Hormonal skin / acne defense kit

product review

You know only too well those dreaded feelings. Irritable, on edge, mentally imagining hurting people for saying the wrong thing. Craving everything in the world that is bad for you, chocolate, crisps, chips. I’ll have all the calories at once please. Just to add insult to injury, your skin is also plying havoc with you. Lovely great red bumps appearing in cute little mountains all over your face. Yep, you are about to menstruate. And it’s not fun.

For those of us suffering with acne (I only just realised I am now classified as an actual adult, skin condition has evolved into ‘adult acne’), or annoying breakouts right before our period; it can cause stress and lower self esteem. Because as if your devilish hormones didn’t make you feel bad enough, your skin also has to suffer for you being part of the female gender.

I have compiled a kit which helps eradicate the breakouts and keep spots at bay, whilst also targeting other skin concerns. I personally have acne, and severe dry patches of skin (possibly eczema). It can be difficult to find products which can cater for two contradicting issues. Hopefully this kit can be utilised by anyone with differentiating skin types, as I seem to have developed all of them at once!

Here is the ultimate skincare line up of all line ups:

1. What Skin Needs Skin Balm, £9.99

I have mentioned this miracle cream in previous posts, and it continues to amaze me. Containing exotic Aussie natural ingredients, the Balm promises to treat a number of dry skin conditions. This moisturiser will help renew hydration in the skin, which can be lost using stringent cleansing agents – especially when treating acne / spot breakouts.

2. Primark Cucumber & Aloe Hydrating Mist, £2.00 (Available in store)

Just to reiterate, it is mandatory to restore the moisture in your skin. I use this hydrating mist after cleansing my face, however it can also be spritzed on after make up application. Use throughout the day to enjoy a fresh burst of moisture. This is an unbelievably cheap dupe for Mario Badescus facial spray.

3. Vitamin E Dual Phase Cleansing Oil, £2.99

A great everyday cleanser which is gentle to skin. Although it may not assist with breakouts, it will help restore any damage caused by harsh acne treatments. My usual routine is to use a face mask once a week, and cleansing oil for the rest of the duration of the week. It’s easy to over cleanse when trying to eliminate spots and oily skin, counteract this with a cleansing oil.

4. Avon Anew Reversalist Night Treatment Cream, £20.00

This cream is aimed at ageing skin; however if you have been subjected to taking any type of oral acne treatment, or other medicinally prescribed treatments for conditions such as eczema; they often contain ingredients like steroids which can strip layers of skin and cause premature ageing. Not to mention all the chemicals which are features in drugstore ‘acne’ treatments which can also harm the skin over prolonged usage. I feel at 25, this is a great time to start targeting the early signs of wrinkles. This Avon dual treatment is scientifically proven to target wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. It works by rotation, you use the night treatments for one week at a time and alternate between the two. It contains a super retinol which boosts collagen and reduces wrinkles.

5. Dr Organic Rose Otto Face Mask, £7.99

I find this face mask is brilliant at calming down stressed skin; especially during or in the midst of a breakout. It contains natural China Clay, which draws out oils and impurities without being harsh on skin.

6. The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%, £8.00

I use this intermittently when not using the Avon treatment (this product advises against using with other retinoid treatments). As standard with The Ordinary skincare range, I find this more of a treatment rather than an everyday product. On the day where you feel your skin has broken out – or is just about to. This is the perfect time to reach for this emulsion. Although this also contains super retinoids to target uneven skin tone and ageing. I find this also dries out spots, I use it after Cleansing and before moisturiser as a toner. It doubles up as a wrinkle treatment. Killing two birds with one stone!

With this kit your skin should be armed to face anything. The world can be falling apart around you, at least your skin will be flawless.


Are commercial brands like Neutrogena suitable for sensitive skin? 

opinion piece

*Disclaimer; I am not a trained cosmetologist or scientist, opinions included within this post are based on my own experience, skin type, research and opinion* 

I know I have previously mentioned all of my hundreds of skincare concerns, however I am going to reiterate for the sake of this post. My skin seems to incessantly hate me, for it doesn’t matter how much time or money I spend trying to love it – it still misbehaves almost instantaneously. The main problem is that I have suffered with acne for the last 10 years, meaning my t-zone is naturally full of oil. I was taking accutane for a year to treat my acne (a very strong drug used to treat cancer and other ailments). This drug severely dries out your skin, so now I have both permanently oily and dry skin. Oily overall with dry peeling patches. So not ideal really. 

Over the last few years, I have tried and tested a myriad of skincare brands and products. And there seems to be one thing in common with a majority of them.  They are super stringent on sensitive skin, and consequently cause an over production of sebum – making any skin issues worsen. You see, if you strip your skin of its natural oils, as a defence mechanism your skin will start to product more sebum (oil). An over production of sebum is what causes acne. This is counter productive to treating your oily skin problem, as you are in fact adding to the issue. 

If your skin feels tight after your skincare regime, you may be using a cleanser containing alcohol. Or simply over cleansing. A lot of drugstore / commercial brands use alcohol within their face washes and toners. 

I recently attended a press event for Neutrogena, where I received these skincare products in my goodie bag:Using these products just emphasised to me how there is an entire branch of the skincare industry misadvertising. If we take the above cleanser as an example, ‘gently cleanses..’ – there is nothing gentle about this cleanser I can assure you. I have attempted to use this cream wash and it totally dried out my skin. It contains alcohol AND salicylic acid. Now, although salicylic acid is known for its acne fighting properties. What these advertisers often don’t mention is that prolonged use can dry and thin skin, and cause excessive dryness. The combination of these two ingredients plus a whole host of other chemicals makes these products very drying. There are also websites where you can check if a product contains irritant ingredients, this is helpful as you can check before investing. It’s important to remember that some of these ingredients are necessary, however try to choose products with less harmful amounts of these irritant ingredients. 

I’m sure that these products may be suitable for those with less sensitive skin. However the fact that some of the ingredients are harmful to skin, rings alarm bells in my mind. 

If you do have sensitive skin, I would avoid brands that make products similar to this. Remember to check ingredients before purchasing. Here are some other tips to stop you from over-drying your skin; 

1. Limit chemical exposure 

If you can, try to cleanse with a plain oil or water. Of course you can use a gentle oil or make up remover to take off make up beforehand 

2. Tone it down 

A lot of toners are stringent and drying. They often contain perfumes, alcohol and salicylic acid. Check the ingredients, and remove them from your skincare regime 

3. Creamy dreamy 

Invest in an appropriate moisturiser for your skin type. Especially for over night moisturisation, this will help to repair skin and leave it replenished in the morning 

The conclusion is that you must be over careful when purchasing skincare products. Always check and research ingredients – and be aware of what your own skin can handle and needs. Every facial wash out there is going to emphasise how brilliant it is – we must learn to read between the lines. I think as consumers we can often become lazy, and we trust certain brands because they have a huge reputation. This does not necessarily mean that they always have our best interests at heart. Products are produced on a mass scale to make money. Sometimes, you have to stop and think about what exactly you are choosing to lump on your skin.