Ah acne, our dreaded nemesis. Everyone has been affected by it whether it was that awkward stage when we were 16 or, even worse, you had clear skin up to the age of 21 and you’ve been hit with “adult acne”.
My acne has always been a huge part of my life. My worst years were from 18-21. I remember being on holiday and didn’t even want to go to the pool without concealer on, or struggling to sleep because the slightest brush of the pillow on my face would send shooting pains across my skin. It completely shatters your confidence. You feel like your skin is dirty, even though every acne sufferer knows we have the most elaborate (and sometimes expensive) skin care routine going. Nothing will pierce your soul more than when someone makes a flippant comment about your skin and next thing you know you’re crying in the toilets wondering why you’re so ugly – guilty.
Reality is, we’re not ugly, the spots on our face should have no sway in how we feel about ourselves but life tells us otherwise. You can be the most together, confident person going but we all have our bad days, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to change our skin.
I had what could only be described as, a beard of spots. It was concentrated across my cheeks and around my mouth. I tried everything, all the expensive skin care, herbal remedies, the lot. I’m going to share with you what helped me overcome my acne but everyone is different, please please consult a doctor and do your research before making any big decisions about treatment.
When my skin started getting really intense I went to the GP who put me on antibiotics, obviously didn’t work. I tried the Duac cream which did nothing except bleach all my sheets. I tried medicated face washes and Chinese herbal oils but nothing was doing the trick. Eventually I forced my GP to refer me to a dermatologist. Some doctors may not take you seriously but we all know the psychological side effects of acne. It makes you not want to socialise or take pictures, and sometimes you stand in front of the mirror after removing your makeup and burst into tears. This was me so many times, and luckily my Mum was the most supportive person in the world. She could see the effect this was having on my mental health so helped drive the decision.
I went to see a Dermatologist who was amazing. She understood everything I was going through. A lot of people are apprehensive about seeing a Dermatologist because they think they’ll go straight on Roaccutane (a very aggressive but equally effective treatment) but this isn’t your only option. Female contraception does work, some better than others but it’s all about finding the right fit for you. I firstly went on Yasmin, it worked for a while but eventually I felt my skin getting worse. Instead I got put on Dianette. Dianette is a bit of a taboo pill because of the higher levels of hormones it contains vs other common pills. There can be some side effects but for me, the only one I cared about was clearing my skin and boy did it do it. In my opinion (not a medical one, purely just experience) I wouldn’t stay on Dianette for too long. The hormone content is intense and it is advertised primarily as an acne treatment which also acts as a contraceptive so if delaying motherhood is high on your list I wouldn’t stay on Dianette unless you really had to. That’s not to say that there aren’t other pills available to you. My Doctor advised me after coming off Dianette that if I wanted another pill, a good alternative that has been proved to work well for acne suffers is Geradel. I know a lot of friends with skin problems who are on this and found it worked really well, so if you fall into that category, try asking your Doctor about it.
I was terrified that after coming off Dianette and being hormone free my skin would erupt again. I already had a solid skincare routine but it was vital for me to keep it up for fear I would be pushed back to square one. An American cleanser was recommended to me by a family friend and is genuinely the best deep cleanser I have ever used – Noxzema Original Deep Cleansing Cream. It costs a sweet £10 for a huge 12oz jar and can be bought on Amazon or eBay. It has eucalyptus and salicylic acid which makes it perfect for treating acne.
When you have active, angry spots, the last thing you want to do is use a harsh, grainy, exfoliator but you also want to encourage skin renewal. I invested in a Clarisonic cleansing brush (Mia 2) and I adore it. Partner this with your Noxzema and your skin will never feel cleaner. It comes with a sensitive cleansing brush which feels soft on the skin and does the job. I adore mine.
Glycolic acid is all the rage these days. Although I never really knew it I always like the idea of a liquid exfoliator so always had a bottle of Clinique Clarifying Lotion in my bathroom. The Anti-Blemish Solutions one is fantastic, and smells clinical and refreshing. These days, I’m using The Ordinary 7% Glycolic Acid Toner. It’s one of the highest percentages available in a product and costs less than £7. I thought it would be tingly and harsh on my skin but it is completely unscented and feels absolutely fine.
To soothe the skin and promote regeneration, I will never be without my one true love – Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. After cleansing this stuff soothes my skin and helps my spots be less angry. I will never be without it.
I’ve mentioned this before but the Clinique Anti Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel should be in every acne sufferer’s collection. It seals the spot so no makeup or products will irritate the skin during the day. Do me one favour, buy it.
Finally, I know you may roll your eyes and I have no viable evidence to support these claims but here’s a few things I did to help keep my skin clear. Fresh towels, a pain when you live on your own and are responsible for your own washing but please don’t use a hand towel on your face for any more than 2 days max. Pillow cases – I rotate mine each night, I have a double bed so one night per side, per pillow gives me 8 nights out of mine. Sometimes my pussy spots would “leak” during the night so the bacteria would be on my sheets the next morning. Gross I know but it’s real life. Try and eliminate the spread.
Acne unfortunately is something we carry with us every day but it is treatable. These tips helped me, maybe they’ll help you too but you will find what works for you. Just remember, even on your worst days, you are pretty, there’s nothing wrong with you, and this too shall pass.
Bye for now my lovelies,
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