I’ve found the fountain of youth.

spoiler alert It’s water.

This summer my family and I spent a lot of time traveling. On one of our road trips, my husband and I stayed with friends in Texas and Oklahoma. I noticed I was the only one drinking soda–Diet Pepsi, specifically. My natural-mama Homeopath Friend (HF) with whom we were staying for a few days looked at me and said something to the effect of, “Why do you drink that stuff? It’s poison.” Not one to mince words, she gave it to me straight. I need that.

My mom has been harping on me for years about how Aspartame (because she watched a documentary on it) builds up in your brain and makes you dumb. Of course, I blew her off because I’m actually a smart ass she-jerk.

On the same trip another friend mentioned how she’d been on the same medication I’d been on for close to eight years for acne. She was on it for a year and gained a significant amount of weight which she attributed to the medication. I shared this with my Homeopath Friend (we stayed with them back to back) and she mentioned that medications we take for something that it was not intended for aren’t a great idea. Case in point: the medication I was on was developed to treat high blood pressure. It was bad at that, but great for reducing acne in adult women. Google and I found out that anecdotally, this medication was responsible for weight gain in women around the middle.

WHAT? Bingo!

So, I stopped my acne medication cold turkey.

In July.

In Texas.

I have really oily skin in all the places, not just the t-zone. I don’t understand “combination” skin–only oily in some places? I also don’t understand “dry” skin. You mean not everyone is an oil pit by 10am? I’ve used all kinds of cleansers, toners, creams and scrubs. Proactive, Retin-A and Tretinoin Gel. I stopped short at Accutane, however. I’ve dried my skin out daily for over 30 years because that’s what I was taught. I picked and squeezed, rubbed and tweezed. I couldn’t wait to grow up to get rid of this.

I was still waiting and I’m 41.

The Plan

While in Texas, Homeopath Friend and I created a game plan for my 41-year old skin. I dreaded it.

  • Give up dairy.

This. Gave. Me. Pause.

I live in cheese country! I love all cheese, regardless of source. Cow, sheep, goat–we are all friends in my mouth. What is a burger without cheese? I have milk issues, too. I will only drink 1% milk from my own fridge and would have a big glass with dinner every night. Milk is good! Calcium! Healthy!

  • Give up Diet Pepsi.

This is obvious. I was already addicted to black iced tea and was only allowing myself one, maybe two (ok, three during finals week) each day. I could do this.

  • Go organic.

What in the actual hell? Do you know how much organic products cost? A gallon of organic milk is like $6.50! Eggs are twice the price for half as many. Organic chicken breasts? Oh my god, I can’t even. I started small with organic nuts and organic steel cut oatmeal each morning.

  • Start taking vitamins.

Homeopath Friend, based on my dna (thank you, Ancestry.com, for allowing us to download the raw dna data), was able to recommend a specific multi-vitamin, special form of B-12 and a probiotic to take each day. I did this only after I saw my doctor after returning home.

  • Drink water. A lot of water.

This goes without saying, right? I replaced the poisonous Diet Pepsi with LaCroix flavored sparkling water. I drink a large glass every morning with 1T of apple cider and several drops of citrus essential oil to help “flush” organs.

  • Oil cleanse instead of soap.

As HF said, “like cleans like.” It felt weird putting oil on oil. 2/3 Castor Oil with 1/3 Jojoba Oil on my dirty makeup face each night for 5-10 minutes then rinsed with a hot washcloth and water works great. No need for makeup remover–this is it.

  • Continue using my Bare Minerals makeup

I’m a fan of Bare Minerals foundation because it’s not liquid or talc-based. I’ve been a loyal user for 8 years.

Notice I didn’t have to buy any sort of special elixir, face cream, magic face wash or treatment that would dry out my skin. It seemed almost too simple.

The Results

 It’s now September 1st — about six weeks after making the changes above.  It took a few weeks for my body to freak out and it did so all over my skin. I had large cystic pimples, blackheads, little white zits and hard zits under the surface of my skin by week 4. It was horrible. Like, 15 year old boy-who-never-washes-face acne. Thank God I wasn’t back to work yet. I may or may not have left my house for a week.

This is my face today. It blows me away.

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I know what you’re thinking–it’s just my face. I’ve heard, “I never knew you had a problem with acne. I couldn’t tell,” in the last few weeks. However, it’s a totally new face to me. Zero acne for the entire week so far, a much easier menstrual cycle, my gut isn’t bloated and my pants are proof. My face is freaking DEWY soft and downright GLOWS in the morning. I have reduced redness in the areas that are scarred and reduced lines in my forehead.

I’m thrilled.

I’ll never drink Diet Pepsi again.