I'm 22. I've had mild to moderate acne since I was a young teenager, both inflammatory and non inflammatory. My skin is oily and sensitive. As with most people here, I despised it. Being a little ill-informed about acne treatments and links between lifestyle and acne during high school, I allowed myself to be taken in by the promises of treatment from commercial skincare brands. I used their harsh products, and packed supposedly 'non-comedogenic' and 'oil-free' makeup on my face to hide the breakouts. Typically, nothing really worked.
It wasn't until I finally went to my GP when I was around 17, that things began to change. He put me on doxycycline, which cleared up the inflammatory acne like a charm. He also gave me information explaining the links between diet and acne, which promoted a low-GI diet. When the doxy ceased to work, I went back and he placed me on minocycline, the Pill (Diane), and also prescribed me Zorac. I found the Pill and minocycline combined worked wonders for my inflammatory acne, and the Zorac was great for the non-inflammatory acne, although I found the slight peeling and drying effects mildly annoying (I couldn't really wear foundation with it).
When I moved cities to go to university, I was supporting myself financially to a much greater extent and had much greater control over my meals. As such, I decided to try and wean myself off some of my medications (though I chose to stay on the Pill, as it was relatively cheap and effective treatment, and had other benefits too). I also began to educate myself about ingredients in skincare and cosmetics. I googled comedogenic ingredients and began to read ingredient lists with a more discerning eye, rather than just swallowing the claims of the companies. I also began to read product reviews (makeupalley.org is a fantastic resource, and for Australians, primped.com.au and beautyheaven.com.au are also great) to be a little more discerning in my buying. I found that by embracing these strategies, and transitioning to skincare for sensitive skin with no comedogenic ingredients (read: cream cleansers, alcohol free toners and gentle moisturisers), my skin improved even more.
Diet wise, I embraced wholegrains as I had never done before, upped my fruit and vegetable intake, cut down on dairy (mostly due to lactose intolerance) and ended up going vegetarian. Though vegetarianism wasn't solely motivated by my skin, I found that it made me more aware of what I was putting in my body and how it affected me, which was very useful. Though my diet is not perfect (I don't believe in being extremely restrictive-- it's nice to have a little fun sometimes), I notice a dramatic change in my skin when I am vigilant-- it becomes near-perfect. Likewise, when I've been eating a fair bit of junk, the inflammatory acne makes a comeback. I'm not a saint, though, and I can't always keep away from processed foods, sugar and salt, or eat a million servings of fruit and vegetables a day. I try to be good about 80% of the time and that leaves me with adequate skin (ie. just non-inflammatory acne).
My most recent discovery has been natural skincare and makeup. I'm in the process of trying to embrace a more ethical living style, and I found that lead me towards natural skincare and makeup. I like the idea of limiting the chemicals I put on my skin, especially with the poor regulation and safety standards in the cosmetic industry. I found this also slightly improved my skin. I still embrace similar products, but I use their natural variants. A huge plus is that label reading is about ten million times easier, being able to understand what the ingredients are without having to refer to an index of some kind! I'm currently trying to transition all my cosmetic and skincare products to natural, and I'm having a heap of fun with it! Currently I'm using:
Natures Organics Face Wipes
Natural Instinct Cream Cleanser
Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist
Sukin Eye Serum
Jurlique Calendula Cream
Nvey Eco Organic Erase Medium Concealer
Elusyion Loose Mineral Foundation Warm Beige
Nude by Nature Mineral Finishing Veil
Nude by Nature Virgin Blush
The rest of my cosmetics are still regular mascaras, lipsticks etc, but it's a work in progress! The main purpose of my blog will be to review different products and treatments I've used and found effective (or ineffective!). I may have the occasional foray into other acne-related topics, but this will be the primary function of this blog.
All the best to you with your skin, and I hope to hear from some of you soon