7 Steps to Having an Acne Free Skin

Monday, January 08, 2018

Happy New Year everyone!

We have been a little MIA lately due to the holiday season and its jam-packed calendar but are very happy to be back in action in 2018. I hope you all had a happy Christmas and a positive start to this new year. 2017 was a major year for us filled with many milestones. I gave myself a long overdue car upgrade and bid goodbye to my ageing Camry in favour of some new wheels. The pair of us got new jobs and enrolled into Spanish classes, a long-time bucket list item and I also took on the challenge of learning to swim. Safe to say with all these exciting challenges under our belt, we’re entering 2018 feeling pumped and hope you all are as well.

Although it’s been a year full of positives, if you saw me a few months back, it would be hard to tell. The adult acne which decided to come after my otherwise well-behaved skin would give the impression that I was having a terrible time, was stressed or eating poorly. Except, none of this was true. It took me my sweet time to figure out who the culprit was, but I got there in the end – those bloody hormones! Getting the better of us every time.

Now, it’s important to make a distinction between the acne I faced now as compared to what we all happily left behind in those godawful teenage years. This time around, the trend was a couple of extremely painful and visible pimples that would leave a scar after they dried up which took its time to go away. The result was that even if I didn’t have as many pimples at any one time, I still carried their baggage – annoying acne scars.

Frustrated, I landed at my doctor’s door and was promptly handed the pill to sort out those hormonal issues. But this didn’t go as swimmingly as it seems to for many others. The pill gave me horrible indigestion which would have me waking up at all odd hours of the night with nausea. So that plan went down the drain.

Worry not though, this story has a happy ending thanks to the skincare regime I’m about to share. It’s important to note that these things may not work for everyone as well as they worked for my oily/combination skin, so testing is a MUST.

Acne-free skin can be a balancing act for many of us. Luckily, the below factors can band together to create the perfect mix. I’ve included some product options I used for each of the factors but feel free to find your own alternatives.

1. PH Level: Our skin is supposed to have a PH of around 5.5 which makes it acidic compared to a PH of 7 which is neutral. The acid in our skin regulates the natural bacteria that exists on our skin and as you can imagine, alkaline skin (that which has a PH greater than 7) can cause this process to go out of whack. Often, a lot of the skincare products that we use can be highly alkaline, ramping up our skin’s PH. The skin in turn has to work a lot harder to produce more acid and bring the levels back to the ideal 5.5 but in the 16 hours that this happens, you and I have probably washed our skin again and stripped it off these essentials. The domino effect of this is that your skin may turn to producing excess oil or not enough which can all lead to one thing – more bacteria and more acne.

To overcome this vicious cycle, I turned to an old friend – Phisohex, a product I have used consistently for years to overcome my back acne and with glorious results. Having always been a stickler for herbal/all-natural skincare, I was a little hesitant to apply this to my face. The first time round it left me with a tingly burning sensation which had me paranoid I’d burnt my face off in a bid to get rid of acne. A little research found that the tingling was caused because my skin was extremely alkaline and the Phisohex was simply balancing it out. All subsequent uses never had me feeling tingly. Although the bottle recommends using it 2-3 times a day, I use it sparingly, limiting it to one use every couple of days.

2. Cleansing and Exfoliation – My go to option for a cleanser is Lush's entirely natural Herbalism which I use everyday. I’ve gone through at least a dozen tubs of this miracle cleanser and it fixes the worst of skin problems. Exfoliating those dead cells or dirt build-ups is also essential to avoid clogged pores. When you have a breakout though, instead of an abrasive scrub that may aggravate it further, use an acid-based non-abrasive cleanser that will exfoliate without irritation. My personal favourite is Skinstitut’s Lactic Acid Cleanser which I use every second day. If I want to change things up or go a step further, I also use their Enzymatic Micro Peel, a very gentle peel that removes dead tissue quite effectively.

3. Anti Bacterial Serum – Despite the above steps, if bacteria manages to make it through, it’s important to stop it from turning into dreaded pimples. While so far I’ve mentioned quite a few ‘chemical-heavy’ products so to speak, with this step I’m coming back to home turf. The Body Shop is a brand I love and trust and their tea tree serum is soothing and refreshing. I use it every night and occasionally in the morning if I’m going make-up free. The extremely light-weight serum unclogs your pores and its anti-bacterial properties keep the skin clean and refreshed.

4. Spot Treatments – Although the above steps are great for preventing pimples, they aren't fool proof. So to deal with the pimples that do come up to bother you, choose a targeted spot treatment to dry them out as quickly as overnight. I opted for Essano’s Clear Complexion Rapid Action Blemish Gel. It feels light on the skin but don’t let it trick you, it works quite well.

5. Masking – I must confess, I love masks. Not just for their benefits to the skin but because they are the perfect companion for an afternoon of sipping tea and watching Netflix. So it was only natural that I include masks in this skincare region. The first choice is once again by The Body Shop. Their Tea Tree Clay Mask has an incredible consistency, is luscious and effective. At $25 I’ve already gotten about 10 uses out of it and it’s not even finished halfway. This is a great mask to use regularly but for those more intense breakouts opt for something like Lush’s Cosmetic Warrior. Unlike the tea tree mask, this option is a fresh mask that needs to be kept refrigerated. While the smell is honestly AWFUL (the first few times I had to avoid putting it around my nose), it works amazingly well. Nothing will reign in a breakout like this baby.

6. Moisturising and controlling oil production - Have you ever gotten pimples and dry patches at the same time? I have and its horrible. The reason behind what feels like your skin exacting a particularly painful revenge is that many cleansing products or acne treatments can be harsh on the skin. And if you have oily skin and hence aren’t moisturing, your skin starts to think it needs to create more oil or sebum to make up, creating more acne. I have been guilty of depriving my skin of moisturisers for years but I've finally mended my ways. Firstly, I turned to Skinstitut's Moisture Defence Normal Skin to use on an everyday basis. Despite the regular use, it's never left my skin feeling oily or susceptable to acne. For nights, I opt for Jojoba Oil. My mum uses it religiously and it has worked wonders. The trick is that despite feeling a little heavy, jojoba oil has the same consistency as skin sebum, so it provides moisture while controlling oil production. Since you skin thinks there is plenty of oil or sebum already it doesn't feel the need to produce anymore. For me, jojoba oil worked great and every morning I woke up with soft supple skin.

7. Collagen production- Finally, if you’ve made it so far, all you need now it some collagen production to bring out new skin and remove scars. I like to use a Retinol Serum again by Skinstitut or Tony Molly’s Seaweed Extract and Collagen masks. Both of these options leave my skin feeling refreshed and plump.

That’s all you need battlers, now it’s your turn!

Links à la Mode, January 11th, 2017

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  1. Lush products are really incredible! I'm quite interested in the Body Shop ones too, might be visiting a shop this weekend! :D

    xo Noor

  2. Yey for the car upgrade! I'm nearly due for one myself.

    You've shared quite a few awesome sounding products, I truly want to go to the mall and shop - especially for that clay mask!


  3. 2017 was a year well spent! I'm sure 2018 will be filled with bigger and even better accomplishments. When it comes to my skin, I feel like I'm suffering more as an adult then what I did as a teen hahaha. It's not funny actually. I keep getting these super hard and painful lumps (there's a name for it but I can't remember). You can't squeeze them because nothing comes out (yes I am a squeezer, always have been, always will) except excruciating pain. I don't know what is worse, ugly pus filled ones or these f****ers who like to linger for weeks.


  4. Very informative post for those who suffer from acne. Thanks for sharing :) Wonderful post dear <3 Have a great week ahead
    Beauty and Fashion Freaks

  5. Retinol and a face wash that respects skins pH have been life changing for me as well. Those hormones are the worst.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

  6. Adult acne is literally my worst nightmare!! I've heard that teatree oil products do some amazing things for skin, so I definitely need to try these out!!




  7. Happy New Year!!

    Great content and love your thoughts on this post

    💗💗Thank you so much for all the support💗💗

    Harija Ravi