skin and overall well being.
Be patient and de-stress
Regardless of how hard it is, you have to be patient and give your skin time to heal. Stressing out about it will only make it harder to recover from. I felt such irritating panic each time I thought my skin was clearing up only to see another bright red pimple appear. I’d freak out, pile chemicals onto my spots, and constantly check the mirror to see its progress.
Acne won’t completely clear overnight, you have to allow it time for healing just as you would any other part of your body.
It’s difficult, but I’ve been lucky enough to find a few activities that help lower stress levels and make me feel better overall:
- Stretching, yoga, and walking (skin loves positive physical activity)
- Cooking (skin loves veggies and fruit)
- Journaling (skin loves a clear mind)
Healing acne is always easier said than done. There are tons of individual skin types that each need to be cared for in their own way. But, a tight budget should never deter anyone from doing so! Regardless of your budget, your acne can get better. Simply give it time and don’t give up hope! The right, budget friendly skincare routine for you is out there. You just have to find it.