Monday, 6 October 2014

How I cleared up my acne: Instalment 2

Hey Everyone!

Here is the second instalment explaining how I got rid of my acne. Sorry I haven't been able to get this out quicker. I did plan to but I've just been so busy with uni and starting a new part-time job at Tesco! But here we are, so in case you didn't read the last instalment I suffered with acne badly from the age of sixteen to twenty years old, at which point I started Accuatane. I had a bad experience and came off it prematurely and consequently was back to square one. I was once again typing "How to get rid of acne" into Google. I'm sure you've been there...

Below I'm going to discuss the three things I believe got rid of my acne finally and will hopefully keep me clear. I've had no problems in almost a year and after the years of suffering I had with acne, that's good enough for me. I've listed these three things in the order in which I started them, not at all order of importance. At the end I'll explain which I think has been the most effective in keeping my acne away in case you can only do two of the three things etc. Although I have to say, this golden trio works perfectly together so if you can, give all of them a go!

1. The Contraceptive Pill

Okay, so one of the first thing the doctor usually recommends after antibiotics and various creams etc. is the contraceptive pill, if you're a girl of course! This was advised to me before I started Accutane and is usually a "hoop" you have to jump through before you get approved to go on Isotretinoin. I started on the Yasmin pill in March 2013 but it had no effect on my skin. It was so great in other areas but not in the area I really wanted! I continued on this contraceptive pill whilst I was on Accutane but when I came off it in December my doctor suggested I try the Dianette pill. I saw good results within a few weeks on this contraceptive pill, within this short time it had reduced my acne to a manageable level that could be covered fairly well with makeup. Of course when you have severe acne you'll do anything for it to be reduced even slightly but once that happens the pursuit for perfectly clear skin begins... which leads me nicely to my acne solution 2.

2. Gentle Skincare

Guys, I can't stress this one enough. What so many people don't realise, whether they have full blown acne or a few spots, dry skin, oily skin, whatever... is that irritation is a major cause of bad skin. People get trapped in a viscous cycle where they get a few spots for whatever reason, they go out and buy harsh products that promise to "get rid of your acne in 24 hours!" and all they do is further irritate and inflame already inflamed skin, making the problem worse. Then, women (and some men!) attempt to cover this problem up with thick, heavy makeup that further irritates the skin and in turn makes the problem worse. This is what is known as cosmetic acne; the idea that some people have actually created their own skin problems through the use of harsh irritants on the skin. This cycle is so hard to end if you don't know even realise you're in it. It was something I was guilty of and I didn't even know it. 

Looking back to when I was sixteen and my acne began, I think I used a new foundation that broke me out (L'Oreal Infallible, stay away from this stuff!) and instead of using my gentle face-wash, whatever that was at the time, I switched to a harsh skin wash and moisturiser "suitable for blemish prone skin". This was the beginning of all my problems. I have only now realised that because of my experience on Accutane, in fact it is the only positive I can draw from that experience. When I came off it in December last year my skin was a mess; dry, cracked, irritated and sore so my mum who swears by Clarins, bought me gentle face wash for sensitive skin and a moisturiser. It immediately calmed my skin down and I actually believe this was a major contributor in clearing up my skin permanently. Crap products like Proactive, Oxy, Clean and Clear and even products your doctor will prescribe to you like the grim Benzoyl Peroxide are the enemy of clear skin. They are so harsh I truly believe they just exacerbate the problem. The first step to getting out of this circle is switching to gentle skincare products. Below I've listed the Clarins products I use and a budget alternative.

Face wash: Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter

This stuff is beautiful; smells amazing, feels lovely on the skin and is so gentle. If you buy this at your average Clarins counter it will cost you £19 but you can get it for £14.95 on discount sites such as!

Moisturiser: Clarins Daily Energizer cream

Again, this is a lovely product. I use the cream version but there is a gel option if you have an oilier skin. The cream itself is quite rich but not cloggy and leaves your skin feeling like silk. It also has a lovely citrus scent to it. As before, this can be bought for £14.95 on as opposed to £21 at boots. Whilst we're on the subject of discount sites, I love as I've mentioned, as well as so check them out!

Budget Alternatives!

Face Wash: Yes to Cucumbers Daily Gel Cleanser

This is the cleanser I use when I'm on more of a budget. It costs £6.99 at Boots and is a very good product, not as good as Clarins but still good enough! In my poorer moments I have used this and it did keep my skin nice.

Moisturiser: Protecting Light Moisturiser with SPF15

I really love the Simple moisturisers, they're such good value and are very gentle on the skin. I've picked this moisturiser as it's very light but the Moisturiser I use from the range does depend on my skin at the time. For example they have a rich moisturiser, one for oil balancing etc. So pick the one most suitable for your skin! This particular moisturiser however also costs £6.99 and is well worth it.
I'm not entirely sure in all honesty if you can get the Yes to Cucumbers face wash or this Simple moisturisers for a cheaper price but if you do purchase them at Boots look out for the 3 for 2 offers they sometimes do and of course, make sure you get a Boots card because those points add up!

So that's it for skincare guys. I don't get in to toners, serums, oils, day/night specific creams etc. I just think the best thing to do when it comes to skincare is to keep it erm... Simple!

3. Mineral Make-up

Last but certainly not least, I'm going to talk about the type of foundation I use on a daily basis. As you've probably guessed it's a mineral make-up, bareMinerals READY Foundation to be exact.

I began using this foundation at the end of January of this year after my sister recommended it. She herself has the odd breakout and said it had improved her skin over the time she had been using it. I was cautious because I've used the bareMinerals loose powder foundation previously and although I liked it, the coverage just wasn't enough and took too long to build up regardless. However, at this point I had been on Dianette and using the Clarins for just over a month and although it had made a fair difference to my skin, it was still troublesome. After hearing more good things about the READY foundation I bought it. Within a month or two my skin was pretty much clear. I remember for my 21st Birthday in March it was perfectly clear and I was so happy.

The pros are undoubtedly that it improves the look and feel of your skin over time, clearing up spots in my experience. It is good coverage and long lasting. 
The cons are that it is quite a matt finish and can be drying but If used with the correct primer for your skin from bareMinerals Prime Time range, it'll sit well on your specific skin type. I use the original Prime Time primer and the foundation colour R250 in Summer and R170 in Winter when I'm paler. 
The best place to purchase this is definitely from a bareMinerals counter itself, their website or a reputable store that stocks the brand such as Debenhams. This is because the previous discount sites I mentioned before for the Clarins products don't always stock this particular foundation and I've purchased one or two fakes from Amazon so its best to buy the real deal.
If you take one thing from reading this post, please consider giving this foundation a go because I'm sure you won't be disappointed!


 So, all in all what do I think finally cleared my skin up? Undoubtedly I'd say it was the combination of Dianette, simplifying my skincare regime and of course the mineral foundation.
 However, from things I have read online and having spoke to my sister who is a doctor, three months is not really enough time for Dianette to have had such a dramatic effect on my skin. Doctors usually recommend giving the contraceptive pill 6 months to see results. I have no doubt in my mind Dianette certainly contributed to clearing up my acne and still does to this day but I don't believe it is the sole contributor.
Next is skincare. I do believe this is something that really calmed down my inflamed and irritated skin after Accutane and definitely contributed to the clearing up of my spots. I would rank the Clarins skincare 2nd in terms of which of the three helped most. 
As I'm sure you've guessed by now, I do believe that the bareMinerals foundation is the number one contributor to my clear skin . I am pretty sure about this because of some experimenting I did. After several months of using the READY foundation I got bored as I usually do with foundations and switched in Summer to a liquid foundation I used to use and immediately it broke me out. I tried another liquid foundation and the breakouts continued. After learning my lesson I switched back to the bareMinerals foundation and my skin was clear again within a week or two. Proof indeed!

I really hope this post is of some help to you guys. I just wanted to provide acne sufferers with other advise than "slather your face in Benzoyl Peroxide" or "buy a face wash for acne prone skin". I don't know about you but these things didn't work for me and if you're sat here reading this then perhaps they haven't worked for you either.
Even if you just try one thing, see how it works for you and let me know!

Heather x

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