Under my skin – my acne journey [Part 1]

Under my skin – my acne journey [Part 1]

Helurrr beautiful people and HAPPY 2018! I hope that you were all safe this festive season and are diving head first into this new year.

Let’s get straight into this one because there’s A LOT that has happened with my skin. Let me start off by saying that I have not retouched any of the pictures posted. Whilst I still have scarring, I love my skin. I am proud of these no-makeup pictures because my skin is healthy! It feels so soft and smooth…even though I do use makeup on special occasions, I love my natural state now. I’m going to be quite blunt here so please read with an open mind – as always, this is my journey that I’ve chosen to share with you in the hopes that it might help you with something similar that you may be dealing with. I’m not going to tell you that what worked for me will work for you, but do your research please. I read as many articles and blogs that I could before I even considered seeking professional help. Unfortunately, this meant me trying all sorts of things that probably made it all worse – so BE CAREFUL with your skin and what you allow near it. You have to understand that everyone’s skin is different and needs to be cared for/treated differently.

As a teenager, I got the occasional breakout around the time of month that satan came to visit. If you read my previous posts, you would gather that during my pregnancy, my hormones were obviously messed up – BUT this lead to perfect skin and hair for me! (This obviously created a delayed reaction, which I experienced last year – crap skin came my way!) Fast forward into my early 20’s, I discovered (and could afford) makeup so we all know how that went. Let’s be honest here, nobody really believed in a 150 step skincare regime…heck I would pat myself on the back if I woke up without last night’s makeup all over my pillow. I know it’s gross but I was lazy. I’m not even going to fight that one. Further breakouts ensued and me picking at them just lead to scars – which needed more makeup to cover (I was in a loop of bad skin and even worse decisions.)

My first dermatologist 

I must have been around 21 when I was convinced that I needed to go on Roaccutane because a family member (who didn’t have a blemish ever!) was on it and she was literally glowing. I made my appointment and the doctor prescribed very mild antibiotics with a sh*t load of aftercare – I’m talking thousands of rands worth of gels, creams, washes (I could have opened up a pharmacy). With my medical savings exhausted half way through the year, I was determined to get perfect skin. I didn’t follow the recommended usage instructions of the aftercare – who does that really? obviously increasing the usage will speed things up – Ha what a doos was I. Ended up looking like Fester Addams. I burned my skin and undereye area. I’m an NC42 in MAC so I’m a little light in complexion…can you imagine what a mess I looked like?? (you must imagine because I didn’t take any pictures for months). My concealer and foundation cracked all over my skin after minutes of applying – I really made everything worse. I didn’t go back to the doctor because I knew that she would kak me out for not listening. So I did what every self-respecting person with no clue does and stopped everything – medication, aftercare, makeup, EVERYTHING. It was so hard going to work looking like Fester but my friends and family were supportive. A few months later, my skin was amazing and healthy. I didn’t use any makeup or any skincare products for atleast 2 years – I literally washed my face with dove soap and used whatever lotion I had for my body.

Enter Cape Town

I moved to Cape Town in July 2016 and the change in climate really affected my skin. I also started using makeup again and was convinced by YouTube that I needed a skincare regime. I started with L’Oreal products – a face wash, toner and moisturiser which was a simple start. I have to admit that my junk food intake increased tremendously and gym slowed down a little. I got the occasional pimple / blackhead / whitehead and didn’t pay it any attention. Around October, I had noticed a lot of red bumps on my forehead and discoloration around my mouth. I thought it would pass because it always did but I did start watching more videos about how other people dealt with bad skin (even though mine wasn’t as bad as theirs). I ended up changing my skincare to Clinique but added other brands as well. I overloaded my skin with Clinique washes/creams/toners, Apple Cider Vinegar and added Farsali into the mix – what a mistake. Alot of people rave about these brands/products and swear by them – it didn’t work for me, my skin deteriorated.

And then there was Ordinary

Once again, the Ordinary range is hyped alot and works for so many people – just not me. I added serums and creams to my already crowded skincare regime for a few months. I held out because a lot of people said that ‘purging’ is normal – purging is basically it getting worse before it gets better. Mine just got worse. My skin was inflamed, scarred and painful to the touch. I had these huge red and white pimples all over my face – I would get atleast 3-5 new ones every day. I was in hell. I tried putting makeup on but it looked horrible and felt even worse. It affected my life. Every aspect of my life was affected and I honestly didn’t want to leave the house. This went on for a few months until I exhausted all of my options and made an appointment with a Dermatologist.

I have included pictures that I took 3 months before I had my visit so that you can see how bad it got…and how quick it happened. These are raw images that I took with my iPhone.

Enter Dr Jonathan Smith

I saw¬†Dr Smith at the end of September 2017 and he prescribed me an antibiotic and a gel to apply overnight. The antibiotic was so strong, I had nausea and a troubled tummy for the entire week that I took it. I called him the next week and he had me come in to pick up another prescription for a milder antibiotic. It’s worth mentioning that my face felt better after the 2nd day – THE 2ND DAY!!! The inflammation, pain and new pop-ups stopped completely. By the 4th day, my skin felt smoother to the touch and I was over the moon. He prescribed the medication and gel for 2 months and I was to schedule a follow up visit after the fact. I will let the pictures speak below.

I will be visiting him next week to discuss my skin further but this has been an eye-opening journey. I will not be providing the details of the medication that I was on because they were prescribed specifically for my skin condition and type. The fact that they need a prescription is proof that they should only be provided by a medical professional that has assessed you personally and understands your skin as well as lifestyle. You should definitely exhaust all possible options before seeing a dermatologist. A few possibilities :

  • Increase your water intake (trust me, your body needs it!)
  • Slow down the junk food (not only will your skin benefit but your body will love you for it.)
  • Give your face a break from makeup now and then – let it breathe and enjoy your natural beautiful state.
  • Wash your face every single night (enough said)
  • Be gentle on your face, the skin is much more sensitive so be mindful of that.
  • In addition to the above point, don’t overwhelm your face with 150 different products – find what works for your skin and keep it simple. Healthy skin shouldn’t cost you your sanity.

Whilst the above steps may help some people, take the time to understand your skin type and embrace it. We are all beautiful irrespective of what we look like, but sometimes acne affects you on the inside way more than it does on the outside. I would love to tell you that it doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, but that won’t change the sinking feeling you get when you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see. I’ve been there, heck I’m still there – but I am dealing with me and learning to love myself more. Do research and learn about what actually causes things rather than just buying a crap load of creams/oils recommended by someone with flawless skin. Also, don’t compare yourself or put yourself in someone else’s category. You were made unique for a reason – embrace your uniqueness and make it work for you!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and please keep a look out for Part 2 – it will include my current skincare routine and an update from my follow up Dermatologist visit. I will also include reviews of the (many) products I used that didn’t help my skin situation – a totally objective review of course!


A review that I didn’t make-up. (See what I did there?)

A review that I didn’t make-up. (See what I did there?)

Helurrr all you gorgeous people! I have been in absolute awe of the support and sweet words I’ve received since my last post, so I would like to start off by saying THANK YOU.

Now let’s get into it! Today I will be reviewing some of the products that I have recently purchased through various retailers/platforms. (Also due to influence from various youtubers – I’m such a bad/good influencee lol). Without further ado, here they are – in no particular order.


1. Tarte shape tape contour concealer.

It is no surprise that this concealer has been raved about by errbody in the beauty industry so obviously I needed this in my life. Let’s start off with some history on Tarte cosmetics and it’s founder, Maureen Kelly. This amazing company was started in her very own one bedroom apartment in 1999, purely with the need to create a cosmetic line that was not only cruelty free and good for you, but was glamorous and chic. Fast forward 18 years and she has lived up to that! The shape tape is described on their website as “A best-selling, full-coverage, vegan, blendable concealer that instantly brightens, smooths & shapes skin.” They also state that one shape tape is sold every 26 seconds – how crazy is that?! Don’t believe me? Check it out here.

Price: R320 (Their official website does ship internationally, however the associated shipping costs and customs/taxes pretty much end up around the same as ordering from re-sellers in South Africa.) I am not sure about costs regarding other countries but their website sums it all up for you. With shipping costs of R240 and customs/taxes of around R300, I ended up forking out just above R800 for this bad boy. Plus I had to wait a month for it to arrive and I am probably THE most impatient person. They do offer free shipping for orders over R1042, so if you’re looking to splurge then yay for you!

Formulation/texture/coverage: Their claim of full coverage is not to be taken lightly – literally. The tiniest bit of products blends out and covers for days! So I know this product is definitely going to last me a while. It is such a lightweight formula, yet the visible difference is amazing and you don’t even need setting powder. I bought the shade medium (I am an NC42 in Mac Foundation) and the highlight and coverage it provides is gorgeous!

Packaging and a surprise: My package arrived with the nastiest SARS stickers all around the box, but when I opened it…there was a little card with a discount coupon and the sweetest words on the back. Then I found unicorn wrapping paper and I felt all fuzzy inside. The shape tape is 10ml of product and is a pretty decent size tube with a wand to match. I didn’t even mention the best part – a free sample! These are obviously not guaranteed with every order but you might be lucky! I chose the lights,camera,lashes 4-in-1 mascara and it is so adorable! I must say that the little touches they added (and the free gift + discount coupon) made me feel a little better about the amount I spent on shipping and customs.


2. Milani conceal + perfect 2-in-1 foundation + concealer

Whoa that’s a mouthful! Also a very bold statement. Milani cosmetics founded by brother and sister, Laurie Minc and Ralph Bijou is known as a ‘drugstore foundation’. “Inspired by Milan” – they encompass “rich, lush, with more diversity in shade range.” Unfortunately, the drugstores in South Africa don’t stock this brand so I purchased mine from the Makeup Shack.

Price: R289 (I think it was on special but it usually retails for around R300. Shipping was R80 so 10 points for affordability!)

Formulation/texture/coverage: The name in itself promises to be the only thing you need for flawless skin (so no shape tape? Now you tell me!) It feels really smooth on application and blends out really well. It has the best scent I have ever experienced with a foundation – it smells of cinnamon!(I love the smell of cinnamon so I am very biased on the smell lol). The smell does fade (awh man) so dont worry, you’re not going to be a walking cinnabon. (That is a very delicious thought though, ain’t it?) I will say that is it definitely full coverage for the most part but I did feel like I needed my shape tape for my under-eye circles. I do have a really dark under-eye area so definitely a personal preference. My T-zone is oily so I did need to blot during the day, but the foundation wore pretty good.

Packaging: I’m sure this will vary with different re-sellers, I received my bottle in bubble wrap which I loved. Yes, I love bubble wrap, don’t judge me. The bottle is 30ml of product which the norm, and has a pump. The pump has to be my favorite thing when it comes to foundation, so another 10 points! I am the shade 07 – Sand, which is the tiniest bit darker than my actual skin but after highlight, it looks just right.


3. Benefit bigger and bolder brows kit.

This amazing company was founded all they way back in 1976 by Jean and Jane Ford. What was named the ‘Face Place’, transformed into ‘Benefit Cosmetics’ in 1990. Only recently introduced to the South African market through Edgars and Red Square stores, these counters have literally changed my brow game. Not only do they provide awesome products, they give advice on your specific brow/skin concern. While we’re on the topic, thanks to Rubybox’s latest promotion, I got a free wax and brow styling session. The stylist at the Red Square in Canal Walk, Cape Town, Chante was an absolute doll. I am been a victim of over-plucked eyebrow syndrome and this woman was phenomenal! From her personality, to the products and advice she gave me, I left that counter a very happy woman! This would usually cost R145 – with that experience, I am definitely going back next month. I’m sorry, I digress. I just had to mention it! Back to the kit. I got mine from the Benefit counter at Edgars in Canal Walk (I shop there a lot, I know).

Price: R475 (Red Square has it reduced to R403,75 here)You’re getting close to R900 in products so this is definitely a massive save.

Formulation/texture/coverage: The kit includes brow stencils, a high brow pencil (full size), Ka-Brow! (full size in shade 5) and the ready,set, brow! gel (travel size).


  • The Ka-Brow! is my favorite brow product ever. It is the cutest thing ever and fills in your brows perfectly with the smallest amount of product.


  • If you’re new to this, then the stencils really help with giving you guidance and the brush is the perfect size to do your thing. Trust me, soon you will be free styling because this product is creamy and blends out so naturally – although you can build up the product if you need those dramatic looks.


  • The high brow pencil is pink in colour but adds the best highlight under your now perfect brows – it is sooo creamy, makes everything look super clean and blends out so good!


  • And the cream cheese frosting on the red velvet cupcake is definitely the ready,set,brow!gel. This little baby is perfect to just seal in your masterpiece and the wand with the dual sided bristles is perfect for sculpting. Those brows ain’t budging until you use your micellar water, girlfriend.


Packaging: The box itself is a pretty tin which makes pack-up-and-go super easy. You know your products are not going to budge in those indented foam inners. The actual Ka-Brow! pot, ready,set,brow! gel and high brow pencil are beautiful just to look at. These are the kind of products you want to take everywhere and show off because they were designed so impeccably. Definitely a good buy for a girl who just wants to have a brow game.


I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on these products. As I mentioned on instagram, my content is not limited to a specific topic/category, so let me know what you would like to read more about and I will be more than happy to do my best. This was a bit of a lengthy post, but there’s so much I wanted to share on these products/brands and I feel I needed to inform people who may be thinking of investing in them.

Remember that you are getting my completely unbiased opinion on these reviews and that all products were bought by me. I’m just going to keep it real.

Thank you for reading