I am actually coming towards the end of my struggle with acne, but I felt like I should post something up to help other people who perhaps still have a little way to go.
As a bit of background info;
I remember first getting spots in early puberty, at about 13 years old. From then on in it seemed to go rapidly downhill, until I hit a real low point at about 16/17 years old when it seemed that my skin was just lots of little bubbling pusing volcanoes, liable to explode and splatter everyone in the nearby vicinity at any second.
However, because my older sister had severe acne, and I only ever had moderate (a few pustules, blackheads, whiteheads in the T-zone), comparatively I never thought that it was bad enough that I needed to go to the doctor.
I also used to suffer from really bad bacne, which was really sore, and I would wake up in the morning with blood and pus spots all over my pjs where my spots had been irritated in the night. So one day I poured TCP down my back, which seemed to do the trick (although I've found that it doesn't work for continued use as the bacteria becomes immune, I also advise doing this when you know you don't have to go out in public the next day, as the smell lingers like disinfectant). I also cut my hair really short (although it is longer now, but the bacne hasn't returned ).
This website was an immense help though. Before, I struggled along with all the normal products that you find on the pharmacy shelves, that don't really work and are more of a placebo/ commercial con for girls/guys who might have a little whitehead on their hairline and think they've got a severe acne problem. This website has helped me discover a regime on my regimen that really works for me though, so here goes:
1. I have a shower every day when I shampoo and condition my hair to remove any excess grease and oils. At first I found this made my hair really dry, but the trick is to find shampoo for dry/damaged hair that doesn't just contain oil, I find L'oreal Elvive works good for me. Recently I have also started using shower milk, which moisterises my skin and so should help repair the damage and remove the marks, but this is only because I am confident that I am not going to break out on my body any more.
2. I use a foaming face-wash that contains tea tree oil, which is proven to reduce inflammation in acne.
3. I apply 2.5% BP morning and night to any spot. This didn't work instantly, but I've been doing it for about 3 months now, and the trick is just to persevere.
4. I also apply products containing salicylic acid, which is from willow tree bark. This stuff is genuinely amazing, and can be found in most acne treatments on the chemist's shelves, but I found that the strength often varies a lot, so I advise trying a different product line if it doesn't work.
5. At night I apply bio oil to areas where I have marks. Again, I have been doing this for about 3 months and the marks seem to be smaller and less pronounced. You don't need much, so even though it is quite expensive, it lasts for a really long time (I'm only about a 3rd of a way through my 60ml bottle). They advise applying it twice a day, but where it is quite oily, I found it doesn't look attractive on my skin and makes me look greasy, so I only apply it at night.
Although this product contains a special type of oil, which might put you off for fear of break outs, I haven't had any problems. I think its fine to use, as long as you make sure you clean out your pores regularly.
6. To clean out my pores, I use pore cleansing wipes that contain willow bark (I recommend Botanics). Don't ever exfoliate!! It just breaks and irritates the skin!
7. One of the best things I've discovered is aloe vera. This stuff is amazing!!! I actually use it straight from the plant, by cutting off a leaf, because it is cheap, you are growing more, and it is 100% natural and 100% fresh, so you get 100% of the nutrients. This really made my skin soft, glowy and helped reduce inflammation, redness and marks. I've also found that using it on your hair works really well, if you want it to be nice and glossy. I usually apply this at night on top of the bio oil, as again, you probably couldn't go out in public in it.
8. Finally, moisturise. I use Simple oil-free (which also contains Vit. E, which is good for your skin). This is really important if you are showing every day and using 2.5% BP, although I have found that flakiness and peeling reducing after a while once your skin gets used to the BP.
I don't wear foundation make-up, except on special occasions, say if I'm going out to dinner. Although there are products out there that supposedly are suitable for people with acne, you have to clean very thoroughly for your pores not to clog. And I want my skin to look naturally beautiful, so that I don't feel self-conscious even without make up. I do use a soft powder though, to reduce shine on the skin, but this doesn't clog the pores so much.
I'm now 19, so part of the reason I am clearing up could be because I'm past puberty, but I did have a bit of a bad break out half a year ago that lasted until I managed to get back on top of it again using this method.
This seems like quite a heavy routine, but as soon as you get used to it, it takes no time at all. A shower takes probably 20 mins. a day, and altogether, the rest of my regime on my regimen takes about 10 mins. The most important thing is to find something that works for you, and to stick to it!
Best of all, I'm really excited about how my skin is going to look when it is completely clear. When I was younger and at school, my acne did make me feel very self-conscious, and although I'm over the awkwardness now, I can't wait until my skin is clear when I will be able to feel truly confident.
I hope this has been of help to anyone else out there suffering from acne! I will try and find some before/after pics to post up to give you an idea of how it has worked. Best wishes x
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