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6 Things That Have Helped to Clear My Acne

Products for spotty skin
I've been using prescription cream on my breakouts but Soap & Glory's Dr Spot is a pretty good substitute for when I run out!

I've considered myself an acne sufferer for just over a year now. It's shit, there's no tiptoeing around it, but having spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to deal with my spots I now have a solid idea of what can help. Admittedly a lot of it is common sense stuff that you hear all the time, but there's a reason you hear it  it works. Although it's still not perfect, my skin is in a much better state than it was this time last year, or even six months ago. I've even left the house without make-up a few times recently, which is something I never would have done before. Everyone's skin is different, of course, so you may find that something else suits you better. This isn't meant to be a 'You should do this!' post, I just thought it would be interesting to read. I believe that you should take what works for you and run with it (in skincare and in life, tbh).

1. Using spot cream prescribed by a doctor.
For months I insisted that it would be over the top to see a doctor but nothing was improving so I caved. I'm glad I did, because nightly use of my prescription cream (Duac, if anyone's wondering) has made a huge difference. I won't lie  it stings. There have been nights when it's taken me ages to fall asleep because my face just hurts. But I always see a difference the next day, especially when it comes to those horrible under-the-skin spots. Consistent application has paid off. (Cream isn't the only thing a doctor can prescribe, but it's where they tend to start.)

2. Carrying water everywhere, and drinking it at regular intervals.
I've made it a habit to carry a bottle of water with me, but actually drinking it and refilling? I haven't always been so good at that. But since I've started making the effort I've seen the change in my skin; it's not as dry or grey-looking. Unfortunately I've also noticed that I need to pee a lot more, but it's a small price to pay, I think.

3. Maintaining a gentle skincare routine.
My skin definitely favours simple products. I use Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser and Superdrug Vitamin E Day Cream in the morning, followed by an SPF. In the evening I remove my make-up with LUSH Ultrabland, use Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser for my second cleanse, apply a pad's worth of Pixi Glow Tonic, and then pat in a few drops of Pai Rosehip Oil. That's it. Nothing gimmicky, nothing too complicated, although I appreciate that some people might not find the Glow Tonic as gentle as I seem to. Skincare is so subjective, and chances are you probably have a completely different routine, but as I said before  find what works for you, and run with it.

4. Using a clean flannel every time I cleanse.
I used to use a flannel per day but since making the switch I have to say my skin has been looking a lot better (less bacteria, I presume?) I get through them ridiculously quickly now but it's not a problem  Primark sell packs of three for £1.30, so it's cheap to stock up. If you're using a treatment like Duac then I'd recommend buying lighter coloured flannels, otherwise the stains from the chemicals in the cream will show.

5. Drying my face with tissue, not a towel.
Another way to reduce the amount of bacteria that comes into contact with your face, especially if people share the hand towel in your bathroom. I always have tissues round the house, especially at this time of year (oh hello, hay fever!) but toilet roll could probably do in an emergency. I would still recommend using tissues though, because they're much softer.

6. Cutting out (most) dairy products.
I'd always wondered how much of an effect a change in diet could have on the skin, since I've heard multiple arguments for and against, but I can't believe how much this has helped. Towards the end of last year I stopped eating and drinking nearly everything that contained dairy, and my skin almost cleared up within a matter of weeks. I'm not lactose intolerant so I have a little natural Greek yogurt every morning, but aside from that I avoid dairy products the majority of the time. I do get the odd chocolate craving, which can usually be remedied by getting a sugar hit from a Nakd bar instead, and sometimes if I go out to eat I'll have a dish with cheese in, but that's it. Eventually I'd like to go completely dairy-free if I can.

Have you ever suffered from acne before? How did you treat it? Do you have any tips you'd add to this list? Let me know in the comments!

Beth, 24, UK. I'm a writer who loves books, animals, yoga, travel, and the Oxford comma. I share my experiences of trying a cruelty-free, vegetarian and low waste lifestyle, with the odd think piece thrown in.

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