Acne 101 – Products that really work

Acne 101 – Products that really work

There are a hell of a lot of products out there claiming to zap your zits, and a lot of them are quite pricy. I suffered from acne for a couple of years – don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t severe or anything and I’ve seen a hell of a lot worse, but over the years I tried so many products. A lot of the products I tried made no difference, but some really did. So I’m going to share with you what worked for me, so you can skip straight to trying the good ones.

Before I get into this, I want to be clear that in the end I had to go on antibiotics to clear up my acne, so none of these products completely zapped the whole lot like that. In truth though, that isn’t going to happen – acne is an infection and needs antibiotics (either topical or in the form of tablets) to truly get rid of it. However, I found some really great products along the way that helped heal spots quicker, helped with the dry sore skin that comes with acne, and really helped me to avoid any scarring. It’s now three years since I started my antibiotics for my acne and for the last year my skin has been fantastic – I probably get 1/2 spots a week now, and there’s not a single scar from the acne.

The first product, which I cannot recommend enough, is aloe vera gel. I tend to use the brand Fruit of the Earth or Banana Boat. It is honestly a miracle worker. It’s such a natural healer and can be used for a huge variety of skin problems. My dad suffered from scoliosis on his leg for about 40 years, but after a few weeks of applying this cream it healed up and completely disappeared. I really think the aloe vera made a massive difference to my skin, it was moisturising and at the same helped my skin to heal really quickly. It’s so cheap and can be found in most pharmacists or failing that, on Amazon. It doesn’t make your face look shiny and feel horrible like most products, and I actually used it as a primer under my make-up for years as it really tightens your skin. It’s so worth trying and I swear by the stuff! (Just don’t get it anywhere near your eyes because damn that stuff stings)

Next up would have to be Palmer’s cocoa butter oil. This stuff is great for scars – I recently had some really bad bites on my leg and this has really really helped to fade the scars. I also think it worked really well on my spots. Acne is known for leaving garish scars behind, the bigger the spot usually the deeper the mark – so this was something I was really worried about.

What’s the point in clearing it all up if afterwards I’m still going to be covered in marks? When the antibiotics kicked in and my spots started disappearing I did still have lots of red dots where they’d been for a few months – but when I started using this oil they quickly started to fade and now I’m scar-free. It’s an oil, so obviously its quite greasy. At first I used it day and night, i used to put it on under my make-up – which wasn’t a good look but it was important to wear it as often as possible while I had a chance to reverse the damage. After a while though, I just wore it at night, and now I don’t need it at all! Again, this stuff is available at most pharmacists and isn’t expensive at all.

I couldn’t not sing the praises of good old Sudocrem. My Mom has been an avid Sudocrem user for as long as I can remember – I’d fall over in the playground and I’d have sudocrem straight on that graze, I got sunburn, a rash, a bite.. always Sudocrem. It didn’t fail me when it came to spots either. I’d pop a bit on each spot before I went to bed at night and it would always be half the size and half as red the next morning. However, I will warn, don’t just slather it over your entire face because that will 100% dry your skin out. Even when I was pore spot than clear skin, I’d sit and dot each individual spot – a bit time consuming but by far worth the work.

Boots also do an amazing range of witch hazel and tea tree products that are kind of drying, but in moderation really do the trick. I also found that their back spray is fantastic for spots on your back and chest – I still use it when I get occasional flare ups on my chest and it zaps the lot in a few days so I would 150% recommend that stuff. It’s really cheap too!

Lastly, if you want a hardcore moisturiser that won’t double your spots, Nivea is the way to go. Their everyday oil-free moisturiser isn’t too greasy and won’t make your skin worse at all. You can also get aloe vera moisturisers – like the gel but extra moisturising. Tesco do their own aloe vera moisturiser with a minimum added extras and it’s really great for your skin. I used to slather layer after layer of these two moisturisers on when my skin was super dry, and they always made a huge difference within 24 hours.

I thought I’d also mention some home remedies that I thought made a difference. I tried just about everything from rubbing potatoes on my skin to slathering it in honey – I hope that’s given you a good image of me. There were two things though that I thought really helped, salt water and avocado. I found that Avocado mixed with just a tiny bit of antibacterial honey and milk was a good moisturising face pack. Salt water was also good for healing my skin – just don’t over too it, once a week is plenty, you don’t want to dry it out.

Don’t get caught up my brands with lots of celebs shouting their name – they’ve been paid to love them. I tried lots of popular brands like freederm and Proactiv, but in the end found that the best products were the more natural and less heard of ones.

I really hope this helps anyone out their suffering from acne and you can skip straight to using the products that actually are worth buying. If you know of any great products for spots, let me and other readers know in the comments! Thanks for reading – feel free to check out my previous post ‘LaLaLab – polaroids to your door‘ and use my £5 discount code! Or you can find me over on my Twitter and Instagram!

Natural skincare favourites

Natural skincare favourites

After suffering from acne for two years from 2013-2015 I have a hell of a lot of experience with skincare products and what works and what doesn’t. I was forever being advised to try different scrubs/creams/masks and after years of trialling what was probably hundreds of products, I have finally found my favourite products.

The one big breakthrough I had that really helped me to clear up my acne was that I realised that less is definitely more. I know when you’re covered in blemishes and you’re desperate to change that, you want to do something about it – so you scrub at your face and plaster it in numerous different chemical-packed substances but actually, you’d be so much better off leaving it all alone.

My go-to skincare routine currently involves a bar of Dove soap, Aloe Vera gel, St Ives Apricot Scrub and Freeman face masks. Yes, that’s right. No special zit-zapping soap or creams. Just these guys and some water.

When I finally cut out the zit-zapping cleansers and creams and switched to a standard, good old Dove bar of soap and Aloe Vera gel (twice a day, morning and night) my skin rapidly improved. Now I won’t lie, I was also on antibiotics to help clear up my acne, but the antibiotics take a couple of months to kick in and my face started clearing up way too early for it to have been the antibiotics – I believe it was down to the lack of harsh chemical-filled products.

The dove soap is super natural, as is the aloe vera gel. Equally, the St Ives scrub that I use very sparingly once a week is super gentle on your skin and super natural. The facemarks that I use once every other week are also full of natural goodness – using ingredients like sugar, seaweed and yet again, aloe vera, they’re really gentle on your skin but still do their job in keeping it clean and baby smooth.

The key to keeping clear, happy and gorgeous skin, I believe from my experience, is being gentle and keeping a consistent routine with the same natural products. It probably sounds crazy to some of you, probably like it’s going to create more spots than it will get rid of. I’m not saying it will work for everyone, but for me, being gentle and therefore keeping irritation to an absolute minimum made a world of difference.

You can buy aloe vera gel from most chemists/pharmacies and I get my Freeman facemarks and Dove soap bars from Tesco. The St Ives Apricot face scrub is available on Amazon, here. The apricot scrub is a little on the pricier side, but it’s 100& worth it, the other products though, are really reasonably priced and work wonders.

If you decide to give any of these products a go, let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions for other natural, gentle skincare products then please feel free to let me know in the comments as I’m always on the look out for new little gems!

Thank you for reading, if you haven’t already, check out my last post, ‘gooey vegan brownie goodness’ and stick around for a huge clothes haul coming on Tuesday!