January 08, 2013

Acne Arsenal: Some Skincare Tips

Never mind teenage spots, adult acne can be just as (if not more) traumatic. Spots can occur for adults due to a myriad of factors – hormones, stress, pregnancy, menopause, sugary foods and pollution can all make skin go a bit crazy. Women in their twenties and beyond will most commonly suffer with acne on the jaw line, which is directly related to hormones. This is a problem that I continue to battle myself, along with an oily to normal skin type which I am also constantly working to keep in check.

I've seen a lot of people online vowing to establish a decent skincare routine in 2013. With that in mind, I thought I'd strip everything back to basics, and share what I consider to be the most important steps in my own (religious) routine. Bear in mind I do also use eye cream and a few different type of face masks, but this is the bones of my skincare 'philosophy'!

Although they aren't all what I'm using right now, all of the products mentioned are ones that I have used and would recommend. I've included three in each category, so you've a bit of choice in terms of price and availability. So, without any more fuss, here's what works for me!


I'm sure we've all heard this one before, but it is worth following to the letter. The most basic step in your skincare routine is absolutely crucial in keeping spots at bay, and also in order to keep any breakout zones you do have as bacteria-free as possible. As soon as I get up in the morning, I simply have to wash my face with warm water. I know that some people might be afraid of stripping their skin by washing/cleansing it too much, but the foaming cleansers I use and recommend are soap-free, and I've had no issues with dryness. However, what works for me may not work for you (and vice versa), so do keep that in mind!

Zits will often occur because of dirt trapped in pores, so, in the evenings, remove your makeup as thoroughly and gently as possible. If you think it's necessary, you can follow up your initial cleanse with a gentle facewash, and purify deep down with a clay-based mask once or twice a week. Steer clear of facewipes - if you need a quick fix after a night out or a long day, go for a micellar solution on a cotton pad!

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Wash & Mask / Avène Cleanance Gel / La Roche Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel


We often neglect this step for fear of being too harsh on skin that may already be partially inflamed, but some gently exfoliation once a week is crucial for keeping skin clear and uncongested - think of it as removing roadblocks from your skin! Your face will also appear more radiant and feel softer after exfoliation, and make-up will be a lot easier to apply.

If you find yourself forgetting to exfoliate, the best thing to do is to keep one in the shower where you'll see it and use it then.I always make sure to apply a moisturiser or hydrating serum straight after exfoliating just to replenish the skin and compensate for the bit of 'rough' it has just been though!

Nuxe Rose Petals Gentle Exfoliating Gel / Avène Gentle Purifying Scrub / Vichy Normaderm


Topical treatments are essential for decongesting the skin and preventing further acne from occurring. Combine an all-over night-time treatment with a targeted zit cream for damage control while you sleep. A special mention has to go to my hero product from La Roche-Posay. Effaclar Duo has salvaged my skin from the inside out, and I cannot recommend it enough.

For targeted spot creams, try as many over-the-counter solutions before asking for something stronger, as many prescription zit creams are extremely drying, which won't really help in terms of acne scarring in the long run.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. / La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo / Sudocrem


Sadly, even spot treatments come with their own side-effects. Even the gentler ones can dry out the skin with prolonged use. Get the balance right by using a light moisturising serum or treatment every second night – even if your skin is oily, you are probably still dehydrated deeper in the dermis. Don’t forget to cut down on the fizzy drinks and to drink as much water as possible. I do find it hard to put down the Diet Coke, but see a major improvement every time I increase my water intake.

I still use a regular moisturiser during the day, but I always use a serum beforehand, and I think that a good hydrating serum is probably one of the most important products in my routine. It keeps my skin balanced and stops it from being too dehydrated without adding any extra oil. Many serums are actually great bases for make-up, and will add that radiance and plump quality back to the skin like no other product can!

Clarins Hydraquench Bi-Phase Serum / Nuxe Serum Crème Fraiche de Beauté / La Roche-Posay Hydraphase Intense Serum

So, that's the end of my ridiculous skincare ramble! I hope that this helps any of you out there struggling with bad skin - mine is never going to be naturally flawless, but with this routine I've got it looking better than it had in years. If you're trying to establish a good routine, try not to think of it as a chore - make time for it and enjoy it. I've come to love skincare more than I do makeup, and I love the ritual of taking my make-up off and applying all of my lotions and potions! 


  1. La Roche-Posay Efeclar is my all time favorite skincare product. I have seriously oily skin and it helps so much! Sudocreme is also one of the best spot treatments around in my opinion.


    1. It's great, really rebalances the skin! I still love Sudocrem too! x

  2. Dee just to clarify, do you use the hydrphase, and then apply regular moisutriser on top of it??? great post btw :)

    1. Hey Có, yeah I usually do. Hydraphase serum is great on its own too but I like to use the moisturiser with it for sun protection. If I'm going out in the evening I'll just use the serum alone x

  3. Hi Dee!
    Thank you so much for this lovely review.
    My New Year's resolution that I've been sticking to so far - keep my hands away from my skin. I've had the bad habit of picking at my skin when stressed and also touching it unawarely during the day (have been told so by my mom and even some friends - eek!). I'm only 4 days into the new way of keeping myself (let's say the first days of 2013 made for some practice time) and the results are amazing! My adult acne is clearing up nicely + I'm feeling totally different about my skin.. and the new year.

    1. Aw thank you and I'm so glad to hear that!

  4. PS I really really like Viva Adonis, one of the blogs I check out on Google Reader every day :)

  5. I have SUCH oily skin, it's an absolute battle! Coming to think that I have Rosacea as well, just to make things even more fun to deal with. I find Origin's cleansing oil fantastic as my evening first cleanse - absolutely rebalances my skin. Lush's aqua marina face wash has clay in it too, so I use that as my second cleanse and the calamine in it soothes as well as cleansing. Using Liquid Gold once a week has drastically improved my skin as well. Have my eye on the Clarins Lotus Oil, bit spendy so I might treat myself to it for my birthday this month.

    I love the Normaderm range, I use the Mattifying moisturiser and it's fab. I tend to use the 3 in 1 as a mask but after seeing this will definitely have to remember to use it as a scrub, too!

    1. I love Aqua Marina too... I've yet to try a cleansing oil!

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