The following is a repost of an interview with me by Beautiful with Brains (click here for original). Read on – I share all my juiciest skincare gossip to help you on your clear skin journey!
I don’t know what’s worse. The angry red, oozy pimples that take over your face and rob you of your self-esteem or the harsh treatments that turn your skin as dry as sandpaper – and lead to more acne down the line.
Ugh. Isn’t there a way to get rid of acne naturally?
Yes. Just ask Tracy Raftl. Suffering from acne since she was a teen, Tracy tried all the conventional – read harsh – methods to get rid of it. But they only seemed to make things worse.
It was only when she went down the natural route to clear her acne inside and out that Tracy beat her acne and achieved the clear skin she always dreamed of.
Now Tracy’s on a mission to help women do the same, so they can say goodbye to acne, find joy and start rocking the life they were meant to live.
Her blog, The Love Vitamin, is a treasure trove of natural acne remedies while the Naturally Clear Skin Academy gives you access to every ebook, programme and resource Tracy has every created to give you beautiful, naturally clear skin.
In this interview, Tracy shares her skincare routine, her top tips for clear skin and the lifestyle habits that have made her acne-free:
When did you become interested in skincare?
I became interested in skincare back in 2010, when my skin broke out in severe acne. Of course I was totally devastated, and I turned to holistic acne treatment and natural skincare to treat it.
What’s your skincare routine like?
It’s very minimal and gentle with a heavy emphasis on moisturizing. I learned early on that the the more aggressive or drying your routine, the worse results you’d get. I actually just wash my face with water twice a day (I wear little to no makeup), and then I have three steps to my moisturizing routine.
If you could use only 3 skincare products for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Since I have three steps to my moisturizing, it’s those three products/steps that I would choose to use for the rest of my life. They are:
- While my face is still wet from washing, I apply a Vitamin C serum (the SAP/sodium ascorbyl phosphate form). Specifically I’m using a product called “All Natural Advice – Vitamin C anti-aging serum“. Note that SAP is not only great for anti-aging but super powerful against acne too.
- Immediately after I apply the Vitamin C serum, I apply a homemade mix of high quality aloe vera gel, and glycerin. This my humectant step for bringing in moisture. My skin LOVES this. It’s never felt so good as after I started using glycerin in my routine.
- Finish it up with a couple of drops of homemade oil and essential oil mix to seal all the moisture in and add nutrients. There’s a lot of stuff in my mix, but it isn’t exactly fixed. I play around with it. But what’s in it right now is argan oil, tamanu oil, red raspberry seed oil, and for essential oils: frankincense, lavender, myrrh, and I think helichrysum.
My routine has evolved a lot over the years, but I really think I might stick with this basic format for the rest of my life (and not just because you asked ;). My skin feels great.
What are your fave skincare brands and why?
I don’t really have favourite skincare brands, as I mainly make my own — but there’s a lot of amazing natural products out there these days.
What are your top 3 skincare tips to take care of your skin?
Top skin care tips:
- Treat your skin with love. Which means don’t use harsh products that strip and dry out your skin. Don’t pick at it and squeeze it and harass it. Don’t beat yourself up because of the way it looks. Give it love and nourishment and gentleness it will heal and look its best. Think of it as a metaphor for your life and how you treat yourself and other people. How would you want to be treated? Treat your skin this way.
- Moisture — so much moisture! Your skin needs water in it in order to function the way it should. Without water, pores get blocked, bacteria are able to enter, and facial lines look way more prominent. It’s really key.
- Don’t worry about it too much and keep it simple. You don’t actually need a thousand products and a skincare routine that takes you two hours. You don’t need to feel controlled by your skin care.
What skincare treatments do you regularly have done?
I don’t do any regular skin care treatments — too lazy for that ?
What skincare habits do you have that keep your skin in top shape?
I live a generally healthy lifestyle to keep my skin in shape, but I don’t take it as seriously as I used to. There used to be so much fear around food and lifestyle stuff — fear that if I ate something wrong or made a misstep with my routine, that my acne would all come rushing back.
I’ve done a lot of mindset work in this area. Now I eat well (mostly whole foods), try to get lots of sleep, exercise, and keep a handle on my stress. But these things are just something I do now, and it’s not that big a deal. It doesn’t cause me anxiety the way it used to. I am a lot more lenient with my diet for example, and my skin looks just as good as when I was super strict. I’m a lot happier too!
What’s in your makeup bag?
A small thing of concealer (from Juice Beauty) and mascara. That’s about it. Well, I’ve got some random makeup for the odd occasion, but 99% of the time, small dabs of concealer here and there and some mascara is all I use.
Thank you, Tracy!
For more tips on how to fight acne naturally, check Tracy’s website, The Love Vitamin or take her online courses at Naturally Clear Skin Academy. You can also keep up with her on Facebook and Instagram.
I thought if I could do a guest blog post but maybe I can express myself with just a couple of lines here 🙂 I can share my skincare secret: peat mask. Yes, it’s 100% peat, directly from nature (I live in northern Europe). Of course I don’t dig it by myself anywhere but there’s a company in my country who sells these peat products that are meant for skincare and hair. Luckily I don’t have acne in my face anymore so I don’t know whether peat has acne healing powers, but it does have many amazing benefits anyway. I find it lovely, that is it completely natural, rinses off perfectly and doesn’t leave any pore blocking residue. My skin becomes so glowing and beautiful, it’s amazing! And much younger-looking and so smooth and soft that I just cannot stop touching and feeling my skin 🙂
The peat in itself looks funny, is brown, very earthly indeed, messy, but it’s okay. I have tried so many masks from luxurious brands, expensive products etc. and none has been nowhere near as good as this!! Amazing what mother nature has to offer!
Hi Elina, ha! I love it! I have never heard of this but it sounds up my alley. Thanks for sharing!
This is the company’s website if you are interested:
(no, I do not work for this company! :))
I have tried so many home-made or natural products to skin care but not all is good…for example papaya, lemon, vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil I find very irritating to my skin. I think skin will benefit more if I consume those things internally 🙂
This Blog is amazing! I recently discovered this new Luxury, Organic, Non-Toxic, Cruelty-Free, and Vegan Skincare Line that I cannot stop raving about. Its called BELLA. Skin Beauty (www.bellaskinbeauty.com) and I wanted to share it on here because It really changed my skin and the texture of my skin as well. They are hydrating and are amazing for sensitive skin as well. They were written up in Organic Spa Magazine this past month and thats how I found out about them. Definitely check them out, I would love to know your thoughts on them.
Awesome! I have heard of Bella before and I haven’t tried it personally but I think their ingredients are really good! So glad it’s helped your skin!
I have tried the bootcamp, low androgen diets, the candida cleanse, etc. I have done only natural treatments on my skin for five years. I eat mostly whole foods. I am now in my 15th year of moderate to severe acne. Recently I’ve just relaxed more, but still I have very obvious hormonal acne. Seeing all of the success stories is really discouraging. Any advice?
have you ever had your hormones tested or do you have pcos? it’s worth looking into if the hormonal acne is severe and doesn’t seem to go. maybe you’re doing too much on the skin and need to simplify things? I have a good tip for hormonal acne on the jawline, I started having a heaped teaspoon of unrefined blackstrap molasses in water everyday with a squeeze of lemon and it cleared it up. good luck!
Do you usually apply concealer with a brush or fingers? Could you show a video sometime?
Can you do a video on your skincare and makeup routine?
Also what do you think of retinol and niacinamide? Versus the vitamin c
Hi Ashley, both are also useful for acne. If you’re going to use both retinol and SAP serums, use SAP in morning and retinol at night, they shouldn’t be combined. I think same with niacinamide and vitamin c shouldn’t be combined… not sure how niacinamide goes with retinol
I got so mad because this blog had taught something that had caused me have acne-depression..so i was stumbling upon this blog in 2016 and i found out that caveman regimen was the ultimate way to clear up your skin as it was proposed by this blog and this community..and i just followed that crazy way to get clear skin but it turned out to be the worst thing i could have ever done to my skin, and to my life. I had the worst skin ever and i looked like a monster. I regretted doing it so much. And now i have tried to find my way back to be a normal human being who wash and give my skin a proper and good skincare. Gradually my skin had become better up until now. What i learn from this is that i gotta work on myself, how i think of myself. It’s not about how to fix this externally but by looking inside. As i realized that but still using products, my skin became much better than when i was doing caveman regimen and still feeling shitty about myself. I think that you should emphasize more about the psychological side of acne and how to treat it rather than telling people to screw up with their face and not do any inner work to figure out that they actually have low self esteem about themselves.
I’m sending love your way — I’m so sorry if something I suggested turned out not so well for your skin. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years is that there is never a thing that works for everyone. Something what’s miracles for some could be horrible for another and vice versa (whether it’s a skincare regimen, product, food, supplement, whatever… our bodies just react very differently) I don’t personally do the caveman regimen anymore – I no longer think it’s the very best way, but like I said… there is no best way for everyone, and for some the Caveman Regimen has been the only thing that has ever worked for them. I’m honestly so sorry that was not the case for you.
And Vyn, I am SO on board with looking inside and healing from within. I’ve encouraged this from the very beginning of the Love Vitamin blog and talk about it all the time. In fact, I have a whole program about this and is actually what the name The Love Vitamin means… that the most potent vitamin that we can get is that of self love. However, the fact is, most people aren’t willing to see the effect the pscyhological factor has on their skin until they go through the gamut with all the various diets and skin care and etc. And, as mentioned, it’s different for everyone. For some the psychological is the biggest thing. For others, it really is diet or something else. Anyway. Take care ❤️
this is exactly what happened to me!! I did the caveman regimen and it made my skin so dry, flakey and dull looking. I stopped washing my face then did a modified caveman regimen for 2 and a half years where I splashed my face with water but no moisturiser and because it was so dry all the time fine lines appeared. My skin looks healthier with a proper skin care routine that I do in the evening and that can include man made chemicals. The long term effects of the caveman regimen are dry skin with no moisture, fine lines and bad self esteem. Yes everyone is different but most people’s skin can’t handle the caveman regimen. As we get older the skin gets drier and needs better care. I wish I didn’t bother trying it for as long as I did because getting fine lines is not fun.
I hear ya. I don’t do the caveman anymore – well I don’t wash twice a day but I do moisturize twice a day. In hindsight, it was an experiment and I think the biggest benefit to the caveman is certainly psychological – the freedom in seeing your skin CAN survive without a 10 step routine that creates a lot of fear and restriction. And many people’s skin improves because they stop using a bunch of products that were mucking up their skin. But I agree… I now think moisturizing is the way to go.
Thanks for your reply tracy (I left a comment on your blog as well as I noticed that someone else related!) I know it was an experiment but impressionable people such as myself thought it was the way to better skin when it was actually the opposite long term and you did do it for quite a long time yourself. The caveman regimen helped me cut out foundation/concealer (and I will never go back), which is great…and it helps others give up foaming cleansers and harsh products but not all man made chemicals cause acne- natural products like coconut oil etc can cause acne too. I also liked that the caveman regimen freed up my time but now I don’t mind spending extra time in the evening if that means healthier looking skin.
The caveman regimen obviously causes the skin to dry out long term, which means the skin over produces oil to hydrate it, I found that this gave me little white heads on my face. So the caveman regimen can actually cause acne and clogged up skin for some, I also started getting dermatitis patches when I stopped washing completely. Psychologically, for myself, it made me feel worse about myself than when I spent more time in the evening (like now) with a skincare routine.
Of course I do understand that you didn’t know how it would be long term, I just think people should know the importance of keeping their skin hydrated because the skin’s natural oils aren’t always enough. Dry skin=fine lines
Hi! I’d love to know your recipe for your aloe + glycerin serum. My skin has been reacting to skincare products so I’m using much simpler skincare and want to try aloe + glycerin. I think it could really help my sensitive, red, dehydrated skin! Thank you! 🙂
Hi Ellen! It’s just aloe and glycerin mixed together in a dropper bottle… I don’t really measure when I mix it, but you want about 1 part glycerin to 4 parts aloe.
Hello Tracy! Are there any natural tips for pockmarks on face??
Hi Manto. Try taking collagen and dermarolling!
Hi, Tracy. I’ve been reading through your blog and the comments, and although I realize you’re not doing the caveman regimen anymore (and I don’t plan on doing it completely either, just a modified one), I just wanted to say thank you for all your insight and knowledge. I realize i don’t want to do this to get clear skin (although that would be nice), but as you said somewhere, to heal my relationship with my skin. For the longest time I didn’t do much to my skin, then a few years ago I started buying skin care, and it has made me obsessed with my skin, it’s so exhausting. I just want to not care, to be free again. I want to stop trying to achieve the perfect skin that does not exist. So I’m gonna try going back to do little to nothing to my skin and see if I can heal psychologically.
Thanks again, I hope you and your loved ones are well in these trying times.
Hi Marlene! I think that’s by far the most powerful thing about the caveman thing.. is the mental freedom! We build ourselves such prisons in our mind and sometimes you have to do something drastic to break out of it.
This is so relatable, Tracy, so thank you for that. I’ve also had my struggles with breakouts. I would become so exasperated I’d keep adding and adding to my skincare routine thinking ‘more is better.’ The simplicity point is so important. It takes a load off my mind to just keep things straightforward. I also love vitamin C serum for anti-aging and aloe vera is super soothing. It seemed counterintuitive to me at first that moisturizing could be so important in preventing breakouts but I can say with certainty that good products do help a lot.
Glad this helped, Alice! 😀
I wasn’t sure if this website is active anymore…but I’d love to hear how your skin and skin care routine is these days and whether you have found some new supplements etc.
I don’t have acne anymore, but I continue to do for example papaya exfoliation…something I learned from you already years ago 🙂