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The Skincare Diaries: Acne & Dullness.

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 up scrolling through images of perfectly pristine and glowy models felt like a punishment. Like so many, my skin quickly became a big insecurity, starting me off into the vicious cycle of bad skin to stress to skin getting worse to anxiously picking and back again. Ebbing and flowing from the ages of 15 to 22, my worst skin experience came during the first lockdown when all the worries seemed to culminate on my face.

Instantly ordering enough skincare to treat an army, the experience taught me my biggest skin lessons – firstly that everyone will react different to products, and secondly that sometimes less is more. After trying all the trending products, I finally purged my routine and my skin had never been happier.

Here’s the routine that my sensitive, acne-prone skin loves!

Makeup removal


These Face Halo pads were a revelation! Reusable and super soft, they’re totally product free but magically pull the makeup off your face thanks to some special fibres. I love using these as they feel like cushions on the skin, which is so refreshing after years of using harsh wipes or oily makeup removers. They’re also great for the environment as they do the job without the need for anything disposable or wasteful.


I finally feel like I’ve found my perfect cleanser in the CeraveHydrating cleanser. As someone with acne-prone skin, I never would’ve thought that a hydrating product would work for me but once you dispel the myth that moisture is going to break you out, you’ll be surprised! Previously I swore by The Ordinary cleanser and a whole routine of the ordinary’s potions, but since stripping it back to this simpler cleanser and adopting a double cleanser routine of rinsing and repeating on days I wear makeup, my skin feels softer and happier.


The one The Ordinary product that has remained a holy grail for me since 2018 is the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. I do think it should come with better instructions on how to use it as you should barely be able to see the red colour and need to use it really sparingly to protect your skin. But this works well for me as a chemical exfoliator used once a week for a deeper clean.


A friend recommended this serum to me after it worked wonders for her skin, and I think this product is the thing that’s changed my complexion. Since using the Medic8 Calmwise serum, my skin has looked calmer, more even and started to glow a bit! It’s hydrating but not too heavy or sticky, so I use it every day as the final step of my night-time routine. You only need 4 drops but the little bottle packs a punch.

Moisturiser (+ SPF)

Since being a kid I’ve suffered with allergic reactions to suncreams so for a long time I avoided SPF entirely. Any purely SPF product I tried seemed to irritate my skin but I’m aware that it’s one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal for protecting your skin while you age. So after using and liking Cerave’s daily moisturiser, I tried out their AM Facial Moisturiser with SPF 25 and my skin loved it! I haven’t had any irritation since using it and feel so much happier knowing I’m protecting my skin.


I’ve stressed over eye creams a lot as they feel like a mystery to me. I’ve accepted that these eye bags will never be leaving me so I’ve turned my focus to finding eye creams that feel moisturising and refreshing. The routine I’m currently doing is using the Inky list caffeine eye cream in the morning, and their retinol eye cream at night but I reckon this will change in the future.


One big change I’ve done to my routine is rid of all treatments. Since the big breakout of 2020, I realised that introducing new products or using spot treatments doesn’t really work for me so I now try to avoid the temptation to pick up any trending products.

Instead, I’ve added skincare to my self care routine by adding in some ‘luxurious’ treatments that I do once a week or so, or whenever I feel like I need a pick me up. On days when I feel like I need to calm down my skin and mind, I’ll use Lush’s Cosmetic Warrior fresh facemask. This is another holy grail for me and I notice a difference when I haven’t used it for a while. It’s a controversial one as its full of garlic and honey, but all the ingredients are anti-bacterial and super calming so are great for clearing and calming skin. Also the experience of using a fridge-fresh facemask is so soothing.

When I want to feel pampered, I’ll give myself a face massage with a rose quartz gua sha and use the Pai Rosehip oil. I love rose oil so much and this one always makes me wake up glowing when I use it on the evening. I apply a couple of drops onto my damp face and neck then use the gua sha to work out those face muscles and soothe any puffiness. It’s such a nice ritual.

My Learnings

The biggest thing my current routine has taught me is that people aren’t lying when they say less is more. With TikTok and insta constant showing us new products that promise the world, it’s tempting to constantly be adding to or changing your routine, but the last year has taught me that my sensitive skin loves consistency and simplicity.

As hard as it is to resist the call of fancy new skincare offerings, sometimes the simplest products are best and stripping back my routine has transformed my skin.

Another big lesson is to listen to my skin more! If my skin is feeling dry, I’m constantly reminding myself that its okay to adapt my routine and prioritise moisture or use my rosehip oil for a second night in a row. If I’m feeling stressed or upset and it’s showing on my face, I’ll honour my feelings and put some time aside for a mask and face massage. Even during breakouts or if you’re struggling with your skin, try to remember that your skin is your biggest organ and is deserving of self care and pampering!

My Top 3 Tips

1. Resist the call of trending products – if your routine works for you, stick to it!
2. Remember your skin is unique – your skin issues, genes and complextion are entirely unique to you! Try not to compare and remember everyone will react to products differently.
3. Sometimes simplicity is best! You don’t need a 15 step routine or a full cupboard of products, don’t be afraid to strip it back.