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I want to write about what experts are calling, problem skin, which is now becoming a seriously adult problem. I thought I'd left spots behind me in my teenage years but seems like I was wrong. Weirdly, when I hit my mid-twenties, it was like a switch being flicked and spots just started appearing. My skin was rarely without blemish or spot and it wasn't just on my face: my back and chest were also affected. Strapless tops and low-backed dresses were a definite no-no. And I even considered the problem when it came to buying my wedding dress. Was it my diet? Was it my skincare regime? Or was it hormones, genetics, what? I tried thousands of lotions and potions, with varying success.
Now I'm in my thirties, I'm happy to say that the problem isn't as big. I still suffer from the odd outbreak, but then again who doesn't. In the main, it tends to be hormonal, usually on my T-Zone. Now, I was prepared to be brave and go bare-faced but my camera isn't good enough that you will be able to see what I'm talking about and in the interests of not scaring you, that's probably just as well.
However, in my own experience, a trip to the doctors, was the turning point. I waited years before going, and wish I'd gone sooner. I was prescribed antibiotics and skin cream. It took a while but my skin eventually went back to normal. I also changed my diet and started eating meat again. Whilst it may not work for everyone, I worked for me. But I also found a number of brilliant products which have helped beyond measure. I wanted to share these problem skin products with you, in case these help you like they've helped me:
On a recent counter visit to Glasgow Fraser's Clinique counter, an extremely knowledgeable assistant called Aileen introduced me to Clinique's Anti-Blemish Solutions range. There's a cleanser £13.50, clarifying lotion toner, £16.50 and even a moituriser, £17.50 - all fantastic, products at affordable prices that I would definitely recommend. But the all round gold star product from this range, for me, is the Anti Blemish Solutions Cleansing Bar for Face & Body, £13. This product has worked wonders on my back and chest. I found it got rid of spots and blemishes and thoroughly cleansed my skin without drying it out. And at £13, it's brilliant price too.
Now for the all important cleanser, and I've tried hundreds over the years on my quest for clear skin. But recently I've been loving Australian beauty brand Jurlique. Its Purifying Foaming Cleanser, £27.50 from the oil control/ blemish range has been perfect for my skin. It doesn't leave skin feeling tight and looking dry, just clean and clear. I think the Witch Hazel and Green Tea in this product have specifically helped me but there's plenty other spot busting ingredients such as turmeric and grapeseed.
When it comes to moisturising skin, I used to be scared this was contributing to my problems: am i using too much?; is it too oily? There will be a moisturiser out there to suit you, perhaps one that matches your cleanser? They are, after all, made to go together so if there is one available then I'd recommend trying it. I'm a massive fan of Jurlique's Clarifying Day Care Lotion, £27.50. It's lightweight yet completely rehydrates my skin without leaving it oily or sticky. In the past I have perhaps been guilty of over-applying moisturiser because my skin can get dry. But in this case, I have applied one to two pumps to my fingertips, pressing it onto my skin and it has more than done the job. Plus pairs up perfectly with my Jurlique cleanser and it's great for my skin.
If you're prone to spots, have you considered using a weekly face mask? I didn't and wish someone had pointed me in the direction of the brilliant Bliss No 'zit' Sherlock Breakout-Bustin Rubberizing Mask, £35 for a pack of six. I think if I had to pinpoint on specific product which has had the most immediate, noticeable effect on my skin, then this would be it. It's rubber texture purges pores and it is packed full of spot zapping ingredients like seaweed which draws out impurities and detoxifies. There's also tea, willow and menthol extracts to control oil, help fade blemishes and prevent future break outs. Whether it's one specific ingredient or a combination, my skin has been clear since I started using the masks.
After you've used your applied your moisturiser in the morning, you may want a extra hand in your bid to rid yourself of problem skin. I've found Ole Henriksen's Blemish Attack Daily Defense Gel, £47, really helpful when it comes to controlling excessive oil production and the aloe vera ingredient help soothe any redness and calm skin. Ole Henriksen's range is available in the UK at here Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.
And when it comes to spot zapping, I've tried them all and will confess to a love for dousing spots in stinky TCP - not to be advised. However, I've recent managed to let go of the TCP bottle, and replace it with something altogether more effective - Benefit's Boo Boo Zap. This product has been relaunched just recently and reformulated. It contains breakout-busting salicylic and glycolic acides and costs £13.50. It barely smells, it works and it doesn't dry out or burn skin.
There are shelf-loads of products out there for you to try and these are just a handful of the ones I love, and which work for me, though they might not work for you. I would also recommend, if your skin is becoming a problem, you talk to your doctor about it.
And to finish, courtesy of fab beauty blogger Nicoletta over at Nicoletta's Beauty Space, these are few other products I plan to try: Korres Wild Rose 24-hour Moisturiser & Brightening Cream; and Li Ban Ireland's Simplicity Facial Bar - Deep Cleanse, €5.95EUR. I'm also going to be rustling up this face mask by Rowena at Cosmetic Candy's Easy Aspirin Mask and will let you know how I get on. But for now, here's to a bright, clear skin future.