TIPS AND TRICKS: How I Improved My Skin

The battle with my skin has been ongoing since the age of around 14. It went through the typical teenage phase of being horrifically spotty, then just combination/oily with regular breakouts and now it’s settled on being combination/normal with manageable blemishes. My skin is nowhere near perfect, but I thought I’d share the things I’ve done over the past few years to make my skin a lot calmer and easier to deal with.

History | As stated above, my skin when I was a teen was awful, like most people’s when they go through those awkward years. My mother, in attempt to help, bought me varying brands of skincare, all of which were totally wrong for my skin as we had done no research and fell for marketing. First were brands like Simple, plugged as being kind for sensitive skin although they should be known for being anything but as they’re filled with SLS and seemed to make my skin more of an oil slick than it already was. Next we went for a high end brand and a popular option: the Clinique 3-Step Program. I went to a counter, had my skin ‘analysed’ (wrongly) and the assistant determined I had ‘dry to very dry skin’ …despite being an obviously oily, spotty mess. So, as you can imagine, that made my skin worse and made me so unhappy buuut, as a naive 15 year old, I assumed a high end brand must be good so continued to use it, thinking it would get worse before improving.Oh how wrong I was.

As I went on through my late teens, being a student and living alone meant more limited funds and I went through packets of face wipes and had (too many) boozy evenings. My skin was less spotty than it originally was as teen hormones had evened themselves out a little, but I still had bad breakouts, it was dull and just looked awful. It was only when I moved back home I decided to get a grip and sort out my skin once and for good.

What I Did | In September 2011 (I remember it quite specifically), shortly after my student loan came in I got pretty darn serious with my skincare. I invested in a Clarisonic thinking that would sort my skin out, but found that using it alone doesn’t lead to miracle skin. Infact, using it too much actually irritated my skin, so that got pushed to the back of my bathroom cupboard. I decided to go back to basics, work out my skincare issues and start from there. I established I needed skincare suitable for combination, dehydrated skin with a focus on fighting blemishes and making my complexion more even. I’ll run through the main things I changed, a sort of ‘top tips’ type thing, keeping in mind this worked for me (but won’t necessarily work for you!)

One: Double Cleanse | Yes, I’ve mentioned this in my beauty tips posts before, but it really did change my skin. I went from occasionally removing makeup with a face wipe (or not removing it at all, cringe) to properly cleansing my skin. I use a face cloth (or flannel) from Primark, which are 3 for £1 or something, so it won’t break the bank. I use the same cloth on a morning for a quick cleanse and on an evening for a deep cleanse, then I throw it in the wash. For cleansing, I go over my face with a heavy balm (the Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm literally changed my skin!) or oil first which removes most of my makeup then go over with a lighter cleanser. On a morning I use a light, refreshing cleanser just to get rid of any product I may have used overnight. Remember if a cleanser leaves you with that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling, get rid! It’s probably doing more harm that good.

Two: Love Nighttime Treatments | I’ll be honest and say I focus most of my skincare on what I use overnight. I have more treatments, lotions and potions than I do daytime moisturisers, as I genuinely believe your skin has your full attention during the night so it’s the best time to focus on your skin issues. There are several products that I hold responsible for changing my skin, but the first has to be Alpha H Liquid Gold. If you have breakouts or scarring left over from them, then using an overnight exfoliator will do wonders for your skin. They really help clear up blemishes and work to reduce the scarring left behind, which is fantastic as nothing else I used worked as quick or as well. So, do your research into what treatments would suit your skin issues ie. do you need a hydrating serum? or a targeted spot treatment or something to boost skin clarity? Read millions of reviews and get testers where you can, it’ll make such a huge difference! Same with face masks, the one I invested in was the REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask and still use it to this day. A good clay mask can go a long way in helping clear out pores and speed up the healing process, so try to use one a couple of times a week.

Three: Oils Really Are Your Friends | Again, I’ve mentioned this before, but they completely changed my skin. The one I used first and continue to use the most is the Balance Me Radiance Facial Oil, which is a dream in a bottle. I use it during the day, at night and it works fantastically as a spot treatment as it really reduces them down and helps them heal quicker. Other oils like the Trilogy Rosehip Oil are great for reducing blemish scarring, if you don’t want to use an exfoliator too. They’re just wonderful products to have in your skincare collection and no, they won’t make oily skin more oily. Surprisingly, they balanced my skin out and turned it from being oily to combination/normal which is amazing in itself.

Four: Be Clean | Bit of a strange title, but making sure you’re keeping your face clean is important. Now, I’m not saying to wash your face every five minutes, as twice a day is fine, but being aware of what touches your face is important. Remember to wash your makeup brushes regularly, as they can harbor a lot of dirt if not kept ontop of. I used to be terrible at this but realising dirty brushes = spots has made me change my outlook. Making sure your bedsheets are swapped over regularly also helps. I know people do this anyways, but I try to change my pillow twice a week if I can (having a single bed and two pillow covers helps, depressingly wahh). As mentioned above, changing your wash cloth every day makes sure that you’re not rubbing old makeup back onto your face. Making a mental note of how much you touch your face or if you’re having a skanky hair day (aka, you can’t be bothered to wash it, but really probably should have the day before. I know this all too well) how much your hair is doing the same. I think being more aware of how I look after my skin, and what I personally do which may make it worse, really helped in understanding how I could improve, so it’s worth having a little think about the above.

Five: Look At Your Diet | I know the phrase you are what you eat is an old one, but it really is true. If I eat lots of sweets, my skin looks rubbish. If I order a few takeaways a week, my skin is awful. Since I’ve started drinking smoothies every morning and watching what I eat, my skin has got so much better. It’s clearer, brighter and I have far less breakouts. Another thing I did was cut out (or at least hugely limit) dairy. I used to have porridge every day, made with cows milk, and it was only when I wasn’t too well that I stopped and noticed a huge improvement in my skin. I’d heard of the link before, but never thought it would affect me. I did several tests to see if it was definitely milk and, sure enough, the day after my porridge I would have horrible under the skin blemishes. Every single time. It may not bother everyone, but it’s worth looking into just incase.

So they’re all the things I did to make my skin better. As said previously, it’s still not perfect and I have a long way to go to make it really clear, but it’s a hell of a lot better than it was! Hope some of you find this helpful and if you have any skin tips, let me know!

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