You weren’t invited to the party pal.
Full disclosure, I have come to terms with a simple truth, I absolutely hate taking pictures for my blog. It has delayed this post by, over a month, which when I say it out loud sounds omega lame. So while I have my mojo back for writing, my photo editing motivation is still on vacation. I’ll use old photos when I can to break things up so it’s not a wall of text, but after buying fake grass and wondering if real honey would come out of my table top I just realised that, like I just can’t do it. So here we go a blog post with minimal images. Is this the future? I hope so.
A few weeks ago, I woke up and my cheeks were covered in acne, like covered. In a way that I hadn’t seen in a long time. There were whiteheads, my pores looked massive and there were some fun under the skin spots too, just for funzies. Ugh. It’s a few weeks later and now my skin is largely cleared. Yes, there are still spots here and there, but as someone who’s been down this road before and has lived in this skin for a good 30 years, I’m pretty confident I’m on the right track.
I want to tell you that I did the standard advice, drank more water, stopped touching my skin, got more sleep and that solved it all… but that would be a lie. I did make a conscious effort to drink more water (as in any water) and was more aware of when I touched my skin. However, I can’t attribute the improvements I’ve seen to the internal stuff when I know the heavy hitters were the topical ingredients. My skin is incredibly sensitive to any kind of strong topical product, which is why although I believe in the power of AHAs and BHAs I’m more than happy to go for weaker % products than find ones with the most optimal pH and %. That meant, chemical peels were out of the question.
- Adapalene 0.1% (Differin Gel)
This wonder drug of a product was dropped out of my routine because I couldn’t be bothered to use it. Straight up that’s the reason. Dee, get it together, come on. So I added it back into my routine and I could see within a few days that my skin was much better for it. There really isn’t much to say about it other than I tend to keep my routine simpler when I do use it! I tend to skip an essence or two, opting for a toner, this and moisturiser. Now the heat has settled in, I don’t feel as compelled to use as many layers.
- Benzoyl Peroxide (2.5% & 3.5%)
I’ve talked about this ingredient before and BP (in your area) is still one of my acne heavy hitters. I have to get it from the US as this ingredient is no longer available over the counter in the UK and it’s hard to find it in low doses! Anything above 3.5% is major overkill for me, I find that the gentlest brand I’ve used is Neutrogena. It’s also the only brand I’ve tried, so do with that information what you will!
I used the Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask as a clay mask before bed twice. The first time, I cut it with my Innisfree Clay Mousse pack to make it a bit more gentle on my skin. The second time, I used it on its own. To minimise irritation, I only applied it to my cheeks. jaw and parts of my forehead where the acne was.
Not pictured above is the Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Daily Leave-On Mask, and I used that only once. I much prefer it to the On-the-Spot Acne Treatment because it’s a clear gel and feels a lot lighter on my skin. It dries down really well so I feel comfortable putting makeup on top of it. I only used it once, because there was only one day (yesterday) where I felt comfortable putting on base makeup. When I have considerable texture on my skin, I don’t like wearing base.
So if it’s so great, why haven’t I been using this? How did I let my skin get to this point that it feels like I’m rediscovering an old fave? It stains. If you get it on any fabric, it will stain. So once my skin was stable, I just shuffled it to the back of my skincare stash. When you use Benzoyl Peroxide, you have to be careful and more thoughtful because of the risk of staining fabrics. It was sobering to do my routine slowly and be more mindful of the steps.
Rediscovering these two ingredients reminded me that it’s super easy to get lulled into this false sense of security when you’ve worked so hard to have good skin. You get complacent, lazy and in my case I’ll be honest, I got cocky. When you have good skin its easy to skip a step here and there all the while forgetting all the hard work that got you healthier skin. I can’t say I won’t get lazy again, but I do remember now that the price of healthy skin involves a lot of hard work, and if I want it, I have to put in that time to get it.