March 25th, 2016
This is me this morning, with no makeup.
Necklace: Jenny Bird
I’ve been asked plenty of times to talk about my skincare routine, but never did for a few reasons that I will explain in this blog post. The picture up here hasn’t been retouched so you can see me and my uneven skin complexion (although the light definitely reduces the redness). I’m pretty comfortable with showing my skin now, but it wasn’t always like that, and to be completely honest, some days I still don’t feel like showing my bare skin when I’m outside.
I have been dealing with mild acne for many years now, and today I want to share some of the things I’ve learned and the products I use. During the past two weeks my skin has been acting up (it’s starting to clear up now), because after 9 months of being on birth control, I suddenly stopped and my skin reacted accordingly. This is why I felt like it was a good time for me to share my experiences, and show you how my skin naturally looks like without any “help” or medications.
So before I talk about actual products, let me give you some information: during my teen years I had some periods of mild acne, nothing very noticeable, which eventually stopped once I reached my twenties. For about a year my skin was lovely, no breakouts, not oily and not dry either.
When I moved to Los Angeles a few years ago, for work, something changed: I woke up, one morning, thinking that I had some kind of allergic reaction – small red and itchy bumps all over my face. I decided to give it a few days, but those tiny spots became much bigger, painful, and even cysts formed. In a week, my skin was a mess: not really knowing much about acne and what products to use, I went to the super market and bought all the things I could find, trying out way too many things at once, causing my skin to get more irritated and overall worsening the situation.
My skin was peeling, bleeding, while being oily and painful. I never felt more embarrassed in my entire life, and so I closed myself inside my room for about two weeks. Then it was time for me to go back home, in Italy, and when I showed my mom how bad the situation was, she promptly helped by giving me iron, vitamins and told me not to worry and just take some time off and relax.
That made a big change, and in another few weeks my skin started to clear up: it stopped producing spots, and it left me with marks and a few little scars, that with time luckily disappeared. I was happy that things were getting better, but after months my complexion was getting really oily and uneven.
In this period I tried almost anything, from working out, eating a very clean diet, using only natural products as skincare, to stronger treatments available like “Exposed” and the “Clinique Acne Solution” (to name some). Trust me, I tried so many different things, hoping they would make a difference. I even kept a journal in which I wrote daily to track any progress.
I gave it time, but at one point I just wasn’t happy with it anymore. I made the decision to see a dermatologist, which helped me a lot in terms of understanding what condition I had and what products I should use in my skin and what not to. She told me I had mild cystic acne, that could hopefully be cured by taking antibiotics and a topic treatment.
These two combined (Tetralysal and Epiduo) gave me amazing results very quickly: my skin had no redness, no spots what so ever. The only thing I couldn’t get rid of was the oiliness, but that didn’t bother me all that much. After doing my 3 months as suggested using these products, I had to take a break. A month later, I was dealing with acne again.
My dermatologist prescribed me more antibiotics, but the problem is that you can’t just keep taking them forever: I needed something that wouldn’t cause side-effects on the long term, but that would still be effective.
That’s when I started to look into birth control, having heard that it does work for some people when it comes to curing acne. I went to the doctor and asked for it; I was explained how there are different ones available and what they do, but wanting the pill mainly for obtaining a better skin, she suggested I would take Dianette. She informed me it’s a strong pill and could give me severe side-effects, but I should try it for 3 months and take it from there.
And so I did, and at the beginning, it was incredible. My skin stopped being oily, it looked wonderful, no acne. I was incredibly happy to have found something like this, because it also, obviously, made my periods regular and less painful, while helping with my skin problems. I kept checking in with my doctor as I was taking it, but failed to notice one thing: I started feeling nauseous after a few hours from taking it, every night; and any time I would stop a week to allow my period to come, I would have terrible nausea. I never connected the fact that the pill might have been the cause of this, mainly because I travel a lot and I always thought it was just due to the jet lag and stress.
I’m not sure you are aware of it, but my biggest fear is to vomit. I can’t deal with it, it scares me so much, even just the idea of it.
And so 3 weeks ago, for the first time in 9 years, I did vomit. And I realised that my body couldn’t handle the pill anymore. I stopped taking it instantly and decided to take a break from it for a month. I’m going back to my doctor in a week to switch to a different one, hoping that it will be less strong but still cure my acne. If you are in the same situation and know about a pill that gets the job done, do let me know, so I can ask my doctor about it!
But for now, I would like to share with you the products I love to use, and sorry for taking so long to get to this point.
In the morning, I wash my face with just cold water. I apply this Lush eye cream, which is one of the best I’ve ever owned as it doesn’t irritate my eyes (the skin around them is very sensitive, and this doesn’t give me any problems) and then I apply my cucumber lotion by Boots, which is much lighter than a moisturiser, and it’s actually very cheap and a tube of this has lasted me such a long time.
In the evening I make sure I clean my skin really well, no make up residue allowed. I put a few drops of Bioderma on 3 different cotton pads – two for my eyes and one for the rest of the face – and remove everything. I wash my face with warm water and use a towel to pat it dry. I then apply this Tarte eye cream, which gives me more moisture compared to the one I use in the morning; move onto oil, currently the Black Pomegranate one from Skin Food; and finally apply a layer of moisturiser by Nars.
Once or twice a week I will pamper my skin, starting with a scrub – either the one from Vasanti if I want something very fine, or the one from Skin Food if I really need something strong to get rid of dead skin – and then move onto a face mask: my two favourite ones are the ones shown below. I will use the Garnier one if I’m having breakouts and oily skin, because it does miracles to my skin (I have been using it for years and also works great as a spot treatment); instead I will go for some Manuka Honey if I notice that my skin is starting to get a few spots or is dryer than usual, as not only it makes my skin feel super soft after, but it also calms any irritation and kills bacteria.
One thing I can’t forget is to apply a spot treatment at night, when needed, and for the past 6 months I have been using Evanhealy, which isn’t too strong and does a good job.
That’s all for my skincare, I hope this can help someone because I sure know how difficult it is trying to find things that work. Obviously, everyone has a different skin type and products that work for me might not be good for you, but being asked to talk about this topic for a long time, I wanted to take my time and really explain as much as I could about my situation.
Do you deal with acne? Or any other skin conditions? If you do, make sure you share in the comments what helps you, so that we can all help each other out!
Either way, one thing that helped me feeling confident even if my skin isn’t looking too great, is to remember that we are always more critical about ourselves, and something that might seem awful for us, might not even be noticed by others. So instead of stopping yourself from going out because you feel a bit self-conscious, forget about it, smile and enjoy your day. It’s worth it!