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.


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.


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


Miss Govender

A woman with a purpose | Also I love food | Is food my purpose? It is a possibility!

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  1. […] 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 […]

  2. Oh Rae, sad that these products didn’t work for you. The Clinique range is too harsh for my skin too.
    A lil bit of a long shot, but please try Kalonji oil, heard only great stuff about it. Considering you tried everything else, please give it a bash and let us know how it goes,

    1. Miss Govender says:

      I just got off treatment so I’m just keeping my skincare simple for now, but will definitely check it out!

Let me know what you think!