For the last four months, I’ve been having my own little skincare nightmare. It’s been a long and annoying road of trying out different products (some good, some very very bad) before I’ve finally started feeling like myself again. Because bad skin can be hard to deal with. Especially when you’re not used to it, or it suddenly gets much more problematic than usual. I felt quite self conscious, and ended up wearing more makeup than usual to cover it up, which of course only made things worse. Here’s the story so far, and a review of some of the best (and worst) products that I’ve tried along the way.
In the middle of December last year, I caught Chicken Pox. At the age of 25, two weeks before Christmas. Chicken Pox. I just thought I’d reiterate that in case you didn’t take it how utterly rubbish it was the first time around.
What a nice pressie from the universe. Cheers for that.
My mum was never quite sure whether or not I’d had it when I was little (because I had a nasty rash as a baby that sort of maybe could have been Chicken Pox?), but it turns out nah. Saving that for later on in life when it could really kick my arse properly.
I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but it was pretty gross and quite possibly the most pain I’ve ever been in. And I’ve broken bones. Plural. I was trying to be really good and not scratch, but I’ve still ended up with a couple of little minor scars on my face and stomach.
The only thing that helped take the edge off was ALL of the antihistamines (thank God for medicine) and some good ol’ calamine lotion. I used an entire tube in about 4 days. Problem is, you can’t rub calamine lotion in properly or you’ll pop the pox, and you can’t scrub your face to wash the residue off before you apply another layer. When the Chicken Pox was finally gone (hallelujah), I looked like an acne ridden teenager - Merry Christmas to me. My poor skin was so congested that my normal skincare routine just didn’t make any difference.
Enter Alpha AH Liquid Gold. I was doing some blog trawling, looking for anything that might help me out, and this name kept popping up. Everyone seems to rave about it. It sounded pretty full on (it’s basically a mild acid), but judging by the reviews I read I thought it should do the trick. Now I can only speak for myself, but for me it was horrific. My skin did appear generally smoother, and I got fewer blackheads, but in their place I kept getting COLOSSAL spots. We’re talking two a week, those really big painful bump ones that take forever to go away. I persevered for a while, thinking that my skin would get used to it and calm down a bit, but it didn’t really happen and after two and a half months (!) I thought it was time to move on. Other people seem to find it amazing, so maybe give it a go, but it just wasn’t for me.
For a bit I just went back to my usual Clinique cleanser and make up remover, but it just wasn’t doing the same job as before and I was still getting spots (although in fairness not as badly as with Liquid Gold). To kick things up a notch, I added Sanctuary Spa’s Warming Detox Charcoal Wash cleanser. I read somewhere that double cleansing is the ‘thing’ to sort out your skin, so I started using it after Clinique’s Take The Day Off. It’s amazing. My skin has honestly never felt cleaner. The only downside was that I started feeling like my face was a little tight and dry, so I boosted my moisture levels with Clarins HydraQuench Cream alongside my usual night cream (Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask). I’m not exaggerating when I say that the Clarins moisturiser is an absolute godsend. It’s quite pricey, but it feels super light, sinks in straight away and keeps my skin soft and flake free all day long. Also, my makeup sits on top well without sliding off within five minutes, which I’ve had with other moisturisers. Definitely worth splashing out on.
By this point, my skin was pretty much under control again, but I found I would still get the odd angry spot along my jawline. Feeling a bit like an embarrassed teenager, I picked up these Boots Tea Tree & Witch Hazel goodies on a whim (and also, 3 for 2 - love ya Boots) and bam. Just like that, I’m pretty much back to normal. The Facial Mask contains charcoal like the Sanctuary Spa cleanser, so I save that for the days when I need an extra boost, whilst the Spot Wand and Blemish Stick have become daily fixtures in my routine. The Spot Wand is especially good, as there’s both a day and night end. It smells a bit pungent, but that dies away in a couple of minutes and it’s really doing the job. The Blemish Stick now lives in my handbag to ward off anything that seems like it might want to creep up on me during the day. Girl gotta have some ammo.
To try and get rid of the little scars that are left, I've been using Bio Oil. ALL THE TIME. Fingers crossed, but it's not the end of the world if they stay as fortunately they're not too noticeable.
So here we are, up to today. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster, and at times I started to feel like I was 17 again (no, I do not miss you, teenage face), but I think - okay, hope - that I’ve cracked it now. Also, word to the wise, the Sephora High Coverage Concealer I picked up a couple of weeks ago has been amazing for covering those last few blemishes I haven’t kicked yet. It has great coverage and it actually stays put ALL DAY.
If any of you have top tips for other products I should try out, holla at me and fix a girl up! I’d love to hear from you and compare some notes. Also, don’t forget to make friends with me on Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest, and follow me on Bloglovin’ to make sure you don’t miss my next post… Love x