Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Epiduo Review Acne Treatment | How to Cure Acne

Epiduo Review 
Acne Cure 

Before and After
Epiduo Gel
adapalene 0.1% and benzoyl peroxide Gel 2.5%

Background: Prior to being prescribed Epiduo I had used Duac (topical benzyol peroxide) and oxytetracycline (oral antibiotic). Whist these helped my skin a little, it went no where near curing it. I was an emotional wreck, I suffered two years under relentless skin problems. My self esteem was extremely low and I felt like I was running out of options. 

I had moderate acne including some cystic acne. It was extremely painful and persistent. At any time I would always have at least 8 active white heads and many red marks and scars. My dermatologist prescribed me this as a last resort before a course of Accutane.

My skin prior to Epiduo but during topical treatments

During Treatment: When I first started using Epiduo, I was using it morning and night. I assumed that if I used it twice as often my skin would recover twice as fast. By doing this I was completely ignoring the directions of my dermatologist. She is a doctor, I was a salesperson but I knew better because I'm a latent genius. The results... My skin was so chapped and raw that I was crying, my tears stung my sore skin and that made me cry more. 

I started using it as prescribed after that. Initially, my skin was very dry and very red (see photo below). My skin would go from visibly clearer, getting fewer spots over the course of a week... Then getting much worse again. It was really frustrating and disheartening. I kept thinking "I knew another topical wouldn't work, why can't they just give me roaccutane?!"

Wearing make up was a real issue, my skin was so chapped and dry around my mouth that foundation would chap off within minutes. That was really hard - my skin was very noticeably red but covering it looked worse. 

After about two months, my skin started healing and was relatively clear. I still had indented red marks and scars so I couldn't truly appreciate it. I started using exfoliation and lemon juice topically to fade the scars. Within three months I was totally clear

Epiduo Results
During treatment - red raw and chapped

 After: It's been 14 months since I started using Epiduo and since that point of my acne clearing, I can count the amount of spots I've had since on one hand. And I can always account for those (going on holiday, not drinking enough water or just plain not using Epiduo). 

I do still use this every night and I think that if I didn't, my acne would possibly come back. I'm not willing to take the chance... Epiduo really was my acne cure and I'd never be without it. 


I will add a *disclaimer* that everyone's skin is different and what was my cure may not be yours. Just be patient and know that there is an end to what you're going through

Epiduo Results
my skin now (2012)

Summary: I didn't have high hopes for this; I've used creams with Benzoyl Peroxide with much higher percentages. The active ingredients are adapalene 0.1% and benzoyl peroxide Gel 2.5%. However I highly recommend this, it made such a difference to my self esteem as well as the way that I look. 

The only downside is that I have to wait a while for it to dry before I apply my moisturiser. Solution to this is using a hair dryer on my face. 

In the UK it's available on the NHS for £7.65 for a tube which lasts me around three months. I will say that you only need to use a very thin layer, I've found that using a thick layer makes absolutely no difference other than it running out faster. 

Good luck with finding your cure for acne! 

There's more detailed information on the epiduo website: 



Edit: I've filmed and uploaded a video review to Youtube, please feel free to check it out!




Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Review

Bobbi Brown 
Creamy Concealer Review

I've hit the pan!




Background: I have what I would term as mildly severe dark circle bags under my eyes. I get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water... Unfortunately its just genetic; my mum and my grandma both have the same thing. Additionally, the skin under my eyes is quite dry and tends to flake with concealers and foundations. It's all very attractive. 

If the eyes are the windows to the soul... I don't have a soul

Here are my bags prior to concealer. I am wearing an eye cream but it really doesn't make a difference to my zombie eyes. 

Coverage: Full coverage. 

Finish: I'm going to call a dewy finish, it's not matte but I need the creaminess to combat my dry under eyes. 

Application: I only dip my finger into the pan and warm between my ring fingers, then pat onto my dark circles to 'melt' it into my skin. It really is very creamy.

Durability: You ABSOLUTELY need to set this with a powder, it's so creamy that it will definitely settle and move around if you don't set it. Just for extra insurance I use Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray before, then use a Clinique pressed powder, then use a setting spray again. It usually lasts about 6-7 hours but as I'm a bit of a smiler it does end up settling and becoming patchy.  

Colour Range: As you'd expect, Bobbi Brown has a really good range of colours. The shop assistant matched me up and surprisingly I find this is a perfect colour through summer and winter. 

Packaging: I really like the packaging, it feels really High End. Unlike many hinged packaged products, it hasn't broken in my handbag. It has a mirror but it is so tiny I've never used it. 

Price: £18 for 0.5oz 1.4g; I've had this for nearly a year and used nearly every day so I'd say its very worth the price (I always say that about everything!). You can buy it in a kit with a setting powder but 1. I think there are better powders out there that aren't so fiddly and 2. Should the powder smash, which they often do, you'd have powdery creamy concealer - that's a bit oxymoronic don't you think?

After with Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer

Summary: As you can see in the above photo, it doesn't 100% cover my dark circles. I don't think anything would; they are very determined to be seen. However it's the only concealer that doesn't cause my skin to almost crumble away, it covers really well and lasts FOREVER. I'd say this is a great concealer for older skin types and those with stubborn dark circles. 


Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash Balm Eye Cream Review


Clarins Eye Revive Beauty Flash Eye Cream Review

Background: I have genetic dark under eye bags coupled with dry and sometimes flakey skin in that area. So I've been dealt quite a crappy hand when it comes to the eye area. 


My eye bags in all their glory

Overview: Considering the price, this is a painfully average eye cream. It's averagely moisturising and substandardly de-puffing (I am making up words now to describe this average eye cream...). I really expected this to be very similar to the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm but it is just not. I think the Beauty Flash Balm would make a far better eye cream!

Consistency: It's a relatively thin cream, not luxuriously thick like its namesake's Beauty Flash Balm. 

Application: It takes quite a while to soak in and when it does it doesn't leave my eyes feeling particularly moisturised. Just to use this up, at night I'm mixing it with 8 hour cream to thicken it. It doesn't 'revive' my eyes in any shape or form. 

Packaging: The squeezy tube is kind of annoying, yes you can control the amount you use but I hate that bit when you're running low and you cramp your fingers up just trying to get the last dregs.. The dregs which last at least a week!

Price: £25.20 for 20ml on Feel Unique; I think that is extortionate for such an (I'll say it again) average eye cream! 





Summary: I loved the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, that's why I bought this eyecream. However I don't know how they can include the name 'Beauty Flash' in the title as I can't see how the two products are in any way similar. The Boots No7 eyecream is far superior and less than half the price (with a £5 voucher and honestly I never buy that range unless armed to the teeth with a voucher!)


Review Clinique All About Eyes Eye Cream Review


Clinque All About Eyes Eye Cream Review  


Background: I have genetic dark under eye bags coupled with dry and sometimes flakey skin in that area. So I've been dealt quite a crappy hand when it comes to the eye area. 




Overview: For me, this is the BEST under eye cream I've tried. It does nothing in terms of my dark circles but it does de-puff them in the morning times (I generally wake up with eyes not dissimilar to those of a new born hamster) and makes concealer application a piece of cake. 

Consistency: Almost gel like, very rich and extremely moisturising

Application: I use the tiniest amount on my ring finger, rub said fingers together to warm it up and gently tap under my eyes. It sinks in fairly quickly, leaves no residue to cause makeup to slide but keeps area really hydrated

Packaging: It's a small glass jar; which I prefer because I can easily scrape out the dregs compared to a squeezy tube

Price: £24 for 15ml; a pot will last me about 5-6 months with daily use. I have never ever paid for this with cash, it lasts the exact amount of time it takes me to save up £24 worth of Boots Advantage Card points. However, I'd definitely fork out the cash as I think its totally worth it





Clinique Eye Cream Gel

Summary: I use this over top of an SPF 50 as insurance against eye wrinkles. I can't say whether it prevents them or not, I'm not a scientist but I love it as a preventative method of my concealer flaking and drying. 
To compare All About Eyes to All About Eyes Rich, I've had a sample of the latter and I don't think it's anywhere near as rich or moisturising as the original PLUS it makes my concealer move around and settle.  





Top Twelve Tips for Combating Acne

Top Twelve Tips for Combating Acne : How to Get Rid of Spots


*Disclamer* I'm not a dermatologist or an expert, these are merely the tips and tricks I learnt during my fight against spots and acne. These hints may be obvious, or useless! For me, the only thing that helped was a prescribed topical. However, these tips certainly help for healthier skin and a healthier body and may well help you.
Before
After




Drink lots of water! 
Don't go overboard, obviously. I used to drink a pink of water every other hour during office hours PLUS tea and coffee and evening drinks. I must have been consuming more than a gallon a day. I pretty much constantly needed a piss. 

Eight glasses a day is really vague, not everyone has the same size glasses scientist dummy! I would say 2 litres a day is plenty. Stay away from sugary drinks and alcohol (I should take that advice I'm such a ginner), not just because they dehydrate your skin but also because they're pretty bad for your body as a whole. 




Get Eight Hours Sleep
Body needs its rest. Will also help with stress levels. Stress can often be a contributor to skin problems, if you're well rested you're less likely to sweat the small stuff. 




Change your pillows and sheets 
At least every fortnight, better still every week. I used to have major grumpines with my partner about his laundry habits. Now I just take clean pillow cases round when I stay over. Pillows can harbour lots of germs so wash them occasionally too

Clean your phones
Where does your mobile go? Pocket, bottom of bag, tables, the floor...? And you press that thing against your face?! It's disgusting when you think about what grime must be on your phone... Just use a wet wipe to give it a clean every now and then. That goes for land lines as well. 



Don't touch your face
And if you have to, wash your hands first. Think about where your hands have been, handling money (that's been handled by god knows how many people first), stroking your pet (my dog rolled in fox shit last week but that's a whole nother absolutely traumatising story), opening a public bathroom door... 

Now I don't want to go Harold Hughes on you but if you're having problems with your skin, it's probably a bit sensitive so I'd advise treating your skin very delicately.

Also... DON'T pick your skin. That includes squeezing. No matter how tempting it might be, it will almost always look worse afterwards. It will just spread the bacteria and make your skin inflamed. Don't do it. I'm serious. 

Eat six a day
Try to make sure they're mainly vegetables; fruit contains a lot of sugar which is bad for your teeth. Spinach is great for iron, tomatoes for antioxidents, broccoli is f*cking delicious... If you want to look great on the outside a good start is to enrich your body from the inside. 




Get outdoors
My mum was actually prescribed a UV face lamp for her acne in her 20s. I'm not sure what the science is behind that but vitamin D levels are generally quite low; people spend so much time in doors and wear very high SPFs when they are outside. Vitamin D tablets are a good substitute but I find that being outdoors adds to my well being which in turn can reduce stress.

Keep active
Again, keeping healthy inside and out aren't exactly going to go against you when trying to get your skin clear

Cleansing is a separate step from removing makeup
I am CONSTANTLY chastising my friends and sister for this. I definitely used to be an offender; I'd use a soap to clean my face and that's it. What I discovered that when I started using a toner following washing my face, there would always be a grimy makeupy dirty residue on the cotton wool pad showing that I wasn't cleaning my face effectively. 
So, even if you just use something cheap olive oil or baby oil, use a separate makeup remover BEFORE cleansing your face; it's a much more fail safe way of getting all the days grime off your face.



THROW AWAY YOUR MAKEUP WIPES!
THEY HAVE NO PLACE IN YOUR FACIAL ROUTINE (in my humble opinion... I get a bit capslock happy when it comes to skin care). They don't do a good enough job on cleansing your precious skin and they are pften much more abrasive than your hands or a cotton pad and when your skin is sensitive, you don't want to be aggravating it. 

Clean your make up brushes
I used to never clean my brushes AND chuck them in my purse/handbag amongst all my other crap. How very naughty of me. Depending on your usage, I'd recommend cleaning your brushes every two weeks, and if you're taking them around in your bag, put them in a clean brush roll or cosmetic bag. 




Be patient
Something that my dermatologist told me is that skin is on a six week cycle. If you start doing something to treat your skin, you won't see the effects for up to six weeks. If you do anything to your skin, hang in there for the six weeks to find out if its effective or not. This is definitely the case with my skin and Epiduo... It just takes patience and staying positive, you will find the thing to help your skin eventually. In the mean time, deep breaths and keep smiling. 






*Other than the photos of myself, the other images are from multiple sources via google

Monday, 29 October 2012

Clinique Anti -Blemish / Acne Solutions Foundation Review

Clinique Anti Blemish / Acne Solutions Foundation Liquid Makeup Review 


I bought this foundation when I started getting acne; I wanted make up that would cover my existing spots without causing new break outs. As you can see from my photo, I repurchased... but in a different colour. I now mix the two together in varying quantities depending on my level of face tannage. 

Before - no make up

After - one thin layer of Clinique Acne Solutions Foundation

Coverage: High medium to full coverage. 

Finish: Very matte. Almost a powder finish.

Application: Buildable, easy to blend. It's not as fast drying as other full coverage foundations such as Revlon Colourstay so you can take your time a little more with the application. 

Durability: This lasts definitely around 8-9 hours. I've never worn it any longer than that but I have a feeling that with a good setting powder/spray it would last 10-12. With lighter foundations (Bourjouis Healthy Mix and BB creams) 
they tend to start to slide and become patchy after around 6-7 hours of wear. 

Ingredients: This contains 0.5% salicylic acid - the active ingredient which helps combat acne

Colour Range: I am not a big fan of the range, they certainly don't have a colour that matches me exactly hence having to mix two colours. I have it in 001 Fresh Alabaster and 004 Fresh Vanilla

Packaging: The bottle is plastic which I find a little bit disappointing for a HE foundation (usually they are in glass bottles which to me are a little more luxurious), it has a squeezy nozzle which makes it very easy to control the amount you use. As always from Clinque, the box it came in was gorgeous but alas, I never keep them or I'd end up hoarding a heap of useless boxes. 

Price: Boots RRP is £22 for 30ml. It's not the cheapest foundation but a little goes a long way so it's likely to last longer.

mixing two shades to match my skin tone 

Over all thoughts...
I would definitely recommend this for someone with oily skin... However, if you have skin that is on the dry side or are using a treatment such as Benzyl Peroxide or any other topical treatment that dries the skin out, this foundation may not be great for those areas. When I first started using Epiduo, my skin was dry and red raw, this foundation was flaking away like crazy paving. It was great for my t-zone and cheeks, but on my chin it looked terrible. 



Now my skin is back to normal (for me that is still oily T-zone but no spots at the moment), I think this is fantastic coverage, it doesn't break me out at all, application is very easy and buildable. Highly recommended.



Sunday, 28 October 2012

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant Review

Elizabeth Arden
Eight Hour Cream 
Skin Protectant Review 



I had to review this stuff, it's absolute HG (holy grail) material for me. 

I first came across this when my mum recommended it to me during my acne hell; my skin was so sore and chapped from the treatments and I needed something to soothe my ruined face 


She bought a set in duty free including the tube of protectant, the lip balm and some face cream. I used up the latter two but haven't repurchased...


My god have I repurchased the Eight Hour Cream tubes... I have one in my handbag, one in my bedside table, one in my dresser and two more still packaged ready for emergencies... 


Background information: I really suffer with dry lips, if I'm caught without a balm, I'll just repurchase some... No matter how many Vaseline tins I have elsewhere. I have been known to hide balms at friends' houses to avoid the dry lip hell that leads to licking.. more dryness and a never ending circle of licking and hellishness.


I'll sum up in a tidy list

  • Moisturises lips like nothing else - as a dry lip sufferer, this baby has gotten me through two winters with smooth lips. 
  • A little goes a long way - I still haven't used up my first tub that I got two years ago
  • Smells medicinal and good - lots of people don't like the smell but I hate overpowering sweet scents. This smells luxurious and herbal to me
  • Multifaceted - I use this on my lips, on my elbows, to tame fly away hairs, as an intensive under eye treatment, for dry nose after a cold... dry knees. Anything that's dry, this is the answer
  • An all purpose make up trick - on the tops of cheek bones as a highlighter, as a moisturising lip gloss, to tame eyebrows, as a clear mascara
  • As an intensive facial moisturiser on long haul flights, or mixed with normal moisturiser for a daily night cream
  • To add shine down the fronts of shins if you're wearing an outfit that bears your legs

As the ingredients list 'Ricinus Communis Seed Oil' (Castor Oil) and caster oil is known for its uses in hair growth, I did start using 8 hour cream as a growth serum on my eyelashes and eyebrows. Alas, no results there...


The active ingredient is Petrolium (like Vaseline), but it also has Lanolin (moisturising) and Salicylic Acid. Salicylic Acid is used for combating acne. It's an ingredient in many topical solutions and Clinique's Anti Blemish Foundation. 

When I first heard about this I assumed it would be a cream... But it's more of a serum like gel. It's orange in colour but goes on clear. 


Absolutely highly recommended product! This retails at £25 in Boots. Whilst I think it's worth the price with all its uses and longevity, I have never paid that amount for it. I've always bought it duty free or during a 10% discount at Debenhams event (which they have about every quarter)

Do you have a HG product? Let me know what yours are, I'm always looking to try new things!



Abi's Skin Brightening Acne Fighting Toner


Abi’s Home Made Toner
DIY Skin Care



When I was trying to find my solution to my bad skin, I read a whole lot about holistic remedies; including a variety of toner recipes. I fiddled around with all the information I found and came up with this. I've been using it for nearly two years; my acne scars are nearly all gone so I think it's pretty good. I make it for my friends too. 

Basically, after cleansing I shake up my toner and tip it three times onto a cotton wool pad. I swipe it over my face and moisturise afterwards. 


My face smells like a salad dressing afterwards. Fit. 



Recipe

¾ Rooibos Tea (three tea bags in boiling water, steeped until cool)
¼ Apple Cider Vinegar
¼ Lemon Juice (squeezed fresh from a lemon)
½ tsp ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder)
10 drops of Tea Tree Oil

Nutritional Information

Rooibos Tea
Rooibos, or Red Bush tea is hypoallergenic and antibacterial. It has a high level of flavonoids. Flavonoids help to encourage the body to destroy unwanted pathogens. Rooibos is also reach in the enzyme Superoxide Dismutase which is an excellent anti aging substance.


I used green tea; make sure you steep until cool. First time I poured nearly boiling tea into a bottle and the bottle contorted like cirque du soleil

Fill any empty clean container half way with the tea



Apple Cider Vinegar
Every time you wash your face, you are disrupting your skin’s natural acid mantle. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) restores the skin’s PH levels warding off bacteria. As well as being antibacterial, ACV also evens skin tone, smoothes texture, reduces breakouts, gives skin a “radient glow”


Then I fill the remaining space half way with ACV
(Sainsburys)


Lemon Juice
The citric acid in lemon juice speeds up the process of dead cell shedding. This gives the surrounding cells feedback to reproduce more quickly, giving the skin a brighter appearance. Citric Acid is high in Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA), commonly used in anti wrinkle products. AHA helps to increase collagen production and decrease melatonin production (skin discoloration, freckles and sun spots).


I fill the container nearly to the top with lemon juice. I think freshly squeezed lemon juice would be better but I used all the lemons in my gin. Can't have gin without lemons. 
(Sainsburys)

Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C Powder or Ascorbic Acid is an antioxidant that slows the rate of free radical damage (which cause fine lines and wrinkles). It also protects skil cells, improves the appearance of sun damage, reduces inflammation, promotes collagen production and lessens hyper pigmentation.


DON'T use too much of this! I did once and it stung my face like crazy. 
(Holland and Barrets)


Tea Tree Oil
A topical antiseptic and antibiotic. Helps to dry up spots and control sebum production.


I also  use tea tree oil as a spot treatment for pimples
(Boots)

And that's it! I would say that this only costs me £1 a bottle; I use little bottles which last me a month, keeping it longer may make it less effective.

I used to use Clinique toners and found they dried my skin out so much and actually made my skin produce more oil as a result. If you don't want to make a toner like this but have problem skin I'd advise staying away from toners which have alcohol in. 


Please share if you have any home made concoctions beauty secrets! I'd love to hear from you. 




And here's a photo of me doing a duck face. Since I'm blogging I feel its a rite of passage.
Quack





My battle against acne, my cure and my trauma.

My Battle Against Acne: 
My Cure and My Trauma 


This is my first blog post... It's a sensitive topic for me but I'm going to try and be as informative, honest and candid as possible.

Preparing to write this I collected together the many photos I took of my skin as I made my battle against acne. Looking at the photos made me feel quite emotional, my skin was bad but my self esteem was worse. I don't think that anyone who hasn't had acne can quite understand how those spots can make you feel. 


I'd never take it back though: I learned so much during my journey with acne. That's why I decided to start a blog. 

To put things into context, here is my skin during my fight. I never took a photo of my skin at its worst but I am forever grateful that I recorded every bit of my experience through treating it! 




2010 - taking antibiotics


And here is my skin today

October 2012 - no make up


The main aim of this post is to share my experiences in the hope that it might give hope to maybe someone. I relied on the internet, especially acne.org for advice and support so hopefully I can give something back. 


My story: 


I had clear skin throughout puberty, I had a crappy cleansing routine, would frequently sleep in my makeup, never drank enough water or had enough sleep and I still had clear skin. 

At about 19 I started getting a few spots around my mouth. It was while I was living in Australia, and I wasn't super bothered about it at the time. I was drinking a lot of beer and living a completely unhealthy life style so I wasn't too surprised.
When I came home to the UK my skin went insane. I had already begun to be much more vigilant with my skin care and it just got worse and worse. Eventually I ended up with 15-20 active spots on my chin, cheeks and sometimes forehead at all times along with giant cycts.  My skin was so messed up. 

Towards the end I'd only have four or five active spots, but the red scars looked nearly as bad in my eyes


Having really big sore spots made it hurt to smile and laugh. Not that I felt like doing that often anyway







What I Tried
  • At first I figured that my weight loss had triggered it (I gained two stone whilst living in Aus and lost three stone in two months very quickly on my return). So I gained weight. This didn't work. 
  • My friend's mom who is a doctor gave me some sample tubes of Duac which I used without result. 
  • I stopped wearing makeup. 
  • I drank 1.5 gallons of water a day
  • I went to my GP who prescribed me Duac again. And it didn't work. AGAIN!
  • My housemate used to have acne and had a massive stash of oxytetracycline which he gave me. I took this religiously, waiting the two hours before and after food etc. These didn't work either. 
  • Birth control- GP prescribed Dianette, despite me saying that I wanted Yasmin. I was only on Dianette for 2 weeks when I found it unbarable; I was an emotional wreck!
  • I decided that if my acne was hormonal, I'd better try and rid my body of any unnecessary hormones. I needed birth control so opted for the copper IUD coil. This made my periods very heavy and eventually my body rejected the coil. I was put on Yasmin which is fine ; it didn't clear my acne but it didn't cause it either. 
  • I used a range of supplements and holistic remedies after reading stories on the org: 
  • Vitamin A, B3 Niacin, B5, C, D3, E, evening primrose oil, zinc, clear skin tablets. My pill box was massive. But I didn't actually notice a difference in my skin. Just my bank balance. I was spending an unreasonable about on supplements! 
  • Holistic; egg white masks, lemon juice, ACV, asprin mask, honey mask, meditation!
  • Diet; I don't think that diet affects my acne. I went 6 months eating for my skin; no dairy, no sugar, no wheat or gluten, extra protein and fruit and veg, would eat avodacos, carrots, oily fish!¦ Lovely things but I found myself getting obsessive, I was afraid to eat dinner in restaurants, embarrassed to eat with other people. My weight was dropping again. 
  • I used teatree oil, teatree cream, witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide, sudocrem
  • High End Products; After some research online, I decided to buy Clinique's 3 Step Anti Blemish Solutions Regimen (CABS I'll call it for short). This was a moisturiser, a foaming cleanser, clarifying lotion, moisturiser and a spot treatment. Also bought the foundation. I used this to the letter for around 2 months but found no results. The clarifying lotion was very strong, the moisturiser was not moisturizing, the spot treatment was no better than a cheap brand products. I was disappointed. I switched to the bar soap to see if I had better results with that. 
  • Actually I have sent most of my Clinique things back; they reimbursed me the full amount! Very kind of them. From now on I will be more wary of the Clinique ladies; a lab coat does not a doctor make!




Makeup
Just a quick note about makeup; a lot of people are surprised when I say that I didn't really wear cosmetics the entire time I had spots. My reasoning for this is that I felt makeup would clog my pores and make matters worse (despite my derm reassuring me it wouldn't affect me). I also felt like makeup looked so bad over my ruined skin I thought I may as well not even try. 

It wasn't such a hard step though, I'd been living in Australia for over a year and didn't really wear make up even for a night out. You might think that's strange but I loved how laid back that was! 

Dermatologist
I went to my GP and said that I needed to see a dermatologist. There didn’t seem to be an end in sight. It took 6 weeks to get an appointment and another month for that to happen!
My dermatologist is absolutely lovely. I broke down in tears when I was telling her about my struggles and she couldn’t have been kinder.

She prescribed Epiduo and Cetaphil moisturiser.
I went back for a second appointment with my photo skin diary and a list of questions, she said that Clinique products are too strong, that I need to treat my skin gently, not attack it. She recommended Simple products.

She also prescribed Tetralysal Lymecycline antibiotics. They taste like shit. After taste is awful, like old old shoes. 




Epiduo: started on June 24th

My derm told me to use this once a day, preferably at night.
I thought that I knew best and that using it twice a day would double my recovery time.
I was SOOOO wrong! My skin went insane. I was expecting some flaking but it just ruined my skin. It was bright red, unstoppably flakey ; if I tried to exfoliate it off it would become red raw and painful and flake all over again. It hurt to smile.
I stopped being an idiot and used as prescribed. It has been amazing. It took about 2 weeks of proper use to see results and around four mouths to get 100% clear. 
I've been using Epiduo for EXACTLY a year now! I couldn't recommend it enough, it's changed my life. I will probably use it every day for ever. 



The epiduo made my skin red raw... literally

Epiduo caused my skin to peel, scab and crack. Hottie



Emotional
Over the past three years I’ve been at breaking point. I’ve shed many tears about my skin; literally looking in the mirror and sobbing.


Fighting acne is truly exhausting, it’s nothing you’ve done, it’s not your fault... And that makes it so much worse. If it’s not something I’m doing, then I can’t change it and it’s out of my control.
I’ve spent so much money on skin products; I prioritise my skin in my budget over having fun.


I used to sit in front of the mirror, painstakingly applying make up to cover my skin, but my skin was so sore and fragile, as soon as I moved my face it would crack. I'd cry and sob and end up cancelling. That would happen all the time. 

If I ever made it out, I'd constantly be checking my reflection to make sure my foundation wasn't flaking away... and if it was, I'd start peeling it off so I could put yet more on. Obviously it would look truly shit. My throat would contract, my breathing quickened and I felt like I'd have a panic attack. Thank god for gin :)

I used to select which side of people I would sit according to which side of my face was the best
It was ALWAYS on my mind, all consuming.

I wrote at the time: Over the last few months I have learnt not to look in the mirror so much, and when I do, I train my eyes not to go straight for the spots and scars and focus on my eyes. It really helps. Taking deep breaths can work wonders as well!





Summary


I am thankful every time I look in the mirror that my skin is now acne free. I actually quite enjoy showing off my before pictures in a weird way... 


I do still break out sometimes, it's usually when I go on holiday which I'll attribute to a change of routine, water and stress. I don't let it get me down though, I trust my epiduo to deal with it!


I'm not an expert so I can't give any real advice other than what I found personally helped me.

Everyone’s skin is different; what helps one person might not help another. It’s taken me quite a while to find something that works for me!

A website that was a great help to me was www.acne.org. I had a lot of support from fellow acne sufferers, learnt a great deal about treatments and remedies and made some good friends. Having people with you who understand what you're going through when it comes to acne is really important.


My skin November 2011

Epiduo Gel


And just a couple more of my skin now (October 2012)




If anyone has any questions about the things I’ve tried then please leave a comment and I'll get back to you. If anyone would like to share their experiences I'd love to hear about them! 



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