Dealing with acne & products that helped my skin

Hello, Irina here. I hope you’re well and hanging in there during these uncertain times we’re living. Today we’re talking about acne, my experience and every product that actually helped heal my skin.

The NHS states that 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent. I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t have this problem growing up. I had a couple spots during that time of the month, but apart from that I’ve always had clear skin.

Summer 2019 – my skin with absolutely no filter on.

A little bit of background info, I’ve always taken really good care of my skin. I started with a gentle face wash and a very moisturising face cream and when I started playing with makeup, I introduced double cleansing and did more research in order to find suitable products for my skin type. I then added face masks into the mix and cleansing devices. And of course, SPF – always. So, over the years, I became very passionate about skincare and nowadays I invest even more time and money in finding products that will do my skin good.

However, recently I have experienced a form of acne I’ve never encountered before. All of a sudden, spots appeared on my cheeks and chin and they didn’t seem to go away with my usual skincare routine.

By the end of January I had stopped eating meat completely and the only dairy products I still ate were yogurts and cheese (I am a cheese lover for life!). So, I decided to implement in my diet meat alternatives which were made with soy, mycoprotein, or simply from vegetables. My hormones were starting to get confused and then in February I flew to Romania to go on holiday and they got even more confused. I had a couple spots, here and there, but I blamed it on travelling and my body adapting to a new way of living. My skin got a bit better during my time back home, but when I returned to London my skin got even worse. I was staring to worry because my skincare routine did not change at all in the meantime and I had no clue what was causing it. Of course, I also started a new job and Covid-19 also happened in the same time frame, so there was a lot of stress added to the mix.

My acne was starting to get to me and I felt desperate because I didn’t know exactly what was causing it. Is it hormonal? Is it something I am eating? Is it stress? These were the questions that were running through my mind.

The link between nutrition and acne has been debated over the years and it’s a very controversial topic, so I did some digging. There is one certain link between acne development and food that has a high glycaemic index – a rating system for foods that contain carbohydrates, which shows how quickly each food affects your glucose (blood sugar) level when that food is eaten on its own. What’s more, acne has been linked to a number of mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, social isolation and poor body image. Having an overall balanced diet, is of course good for your health. There are some foods we should avoid, such as dairy, sugar and red meat, as they cause inflammation, so it’s best to reduce their consumption. If you wnat to learn more about acne, thankfully, Caroline Hirons has put together a cheat sheet, which you can find here.

At one point, my mom (trust that mom instinct, gals) suggested I stop eating those meat-alternatives, which were full of sugar by the way, I mentioned at the beginning of this post. And I did. Slowly, but surely, my skin started to be less inflamed. Afterwards, I still needed something to cure them and also prevent their apparition.

We are all so different and what works for me, doesn’t mean could work for you and vice versa.

My sister had some issues with her skin too – she did some research and decided to go for a routine with products from The Ordinary, which helped her skin get on the right track. She recommended I looked into TO too. I decided to try three of the products my sister suggested: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA to reduce the looks of spots; Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 to help with hydration; and Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes. My skin got visibly better after adding these products in my routine, however, there was a shortage of Niacinamide and Alpha Arbutin on every website in the UK and I had to reorientate.

If you are a skin fanatic like myself (and you are from Romania) you have to watch, listen, follow Daiana Anghel. I dug through her highlights where she saved specific facts about skin types, products and overall valuable skin-related info and jotted down some products I wanted to try out.

Let’s talk skincare…

Products I am now using…

I am working from home and very rarely applying skin makeup.

Distillery Clean Break Cleanser (when wearing face makeup)

Micellar Cleansing Water for Sensitive Skin

Garnier Micellar Gel Face Wash Sensitive Skin

Garnier Organic Thyme Perfecting Toner (in the evening)

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (I have a water spray bottle to apply before the HA)

SVR SEBIACLEAR Active (holy grail – anti-mark treatment for spots and blackheads)

Avene Hydrance Aqua-Gel (which I absolutely adore!)

SVR Sun Secure Crème SPF50+ or SVR SENSIFINE AR Crème SPF50+

My skin’s texture is starting to return to normal, my pores are getting smaller and I have that healthy glow I haven’t seen since last summer (welcome back!).

I know for a fact that these products are working wonders because my skin is improving with each application. I took it one step further and I swapped my face makeup products with noncomedogenic ones. I will be back with more on this soon.

I cannot wait to go to a dermatologist to inform myself better on what my skin needs and take care of it as it deserves. What I can say is that I am extremely happy I found these amazing (skin-saving) products.

Let me know in the comments or message me on Instagram to share your journey with acne. I hope this was somewhat helpful and that you know you are not alone. Almost everyone has dealt with or is currently dealing with acne, so inform yourself, visit a dermatologist and take care of your skin.

See you soon x Irina

Author: irinaiacob

I am a journalist from Bucharest, Romania, currently trying my luck in London. I believe that "knowledge is power but enthusiasm pulls the switch." I have a passion for filming and editing photos and videos. I always write with a cup of coffee in my hand.

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