You know the feeling. It's ominous. A quickening in the pit of your stomach. A niggle of worry. A tingle in your face. I wear my stress on my skin like a badge of "honor." Like a toxic chemical oozing its way up out of my pores, there is a certain kind of acne that I can predict as readily as my chemo cycle. 

So, what do I do? Give up? Stockpile concealer? Hide in my room until my face heals? 

Not this girl. I own my own body, and I treat my self-care like the indulgent celebration of everything my skin does - not punishment for misbehaving. I will nurture that zit away till is evaporates in fear of all those earthy, positive vibes and potions.

I've also started to embrace more natural treatments, with a focus on soothing, healing and battling the hyperpigmentation that makes my acne the gift that keeps on giving. 

Here's what's currently in the action plan:

1) Zap it with the Ziip. The total clearing program is a life saver when you can feel emergent acne rearing it's angered head. The nano current travels deep into the skin to clear out blockages, oxygenate the pores, increase blood flow to whisk away bacteria and speed up healing, and effectively clear out emerging pimples. If you catch it at the right moment you can literally see the skin extracting itself as soon as it's done as the little gunk rises up and out, where you can whisk it away. 

I find this entire treatment greatly improved by the addition of noise-cancelling headphones and music, for that whole mind-body detox thing. 

2) Joanna Vargas Euphoria Mask. This candy scented sheet mask is supposed to soothe redness and has powerful anti-inflammatory agents that heal without irritating drying agents or peeling. It includes aloe vera, chamomile, and allantoin tp "soothe, heal, and moisturize. Sodium hyaluronate and vitamin B5 draw water into the skin, leaving it plumped and healthy looking. Then as a bonus, there's something called "Tremella fuciformis sporocarp extract" which the package describes as a "jelly-like free radical scavenger with powerful antioxidant and water-retention properties." All I know is that this mask feels even better than it smells, and leaves my skin feeling moisturized and detoxed. 

3) When the mask has cooked on my face for about 20 minutes, I steal this trick from Peach & Lily founder and perfect skin owner, Alicia Yoon:

I carefully peel back the mask and apply Glossier Super Pure for a targeted healing, redness, and acne treatment. Then I replace the mask for another 5 minutes. 

The mask preps the skin to more effectively absorb the serum and also supercharges the absorption of it so you get the most from all those good actives. Zinc is a powerful skin healer and anti-bacterial agent, and niacinamide is a potent anti-inflammatory that immediately calms redness and prevents the formation of over-pigmentation. 

4) Into the Gloss told me this bubblegum smelling serum would also help with acne, all I know is it makes my skin glow and the green tint soothes redness. 

" It’s not explicitly marketed for oily skin, but the bottle says it's 'clarifying.' (Joanna also told me that in person.) On skin, it feels easy and soothing. "

5) Speaking of oils for oily skin, Lapis Oil smells like earl gray tea and contains more botanical powerhouses for redness, bacteria fighting and healing (notice a theme?) in this case: Blue Tansy and Blue Yarrow. Both contain a naturally occurring agent  called Azulene which is "deep blue in color and acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial that aids in reducing redness and clarifying the complexion." 

6) And last but not least, Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream. This light, airy, nature-based moisturizer is oil-free but contains two forms of hyaluronic acid and tamarind extract for plumping, healing hydration. It also boasts papaya enzymes to smooth and exfoliate and alpha-arbutin to fight hyperpigmentation.