As a teenager my skin was pretty calm. I suffered the odd breakout that typically cleared quickly, I had combi-skin but again it never really posed any problems. Growing up I made sure I cared for my skin by removing makeup before bed, choosing skin sensitive creams and cosmetics and I only really wore minimal makeup during the day.
It seemed to have worked because I managed three pregnancies without the dreaded 'pregnancy skin' and it was only once I hit thirty that things started to change. I first noticed pigmentation or melasma, realising there was nothing I could do to cure it I made sure I wore a suncream to try to reduce the amount of new patches from popping up. I then started to notice my pores were really visible, almost as though the skin had been dyed, it looked like millions of little black heads which really upset me because nothing I was doing would fix the issue.
Fast forward nearly two years and I was officially diagnosed with cystic acne, I have good skin days and really bad painful skin days. I don't wear makeup, I completely threw away most of my old cosmetics for fear that the bacteria would worsen the breakouts and also any skincare products that were harsh or contained allergy prone ingredients. While my skin hasn't cured it definitely has improved lately with a new skin care routine, supplementation routine and less stress.
In the beginning I presumed that harsh toners, scrubs and acne marketed treatements were the way forward - I was so wrong. I must have wasted hundreds of pounds on products that made the issue worse, see this
was is caused by hormonal changes brought on by one-million-and-one reasons. Stripping the oils away from the skin will only make it produce even more to compensate for the loss. Most people also presume if your skin is oily or combination that you need to steer clear from oils, serums and moisture of any sort - that's wrong - you actually need to add more!
Did you know that acne is caused by dry skin or more so, dehyrated skin and bacteria plugging the pores. This blockage gets infected and once the air hits the infection it becomes what we knows as pimples, spots and whiteheads. Cysts are infections deeper in the hair shaft.
So how do you fix the issue?
Well first it takes time and, things may get worse before it gets better. medications are an option but for some it's simply too harsh for the skin and the body, I was one of those people. The skin first needs to be cleaned to stop bacteria and infection, it needs to be exfoliated to get rid of the built up flakes and dehydrated skin cells and, it needs hydration. Like the tortoise and the hare the slower you take this journey the better it is. Anything that promises you results in one, two or even three months is only a temporary measure and may make the situation worse.
Strip your routine right back. Throw out anything that's past it's used by date (yes really) and, get used to the huge change that's about to happen. When washing your face, use a clean sponge or cloth and water. That's it. Crazy right? At first your skin will feel weird, almost balmy but it won't stay that way. Each morning and night be sure to apply a gentle moisturiser or serum, even if you have pimples. Make sure you're staying hydrated and watch what your eating and drinking as allergies or intolerances will make your skin worse as any imbalance will affect your sensitive hormones.
So once you've made those changes and you've gotten used to what's making your skin worse and what's making it better, you'll should start to add products into your routine. I currently use a moisturiser, toner and serum. I don't use any exfoliators, scrubs or anything that's aimed at 'cleaning' the skin because water and a cleansing pad does this for me. I use the toner to remove excess oil at night before I apply moisturiser and the same in the mornings. When I'm feeling the need for a treatment I use frankincense essential oil and I use a face mist spray to add extra hydration in during the day while I'm at work.
You may have also saw my post on Fountain's Molecule supplements, if not you can catch that here - this supplement along with iron are the only supplements I take. They've made a huge difference also.
First Aid Anti-Redness Serum | Once a cyst or pimple has healed I'm always left with redness that's almost scar like and makes my skin look like there's are still pimples. This serum tackles that redness by hydrating the skin and boosting the healing process and reducing inflammation. It's safe for sensitive skins and doesn't contain alcohols, parabens and nasties.
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Serum | Exfolar serums are huge in the acne community because they hydrate, but help to exfoliate the skin gently. This also helps with pigmentation from hormone changes and from previous acne scars, marks and uneven skin types.
Konjac Charcoal Sponge | I use a cleansing pad currently that's something similar to the Konjac sponge. It's made from intertwined fibres and gives you a gentle but scrubby texture that cleans exceptionally well without stripping the skin of it's natural oils. The charcoal sponge is especially good for those who have lots of toxins, lots of excess sebum and need an extra hand in cleansing without stripping the skin. It can be used with cleanser if you prefer but my recommendation would be to steer clear.
Facegym Frankincense Mist | Frankincense is an amazingly potent healer. I tend to use Frankincense EO mixed in with some of my moisturiser as a skin treatment to heal any damage, to reduce the levels of any nasty bacterials and to help give my skin some much needed radiance. I also use a seperate face mist so this product is a do-it-all as it combines with Boswellia Carterii Frankincense with a gentle hydrating face water. Pop it in your bag and mist your face throughout the day, especially if you work in an environment that has air conditioning which will strip your skin.
Origins United State Balancing Toner | This Origins toner helps to balance oily, normal and dry skin types. Reducing sebum in combination areas while ensuring the dry and dehydrated areas don't suffer. It contains bergamot, spearmint and lavender which are naturally antibacterial, help to boost the appearance of the skin and promote healthy blood flow which will help to heal.
What ever you choose to do, just know that things will improve if you're willing to make changes. Acne tends to be an internal and external condition so keep this in mind when you're planning your new routines.