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SKINCARE 101 PART TWO: WHAT WORKS, WHAT DOESN'T


If you read my recent post about My Acne and Me, you'll know that skincare (in any form) has been a huge focus of mine for some time now. When I started getting regular breakouts, I started learning more and more and more about how to clear them up and I tried trillions of different tricks. Not all have made a difference, but some are worth mentioning, so I thought I'd put together a guide of all the weird and wonderful things I've tried over the past two years. I'm only briefly touching on these,so if there's more you'd like to know about a certain thing, just hollaaa and I'll write a lengthier post about them.

Please bare in mind that everybody’s skin is different, so something that works wonders on your skin may give me the world’s worst outbreak of spots. But some of these are simply common sense and if you're that worried about your skin, you should definitely give them a go...

THE PILL
The pill has dramatically helped my skin in the past, clearing up all of my spots in just a few months. But with it comes a whole range of side effects, including weight gain, mood swings, depression, and sometimes nasty breakouts just before my period starts. If you’ve managed to find one that doesn’t have any negative side effects, then go ahead and take it but it is worth mentioning that some of these things can make you feel worse about yourself than bad skin. I’ve just started taking Yasmin after a few recommendations so I’ll keep you posted on the effects. 

ANTIBIOTICS
In 2014 I was prescribed antibiotics for my acne and I took them for around 2-3 months. I wasn’t completely comfortable about taking antibiotics for such a prolonged period of time, but if they’d have worked I wouldn’t have cared. Nothing changed when I took them, so I decided to give up and try some other things.


EATING WELL
I cleared up my diet last year, stopped eating as much processed food and rammed my diet full of fruit and vegetables. This was helped along by buying Deliciously Ella’s recipe book, whose recipes include no wheat, dairy, gluten or meat. It really helped me to get my five a day and I often found I was eating well above that. Within the first week, I noticed some of my spots clearing up. They often say that it’s not eating bad food that affects your skin, but not eating enough of the good stuff. So perhaps that was the case for me. I continue to eat a healthy diet and I’m sure it helps my skin. I also read Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart, which helps to break it all down for you.

GLUGGING WATER
There’s no doubt that polluted air and water have an impact on our skin. In fact, I believe that’s the main problem for mine. Dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe explains, “Tap water removes some protective fats and lipids from the skin and contains minerals that aren’t necessarily good for it. It’s not crazy to want to avoid using it on your face. The more minerals there are in water, the “harder” it is, which makes it difficult for soap and other cleansers to work.”
And I’ve spoken to friends who have tested out only washing with filtered or boiled water, and they say it’s changed their skin.
I haven’t quite gone that far (although I am thinking about it), but I have tried drinking only bottled water. I noticed a big difference, but it was around a time when I was on the pill and also eating super healthily so it could have been to do with those factors too. However I think drinking filtered water in polluted environments is always a good idea.


GOING DAIRY-FREE
People often say that ditching the dairy is good for your skin and could be the reason behind your blemishes, so obviously I had to give it a go. I ditched my daily latte habit, opting for soya laden coffees and porridges instead, and I was hoping for a bloody miracle. Alas what I got was the opposite. My skin deteriorated pretty rapidly and I got tonnes of spots. I’m still trying to work out whether it’s some kind of intolerance to soya milk, but I’ve also developed a love for it so that’s awkward. Next I’ll have to try ditching that…it’s never ending! Unsweetened almond milk is apparently the least toxic, and I’ve never had a bad reaction to it. 

VEGGIE DIET
I’ve heard a few people say that going vegetarian left them with glowing skin and a clearer complexion. I became a veggie in January and I haven’t noticed any difference whatsoever. It has to be said I didn’t eat a lot of meat before so I suppose if you’re a bit of a red meat lover, it could change your skin, but nothing happened for me. Going vegan could have an impact, but I haven’t quite committed that far yet…watch this space!

CLEAR SKIN TEA
At the depths of my despair, I tried out Dr Stuart’s Skin Purify Tea after reading a few rave reviews of it online. I had one cup of the good stuff a day, hoping to reap the benefits of the red clover, nettle leaves and dandelion leaves, which are believed to be antibacterial. A lot of reviews online say that within days they noticed their spots calm down and everyone knows herbal tea is good for you, so what’s the worst that could happen? It’s a bargain too at just £2.40 for 15 tea bags. Now I’ll be honest, I don’t really remember a HUGE difference…but my boyfriend at the time did - and I quote - say I looked ‘glowing’ when I started drinking it (probably just saying what I wanted to hear, but still!). In fact, having remembered the tea for this post I went off and repurchased it. Obviously a few herbal teas are never going to clear up severe acne entirely, but it’s definitely worth a go! 

SMOKING AND DRINKING
Everybody knows that rule number one of a healthy complexion is ditching the smoking and drinking. I know, I know…boringgg! But it has to be said, whenever I cut the booze out my skin looks healthier. There’s nothing worse than getting drunk and seeing your dull skin the next morning, but that’s not to say you can never have a drink again. It’s just about moderation. But when it comes to smoking, there’s no way it has any positive impacts. It hinders blood flow to your skin, blocking oxygen and nutrients from reaching your lovely face. So I try to stay away from smoking 99% of the time (sorry for the other 1%, mum!). 

MAKE-UP
I’ve tried a fair few foundations in my time and some of them just aren’t meant for oily skin. I guess it goes without saying that if you have problem skin, you should stay away from hydrating foundations and look for something that will help your blemishes heal. There are countless products out there with ingredients to nourish your skin, it’s just about finding the right one for you. I now use Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Make up, which is fantastic for giving you matte skin and contains ingredients to treat your spots. 

ROACCUTANE
There’s so much to say about Roaccunate. I’m not really qualified to say anything about it as I’ve never been on it, but my sister Jemima has. From what I understand, it dramatically changes your from oily to bone dry. But it doesn’t come without its side effects, and I’m pretty sure it’s very intense. I’ll be speaking to JJ soon to find out what it really does to you. Watch this space! 



CLEANSE, TONE, MOISTURISE
Rule number one of looking after your skin is to cleanse, tone and moisturise. Now I've tried plenty of products and stuck with this regime for YEARS. The times I've least cared about my skin has been when it's been at its very best. But obviously, you would care more when it's problematic and since then I've splashed out on all sorts of expensive creams, including La Roche Posay, Clinique and Kiehls products. 
Last year I decided to take the problem into my own hands and skipped off to House of Fraser, begging the sales advisors at Clinique to help me (/sell me things). They offered up the Blemish Solutions range, which made the world of difference to my skin and I have friends who say the same thing. Read my review of the 3-step system here
I'm now using Kiehls oil-free cleanser, and I have to say my skin isn't reacting as well as I'd have hoped. But the next point may factor with this...

DITCHING SKINCARE
After reading Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore, I took the plunge and gave up ALL shop-bought skincare. That's all make-up removers, cleansers and toners (although I still used moisturisers in the mornings). Instead, I made my own products out of natural oils and food products. So for example, one of the cleansers I used contained lavender oil, honey and aloe vera water, and I used coconut oil as moisturiser/make up remover. I sound like a right hippy, but I had to try it out.
At first my skin reacted well. That is to say, nothing much changed. The amount of spots I had didn't dramatically change, but those that I did get disappeared quickly and didn't get worse before getting better, which is what I usually find. The reason I ditched this method is because despite my nasty break outs decreasing, my skin just looked congested. The problem I've found since is that my skin has developed a sensitivity to products full of chemicals so they really irritate my skin, which they didn't before. It makes you think... However, my mum looks years younger than her age and she puts this down to the countless skincare products she's used over the years. Perhaps it's subjective! 

I hope you've enjoyed reading about all my attempts at fixing my problem skin. What's been your skin saviour? Are there any products that have changed your life? Let me know - I'm always on the look out for the next big thing...

Daisy xox


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