My skincare journey resembles what can only described as a rollercoaster. Up and down persistently keeping me on my toes – despite being in a place currently where I’d say I’m fairly (loose term) in control of my skin, I have experienced both clear skin to cystic acne from the age of 15.
Pre 15 I never had an issue with my skin, I imagine this is wholly down to the fact I was unaware of wearing makeup. I didn’t have a particular skincare regime and I’m sure my Mum would vouch for the fact that I rarely used to even wash my face (eww I know) but it worked for my back then I was spot free.
Oh how that changed.
Dear 15 year old Katie, Put down that £4 foundation and wash your damn face. Sincerely, You, 5 years later.
Whether it was the cheap make-up, the apparent disregard for cleansing or just genetics, cystic acne completely knocked my confidence and my clear skin was no more, it was not only on my face but my upper back and shoulders too. When I was diagnosed I was prescribed Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Gel and this was saving grace. It completely dried my skin out which was a great benefit because I was (what can only be described as) a greasy mess. It dried me out and it worked great to treat breakouts and contain them. I’d say that by 17 I would only have the rare flare up which I’d spot treat with the gel. I will still now reach for the gel if I have a huge volcano on my chin!
However, despite the gel really helping me out short term, I now have skin can be both dry/greasy/scarred from the acne/sensitive so basically – ya girl got issues.
I have developed a regime now which, on the whole, keeps breakouts at bay. This is constantly changing but so is my skin so hey ho lets go.
Cleanse Cleanse Cleanse – Once more for the people at the back? Cleanse!!!
I will usually start with a micellar water on a cotton pad to take the main bulk of my make-up off and them move onto a foaming facial cleanser. I could (probably am) making this up in my head but I feel that by using the water first, I’m taking the big load of make-up away meaning the facial wash can get down and dirty with the face, rather than removing the make-up. Lies – possibly. Logic – oh yeah.
I have tried many micellar waters and I find that most do a good job – the most affordable and one of the best is the Garnier Micellar Water. I find it removes nearly all my visible make-up and grime whilst not leaving an oily residue on my skin.
I follow this with the Elemis Gentle Foaming Face Wash. Despite most micellar waters doing the job, I find when I comes to face wash – this one takes the biscuit. It’s so gentle, purifying and as soon as I dry my face I feel like my face is the cleanest it’s ever been. It smells funky too, neither bad nor good, just funky.
Tone that bad boy
I have come to realise that toning after cleansing is so so important. It replaces the important PH in your skin which you have just removed through cleansing and I personally find for me it tightens, shrinks my pores and plumps my skin. After toner you GLOW. But you must tone immediately after cleansing as when your skin is damp and cleansed, the toner can penetrate the skin better achieving better results.
My all time favourite Toner is the Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner. It’s slightly pricey but so worth the glow you’ll achieve. And the smell – ahghjgdsilabomgitsamazing.
Creams to Spot Treating and all the in between
I used to be cream-sceptic being an acne sufferer. Moisture? Nah thanks I have enough of that. But boy was I mistaken. Given the correct type of moisture which is going to replenish and heal rather than sit on top of the skin and clog your pores, you’ll get a lot of benefit from creams.
Day – Bliss Ex-Glow-Sion moisturiser. This cream is so perfect for a non make-up day where you just want to show off your pretty face to the world, its plumping, glowing and super hydrating.
Night – Elemis (can you see a brand pattern emerging?) Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream. This is the BEST night cream I have ever used. It light, doesn’t clog any pores and genuinely fixes your skin whilst you sleep – and eradicates any dry patches I have.
I have three go–to treatments for spots:
- Nip & Fab Spot Zap
This is a great treat treatment to prevent breakouts as it has a combination of witch hazel and salicylic acid – reducing redness and keeping breakout areas calm. I wouldn’t use this to specifically target a spot, but more to use daily on problem areas.
- Mario Badescu Drying Cream
Good Lord you need to have will power to withstand both the unappealing colour and eye watering smell of this cream but oh my, it works. I use this cream to treat areas which have spots coming under the skin, the white bumpy kind. This visibly reduces them and doesn’t dry you out the point of flaking.
- Mario Badescu Drying Lotion
This is a heavy duty weapon. That pink sediment is going to hit your spot so hard its going to shrivel up and never dare return. Apply with a cotton bud to the area and leave it overnight to work – wake up and 10/10 your spot is gone or significantly smaller. Apply with caution however if you have broken skin, that’s going to hurt.
That’s pretty much it – easy peasy! I am by no means a skincare professional and these are my personal views about what works for MY skin, I hope it helps someone out there.