This is my first post and will be my most detailed. Future posts will not be this long as this is the post telling you of my story and fight with acne. Keep reading, I will tell you the make up and skin routine that has worked wonders for me and I will post future blogs of hour new products and routines are working. Of course, now you know about my fight, I will only need to write about new products I have tried, whether they worked and it will all be in a few paragraphs or less. - Enjoy!
As a teenager, I was blessed with clear skin. Granted I had the occasional pimple on my chin or nose, but never understood the horrible condition that is acne.
Karma hit when I turned 19. Whilst I didn't have pimples, I had small annoying bumps all over my T-Zone, white heads as they are known to most people. I went to my friend, a beautician, for some standard beauty treatments and she recommended a free skin graft.
She showed me my skin graft results and I was shocked, my skin was horrid! Bumps everywhere, and magnified further by the ugly 'red zones' around my entire face. She recommended a 3 step skin program by Dermalogica to draw out all the imperfections and make my skin smooth.
I started the program and almost immediately the white heads started to turn into pimples. A few here, a few there, nothing too extreme. I spoke too soon..
After a few months of using the program I had acne every where. Not just minor pimples, but massive infected pustules around my mouth nose and forehead. It hurt to talk, eat and even raise my eyebrows. My self esteem plummeted and I was absolutely miserable. I spoke to my friend again and she said that the program is doing what it is supposed to do, but that there were obviously more white heads under my skin than we originally thought. She told me I can get my money back if I return the bottles, but to probably just give the treatment another month.
I did, and it only got worse. I had acne all over my face. They stung and hurt and I didn't even want to go out in public. My friend told me that we had given the product a good run, and it was clearly not right for me. She felt horrible, but really she was only trying to help!! I didn't get my refund, I was too lazy. But it eventually came to light that a quite a few clients that were acne sufferers (and even one of the girls working at the salon) that tried Dermalogica, got the same result I did. Footnote - Dermalogica is not good for acne, no matter what the bottles say!!!
I ordered Proactiv after seeing adverts on TV. When I received the treatment I was so excited!! I started the program but unfortunately, after over a month of use, my skin was still terribly infected and it became apparent that maybe I was 'too far gone' for standard acne programs. My mum advised me to see my GP, so I booked an appointment.
I cannot stress enough how useful it is to seek advice from a professional, whether that be a GP or dermatologist. My doctor understood how defeating bad skin can be and advised me to use an over the counter treatment called Benzac. It is available at the pharmacy and contains the now well known ingredient, Benzoyle Peroxide. It comes in a range of levels (1%, 2.5%, 5% and 10%), I was advised to use the 5% face wash and to use Cetaphil Face Wash before Benzac, to remove excess oils and make up. He prescribed me with 2 types of topical treatments, one for acne (Acanya Gel) and a steroid one (Differin) for the infections.
These products were very drying. My skin was flaky and felt as though I was severely sunburnt. But I just decreased the use of the topical treatments to every other day and eventually my skin got used to using such chemicals. I continued with this treatment for approximately 9 months and the result was amazing, I was eventually to 'wean off' the topical treatments, yet continue use of the Benzac 5% Acne Wash to keep future break outs at bay.
I researched acne throughout my treatment, to fully understand the condition and to find a sustainable program that is right for me. The most important thing was to use non-comedogenic moisturisers and make up. Another, was while using Benzoyle Peroxide, sun cream is a MUST. As your skin will be sensitive to the sun.
I started using Young Blood Mineral Foundation, and the results were amazing. Its non-comedogenic, which means it won't clog pores and it had an SPF 15. The coverage is as good as liquid foundation and it makes your skin look amazing! It costs $70AU for about 3 months supply. You will also need a kabuki brush to apply it with. You can get cheap ones from pharmacies and make up deparpments, but I swear by the Young Blood one after trying cheaper alternatives. The cheap ones need to be replaced regurlarly, however the branded one lasts almost a year and can we washed as it is made of horse hair. It will cost you $50-$70.
Over time, I stopped using Benzac and my acne days seemed to be over. For a couple of years I continued to use Cetaphil face wash and moisturisers and always applied Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturiser with SPF 15 for days in the sun.
6 months ago, my demons returned. My acne started again and whilst not getting as extreme as last time in terms of infection and pustules, my T-Zone flared and people started commenting on my skin. The usual spiral followed and as the acne got worse, the more depressed and self conscious I became. However, this time I knew what to do!
I didn't think I needed the prescription treatments. So I returned to my old faithful, Benzac. However, since I had done extensive research I decided to make my own sustainable skin program.
After trial and error, I found the perfect solution and I am going to share it with you...
Step 1 - Wash with Benzac Acne Wash 5%. Dampen face, use about a 20c piece and massage into skin. Leave on skin for 2-3 minutes, then wash off. (If you are sensitive, use Benzac every other day and use Cetaphil in between).
Step 2 - Tone with Witch Hazel. Moisten cotton pad and wipe over face and neck, let dry.
Step 3 - Apply Benzac topical gel 10% on problem areas. Let dry. (This is available in lower % so use the amount best suited. My skin has built tolerance to harsh treatments, so always start with a lower concentrate. Alternatively, only use Benzac at night instead of twice per day.)
Step 4 - Apply Cetaphil Moist Cream liberally. - Apply Neutrogena Oil Free Moisturiser with SPF 15 if you will be out in the sun.
Apply make up if desired.
Step 1 - Wash with Cetaphil Face wash to remove make up. Wash Twice if needed.
Step 2 - Apply a small amount of face wash to cotton ball for eye make up removal. Or use eye make up removal of your choice.
Step 3 - Wash with Benzac Acne Wash 5%. Dampen face, use about a 20c piece and massage into skin. Leave on skin for 2-3 minutes, then wash off.
Step 4 - Tone with Witch Hazel. Moisten cotton pad and wipe over face and neck, let dry.
Step 5 - Apply Cetaphil Moist around the eyes so they do not dry out.
Step 6 -Apply Benzac topical gel 10% on problem areas. Let dry. You can apply Cetaphil moist to your entire face when Benzac has dried if your skin is very dry.
Twice a week I would use a scrub with Salycic Acid to remove dead skin cells an open pores. I like Neutrogena Blackhead Clearing Scrub.
This routine daily, started to clear my skin right up! After a few months, I am happy to say my acne is mild and still improving. After I ran out of Benzac Acne Face Wash, I purchased Step 1 from the Proactiv Range and tried it instead whilst also eliminated the twice weekly face scrub. This does it all in one. I continued with the other products and my skin has never looked better!!
Now my skin is clasified as mild, I am using the entire Proactiv system (Step 1, 2 and 3) to clear the minor blemishes and as a maintenance program. I no longer require products with such a high concentrate of Benzoyle Peroxide, so Proactive is perfect. So far I am very happy with it!! I have only been using the program for a week and will update soon!
Please remember my fellow acne sufferers - All treatments take time and patience and dedication to maintaining your skin routine. It must be done daily! A few minutes is all it takes!! Your skin will always get worse before it gets better, as acne treatments are designed to treat the current blemishes while drawing out the hidden ones. There will be a time you feel the treatment doesn't work, and your skin only looks worse but this is the final stage before clear skin starts! Stick to it
All the best and I hope this helped!
- Amy xxx