Disclaimer: I’m not suggesting this will work for you, even if you follow every step as each skin type is different. I just hope something in this routine will help you in some way.
I’ve suffered with acne for the past 10 years and as of July 2017 I decided enough was enough.
For years I’ve tried to get rid of it, with little to no success, but through a hell of a lot of trial and error I’ve seemed to discover a routine that works for me.
This is quite an extensive routine and you might have heard some people say that the less products used on your skin the better, but in our cases I disagree. We are trying to get rid of a deep rooted problem so we need to ensure our skin is getting everything it needs.
You might also notice that this blog post has no images of my before and after photos. This is a personal decision I’ve taken, mainly because I hate looking at the progress photos I took, so as you can imagine if I don’t want to look at them, putting them on the internet is not an option! But also I don’t want anyone to think they don’t have “enough” or “too many” spots to go to the doctor. I felt this with other people’s progress photos and it stopped me getting the treatment I needed, so I don’t want anyone on my blog to feel that way.
If you feel like you need medical help, then you most likely do, and believe me it will be one of the best things you ever do!
Step 0: Prescribed Medication
After years of trying to reduce my acne via products, I discovered it’s near impossible to clear my skin without medication from my doctor.
The medication needs to be the foundation of your routine as it gets rid of the toxins that are underneath your skin, whereas the majority of products used for acne on clear the first few levels of skin, and as acne is deeply rooted, this is not enough.
There are some things you should be aware of if you are wanting to go on acne medication:
- It might not work for you. I went through two types of medication that made my acne worse. If this happens do not give up, keep perserving until you find one that works.
- There are many side effects that accompany the medication. In some cases the tablets involve mood swings, depression and in the case of roaccutane, you are unable to use certain types of birth control. Side effects of the creams and gels include eczema/dermatitis. But your doctor will let you know of this before prescribing you the medication.
- It will get worse before it gets better. Push through this. You’ve got this.
- You have to fully commit yourself to improving your skin. When I started on tablets I stopped wearing makeup daily, I began drinking lots of water a day and made sure I was going to the gym regularly to help sweat out further toxins. I even cut my dairy intake, but not too much as I love pizza and cheese. 😉
- It takes time, you’ll have to wait between 3 – 6 months to see a real improvement so make sure you take progress photos.
- Don’t worry about if you are taking different medication to everyone else. Everyone I know who is currently receiving acne treatment has been prescribed roaccutane, I haven’t, but that doesn’t mean I don’t qualify for treatment. Don’t compare yourself to other people.
Step 1: Double Cleanse
Why double cleanse?
As the first cleanse will only get rid of top layer dirt, we want to ensure we banish any dirt from our faces, hence why I use two cleansers.
For my first cleanse I use the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish. I’ve been using this for years and it really is a staple in my skin care routine.
I prefer to use the original version as the shop assistant said that the perfumed ones may react with my dermatitis, so I’m playing it safe.
The Liz Earle cleanser, unlike the Emma Hardie Cleanser, is not a balm and has a lovely soft moisturising feel to it. One of my favourite things about it is that it just wipes your makeup off with no issues.
For the second cleanse I use the Elemis Superfood Facial Wash which helps remove any of the residue that is left by the first cleanser and any dirt still left on my face. Best thing is it leaves my skin feeling tight and full of elasticity!
Step 2: Tone
The Elemis Soothing Apricot Toner is one of the best toners I’ve ever come across! As its name suggests it’s not abrasive on your skin and really helps to nourish your skin after the double cleanse.
I don’t use a huge amount of this, just a quick sweep across my face just gives it that pep that it needs.
Step 3: Tone (again… kinda…)
Ok bear with me on this one! This is a totally different type of toner (I’m not entirely sure what to call it so I’m going with toner).
The Solution is a liquid exfoliant to help reduce redness, pore size and blemishes. It does this as it includes a 10% blend of three face acids – Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) – and trust me when I say you’ll love this product!
My favourite property about this product is like the name might suggest, it exfoliates all the dead cells off your skin. However, dead cells don’t have to mean dull skin cells as what are scars? DEAD CELLS! 🙌🏻 I have to put my scarring disappearing to Glossier! Thank you Glossier!
Step 4: Hyaluronic Acid Serum
As we are really stripping the oils out of our skin we need to make sure we keep it hydrated! (but not too much as we’ll get oily amirite?!) So to hydrate my skin I use The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and I absolutely love this product!
The amount of the acid (2%) ensures that it penetrates through multiple layers of skin to give you lots of depth of hydration!
This especially helps rejuvenate my skin cells after the harsh exfoliant.
Step 5: Salicylic Acid Serum
Best advice I can give to someone battling acne – salicylic acid is your friend! I generally put a bit on my finger and then dot it onto the areas that I have spots forming or currently out. This helps dry out the spots you have and after regular use will battle against them!
In spot treatments it is the salicylic acid that is the main ingredient to rid you of spots, so instead of buying it with a mixture of other ingredients you can buy it in its pure form The Ordinary for just £4.20!!!
Spot busting does not have to break the bank if you know what you are looking for/need!!
Step 6: Moisturise
This is the final step in my routine! We need to lock in everything we’ve just put on our face so moisturising is a step you cannot skip!
I’ve used a lot of moisturisers over the years, and I have to keep changing them as my skin requirements change but I currently use the Elemis Superfood Day Cream and I love it so much!
As the name suggests it is made up of superfoods and therefore smells so fresh and natural!
To ensure that your skin is always glowing, I’d recommend doing a face mask twice a week.
Face masks. especially ones with charcoal, draw out impurities and help reduce the size of pores!
There is a lot of exfoliation in this routine, but the key is to keep your skin as clear, clean and bacteria free as possible, and exfoliating once a week (with a proper exfoliator) will really help this.
You can pick up exfoliators from any brand, and I think it’s an area you can save in! Just make sure you try to avoid ones that have microbeads in that damage the ocean, or if you can’t one month, try to get a different one in future (at least that’s the system I work in!).
I hope you found this helpful in some way, I wish something like this had existed when I was struggling with acne!
One last tip I can give is to invest money into your skin care. We all spend lots of money on clothes and makeup so make sure you treat your skin to the same luxury!
Let me know if this was useful or if you have any recommendations for me!