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The Skincare Diaries: Acne and Congestion.

Skincare, what a minefield it can be! 37 products in your daily routine? Peels, serums, Microderma what?! The skincare world can be really confusing with different sources giving different advice. The skin is the largest organ in your body, and you really do need to look after it. But, just like us, every  skin is different, they have their own likes and dislikes, things that make them glow and things that  make them really angry. So, do you really know the skin that you live in? 

Nowadays, so many teens struggle with their skin, with acne being one of the biggest skincare issues  that is talked about. When I was growing up, I had the usual teenage struggles that come in the form of blackheads. A vicious cycle of hating the way my skin looked and squeezing my face to try make  them go away, but actually just scarring myself and making it look even worse.  

One of my mum’s friends introduced me to a wonderful lady called Tammy when I was around 14, she really changed the way I treated my skin and taught me to look after it rather than hate it. Tammy worked at a local spa, and she performed extractions on my skin every 6 weeks, and still to  this day treats my skin. For anyone who doesn’t know, extractions involve steaming the skin, and  removing blackheads and congestion using sterile equipment that doesn’t spread the bad bacteria  around your skin and importantly, doesn’t scar. This relieved the congestion on a regular basis, and  she began training me to not squeeze my face (believe me when I say this took some time!)  

Looking after your skin can feel so overwhelming, but the key is to take things right back to basics and figure out what works for you. A really informative book is ‘Skincare’ by Caroline Hirons.  Caroline details all the different types of skin (because do you really have dry skin or is it actually  dehydrated?) and then she goes through the routine you need based on the skin you have. Reading  this book changed the game for me because there are some brilliant recommendations for products  in all price ranges and gives you a starting point.  

Being a red head with fair skin means that I can struggle with sensitivity (especially from the sun in  the summer and harsh winds in the winter) and often dehydration. I am also a worrier, and any  stress in my life comes out in my skin, whether that be in the form of a rash or the dreaded big fat  red spot! So, I have included my skincare must haves below for glowy, hydrated skin that I love!  


My current three must have cleansers: 

Kate Sommerville cleanser in purple tube

Kate Sommerville Delikate Soothing Cleanser

White and green bottle of Cerave cleanser

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser

Metal tin of The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

The Kate Somerville Delikate Cleanser is an all-time favourite of mine when my skin is feeling a little  stressed and it just needs some TLC. The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter is great for removing  makeup and comes in at a great price point. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is amazing for giving you  that fresh clean feeling without drying your skin out. 

Exfoliation and Toner

 Murad Exfoliator in white and pink tube

Murad AHA/BHA  Exfoliating Cleanser 

Murad hydrating toner in pink bottle

Murad Hydrating Toner

Dr. Murad has a beautiful line of products that are a firm favourite in my skincare bag. The AHA/BHA  Exfoliating Cleanser removes dead skin cells to reveal a layer of beautiful smooth skin underneath. I  use this twice a week to maintain the glow. The Murad Hydrating Toner is used daily to spritz the  face after cleansing to lock in moisture, before continuing with the rest of my routine.  


The Ordinary serum in small white bottle

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

Blue La Roche Possay Serum
La Roche Posay B5 Serum

My two go-to serums are The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid and La Roche Posay B5 Serum. Both of these  lock in moisture in the deeper levels of your skin, helping to avoid patchy, flaking skin. They both sit  really well under any makeup, as there is nothing that annoys me more than skincare that pills. 


Liz Earle CLeanser in small glass jar with blue lid

Liz Earle Skin Repair Rich Cream 

Liz Earle Skin Repair Rich Cream is a new favourite in my skincare cupboard. Avocado oil is amazing  for boosting hydration levels, it smells amazing and doesn’t irritate the skin. Win, win!


Skinceuticals tube of SPF

Skinceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defence Sunscreen

SPF has always been important, but it is only in the past few years that consumers have started to  understand the importance of protecting their skin, no matter what the weather looks like outside.  Skinceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defence Sunscreen provides factor 50 protection without leaving a  greasy white layer on your face, it sits lovely under makeup too. 

My Learnings 

Learnings from my skincare journey are that no one-size fits all. Everyone’s skin is different so what  works for one person might not work for another. It’s all about trial and error, and if something  doesn’t agree with your skin, just stop using it, it’s really not worth the patchy red skin! I have also  learnt that expensive doesn’t always mean the best, take recommendations from people that know  what they are talking about, and don’t feel you have to buy the £200 cleanser because chances are  the £30 one will work just as well. 

My Top 3 Tips 

  1. Do your research – find out the type of skin you have and then find widely recommended  products for your skin type.  
  2. Less is more – having a really lengthy skincare regime might sound impressive but you’ll be  less motivated to do it when you come home after a long day. Get the basics in there and  just make sure you are cleansing well and moisturising as a bare minimum. 
  3. Don’t be so hard on yourself – no one has the picture-perfect skin you see on Instagram,  everyone gets breakouts, uneven texture, dry patches, it’s normal. You will have good skin  days and some days the hormones have other ideas, but it isn’t the end of the world!