It’s always something I associated with teenagers and having oily skin. I never had skin problems as a teen, I felt I was very lucky I’d only have one or two breakouts a year and it was usually down to late nights, parties and bad, bad food. However, as I’ve gotten older and I’m in my early 20s, I’ve begun to struggle almost every day with bad breakouts. I’ve been diagnosed with cystic adult acne, apparently, a condition that is fairly common, but usually dismissed as poor diet or lifestyle.
I was very upset about this, to begin with, I gave up drinking and eat a varied diet with whole foods and fresh veggies, with no meat or dairy – to no avail. Flare-ups would happen again and again and still do. It’s something I’ve come to terms with that it’s going to happen. It’s going to be there until I can figure out the root of the problem. I decided instead of trying to rid myself of my acne, I would devise a routine that would soothe and take care of my skin, rather than battering it with astringents daily.
I begin my routine with a cleansing balm, my current one is infused with essential oils and smells amazing. This oil-based balm is ideal for getting rid of stubborn and waterproof makeup, that will inevitably clog my pores and lead to more spots. I then follow with a natural based glycolic cleanser, to chemically exfoliate my skin, and to rinse off any remaining dirt, oil or makeup. At night I also use a chemical exfoliating pad infused with glycolic acid, this is a good once over my skin regularly needs.
Once my skin is cleansed, I use a natural based, un-perfumed toner. This toner is different to a lot on the market, I use toners based on Korean beauty regimens, so the toner doesn’t dry out your skin and tighten it; it actually is the first step in hydrating my skin after cleansing. I apply a small amount three times and pat in gently, ensuring my skin drinks up all it can.
I then follow with a simple moisturiser infused with hyaluronic acid which leaves my skin soft, plump and not overloaded with oil.
If things are really bad:
I use a strong AHA and BHA based chemical peel. This is a serum-like product that you leave on for a maximum of 10 minutes. The acids inside breakdown the natural barriers of the cells which leave pores tightened and dead skin is gone! It’s a real skin saviour for me personally, I feel a great deal of the scarring left behind from my acne has been removed using this product, I highly recommend using a similar product to this once a week.
Remember to wear SPF when using chemical exfoliants, as post-use your skin will be more susceptible to sun damage.
I’ve tried my hardest to minimize the make-up I wear on my face, I’ve moved away from foundations and now rely on a mix of concealer, red-correcting cream, and BB cream. I find this combo really suits my skin, the SPF containing BB cream gives me even coverage without being oily or clogging my pores. The green corrector evens out my skin tone around the scarring I have on my cheeks and jawline; this discovery was a real eureka moment for me.
I use a website called cosDNA.com to check the ingredients of my makeup and skin care. It’s really important to choose products that don’t clog pores (non- comedogenic) or have ingredients that are likely to irritate sensitive skin, such as SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) – typically products with no SLS will be low or no foam but don’t stress, the product is still working – surprisingly the foaming aspect is mainly for aesthetic reasons.
I learned this from working at a very popular high street skincare company (think a super fun and natural based company). They added SLS to their solid items, like shampoo bars and soaps because customers would complain and say the product wasn’t working because there was no foam – which is why they added it back in. Little fact for you there! You don’t need SLS! Spread the word…
Check your spots:
You can tell why you have acne by looking into the certain areas where it crops up. For me, it’s on my cheeks – this can mean you have respiratory problems. As I’m not a smoker, I’ve put this down to living in London and using the tube system every day for about an hour each day.
If you find spots cropping up on your chin, it’s likely to be hormonal. If it’s coming up to the time of your period, it’s a no-brainier as to why these have shown up. Luckily, on the days after your period, your body releases hormones that give your skin an extreme glow up! So just wait it out a week and you’ll be glowing in no time.
If you have acne on your forehead, this is usually down to diet – When I gave up meat and dairy I found that my forehead completely cleared up! Dairy is a very common reason for spots in this area, and it’s the most likely culprit for most people. I’m definitely not saying to give it up completely, but cut down on your intake and see if it affects it, it might be very enlightening.
Sugar and wheat are 2nd and 3rd contenders for forehead acne, again try to cut down one at a time and see which one is making you break out. Thankfully it’s 2019 so if you do find that any of these items give you breakouts, there’s an insane amount of substitutes for you.
I know I’m going to struggle for a long time with my sensitive skin, but I’m slowly learning to love my skin and I’m actually enjoying the journey I’m on to discover what it is that’s making me break out. I think once I crack it, I’ll feel like I’ve just discovered gravity – and what a day that’ll be!
Pop your comments below and let us know the tips and tricks you’ve picked up to tackle your breakouts!