I never really suffered with my skin during my teenage years. Aside from the occasional spot, I got away with having relatively clear skin and this continued throughout my twenties. Then I reached my thirties, and had two children, and since then I've been struggling to keep the breakouts under control. I recently learned that this is called adult acne.
Acne is really common, it affects over 80% of people at some point in their lives. It's not something that only teenagers get; many suffer in their 20s, 30s and even 40s. It is caused by hormones and bacteria which lead to oiliness, spots and blemishes. In my case, my skin breaks out once a month, just before my period is due. The acne is horrendous for several days, with my skin becoming oily and with red, inflamed spots mostly on my cheeks. After a week or so, my skin starts to calm down, but it takes me the rest of the month to really get my skin smooth and under control again, and by that time I am due another breakout. I also scar easily, and have lots of little marks on my cheeks caused by acne scarring. It really, really gets me down.
I recently read Perfectly Clear by Dr Nick Lowe and Dr Philippa Lowe, which accompanies the launch of their acclenz range. The book explores the myths and facts surrounding acne, and really helped me to understand why my skin breaks out the way it does, and how to cope with it. Many moons ago I actually trained in beauty therapy, but acne is something that is beyond my holistic approach to skincare. Perfectly Clear explains what caused acne and what can be done to prevent and treat it. Did you know that stress, lack of sleep and certain foods can worsen acne?
The book also explains what ingredients to look for and avoid in skincare products and cosmetics, as there are many ingredients that are comodegenic, which means they clog pores. It tells you how doctors can help if high street products aren't helping, and explains all about the prescription treatments that are available.
Over the last few months I have been experimenting with different products and changing my skincare routine to try to control the acne breakout. The products I currently use are:
- grapeseed oil as a make-up remover
- Dr Jart Most Moist Water-Act Skin Mist (I alternate between the three toners)
With my current routine I am managing to keep my skin under control for most of the month, and when my skin breaks out I've be able to quickly soothe and lessen the blemishes. This month my skin has been the best it has ever been in a long while; I have still suffered with breakouts but they haven't been as severe.
Last week I saw my GP to have a mole checked, and armed with the knowledge from the Perfectly Clear book I plucked up the courage to also mention how upset I have been over my skin. To my amazement, the GP was so kind and supportive, and without any hesitation she said she would prescribe an antibiotic lotion for me to add into my routine along with the products I am currently using. It can take several weeks for it to have a positive effect, but I'm hoping that this will be the final push needed to get clearer skin once and for all. Watch this space...
I received a copy of Perfectly Clear to review. This post contains affiliate links.