Clear skin solutions

My skin circa the time I rediscovered moisturiser

Obviously there are lots of products and options out there aimed at clearing your skin and preventing breakouts, and all of them claim to work. Yet if this is true why are most of us still on the hunt for perfect, clear skin?

While I am no expert, I have been prone to spots and breakouts since I was around 17 and during this time I have tried and tested tons of products, tablets and pills and read up on herbal remedies, Googled a lot, and interviewed dermatologists and nutritionists (both for jobs and for myself).

Going to the doctor is always a good idea, even if you don't think your skin is bad enough to justify this kind of medical attention - honestly they'll help. However you really should consider whether or not you want to go down the prescription route as tablets all have side effects and they don't always work.

After trying various tablets and pills to no avail I recently decided to go down the natural route. I stopped taking the antibiotics I had been prescribed and all was well, my skin even seemed to clear up completely, so I decided to stop using my Benzoyl peroxide gel I had been prescribed too (a thin gel which you apply once or twice a day) because it does dry out your skin, and I was concerned it would give me early wrinkles and what not (apparently it doesn't). PLUS when I went to Boots for a skin type test (which I would recommend, they use a little machine to determine your oiliness/dryness/ageing etc, then suggest relevant products) I was told my skin was actually really dry, not oily and this could in itself be causing the spots as the dry skin could clog pores.

So I invested in a hot cloth cleanser and No. 7's normal/dry moisturisers (I only got both day and night because it was 3 for the price of 2, it really isn't vital as they're practically the same but the day one has SPF and the night one is ever so slightly thicker in consistency). Soon after starting this regime my skin cleared up and I got cocky and stopped using my Benzoyl peroxide cream, stopped taking Yasmin (a pill which doctors usually suggest to anyone who goes to them with skin complaints) and obviously had already stopped taking any other skin tablets so I was loving life feeling super healthy and natural.

Then I got a breakout. This was so frustrating as my skin actually felt glowing and moisturised again then bam, back to having to use drying products. I did however decide this time that I could in fact use the Benzoyl peroxide gel sparingly, once a day maybe instead of twice and use moisturiser along with it. Previously I was avoiding any skin product that wasn't aimed at spot prone skin which meant none of my skin products were particularly moisturising, and in fact most were drying which, as Boots pointed out, probably wasn't helping.

So after all of this experimentation my conclusions for healthy, glowing, clear skin are as follows:

1. Don't be tempted to touch your face or any spots you might get. I am so guilty of this, but every time I have asked a skin expert for advice or further medication they have told me the best thing I can do isn't to take tablets it's to just stop touching my face. And when I have actually fully concentrated on this my skin has gotten a million times better. So yeah guilty of creating the majority of my problems myself.

2. Secondly do try a Benzoyl peroxide gel. BP is what's used in the majority of spot treatments and is proven to work which is why it's recommended by the docs. It breaks down surface skin cells to get rid of spots (kinda like a chemical peel which you pay $$$$$ for) and prevents new ones forming thanks to its antibacterial properties. Plus it literally eliminates oily skin. If your skin is super oily it will probably solve all your problems, mine is combination so it tends to make it a bit dry when I use it every single day. You can get this prescribed by your doctor and you can purchase online from Chemist Direct. This is the one I use, Acnecide (the name really makes me believe in it), but this one, PanOxyl, is slightly stronger.

3. Thirdly - don't stop moisturising. Moisturised skin doesn't mean spots, oily skin does. As you use a non-comedogenic (none pore blocking) range, it won't give you spots. All No. 7's products are non-comedogenic and they're a good price so if in doubt, go to the No.7 counter. I currently use the Beautiful Skin Normal/Dry day cream, the night cream from the same range and their hot cloth cleanser. And as my face is 10 x paler than my body I occasionally use Xen tan face moisturiser which doesn't seem to break me out. I used to use Dove's tanning moisturiser on my face as well as my body when I wanted a tan, until the lady in Boots told me this was a terrible, terrible thing to do (apparently body moisturisers are too thick for your face and will suffocate your pores - skin sin no. 1).

4. Do take supplements if you can afford them. Probiotics, ZincEvening Primrose Oil and vitamin B6 are among those with spot preventing properties. Probiotics help balance gut bacteria which can cause acne, zinc could help because people who suffer from acne often have lower levels of it, while Evening Primrose Oil and vitamin B6 balance hormones. I try to take them daily, and fail, but when I do manage they do seem to make a difference. After all our bodies are much better at looking after themselves if we provide them with the correct nutrients/fuel to do so, and though some people say we should be achieving this through our diet, lets face it most of don't. I mean, obviously try to eat as much fruit and veg as poss, as they all have vitamins and nutrients which help our immune systems and general health including that of our skin.

5. Avoid dairy. Dairy is the only food really shown to correlate with bad skin (in an actual expert study and also in my life). Plus why do you need cows milk when almond milk exists, it's so much tastier and lower in calories by like 1 million percent.

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