My acne journey – How I cleared my skin

As a teenager I was one of the lucky ones to very rarely get spots, throughout my school and university years I had pretty much clear skin apart from the occasional spot every couple of months, I rarely wore any makeup and to be honest, was very slapdash with my skin care routine, but that didn’t seem to matter as my skin wouldn’t break out. At the age of around 21 I started to notice my skin changing and in the space of around 3 or 4 weeks, I went from having pretty much clear skin, to having a face covered in sore, red, under the skin spots. To start with I didn’t think too much of it, but after a few weeks of them getting worse and worse, it really started to affect me to the point it felt like it was taking over my life. As you can see from the photos I’ve posted below (which are probably the scariest thing I’ve ever posted on the internet and this photo wasn’t even at it’s worst), my skin was red, sore and inflamed.
I’d wake up and the first thing I’d do would be to check the mirror to see how they looked, but I was waking up with around 5-10 new spots a day. It was really started to affect my self confidence, I wouldn’t leave the house without a face full of heavy duty foundation, and was starting to feel uncomfortable even in front of my own family. Whilst this was going on I honestly feel like I tried everything, every kind of skin care product on the market, every kind of diet on the market, but no matter what I did, it got worse! If you have suffered with your skin before you will know just how depressing it can be, so the reason I’m writing this post is to try and help anyone in a similar situation. After various trips to the doctors where I was prescribed antibiotics which didn’t work and topical face creams which just made my face horrible and dry so that I couldn’t even cover it with foundation, I honestly got to the point where I would look in the mirror every evening and just cry. Months and months later I finally managed to get my acne under control, and although my skin isn’t perfect by any means, I finally feel confident enough to go without foundation and my skin is no longer something I worry about (The top photos below show my skin in September 2015 and the below photos show my skin now).
Here’s how I cleared my skin:
Disclaimer, I am by no means any kind of skin care expert, this is purely what helped me, and may not be for everyone
1. Cutting out milk from my diet – I found out I was intolerant to milk around the same time my acne was at it’s worst, and although cutting out milk didn’t immediately help my skin, I feel like it definitely contributed to me getting less hormonal/cystic spots. Milk definitely doesn’t agree with me, and I’m pretty sure this was coming out in my skin. Now I’m 100% not saying ‘cut out milk and get clear skin’, as I believe cutting whole food groups out of your diet can be dangerous, but if you are struggling with your skin and drinking huge Starbucks milky lattes on a daily basis, maybe try cutting down and seeing if it helps!
2. Changing my Pill – My acne was definitely hormonal, so after months and months of going back and forth from the doctors, they finally changed my pill to one that’s renowned for helping with acne – Yasmin. Now this didn’t immediately help, but after about 3-4 months my skin definitely started to calm down. If you are struggling, I 100% recommend going to see your doctor to talk through options, don’t suffer alone!
3. Using SPF – As I mentioned earlier, I never used to have much of a skin care routine, but after reading various (hundreds) of skin care articles, books, blogs etc, one of the things they seem to have in common is SPF. When trying to treat acne you will find you use a lot of extremely strong medications (e.g. Benzoyl Peroxide) which will make your skin a lot more sensitive to sunlight. To avoid burning and damaging your skin even more, it’s so important to wear an SPF, even if its under a full face of makeup.
4. Not being afraid of moisturiser – Whilst I was struggling with acne, I was too scared to use a Moisturiser, incase this made my skin more oily/caused more spots. In actual fact your skin gets thirsty and needs moisture, without this my skin was actually drying out, becoming inflamed and causing even more spots. Trying to find a Moisturiser that didn’t cause my skin to become oily and break out was tricky, but I’ve finally found one which I love by Sukin, with rose hip oil and I love it.
5. Sticking to a simple skin care routine – Another thing I was guilty of when my skin was at it’s worse was trying out 100s of different skincare products. I honestly spent an absolute fortune! I was buying various different masks, ointments, creams, face washes, exfoliators etc etc and to be honest, I think this was just irritating my skin even more! I now wash my face with Simple (the brand) face wash every morning and evening, followed by a Clearasil skin clearing pad and moisturiser. No fancy lotions and potions.
6. Not touching my skin  – One of the most difficult things to do when you have acne is to leave it alone. But it’s so important, the more you touch, pick and squeeze your skin, the more it will spread. And learning not to do this was so vital in helping it to clear up!
7. Regularly changing towels, bed sheets and makeup brushes – it comes without saying that you should regularly change your towels and bed sheets as well as clean your makeup brushes. When you have acne you really do have to be careful about spreading it, so ensure that you are regularly doing all of these things!
8. Having makeup free days – I went through a stage where I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a makeup free day. These are so important in helping your skin to clear up, and I try and have at least 1-2 days a week without makeup now. I think its especially important to take your makeup off before working out, as sweating with makeup on can cause spots. However, if you don’t feel confident enough to do this, just make sure you shower/wash your face as soon as you’ve finished working out!
9. Eating a healthy diet – Although the main food that was triggering my acne was milk, I found that by eating a diet with less saturated fats and sugars etc really helped too. Try a diet rich in healthy fats instead, like salmon, avocado, sweet potato, nuts and seeds!
10. Not letting it take over my life and trying not to worry! – This is probably the most difficult of all of my tips but learning that acne doesn’t define you, was so important for me. The less I worried about my skin the more it started to cleared up!
At the end of the day, most people will deal with acne at some point in their lives, it’s a very normal thing and although it can make you feel horrendous, it really shouldn’t stop you doing the things you love and enjoying life. If you have any questions about my acne journey drop me a message, but I really hope this has been useful.
Alice x
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