Today I'm going to tell you about my skincare history and the products I'm currently using. I have an oily t-zone and normal to dry cheeks and I have struggled with acne ever since I was a teenager. I am 23 now and I can't say I'm acne free but my skin is a lot better then that it used to be.
I believe that what you eat and drink definitely shows on your skin but this post will only be about how the right skincare products can help you. I have recently started to cut out any refined sugars, dairy products and alcohol. I noticed that if I, for example, ate chocolate and had some alcoholic beverages it showed on my skin the days after. I will dedicate another blog post to how I've adjusted my diet to reduce my acne.
I think I have tried every drugstore skincare product out there when I was about 12-14yrs. I was so desperate to get rid of my acne but I had no knowledge whatsoever about skincare and I just went along with what the label said.
Then, when I got a little bit older (let's say 14-17yrs) I started to wash my face with products such as Garnier and Nivea as they were the most popular brand for girls my age. Unfortunately they didn't do any good for me, they only made my skin very dry but didn't clear out the acne at all. I'm not saying that they're bad products (I know that they worked for some of my friends), I'm just saying that they didn't work for me.
I then decided to stick with the cheapest brand the drugstore sold. They didn't improve my skin but they also didn't made it worse which is why I used them for a few years.
In the beginning of 2011 (I was 20) my father noticed I had acne scars and we had a talk about it. I told him how it made me insecure and self conscious in the presence of those with blemish free faces. By then I had already given up all hope on ever having acne free skin. That talk made me decide I didn't care how much it would cost to have the clearest skin possible, so I went online and spent a good amount of time reading reviews about different brands, including high end brands. I read a lot of positive reviews about the Clinique skincare range so I went to the counter to see what would be best for me.
The lady at the counter was very friendly, looked at my skin through a magnifying mirror and asked me tons about my skin. She then advised me the 3 steps of the Anti Blemish Solutions range.
Step 1: Cleansing Foam.
What it does: Mild, medicated cleansing foam helps clear and prevent acne. Removes dirt and excess oil. Unclogs pores. Calms, soothes, visibly reduces redness.
Step 2: Clarifying Lotion
What it does: Gentle, medicated formula exfoliates to clear dead surface cells, reduces excess oil that can lead to breakouts. Unclogs pores. Oil-absorbing powders eliminate shine. Soothes irritation, visible redness
Step 3: Oil Free Moisturiser
What it does: Lightweight, medicated formula helps treat existing acne and prevent future breakouts. Creates a barrier against acne-causing agents. Helps control excess oil. Calms, soothes, visibly reduces redness. Lightly hydrates to minimise dryness and peeling.
The lady warned me that my acne could get a bit worse the first few weeks and it did. It brought all of the dirt and small infections that were deep in my skin to the surface. But the new breakouts healed so much quicker than they normally did and they didn't leave the scars I was used to. My pores appeared to be smaller and overall my skin looked smoother and the scars were less red. I'm using the products for two years now and my skin has improved a whole lot but I'm unfortunately not acne free yet.
I was told that the products would last me about three months, but I found that they lasted me at least two months longer.
So yes, it was very expensive (around €77,- for all three products) for my budget but they turned out to be great products for me to invest in.
When my skin isn't as bad but still with small break outs, I tend to use some other products. I started doing this to not waste my expensive Clinique ones. The products I then opt for are:
- Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit face wash (with salicylic acid)
- Bioderma Sensibio H2O as a toner
- La-Roche Posay Effaclar Duo (with salicylic acid) as a moisturiser.
My advice to anyone struggling with acne (if drugstore products don't work for you) is to:
- Talk with your parents/ about it, explain to them how you feel about it. Don't be scared to say how sad, insecure or even depressed it makes you feel.
- If you trust your G.P talk with him or her about it. He or she can refer you to a dermatologist.
- Do your own research on different skincare brands (makeupalley is a good one for honest reviews)
- Go to a counter of a skincare brand you are curious about and ask if they can examine your skin and give an advice based on that.
- Invest in good skincare products. It may cost you much but it may also safe your skin from (more) scars caused by acne.
- Use these products like you are told to.
- Accept that it may get worse before it gets better. It sucks, but all the dirt need to leave your skin before it can start looking better.
Things you can do to improve your skin without spending extra money:
- Try not to touch your face with dirty hands.
- Try not to squeeze your spots and blackheads but let them dry out and heal by using the right products on your skin.
- If you use brushes to apply make up, spot clean after every use and wash them thoroughly once a week.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat fruit and vegetables on a daily basis.
- Change your pillow cases every 2 days.
- Stay away from refined sugars and bad fats (crisps, doughnuts french fries etc.).
I have linked the products I like to their official webpage. Check them out and hopefully you'll benefit from them. If you have some good tips of your own, share them in the comments. I'm always open for advice and new information :)