What's this? Something that isn't mildly fashion related? That's right, I have decided to add a brand spanking new category to my blog ladies and gentlemen, I have decided to also include beauty and wellness into the mix. Skincare is something I am particularly passionate about, and I'm sure this is the case for many of you who have also had the wonder of acne gracing it's presence on your once perfect skin. I will at some point do a whole War and Peace novel on my skincare journey, including severe eczema to awful acne experiences, and how I have managed to keep them under control. But for now, I thought I'd let you know what my current routine consists of, as I know I'm always hungry to find out what others are using and abusing!
Just a complete disclaimer here, I am by no means a dermatologist. I am however, a girl who has not had the best of luck with her skin throughout her twenties. In tern, I think a lot of you can empathise when I say, the amount of research, trial and error I have been through in a desperate attempt to cure my skin might just be helpful for a few of you guys in your skincare journeys too.
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I never thought I'd question the whole concept of washing one's skin twice a day, morning and night. This was just something I've always done, until reading on a particular dermatologist's blog that they did not in fact wash their face in the morning after a rigorous and comprehensive cleanse the night before. There is in fact the thought this could be stripping off the natural oils a little too much, and in tern your skin tries to overcompensate by producing more oil. So, I have recently taken out the morning cleanse, and now just splash my face with water a few times. From using harsh almost paint-stripping cleansers in the past, I have found the best thing for your skin is to keep it gentle, and keep it simple. A cleanser i've been loving is the NIOD Sanskrit Saponins cleansing balm. I really feel like it cleans my skin thoroughly and even from the first use I felt this made a difference to my congested pores. I use this after initially taking off my makeup with a muslin cloth and hot water. Every other night I will follow this with second cleanse using the TONYMOLY Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm, which has to be one of my holy grail products. I have never used anything that eliminates blackheads so effectively and leaves my skin so smooth!
There has always been the debate on whether toners are necessary in one's skincare routine or not. I have fluttered in and out of religiously using one after cleansing to not at all. I am in a state of toner turmoil it seems! In complete honestly I've never found a toner that has changed my life, but I do love the refreshing feeling it gives my skin after a good scrub. Like many, the PIXI Glow Tonic sits happily within my routine and has done for the last few months. I like the fact it has 5% glycolic acid in, but is still gentle on the skin. If I don't fancy using a traditional toner, I will opt for a mist post-cleanse, which I am completely obsessed with. This RATA & CO Coconut & Cucumber Facial Mist Toner feels so boujee and luxurious. I even like to spritz this on post make up for act as a fresh setting spray.
Serums / oils
The fun part! I love playing around with my serums, this is where I tend to mix things up the most depending on what my skin is in need of that day. My serums tend to be mostly anti-blemish focussed and I like to mix in a retinol every few days within this. Sunday Riley Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil has been a part of my routine for a number of months, as the label suggests, it is an oil that sits quite heavy on the skin, so a little goes a long way. My skin drinks this stuff up! I will say now, for those suffering with acne-prone skin, don't be afraid of facial oils. This contains salicylic acid along with many natural and nourishing oils and has never broken me out.
One of my favourite skincare brands has to be The Ordinary. Mainly because I love the fact it offers a range of serums with a single ingredient focus for such affordable prices I could pinch myself. If you wanted to try out a retinol for the first time, this brand is a great one to try as it doesn't cost the earth and offers a range of Retinoid percentages, so you can dip your toe is as little as 0.2% retinol, or build to as potent as 10%. I am currently using Granactive Retinoid 2%(which is less irritant than retinol) in squalane. I am also alternating this with their infamous Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% which is great for keeping the overproduction of oil at bay, and is particularly aimed to combat blemishes, which we of course love!
For my acne-prone skin, which also happens to be the most combination skin of all time. My choice of moisturiser has always been integral. When initially attempting to cure my severe hormonal acne at the age of 20, caving in to the rave reviews and cult following of the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo was something I was hesitant to do as so many cult products had let me down before. But I can whole-heartedly say this product changed my life. It has been the one product I have repurchased consistently for the last 4 years, and I will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It effectively stopped my skin from breaking out, and also reduced the raised comedones on my skin which I am particularly susceptible to. I also find this super moisturising and has never dried my skin out despite it's anti-blemish properties. They also have one with SPF 30 in it, which is perfect for those warmer months when using harsher ingredients that can leave the skin more vulnerable to sun damage.
The colder months lead me to take extra moisturising precautions to avoid a flakey t-zone from exposure to drying central heating and cold storm winds. This year moreover any other, I have successfully avoided this dilemma with the use of an overnight mask acting as a night cream after my initial layer of Effaclar Duo. The Creme Shop Charcoal Overnight Gel Mask has been amazing at adding the extra layer I've needed. I tend to add a generous amount and I wake up with my skin feeling like a baby's tush, nourished, and noticeably clearer.