Acne is something I had to deal with throughout my early teens and unlucky for me, it arrived at the same time as my glasses and braces. In my early to mid teens, my skin was really quite bad. I used to suffer from regular breakouts which were painful and covered my face, back and even chest when it got really bad. I was understandably very self-conscious about this, and I am sure if you have had acne or something similar, you can relate. Obviously, at school, it was against the rules to wear make-up, but I mostly managed to get away with some very light coverage BareMinerals concealer or I sometimes stole my mum’s Touche Éclat (I do blame her for my makeup addiction, yes).
One thing you will probably have noticed if you’ve had acne yourself is that everyone has their view on it. ‘Oh, don’t worry it’s just a phase!’ or ‘It’s your diet, you need to cut out the sugar/dairy etc’, or ‘Just wash your face properly’, blah blah blah. To be fair to these people, there are certain examples of people curing their acne this way. I know the other day I read an article about a guy who washed his sheets, like, every night and his acne disappeared. Or some people can eliminate certain food groups from their diet and see improvements. The truth is, acne can be caused by a huge range of factors, for example, stress, diet, etc etc. So, if you are able to identify these triggers and eliminate the problem, then that’s great – do what works for you!
I, however, know that my acne is hereditary because my dad and my sister have it too. At the age of about 12/11, me and my sister went to the doctors with our acne and they prescribed us almost everything they had (not all at the same time of course). We tried everything from those creams you keep in the fridge, to the ones which bleach your pillows, from liquid roll-ons that make you flaky to all natural products followed by a wide, but colourful, range of antibiotics – you name it, we tried it. But in the end, the only thing which worked was the contraceptive pill (for anyone wondering, Yasmin has worked best for me).
After almost six years on the contraceptive pill, I stopped taking it just under a year ago for a whole range of reasons. Interestingly, I thought I was mentally prepared for the fresh set of outbreaks which I hadn’t experienced for a good 5 or so years. But I wasn’t. Now believe that the only thing worse than having problem skin is knowing it’s like to have clear skin and not being able to get it back. To be honest, I thought I’d got away with it in the first few months last summer, but it came back to bite me about 3 months after I came off it. I was completely regimented with my skin care regime, unlike I had been when I’d had acne before, and I had put hours of research and pennies into what products would be best for my skin. But, still, my face was covered in outbreaks and my backne was the sort of thing you’d expect to see on the Pimple Popper’s YouTube channel. It was not cute.
I went to a NARS counter last year, as you do, and got chatting to the girl working there about skin care. She said to me that I had dry patches which were what was making my Foundation gather in places it shouldn’t and I said that yes I didn’t understand why that was happening as I have really oily, acne-prone skin. But, like she pointed out, I only had oily skin because my skin was overcompensating and trying to naturally moisturise itself after me using all of these really strong, moisture-killing creams. She told me that my skin was actually very dry and that instead of using a product which zaps out my skin’s moisture, I should be using something oil-based. I ended up buying the cult beauty favourite Clinique’s Take The Day Off Balm. My sister, who has almost identical skin to me, didn’t like this product at all, but I personally love this stuff. It gets every scrap of makeup off, isn’t drying and doesn’t leave any greasy residue on your face. Also, it lasts such a long time, so you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.
After about 5 months of my new skin care regime, it was clear that although these products did improve the texture and look/brightness/feel of my skin (and I believe that if I hadn’t been doing that, my skin could have been much worse) I was still breaking out left right and centre (!!!!!) Then, around Christmas, my cousin recommended Dermalogica to me. I’d never heard of it but decided to go to the Dermalogica bar in the Manchester Harvey Nichols. I chose to have one of their face mapping sessions and a 20-minute treatment. Then, she recommended certain products based on my results. She concluded that nowadays, ‘Acne’ is beginning to be classed as a separate skin type, so maybe that’s why other products have never worked for me in the past. She was also super helpful and told me what ingredients to avoid in the makeup I buy, and what I need to be doing to my skin to reduce the breakouts I have been having. This post is already a complete essay, and I could talk about Dermalogica and their brand for a whole separate post, so if that is something you would like me to do, let me know below in the comments!
I’d like to say that that was it, that my acne cleared and I found a ‘miracle’ non-hormonal treatment to my acne. But I can’t. Because it’s not true. The products I used from Dermalogica (all linked along with everything else I used below) really helped and my skin improved ten-fold. However, despite being off the pill for about 7 months overall, I decided to go back on it recently because the acne affects my self-confidence so much. It sounds stupid because I can cover the breakouts on my face with make-up, but really it was my backne that got to me. I was living in Spain where it was 26º in November and didn’t feel comfortable enough to wear a top without sleeves.
My skin still isn’t as clear as it was a year ago and according to what I’ve read on the internet could take anything up to another 6 months to clear up completely. I have quite a lot of marks which my most recent breakouts have left behind, so I might do an updated post in the future if I find a solution for them (fingers crossed!) But, for now, I’m going to be patient for once in my life, and stick it out this time.
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* For anyone wondering, I have never used Roaccutane – I would not rule out using it in the future, as I am well aware of the fact that I cannot stay on the contraceptive pill for my whole life, but for now I just don’t think it is the best option for me.