|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!
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Beth, 25, South East England.
Lover of books, dogs, yoga, travelling, and gin.
I write about ethical & eco-friendly living, minimalism, and mental health, as I muddle through one step at a time. Enjoy!