Over my skin – My acne journey [Part 3]

Over my skin – My acne journey [Part 3]

Helurrr beautiful people and welcome to my 3rd and (possibly) final post on my skin journey. Check out Part 1 where I give a brief overview of what my skin has gone through and share some pictures, and Part 2 includes details on skincare products that didn’t work for me (if you haven’t already – but you would have because you love me and my blog, don’t you?)

This part is about my current skincare routine (which is pretty simple actually) and more detail on what the actual products do for your skin. As always, I am in no way promoting any of these brands. I am simply sharing my experiences so that you can make informed decisions when spending your hard earned cash. I also urge you to do further research because I am no expert, however I am more than happy to answer any questions that you may have so please comment and let me know.

I had my follow-up dermatology visit a few weeks ago and he’s advised that I need not continue with my antibiotics – these were prescribed to treat the bacteria causing acne and inflammation. He did suggest that I continue using the gel he prescribed every other night as it contains benzoyl peroxide which will help lighten my scars over time. I know that some people choose to go for dermapen treatments and chemical peels, however I am still really scared of undoing all the progress that I’ve noticed with my skin. I know these treatments are there for treating scars and stuff, but there isn’t a guarantee that my skin won’t react badly – my skin is like me during the time of the month that satan visits : I REACT BADLY TO EVERYTHING! I might look into it sometime in the future, but for now I’m keeping it simple and giving my skin a chance to live it’s best life. Plus I’m not looking to spend anymore money – my bank balance is sadder than the casting of 50 Shades of Grey.

 

The Cleanse.

To start with, I wash my face every morning and night with the Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bar. The first piece of advice that my dermatologist gave me was to use a gentle cleanser – nothing with beads or anything abrasive as this will irritate the skin and cause further breakouts. I was a little confused because my skin was a mess and I thought that I needed something strong to literally scrub the crap off my skin – BUT he was prescribing medication to treat the actual bacteria and inflammation so it would make sense to be gentle with the aftercare. I must admit that carrying a bar of soap around (to gym and when I’m travelling) is not the most fun I’ve had, but a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. I wrapped that bad boy in some tinfoil and I was sorted :). It is worth mentioning that I did try their Dermacontrol Oil Control Foam Wash before purchasing the cleansing bar, however the foam wash didn’t really help with my breakouts and my skin felt way more irritated. Also, I’m old-school and I prefer something that actually lathers and the cleansing bar did that for me. I use a silicone cleansing pad atleast 3 times a week after I’ve exfoliated just to make sure I’m getting rid of any dead skin cells and I ALWAYS use lukewarm water to rinse because using hot water washes away essential oils of the skin leaving it dry and using icy cold water on the face irritates the skin and breaks the capillaries.

Currently on promotion at Dis-Chem for R87.80 (normal price: R109.75)

 

Toning up.

I use plain Rose Water. Yep, that’s it. I spritz/pour a little on a cotton pad and just gently wipe it over my face after I cleanse. This helps get all those impurities/dead skin cells that you may not have gotten rid of by just washing your face. I also just spritz it over my face with/without makeup just to refresh it during the day. Rose water is known for having amazing properties for the skin and hair. I’m just going to list a few of the benefits for the skin below:

  • Helps maintain the skin’s PH balance and controls excess oil.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties which is great for problem skin.
  • Cleanses and aids in removing oil/dirt from clogged pores.
  • It is good for hydration and overall texture of the skin.
  • It also has anti-bacterial properties, which is great for healing scars/wounds/cuts, etc.
  • Antioxidant properties helps to strengthen and regenerate skin tissue.
  • Anti-aging helps with fine lines and wrinkles over time. It is never too early to start.

You can check out more information here if you want to see what it does for the hair and other uses.

Available at Dis-chem for R34.95

 

Moisture IS the thing.

We all know that problem skin is caused by many different factors, however, lack of moisture is right up there as one of the main causes. If your skin is dry and not getting enough moisture, it is going to panic and try to make up for the lack of moisture by producing sebum, which then leads to clogged pores. You can get more information here on different issues that arise from not moisturizing. It is extremely important to ensure that you are not overcrowding your skin with anything oily/greasy as this will just add to your already stressed out skin. Tissue oils were not recommended by my doctor as he advised that they would just clog up my pores even more. What you want to look for is a label that states “oil-free, fragrance-free, noncomedogenic” because your skin does not need anything more than hydration. I picked up this Cetaphil moisturizer and have not put it down since. It is slightly runny in texture, but absorbs really nicely into the skin leaving it feeling soft and hydrated. On colder days I tend to add a little extra because the weather tends to dry my skin but a pea-sized amount is enough for my face and neck. It is for sensitive skin so I know that it is going to be kind to me and not cause any riots. I get my Cetaphil products from Dischem/Clicks (depending on which store I am closer to at the time).

Currently on promotion at Dis-Chem for R159.95 (normal price: R199.95) 

 

The Sun is not your friend.

Irrespective of whether you have problem skin or not, you should be incorporating an SPF into your morning routine (and your kid’s!) because the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation has been proven to cause skin cancers, as well as premature skin aging. You can find out more on this article and check out what actually happens. My dermatologist did recommend the Cetaphil Daylong SPF50+ Liposomal Lotion as he said it was effective and affordable. Read the excerpt below on what Liposomal sunscreen actually is:

“Sunscreens usually fall into one or both of the following categories; physical or chemical. Physical sunscreens literally create a barrier between your skin and sun’s rays, whereas chemical sunscreens are absorbed by the skin and protect it from the sun from the inside. Both formulas have pros and cons, but we know we have to use them, physical sunscreens carry less risks but are sometimes thick and greasy, whereas chemical sunscreens are usually easier to wear but carry risks in the unknown long-term affects of applying the sun-safe chemicals to our bodies.

Liposomal formulations are a new category altogether. The liposomes sink only into the top dead skin cell layer of the skin — no absorption into the blood stream — so lessening the chemical risk factor, but as it’s still absorbed, there’s no greasy finish.” – source

I used the Daylong SPF for 2 months but found that my skin was extremely greasy throughout the day and like all sunscreens, it had a slight purple color which I hate. It didn’t cause any breakouts but I just didn’t like the way it sat on the skin and how greasy it felt. Once my antibiotic treatment was over, I tried The Body Shop’s Skin Defense multi-protection essence (sounds so wonderful!). It was way smaller in size and more expensive but I had read really good things about it drying down matte! It has an SPF of 50 so that was a plus. It states on the tube that it is “a feather light, milk-to-water essence with broad spectrum UV filters, brightening red algae and antioxidant Vitamin C, to help protect skin against multiple skin aggressors, while providing utmost comfort.” This is my favorite SPF – like EVER!!! As the description suggests, it is rather runny in texture but it dries down matte and it smells so lovely! A pea-sized amount is all I need and it also sits really nicely under my makeup. It is slightly pricey for the amount of product that you get, so if you do have a good SPF, rather stick to it. I’m sure there are other more affordable SPF’s, even moisturizers with an SPF, so please do some research and check out people’s reviews before buying.

Available at The Body Shop for R220

 

Do you even multi-mask bruv?

“Exfoliating is an essential way to manage breakouts and acne. Many of us recognise the importance of cleansing our skin but under-estimate the power of exfoliating. A deep exfoliation will help to un-clog your pores from excess oil which can lead to breakouts. Therefore, if the excess oil and dirt is removed from the root of the cause, the amount of breakouts will most likely reduce.”- source

You can go to salons to have these done, however once again – bank balance is as happy as a Deer during hunting season. I use the L’Oreal Pure Clay masks at least twice a week. This is just to get rid of any oil/dirt build up during the week and also just to relax and have some ‘me time’. I use the purity and the glow mask because I have different skin concerns on different parts of my face. For example, my T-zone is rather oily while the rest of my face can tend to be drier. I use the purity mask to mattify/purify and the glow mask to brighten and exfoliate. These masks are really great and leave my skin feeling polished and clean.

The Purity mask “is a creamy mask that works deep into the pores for a thorough cleanse and exfoliation. At the same time, it mattifies and brightens the skin for a radiant appearance.” It dries down quite quickly and I leave it on for about 20 minutes – you can actually see the oil being sucked out of my pores and it looks oddly satisfying!

The Glow mask “brightens and exfoliates for youthful looking skin. The beaded, creamy texture illuminates tone by exfoliating the skin’s surface without drying it out.” It has red-algae extract which exfoliates the skin and removes all the gunk that normal cleansing doesn’t get to. It feels rather grainy in texture so once it’s dried down, I add a little water and gently massage my face with my fingertips before rinsing with lukewarm water.

Makeup application is so much smoother after this so I also multi-mask if I’m going out for the night/a special occasion.

Available at Clicks and Dis-chem for R119

Multi masking : I apply the purity mask to my T-zone and areas where I usually get oily. The glow mask is applied to the rest of my face

Close up! You can actually see the oil being sucked out of my pores (those small white spots) and my skin looks and feels so much cleaner after!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, I want to highlight the fact that dealing with acne at any point in your life can be difficult. It can really affect all aspects of your life and puts huge strain on your ability to maintain a positive outlook on life. It is not superficial, but deeply rooted within your emotions and can be as mentally frustrating as it is physically. I want you to remember that it is NORMAL and whilst makeup may serve as a temporary cover, our sanity is way more important. I wish you self-love and acceptance through whatever it is that you are dealing with.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this 3 part series and I would love to hear your thoughts/stories.

Until next time
xx

On my skin – My acne journey [Part 2]

On my skin – My acne journey [Part 2]

Helurrr beautiful people!  I’m back with more information on this topic – this time I’ll be focusing on the products that I used before I visited the dermatologist. I want to go into as much detail as possible on these products so my current skincare/makeup details will be in Part 3 – so keep an eye out in the coming month.

You can catch Part 1 here, just so for some backstory and lots of before/after pictures of my skin. Now that I’ve mentioned all that, let’s get straight into this!

EVERY SINGLE PRODUCT mentioned here was purchased with my own money and I am not discouraging anyone from purchasing them, I am simply sharing my experience. I used all of these products for a few months before deciding to discontinue use.

Clinique

First up is the Clinique anti-blemish solutions range, which I purchased from Truworths after doing some research online and going through reviews from people who had different skin issues. I purchased the oil control cleansing mask (R455), the cleansing gel (R360), the clarifying lotion (320) and the clearing moisturizer (R340) – that’s R1475 worth of skincare that made my life hell.

I used the cleansing mask as a spot treatment for any new and existing bumps, their website says “Soothing natural clay-based mask helps heal blemishes, prevent breakouts and keep skin shine-free. Medicated formula goes deep to clean and unclog pores, rid skin of excess oil. In just 5 minutes, skin looks clearer, smoother, less blemish-troubled. Gentle, non-drying formula won’t irritate skin. Oil free.” This did not work for me. Nothing that is mentioned above happened for me.

I used the cleansing gel in the morning and at night, their website says “Medicated, oil-free foaming cleansing gel helps clear breakouts and blackheads. Unclogs pores. Helps control oil. Skin feels fresh, soft, calm and smooth. Can also be used on body.” Again, none of this happened for me.

After cleansing, I used the clarifying lotion, which is meant to be applied like a toner – with a cotton pad. Their website says “Step 2 of Anti-Blemish Solutions 3-Step System. Gentle, effective formula exfoliates to clear dead surface cells and reduce excess oil that can lead to breakouts. Unclogs pores. Oil-absorbing powders eliminate shine. Soothes irritation, redness.” Not only did this once again not work for me, it burned my skin so bad. Every time I applied it to my face, there was this intense burning sensation all over my face that lasted for about 30 seconds. This was not fun at all and I’m sure this irritated my already irritated skin.

Last step was to moisturize and EVERYONE knows how important it is to moisturize! The website says “Step 3 in Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions Clear Skin System. Lightweight, medicated formula helps treat existing acne and prevent future breakouts. Creates a barrier against acne-causing agents. Helps control excess oil. Calms, soothes, visibly reduces redness. Lightly hydrates to minimize dryness and peeling.” I got absolutely no hydration from this whatsoever. It was very thin in consistency and made my skin feel wet for a few moments after I applied it, then it was gone. My face was superdry and I had to put on another moisturizer after a few weeks (I literally used E45 because I didn’t know what to do) because my skin felt tight. Needless to say that I was extremely frustrated at having spent so much of money when all it did was make my skin worse. It’s worth mentioning that I used the Clinique range on it’s own for a month or two before adding anything to the mix.

Farsali

Enter Farsali. If your permanent residence is under a rock, let me tell you about Farsali. This brand of skincare was all the hype on social media. Farah Dhukai is a Youtube/Instagram influencer, and she shares tons of DIY face and body concoctions as well as makeup looks. Her husband created the brand Farsali for her, in an attempt to have skincare incorporated into your makeup application. I obviously had to have these products because she posted a video on how she cured her acne – I literally went out and bought (almost) all of the products she spoke about in her video. Yes, I was heavily influenced. The two products that I purchased from the Farsali range were the Volcanic Elixir (R1000) and the Unicorn Essence (R450). I purchased them from local online resellers (comment if you want me to mention which ones) and I worked them into my skincare regime.

The Unicorn Essence is said to be high in antioxidants and can be used as a moisturizer and primer. I put a few drops on my skin after I cleansed and toned every morning. The texture was very runny and it had glitter in it (I love glitter and anything that sparkles), but it left my skin rather sticky after application and my makeup still looked awful – active acne and all that nasty stuff that comes with it.

The Volcanic Elixir was a nighttime moisturizer with a very strong scent – if I were to describe it, it smelt kind of woody with a hint of nut (if that makes sense) and it looked like an oil. It felt like an oil too which meant my skin was extremely oily when I went to bed. This elixir contains oil from the nut kernels of the Tamanu fruit, the properties listed on the website state that it is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibiotic, and antioxidant – which one would think is heaven sent for acne! I wanted this to work, I really wanted Farsali to change my life but yet again, I spent in excess of R1400 just to make my skin worse.

The Ordinary

I continued on my downward spiral of spending and bought into the Ordinary range. Again – rock dwellers, The Ordinary is a skincare range that brings science and acids into the mix. I swear, I felt so smart telling my boyfriend about all the different acids and suspensions that I was buying – plus their website had amazing information that tells you everything you need to know about all of their products – and trust me, there are so many! By this time, I was rather disappointed with myself because I already spent so much money and my skin was in such a terrible state. Naturally I did was any perfectly sane woman with a credit card does and bought more stuff. I’m going to leave small descriptions under the individual products because we all know that they didn’t work for me. They do have amazing products so I will definitely revisit the musebeauty site in the coming year to get some hydrating and anti-aging products – their stuff isn’t as expensive as most skincare but you can get carried away with their little serums and suspensions.

THE ORDINARY LACTIC ACID 10% + HA 2% : Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid that exfoliates the skin. This 10% formulation offers mild exfoliation and is supported with a purified Tasmanian pepperberry known to reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is often associated with exfoliation.

THE ORDINARY NIACINAMIDE 10% + ZINC 1% : Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.

THE ORDINARY SALICYLIC ACID 2% SOLUTION : This treatment exfoliates deep inside the walls of pores to fight acne, oily skin, and blemishes. It promotes smoother skin texture and visible clarity with regular use.

THE ORDINARY VITAMIN C SUSPENSION 23% + HA SPHERES 2% : This treatment brightens, hydrates, and smooths the skin’s surface. It reduces fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation (such as dark spots, age spots, and acne scars).

THE ORDINARY NATURAL MOISTURIZING FACTORS + HA : This formula offers non-greasy hydration that acts as a direct topical supplement of impaired NMF components. It contains 11 amino acids, phospholipids, alpha/beta/gamma fatty acids, triglycerides, sterols and sterol esters, glycerin, ceramide precursors, urea, saccharides, sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid. It offers immediate hydration and lasting results with continued use.

Facial cupping

I also tried facial cupping (because Farah Dhukai said it helped with acne) – I got these facial cups from celluvac for R280. I used them a few times and it just left my face red and sore – I didn’t see any noticeable difference in my skin unfortunately.

Pilaten peel off mask

Of course I had to try the Pilaten peel off black mask that was all over instagram and facebook. All this did was pull at my facial hair (I have a lot) and irritate my skin even more. I purchased mine from a local reseller so chances of it being fake are quite great. The reason why I say this is because when I watched videos online, the mask literally pulled out hundreds of black/white heads – this was not so successful for me.

I know this post must seem like me just bashing these brands but that’s not what I am trying to do here. I spent thousands of rands on stuff that was advertised in a way that gave me hope for my skin, but what I really needed was a visit to the dermatologist and change in lifestyle. I am merely trying to educate people in a similar situation so that you don’t waste your money and time on superficial fixes without understanding the root cause.

So once again, I urge you to do your research and be mindful of what you put on and in your body. Also remember that acne and breakouts are NORMAL and it’s okay not to have perfect skin. Don’t risk losing yourself, whilst trying to fit an image that society deems perfect. I’m sure you’re pretty great.

Until next time

xx