My skin has felt like an enemy for as long as I can remember. In a family of skin prone to acne and dullness, growing...read more..
The Skincare Diaries: Acne Prone Skin.
Dealing with acne can be some serious hard work. My first major experience with it was when I was 17 and I had breakouts over my cheeks and chin out of what felt like nowhere. Whether it was hormone related, or just bad luck, I still cannot tell, but that's the thing with acne - it can come out of nowhere. Since then my skin has been up and down (last year it went crazy again) and trying to get it under control can be really stressful.
Obviously, everyone is different and their skin likes and (strongly) dislikes certain things, but my current routine seems to be keeping things in check at the moment (touch wood). I'm here to talk my way through my skincare routine and what I have learned over the years: SPOILER - it's a lot.
I start my skincare routine by removing any make up I have on with a Face Halo and oil based cleanser, before going in with a second cleanse. My two favourite cleansers at the moment are Cerave Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser and Q&A Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser because they don't dry out my skin. Growing up, I always thought that spots should be dried out, but this only damaged my skin barrier, leading to waaaaay more breakouts. We live and learn!
I find that chemical exfoliation is really good for my skin once or twice every 2 weeks (put the St. Ives scrub DOWN). My fave is Q&A's Apple AHA Exfoliating Gel - it makes my skin SO smooth and doesn't irritate it at all. I also like to exfoliate with nuddy's Anti Blemish and Scar Repair Strawberry Enzyme Peel Face Mask. Enzyme peels are great for sloughing off that top layer of dead skin to bring out the glow and this is by far the best mask I've used that does the trick.
After cleansing, I like to apply The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid to damp skin. As mentioned, using harsh products previously on my skin to get rid of acne really damaged my skin barrier and I've found that this is one of the best ways to make it plump and healthier again. I follow this up with The Ordinary Niacinamide, which really helps with redness and reduces spots/ blackheads. It's not as harsh as some active serums, but it does the trick for easing inflammation and breakouts.
Now here's my favourite. I've been using Zoe Bee's Green Cream for the past 6 months and it's honestly a game changer. It's totally natural, so it feels a lot thicker than usual moisturisers, which I'd usually avoid seeing as my skin is so easily congested. However, it's been magical for my skin when it comes to balancing hydration and helping to heal spot scars. I use this day and night and a little goes a long, long way (it's sometimes easier to apply to slightly damp skin, too).
Using SPF everyday (yes, EVERYDAY) is really important and HelioCare 360 Fluid Cream is my favourite. I'm naturally very pale, so the fact that it is SPF50 is really important. It has a really light texture, with a slight tint, so it's great for getting a really sheer, glowy coverage on those no make up days (most days). Plus, it smells amazing!
I've tried many, many face masks over the years and a lot can be too harsh and drying on my skin. As mentioned above, my go to is nuddy's Enzyme Peel, but I also enjoy using our Whipped Green Clay Face Mask, too, for any active breakouts. It has hyaluronic acid in it too, so it's not as drying as regular clay based masks. I sometimes used the prescribed treatment, Duac for any larger breakouts, but, thankfully, I don't need to use it as often these days (any users will know that this stuff literally bleaches your towels and bedding :/). I'm also a fan of The Inkey List's Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment - although, make sure to only use at night as it is green.
In the past few months I have also been going for facial treatments with the amazing Olivia Buck from Olia Beauty. I am currently on a course of micro-needling to help fade my acne scars and I can't believe how much of a difference it's made in a few months. This is, of course, an investment and is no quick fix - it requires a good, consistent routine alongside treatments and won't just give you a new face overnight. Trust the process!
The one thing I've learned about my skin journey is that it's exactly that - a journey. My facials have undoubtedly had better results because of my skincare routine, and vice versa - there are a lot of factors that need to balance for your skin to be happy rather than relying on one quick fix. Another factor I'm planning on looking into in more depth is diet and how that can affect my breakouts - I'm definitely still learning.
Finding the right routine can be tiring and EXPENSIVE. That's why I'd recommend lots of research and trying out one new product at a time - too much change can stress out the skin and can be a massive waste of money. I've definitely found that less is more, and getting the basics right is more valuable than buying 20 products that claim to 'save' your skin.
My Top 3 Tips
1. Acne havers- please don't be afraid of hydration. Seriously. Your skin barrier needs it, trust me.
2. Speak to your GP or a skincare specialist for advice. The internet is only good for so much - if you're able to talk to someone who is trained in skincare, this will be much more valuable for you.
3. It's really easy to long for the day your skin is 'good'. The reality is, your journey won't be as linear as that. You may be spot free for a week and then breakout again - and that's okay. Rather than aiming for complete 'perfection' (because what even is that, anyway), focus on getting your skin as healthy and hydrated as possible by learning what it needs. It's about the journey, not the destination.