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My Acne Struggle and Favourite Cleansers and Exfoliants

Beautiful skin is the often the foundation to gorgeous makeup (no pun intended!). I never struggled with acne as a teenager, I often got compliments on how smooth and perfect my skin was. Fast forward to my early 20s and it was a different story, my skin was super congested and I started getting acne and blocked pores, mainly on my cheeks. Once I was at makeup school using heavy foundations which were for meant for film and tv I started developing painful cystic acne. Even when I would take my makeup off at the end of the day my skin couldn't handle it. I realised I had been using the complete wrong products for my sensitive skin. St Ives Scrubs, Nivea creams, heavy foundations, I had no knowledge of what to use on my skin. Even when I started breaking out I would use products for specifically for acne and benzoyl peroxide formulas but they would sometimes aggravate my skin even more. I would also get expensive peels that I was promised would improve my skin only to make it 10 times worse! It is really difficult to know what to use and who to trust; it is only through a process of trial and error that we can figure out and get to know what our skin likes and dislikes. My skin is by no means perfect now but it has improved a lot, I still have scars but I hardly get blemishes anymore and I have smooth skin and less blocked pores. With acne and bumpy, congested skin, proper cleansing and exfoliation is key, here is what has been working for me:

My Favourite Cleansers + Exfoliants:

1. Fresh Soy Face Wash which you can get here for $38: After too many peels and harsh products I remember using this cleanser and my skin immediately calming down. The initial reaction to acne is to use strong products to get rid of it, but sometimes we need to use gentle products to calm down our angry skin. This cleanser is good for ALL skin types and to use everyday, AM and PM; what I love about it is that it also removes makeup and is gentle enough to use on the eyes! At night I generally will remove my makeup with micellar water first then follow up with this to remove the remaining traces and residue of makeup.

2. I like to double cleanse using is the Murad Clarifying Cleanser $30 now this is a stronger cleanser for acne which contains Salicylic acid however it also has green tea extract which also has that soothing effect. I find my skin works best with a combination of soothing and stronger products. This cleanser really keeps acne and oil at bay I like to use it once a day or whenever my skin needs to feel extra clean, using it both morning and night can be a little drying for me. Double cleansing the Fresh Soy face cleanser and the Murad Clarifying Cleanser has been the perfect cocktail for my congested, sensitive acne prone skin without being too drying.

3. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% Now this acid has been a game changer! Usually lactic acids and acids in generally can be quite pricey but this one is only $6.80! I honestly can't rave about this product enough, I apply it at night after cleansing and wake up with the most perfect, radiant, smooth skin. If you are new to acids you can start with the 5% which is gentler and then build your way up. My skin texture has improved dramatically and scars have also faded. I have tried glycolic acid in the past but never saw any improvements from it, however everyone's skin responds uniquely.

Of course we all know that that diet, lifestyle and exercise are important factors in order to have beautiful, radiant skin. The cause of each person's acne will be different, again it is through trial and error to figuring what works. After years of worrying about my skin and fighting it I decided to try a different approach. I sat back and let it be, no checking on my skin obsessively everyday. This might sound controversial but I avoided mirrors especially in harsh lighting, this was to avoid seeing skin imperfections and worrying and picking at it. I would just glance at myself occasionally when I felt the most confident but not analyse my skin in detail. I would also avoid those magnifying mirrors- those are the worse for people who like to pick their skin! Instead of worrying why isn't my skin getting better I just relaxed and I felt my skin relaxed too. The skin is an organ and needs time to heal especially if you are using harsh products and trying different things all the time.

I also stopped wearing face makeup i.e. foundation, bb creams etc. This can be difficult because you want to cover up your spots and scars to feel more confident but often makeup can clog the pores and it becomes a cycle of concealing and breaking out. Even though I am a makeup artist I think not everyone's skin is suited to wearing makeup daily especially if you have clogged pores or acne. Look out for makeup that is non comedogenic but even with those products I am slightly sceptical. Now I only wear a light weight concealer only on the areas I need, I am ok with my scars being visible; if I am going out at night I will wear a tinted moisturise combined with concealer and powder in the T zone, but that's it! I also believe that textured skin looks worse with foundation, but there is a special way you can apply it to look natural but still covered up which I can go into in another post or video.

Those are my tips for now will be adding in more products and posts on skincare in the future!