I have a definite love/hate relationship with makeup. Having been blessed with eternally terrible acne-prone skin, I’ve worn a full face of foundation since year 8 at school… I was permanently tangoed for two years of my life – and I even had a teacher ask me if my skin had been dyed orange… How embarrassing! My confidence in my skin has been ruined by the comments of school “friends” over the years, so these factors – and probably a few other things if I look back – have left me viewing makeup as something I’ve had to wear just to make myself leave the house in the morning, and not something I’ve actually wanted to slather all over my face everyday. I guess that’s why I’m very much a “one foundation/ one concealer/ one eyeshadow palette” person. My makeup collection is basically non-existent and I only bought my first makeup brush set and beauty blender this year…
I have tried bag fulls of products, potions and powders over the years to help clear my skin and the results have varied to say the least. I’ve watched YouTube videos filmed by girls with flawless skin lamenting about the woes of their breakouts and how to deal with them… (FYI – one spot is not a breakout!)
So I thought I’d dedicate this post to a few tips that I use to deal with problematic day-to-day skin and the real-life breakouts I have almost every week.
- Remove makeup before bed
This is the first step on the pathway to clear skin. It doesn’t matter whether you get home at 11pm or 3am – just make sure you take off all makeup from the night before! I always use face wipes to remove the bulk of my foundation and eye makeup before washing my face with Micellar Water gel wash from Garnier to remove the remaining dirt and grime. I want my face to feel fresh and clean before I get into bed at night, so removing makeup is a must.
2. Wash hands and pillowcases often
This is something I hadn’t ever thought about before – but this simple change to your daily routine can make a massive difference! Pillowcases can store a massive amount of breakout-inducing bacteria, so changing them a few times a week helps to minimise the amount of bacteria that is transferred to your skin as you sleep. I have also consciously changed my sleeping position so my face doesn’t touch the pillow during the night – and I have definitely seen a reduction in the number of skin flare ups I’ve had to suffer through. The same principle is applied to your hands – every time you touch your face you are transferring bacteria to your skin. Keep a small bottle of anti-bacterial gel in your bag and wash your hands as often as possible and I guarantee you’ll see a difference in your skin.
3. Light Mask
Apart from buying myself medicated moisturisers, micellar waters, Tea Tree face wipes and goodness knows what else, I have also invested in a Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask. This is something that I have had sitting in my Amazon cart for a while, so after the latest influx of allowance money and student finance, I finally bit the bullet and pressed that shiny “checkout” button. The mask usually retails for around £60 but I snapped it up for £37. It is controlled by remote control refills that cost £13 for 30 uses – so it really works out at £13 a month because you use the mask for 10 minutes every day.
The mask doesn’t use any type of UV light so I don’t have to worry about skin Cancer which is obviously a very nice bonus. The use of red and blue LED light is supposed to reduce the numbers of spot-causing bacteria and defeat acne from the pores upwards.
I was a bit sceptical about paying this much money for one product and being roped in to buying the pricey refills… but oh my goodness… I have only used the mask for one week but my skin has never looked so clear. I even went outside without any makeup on during the fire alarm on Tuesday night – I can’t remember the last time I left the house without a layer of foundation on! I cannot tell you how thrilled I am with my skin right now and I’m hoping it will continue to improve throughout the rest of the month!
4. Healthy(-ish) diet
I was never going to be a gym bunny, calorie counter or fad dieter. I don’t think I’ve even stepped on a set of scales once this year – I just try to remain at a healthy weight and enjoy good food. When it comes to healthy skin, we all know that diet can play quite a large part in keeping it clear. I’m not saying that you have to live on lettuce alone, but just be aware that if you do eat a greasy fry up or kebab, you’re probably going to see a few spots make an appearance over the next 24 hours.
However, this doesn’t mean you should limit what you can eat. Treating yourself every now and again is something that you definitely shouldn’t feel guilty about – For example, I’ve just bought myself a McDonalds as a Friday night treat and I couldn’t be happier..! Just make sure you drink enough water, eat enough fruit and vegetables and save overly sweet or greasy foods for treats only. It’s a tip that should be really obvious – but it works, so it’s worth remembering.
5. Skincare products
I don’t know about you, but my bathroom shelves are stacked with all the skincare products under the Sun – although, to be honest I don’t use too many of them. I find that a lot of products to treat spots or acne tend to dry out the skin, and as someone with dry skin away, these often make my problems worse. One product I’ve really grown to love over the last year is medicated moisturiser from Clean and Clear. This is the last thing I put on my face at night after removing my makeup, and the first thing I put on in the morning after cleansing my face. It helps to keep my skin smooth and hydrated – and when worn under primer it doesn’t make your skin greasy or cause makeup to slip down your face.
I also have a deep love for any products containing Witch Hazel or Tea Tree because these ingredients always seem to work quite well for me and the scents aren’t as clinical or chemical as those of other skincare products. At the moment I’m sticking to a Clinique 3 step process, various face masks and my trusty Witch blemish stick… I prefer natural ingredients and natural scents because I don’t like to think about the amount of chemicals that my skin has to put up with from the makeup and skincare products I use!
What are your tips for combatting breakouts and problem skin?
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