I am going through a bit of a skin crisis right now which has me feeling quite down and self-conscious. But I thought it would be a great idea, and topic, to talk about as a part of this blog because it is a concern which a lot of people suffer from and is common: acne and pigmentation. I don’t think many people realise just how much these things can affect your mood, your self-esteem and how you go about your everyday life until you experience them first-hand. There will be times in the morning when I’ve just woken up where I squint my whole face to feel for any new spots that have popped up through the night, before I make it to the mirror. Some days it looks bearable compared to previous days. And there are days, like recently, where it flares up and it puts me into a mood where I don’t want to interact with anyone. There are times when someone tries to talk to me and I’ll think they’re staring deliberately at me for too long, inspecting my skin. Everyone wants to look their best, to have a healthier-looking complexion. And when you have skin issues that have been with you for a while and you don’t know what to use – or how to get rid of it – it’s exhausting.
I’ve always had an on/off relationship with skincare, but it didn’t truly start START until I discovered Caroline Hirons. Pre-Hirons, it was a bit shitty. I used just any cleanser that was about. But they always used to make my face feel like leather.
I don’t even know if I used a moisturiser afterwards. *Gasps* And I used to eat as much sugar as I wanted. And then if I went to my Scottish granny’s I’d have at least 3 glasses of Irn-Bru, a piece of cake, a snickers bar and a pack of crisps. (I’m sure she once fell out with me for 5 minutes because I turned down a glass of Irn-Bru. I blame her for my sugar habit. Do you hear me Pat? I blame you.) It feels like back then I didn’t really do anything skin-wise, ate so much crap and only had a spot here and there. Now when I’m trying to be healthy and good to my skin, all my sugar junkie days come back to bite me on my sweet ass. Post-Hirons, I know all about the cleanse, acid tone, spritz, eye cream, serum, moisturise. I know about the AHAs/BHAs, vitamin c, hyaluronic acid, retinol, SPF etc etc. And though I have been using these ingredients and seeing good results, I think somewhere down the line I’ve overwhelmed my skin with too many products too quick and that is what has fucked my skin.
My skin type is oily/combination and is also quite blemish prone. A spot can be gone within the week but the mark it leaves can stay with me for weeks or even months. I now know not to use certain ingredients which can be drying (fanks Caroline) and that many problems can stem from dehydration. But I’m still learning about which products/ingredients my skin can tolerate. For example, I bought Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Hydration Light moisturiser because I loved how hydrating their Aqualia Thermal serum was. I did find it too thick for my skin and was hesitant to continue using it but did so as it said it was suited for combination skins. IMPORTANT NOTICE: LISTEN TO YOUR SKIN. Within three days of using it my skin broke out so badly on my cheeks. Clusters of little spots and my skin felt so raw. I managed to calm it down over the next few days with the La Roche Posay Toleraine cleanser and moisturisers but it left me with such bad pigmentation where I had broken out and spots that just didn’t want to leave me alone. Then I tried The Ordinary’s Niacinamide + Zinc to help with blemishes and congestion and it broke me back out in the same place. Again, I simplified my routine. Later down the line, I used The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid serum. Within three days my skin broke out AGAIN.
I don’t know if there’s something in The Ordinary skincare that my skin doesn’t agree with or if my skin is being a bastard because The Ordinary is so affordable and it doesn’t do affordable. But since trying these products, I’ve been afraid to try anymore in the range so I’ve shelved The Ordinary for now.
Since my first bad breakout, I’ve tried everything to get rid of active spots and the red marks my breakout has left. I’ve tried using gentle products, acids, stripping my routine back… I’ve tried Differin for 4 months. Differin has been the only thing that’s helped spot-wise. Stopped my active spots but did nothing much for the red marks/pigmentation I’ve been left with since before October 2016 (when I had my first breakout). I’ve had these marks for over a year now. It’s so frustrating. The only thing that I can do is conceal them. The pigmentation on my cheek in particular is what I’m most annoyed with. It’s like a bloody volcano. Dormant for a while, then activity starts back up and a spot or two comes to the surface.
Since falling down the skincare hole, I’ve discovered three more skincare supremes: Nadine Baggott, Teresa Tarmey and Trinny Woodall. Along with Caroline they make up the Charmed Ones. Anyone else used to watch Charmed? I loved that show. Each Christmas I used to ask Santa for magical powers like the Charmed Ones. That and moon shoes. Anyway… part of my new years resolution was to have good skin this year. And I’m determined to tick that resolution off my list. About a week ago, I started looking around to find a good local clinic that was within my budget that could get help to remove any leftover redness/pigmentation that I’m still dealing with. Sk:n Clinics was one of the first clinics to pop up. I had heard of their name before and walked past their Glasgow store many times but have never looked much into the clinic or tried any of their products. Sk:n Clinics are the UK’s leading skincare clinic with 48 clinics across London and the UK. (Take a shot each time I say the word clinic). And with reviews being mostly positive, I booked in to have a consultation at their Gordon Street clinic in Glasgow (I will meet you one day Teresa!). I only needed to wait a couple of days for my consultation. For a consultation with a nurse you have to pay a £25 deposit, and if you require a dermatologist then it’s £100. But if you book a consultation and decide you do not want to go, then you get your money back.
I had my consultation with an acne specialist called Angela who couldn’t have been nicer. I think that I’ve been looking for a solution to my pigmentation/redness for so long and because Angela is a specialist I didn’t even care about showing my bare skin to her. She asked which products I was currently using and talked me through why my skin could be inflamed – that I was using the right ingredients but as a result of trying too many products in such a short space of time I’ve made my skin react. There are so many good products out right now I want to try, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. In regards to my pigmentation, she suggested that we avoid any treatments for the moment as my skin still looks inflamed which I agree with. My redness/ pigmentation doesn’t hurt, it just looks quite sore. She decided the best course for me was a strict regime of products from the Sk:n line and some antibiotics from the doctor to help with the inflammation in my skin. And then in four weeks time, if there is any pigmentation left we can start thinking of treatments. At least it takes the guess work out of my regime. Instead of thinking of what to use for now, at least, I have a strict regime to stick to. I just want some results. I’ve tried so much that hasn’t worked that I’m desperate for any kind of improvement.
A few days ago I visited my doctor who told me I had acne scarring before I even sat my ass on the chair. I didn’t even think of my marks being acne scarring because I assumed scarred skin wasn’t inflamed. He prescribed me antibiotics for three months and advised that I continue with the routine provided by Angela.
I will update you along the way with how my Sk:n journey is going. I have just bought my Sk:n regime so my next post will be on the products I’m using and each week I’ll check in with any changes I see.