When you have adult acne, it’s easy to feel alone, as if you’re the only one getting breakouts past the age of 18. However, anywhere between 12% and 22% of women ages 26 through 44 experience acne, and that number is increasing by the day (on the other hand, only around 3% of adult men experience the condition). In our new series Acne Diaries, we’re asking influential women who happen to have acne about their relationship to their skin, and the products they rely on to keep it happy. Next up: Golde founder Trinity Mouzon Wofford.
Today, Trinity Mouzon Wofford is all about treating her skin with kindness—which makes sense, considering she’s the co-founder and CEO of Golde, a superfood powder and face mask brand centered on making self-care fun and affordable to everyone. However, she hasn’t always taken the holistic approach she lives by now.
Wofford started breaking out as a teen, when she poured over Teen Vogue articles and took the classic approach of pelting her skin with every drying over-the-counter product her drugstore had to offer, with little results. “I found that a lot of that stuff just stripped my skin, so it didn’t really provide a long-term benefit,” she tells Glamour. She says that though her acne was never extreme enough to go down more severe path like Accutane, she’s had a “steady stream” of breakouts on her face and shoulders since she was 13.
“It’s always been something that’s in the back of my head, and I’m always trying to figure out what to do to treat it in a way that is effective in the long-term and doesn’t just destroy my skin,” she says. “And with my journey, in particular being a Black woman, whenever you have a breakout you’re going to end up with scarring after that.”
In college, she turned to more natural beauty routines, using remedies like Manuka honey masks and focusing on supporting her skin from the inside, out. “I was trying to find some sort of balance of, ‘You’re not going to eradicate every pimple, but you can get your skin in a place where it’s still healthy and you feel good about it,'” she says. This interest in the intersection of skin care and wellness eventually led her to starting Golde, which started with powdered superfood lattes and two face masks with ingredients inspired by the drinks.
Though her products have helped with her breakouts immensely, Wofford says that as a brand founder she still feels the pressure for her skin to look a certain way. “If you’re going to show up on an Instagram live or something and you’re talking about the beauty benefits of a product and maybe you’re dealing with a hormonal breakout, it can be tough to reconcile that,” she says. She tries not to let it get in the way, however, and is excited by the newer climate of body acceptance.
“If I’m having a particularly visible breakout on my face, it’s harder to just show up in that context I think,” she says. “But I do feel like we’re kind of in this era now where…I feel like every day scrolling through Instagram stories, someone’s like, ‘Oh my God, this pimple.’ But it has a very different tone—it’s a little bit more like, ‘Shout out to this pimple that’s showed up on my face today.’ No one’s relieved to find out that they have a new zit. But I think there’s a sense of camaraderie and acceptance, a sense of the reality, especially for women, that breakouts are so often just driven by the natural hormonal shifts in our bodies. Having acne or having a breakout is not necessarily a sign that you are in a state of imbalance. It’s just something that happens to literally everyone at every age.”
Not only is her skin much better than it was back in high school, but her attitude toward it is as well. “My relationship with myself has shifted since then,” she says. “The way that I was treating my skin was very representative of where my self-esteem was. What’s really cool is we’re seeing this big shift in the beauty industry to having more of a wellness tone. Now you do a face mask because of self-care, not because you need to fix something.”
“For me there’s much more of a sense of patience and a sense of respect and care for my body and my skin, as opposed to feeling like I’m at war with my body,” she continues. “Maybe things aren’t looking exactly the way that I would want them to today, but that’s not really the point. I’m just happy to have what I have and just being able to focus more on nurturing my body and my skin, as opposed to battling it out.”
Below, Wofford shares the products she’s currently loving to keep her skin happy.
My water filter
I have this water filter that goes onto my shower. It’s from AquaBliss, you can get it on Amazon. I got the shower filter back in 2018—I had just moved back to Brooklyn from upstate New York and my skin revolted. I found that one of the major causes of this was what was in the water—different minerals, different levels of chlorine. I found that using a shower filter is super helpful at cutting down on all that stuff. Chlorine is important to have in our water because it prevents disease, but it also can be pretty harsh on your skin. It could cause irritation and break outs and also scalp issues. So that’s my baseline. I love to have a shower filter on all the time.
Back in 2018 when I made that move, I was dealing with breakouts, and wanted something to help me longterm. I had always dealt with some level of acne and scarring, but in that moment it just felt like it really hit its peak. I felt like the rate at which I was getting new breakouts and then they were scarring was multiplying, because the scars would take awhile to go away, and then I would have new pimples showing up every single day.
I was feeling frustrated by it and not super confident, and it was truly out of desperation that I raided Golde’s product cabinet and started putting superfoods on my skin. I figured I’d see what some superfoods can do, because they’re so good for you internally. That was an early version of the Clean Greens mask, and the difference was incredible.
The before and after pictures still are crazy to me because it’s not like I don’t still get breakouts. It’s not like all of a sudden you press a button, and then your skin is perfect. But the imbalance that I was experiencing at that time, the inflammation and hyperpigmentation, has really been significantly taken down. Now, I still get like a few pimples a month, of course, but you live with that, and it’s no big deal. That’s been a game changer for me. When I was really working on treating my acne, I was using that mask three to five times a week. Now I do it once a week and that seems to help a bunch.
My body gel
I’ve always had breakouts on my back and shoulders, and those scar really badly too. So I just started using this band Soft Services, and I like their stuff. I like the exfoliating gel the best; I haven’t used it for that long, but I do feel like my skin is a lot softer. I feel like it’s helping to exfoliate, so that I’m not ending up with as many clogged pores and things like that.
There’s a washcloth I use for my body that’s really helpful for serious exfoliation, which I find makes the biggest difference for body breakouts. It’s called Care. I literally got it at a health food store, and it’s such a good exfoliating washcloth.
My body butter
There’s also a body butter that I really like using, that I find doesn’t cause any clogged pores or anything, which is super critical for me with my back and shoulders. It’s from this company called Yesfolk. They actually are a kombucha maker based upstate, but they happen to make this incredible, totally natural body butter that I absolutely love. It’s got no fragrance; it’s a really nice mix of Shea and cocoa butter and a few others. It’s really simple and good. That’s good to use on your body; I’ll even like put it on my face. It doesn’t clog my skin up at all, which I really love.
I’m also really loving Supernal’s new serum; it’s really good. I don’t know off the top of my head what is in it, but I love her oil. The serum is a little bit more lightweight, and it feels like it’s a little bit more active. It’s good for helping to clear my skin a little bit and soften it, but still nourish it.
My pimple patches
I love Hero Cosmetics’ the Mighty Patch. I get the invisible ones. You can go on Zoom calls, no big deal. I love it.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty writer at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.