Battling Breakouts & Popping Pimples
I have hated my skin since I was about 12 years old, I have bags under my eyes all the time, I have huge pores, my skin is either way too oily or flaky and dry. On top of it all, at 13 I got the beginnings of acne, my sister would tell me to wash my face more, my doctor would tell me to wash my face less. I tried Zineryt, Doxycycline, Epiduo, Differin, Benzamycine, countless oral antibiotics, generic benzoyl peroxid and saylicylic acid. Then I tried numerous face washes and masks: Clinique, Liz Earle, Clearasil, Bioré, Neutrogena, St.Ives, Lancôme, Lush. I tried soap and water, foaming cleanses, scrubs, oil cleansers, micellar water, not washing my face, washing my face everyday. It goes on and on and on.
I was then referred to a dermatologist, who prescribed even more topical creams and gels and pills that I forget the names of, and the same thing happened each time. A perhaps minuscule skin improvement would appear that would then swiftly disappear. My acne flares up, sometimes I'll have one little spot, other times I will have 7 or 8 under the skin spots and 4 or 5 pustules (I hate this word so much). My dermatologist, Clive, recommended I try Isotretinoin tablets, which is a very intensive treatment, however, this was around the time I moved out to Paris and I would have needed regular blood tests to check my liver and kidneys were functioning well, which would have been a huge hassle. Alongside this, it's side effects include depression, which I was already struggling with, so it didn't seem the right route at the time.
I've been dealing with this for 7 years now, and it sucks. Not only did it kill my self confidence, and still does bother me, but it hurts a heck of a lot. Now, I'm not writing this to tell you I've found a miracle cure, I still have acne, but because I thought that my experience as guinea pig might be able to help you out as to what I've found works for me and my combination, acne prone, sensitive, pale skin.
So, the basics, drink lots and lots of water, my Nan would never mention my acne but always drop in a subtle "have you been drinking enough water?" comment if I was particularly spotty. It is true, the more water you drink the better your skin, the more vitamins you get into your body, the better your skin. The less sugar you eat, the better your skin, if I've been eating a lot of sweets or chocolate, I can see it in my skin a few days later. You've got to be prepared to start from the inside out, cut out parts of your diet, salt, sugar and dairy products being the big three, one at a time for a month each and see how your skin reacts. Act accordingly.
For me, my skin doesn't respond that differently to gel, cream, foam, oil, clay or micellar cleansers however I know that I prefer the feel of oil cleansers at night and micellar cleansers in the morning, if you can't find one that helps with your acne pick based on what feels good. One thing I find helps to keep my skin under control is applying diluted apple cider vinegar every other day to my skin with a cotton pad after washing my face and drinking 500ml of diluted apple cider vinegar everyday. It takes a while to get accustomed to the taste, and my friends can attest to how bad it smells, and they can also attest to how much I rave about apple cider vinegar, not only does it help my acne but there are a million and one other benefits, which I might write about later on, watch this space.
Anywho, I now cleanse my face everyday using Bioderma micellar water, I exfoliate once a week with St.Ives Apricot scrub for acne prone skin, and I use the Lush 'Cosmetic Warrior' mask once a week, I also exfoliate once a fortnight with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and a splash of water. Most importantly, I moisturise twice a day - naively I used to ignore moisturising when my skin was oily which only made matters worse, switching between Clinique's 'dramatically different moisturising lotion' and Lancôme's 'Visionnaire Day Dream'. At night, I use Clinique's 'Moisture Surge Intense' for under my eyes and Lancôme's 'Energie de Vie Nuit', I also cannot recommend BioOil enough for acne scars, you only need the tiniest of drops as it is very rich. Finally, I find anti-wrinkle and anti-aging products work well on acne prone skin as it helps maintain a fast cell turnover.
We all know it is never recommended to pop your spots, but we've all been there, and there's times where it is just necessary, I recommend using body shops 'blackhead remover' tool, steam your face first or apply a hot flannel, then gently press on the spot. If it doesn't pop, don't force it, applying more pressure will only leave scars! After popping, apply a small amount of tea tree oil with a cotton bud to the area and leave it to dry. If you use your hands, make sure you wash them well before and scrub under the nails, it i s so so easy to transfer bacteria and for the spot to become infected!
Unfortunately, it is all trial and error with what works for you and your skin, and even then you can't expect a quick fix solution, unless you're incredibly incredibly lucky. I've started learning to embrace that my skin is what it is, I whack the foundation on hardly ever now, (I used to cake my face in it everyday, which didn't help to cover the spots, no-one was fooled) I just dot on some concelear (Lancôme Effacernes) and leave it at that, which I find personally has helped my skin, or maybe just my confidence? You have to find what works for you, and what makes you feel good, and if all else fails and all you see around yourself is clear, glowing, photoshopped skin, follow Lili Reinhart and take heart that even celebrities deal with break outs.
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