I’d never claim to be much of an expert on beauty, and until very recently I stuck pretty religiously to a tried and tested range of products. I’ve suffered with acne and problem skin for about ten years now, and have had two major courses of treatment for it in the past year. Because of it, and its sensitivity to anything fragranced or silicone based, I had wheedled down my regime to the bare bones of safe and assured products.
I’ve been chatting this past week, over on Snapchat, about my skin issues in the past, and have been overwhelmed by the amount of women getting in touch to sympathise, and share their own stories. A year ago I definitely wouldn’t have talked about this type of thing – I was incredibly self-conscious and reclusive, and all my energy was taken up in worrying about it – but I’m doing so much better now and I figure it’s definitely an issue worth sharing, as it’s one that so many women face.
The great myth of course, is that acne is something that you grow out of after your teens. Actually, I had beautiful skin right through my teenage years, and my issues only began after my first pregnancy ten years ago. I realise now that it was more than likely hormonal, and that the next six years of having babies and the recovery process after, was just going to take its toll. Between pregnancies I tried a range of antibiotics – in both tablet and lotion form – recommended to me by my GP. These worked for periods, but nothing really helped in the long term and I took the decision to try Roaccutane as a last resort.
It’s not a drug that is prescribed lightly, and it is hospital monitored on a monthly basis. There’s significant risk to the foetus should you get pregnant whilst on it (and for a month after) and a myriad of unpleasant side effects. But, for me, nothing was worse than dealing with the stress of my skin each day, and with no more babies on the horizon, I felt like it was definitely worth a try.
I’ll not go into why I have had two courses, but I’m confident that I’ve got on top of it now. The success rate is high with Roaccutane and I can’t tell you what a weight is lifted when you wake up each morning and don’t dread the bathroom mirror. The emotional effects of problem skin shouldn’t be underestimated – women in their thirties, forties (even fifties!) are suffering in silence – and I really firmly believe that cosmetic companies are cashing in with quick fixes that potentially agitate the problem even more. (This coming from the girl who has tried them all!)
I’m not saying that drugs are the only way to solve it, and there are definitely a variety of other issues to take into consideration – allergies, diet and lifestyle to name but a few – but I think if you have tried everything and are at the end of your tether, then it’s definitely worth speaking to someone about it. Life is too short to waste precious days on worry.
I’m at the end of my course of medication now and am so happy with my skin. It’s so bizarre to me when people actually compliment me on it now, because I’ve hated it for so many years. I’m still coming to terms with the psychological side of it all, and still can’t bear quite yet to be seen without makeup, even though it is pretty perfect underneath. It’s amazing the scars that develop on the inside after years of struggles like this. It’s just something that will take time I think. The day I can go for a facial, or post an early morning selfie – that’ll be the day I know it has gone for good I think!
ANYWAY! That was a ramble, wasn’t it?!
What this post was really intended for was to share some products that I have loved and been loving lately too. My skin has done a full circle from incredibly oily to incredibly dry in this past twelve months, and so I feel fully equipped to talk about my favourite products for a range of skin concerns!
I pretty much tried everything made for oily skin, but my favourite by far was the Origins Zero Oil range. All origins products are plant based and natural, and these just left my skin really nourished and calmed. I double cleansed – first with a Micellar water, and then washed my face using the Deep Pore Cleanser , then moisturised with their Oil Free Lotion. A special shout out also to their Blemish Treatment Gel (the tiniest little bottle for the price, but a little goes a long way, and it was the best by far at calming inflamed areas) And the Out of Trouble mask was amazing too!
Caroline Hirons has great articles on her blog about dealing with various skin issues, and I referred to them constantly throughout.
When you’ve come to terms with a routine designed to mattify your skin, it does feel really odd to start buying products that do the opposite. I’ve spent the past six months now trying to nourish it again, and put back some of the oils that I previously was trying to get rid of (the great Roaccutane paradox!)
I have been loving Clarins products recently (and loving that they don’t flare me up too! I had a real problem with anything French, even those designed for problem skin. La Roche Posay, lookin’ at you!) I currently cleanse, firstly with Garnier Micellar water and Fresh eye makeup remover, followed by Clarins Foaming Cleanser. Then I use their HydraQuench Serum (I got this as a free sample but am really liking it!) and finish off with Santal Face Treatment oil (a total game changer.)
I hope that answers a few of your questions surrounding my skin care. Let me know if you’d like a makeup post too, with my favourite oily and dry skin picks. I feel like I could maybe write a book on this you know! 😉
As ever, thanks so much for all your lovely feedback and kind words. It’s so amazing to be part of a community of women who just get these types of insecurities, and the impact that they have. I think that in talking about them and sharing our own experiences, we break down a little of this notion of perfection that’s so often promoted these days. No one is perfect, we all have our secret struggles, and in coming together to chat about them, we’re only more real and more relatable.
Hope you guys are all well!