The double cleanse – is it necessary?

If you speak to any skincare addict, they will laud ‘the double cleanse’. What is this mystical ‘double cleanse’? If you’re already a skincare addict, then I’m preaching to the choir. But if you’re a skincare newbie, then lean in a little closer…

Well, the practice started in Japan and Korea and has made it’s way over to us in the J and K beauty crazes. Much like everything else in Asian beauty, the double cleanse has exploded in popularity within the beauty community – and for good reason.

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The idea is pretty straight forward – all you have to do is cleanse your skin twice, but (usually) with two different cleansers. The first cleanser tends to do the heavy lifting and and removes the bulk of your makeup and SPF, while the second cleanser removes any residual makeup and actually functions as a more traditional cleanser (aka to clean the skin rather than to remove makeup). If you’re new to skincare and want some more info on cleansers, check out my post on Skincare for Beginners!

Is this mandatory for everyone? Absolutely not. If you’ve worn no makeup or SPF that day, you should find that just one cleanse will sufficiently clean your skin and no further cleansing action is required. However, if you wear fairly heavy makeup (i.e. more than no makeup makeup), wear SPF or have very oily skin, then you will probably benefit from a double cleanse. If you’re wearing SPF (and you should be), you need to cleanse twice to fully remove it. If you’re super oily, then cleansing twice with cleansers suitable for your skin type can really help to keep oils at bay.

How do you know which cleanser is suitable?

For a first cleanse, oil cleansers or cleansing balms are preferable as they will break down makeup, SPF, oils and pollutants the best in one go. To add a bit of exfoliation, but also to remove the makeup easily and quickly, lots of people like to use either muslin cloths, softer cleansing cloths or Konjac spongesΒ (check my post I just did about them!) If you have super sensitive skin or active acne, I would personally recommend using the konjac sponge as they are really gentle on your skin. When I used a muslin cloth on my cystic acne, it became much more inflamed and was really painful. The konjac sponge was able to remove every bit of dirt/makeup and give me a bit of exfoliation while being gentle on my skin. These days I tend to switch between konjac sponges and softer cleansing cloths depending on what I have around. For your second cleanse, you should use a gel, milk or jelly. There are hundreds on the market and you just need to be sure that whichever cleanser you choose, it’s catering to your specific skin type and skin concerns. If you have oily skin and choose a rich cleansing milk, this might not have great results for your acne.

When would you double cleanse?

You would normally do this in the evening when removing your makeup and preparing for your evening routine. You would not need to double cleanse in the morning as you don’t apply makeup or SPF to bed. It would be excessive to double cleanse twice a day for most skin types, but I suppose it depends on what works for you. Often people will use their second cleanser as their morning cleanse as it is lighter and will remove any sweat or oils that have built up over night. Balms and oils tends to be more of a makeup remover, so a jelly cleanser or cleansing milk would work much better in the morning.

Will I notice a difference?

I love how clean my skin feels when I do double cleanse and how noticeably smoother and softer it feels. When I only do a single cleanse, I always feel like I still have makeup on. You should definitely notice a difference if you usually use white towels to dry your face as you’ll no longer get little orange marks from around your hairline or black smudges of mascara where you didn’t quite get it all off! If you use a toner, you will generally notice that the pad will emerge less dirty too.

First Cleanse

For your first cleanse, stick to a balm or an oil. Makeup wipes and micellar water do not count here. My current favourite first cleansers are Kiehls Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleanser (oil) and Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm. Both of them are really gentle, melt makeup away easily and don’t sting your eyes like some cleansers do. I’m actually preferring an oil cleanser at the moment because it’s just so easy to get everything off!

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Second Cleanse

For a second cleanser, you should use either a gel, milk or jelly. If you have any specific skin concerns (acne for example), this is where you would address it with targeted cleansers. My favourites at the moment are REN Evercalm Cleansing Milk and the Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser. I think I prefer the Pretty Athletic one at the moment because I really enjoy the cooling sensation and The REN one seems to leave a little bit of a residue which I’m not a massive fan of.

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Some people might say that double cleansing is excessive, but really it all depends on what works for you. If you use a balm or oil as your first cleanse instead of wipes or micellar water, I honestly think you’ll notice a world of difference, not only in how much makeup you remove in one go, but the look of your skin, the texture of your skin and how your skin feels post cleanse. Try it out! You’ll never regret taking care of your skin.

Xo

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How to cover up acne

Everyone suffers from the odd break out here and there, but how do you cover your skin when you’re suffering from serious acne? Not everyone feels the need to cover their acne, but if you would like to learn a few helpful tips on how to create the illusion of a flawless base, then keep reading!

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Colour corrector

I honestly believe that this is the most important step in successfully covering your acne. Spots will likely be pink or red, and in order to cover these successfully and avoid red blemishes poking through your foundation, you NEED to colour correct. All you need is a green colour corrector. Let me tell you these do not need to be expensive in the slightest. My favourite one was actually from MUA makeup which is available in Superdrug for Β£2. Apply this using a brush to any areas of redness and blend in. Don’t apply too much – you literally just need a small amount on each spot/area of redness. You don’t want this to be particularly bright once it’s blended – it will likely go a very pale minty colour which is exactly what you want. AVOID bright green colour correctors because the green does not get covered by your foundation (LA GIRL I AM LOOKING AT YOU) and you will look like Princess Fiona. Go for a paler, mint shade rather than a true green.

Layer

As you’ll be applying lots of products to correct and conceal, you want to make sure that you are applying it in thin layers, rather than bombarding your face with thick applications of everything. You can still get really great coverage by applying bit by bit – don’t worry! It will look far more ‘natural’ (as natural as this can look) but more importantly it should avoid the classic ‘cake face’.

Spot concealer

As you’ll be applying a fair amount of foundation, don’t overload your face with concealer. Instead, spot conceal the areas you need (apply the conceal only in little dots to the desired areas) and try and use a concealer a little lighter than your usual foundation shade. This should stop your foundation looking very dark and unnatural.

Shade matching

This one is really important if you’re going to be wearing a full coverage foundation. If you have the wrong shade, it will be so obvious. Ideally, you want to match your face to your neck as your neck is paler than your face. If you are someone who likes to go a little darker with your foundation usually, I’m not sure that I’d recommend it because it may accentuate texture and make your skin look cakey.

Full coverage

This sort of goes without saying, but you’ll want to go for a full coverage foundation. You could definitely use a medium coverage one and build it up, but sheer is obviously way off here. I personally am not in favour of really HEAVY coverage foundations (EstΓ©e Lauder Double Wear) as this may be too heavy and clog your pores. This is known as the heaviest foundation in the industry and for that reason I avoided it like the plague when my acne was awful. I would stick to my Make Up Forever HD liquid or the stick version. You might want to consider what finish you want too. A dewy finish may highlight any texture you have and make every other step you’ve done previously pointless. A more matte foundation will work best here. If you have drier skin, you might want to consider going for a foundation with a demi-matte or satin finish and if you have oilier skin then a true matte finish should be fine.

No highlighter

Highlighter is a major trend at the moment and having a blinding highlight is a must… unless you have acne. The shimmer in highlight will accentuate your texture 1000000%, especially if it’s on your cheeks. You either don’t apply any, or you have to position it very carefully. I used to apply it to the top of my cheekbones (starting at the back of the cheekbone near your ear and finishing in line with your outer eye). If you have acne on your cheeks, DO NOT apply it on the apple of your cheeks or the lower part of your cheekbones. If your acne is not on your cheeks, then please by all means apply your highlight anywhere you’d like on your cheeks.

I hope that these tips have been helpful! If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments!

Β Xo

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How to make your summer occasion makeup last in the heat

Whether it’s a wedding, a graduation or just a summer BBQ, you want your occasion makeup to last in the heat. Here are a few tips to make sure that your summer occasion makeup stays in place.

(Also, a little shoutout to anyone on Roaccutane – I was on it in the height of summer and I have one tip that SAVED my makeup)

1. Avoid full coverageΒ 

If you are likely to sweat or you’re worried about your makeup melting off, then apply THIN layers. If you apply a thick layer of foundation and then sweat all your makeup off between your nose and mouth, you’re gonna look crazy. By applying a thin layer of foundation/concealer, it will be much less noticeable if you do sweat any of your makeup off. Alternatively consider using a tinted moisturiser/light coverage foundation/tinted SPF (like the Kiehls one I use) to give you a light coverage.

2. Set under your eyes

If your eye makeup has a tendency to wander off down your face (bottom lash mascara – I’m looking at you!), be sure to set your under eye area with a translucent powder. It will lock it into place and stop you worrying.

3. BUT maybe consider not setting the rest of your face…

…At least not with a heavy powder. If you set your makeup and then your makeup comes off, it will be much harder to retouch those areas to exactly match the rest of your base. It’s like when you put Blutac on a wall and it removes some of the paint. You can paint over it, but there will be a difference in the thickness of layers. That’s certainly not to say that you shouldn’t set it at all – dust a powder that’s your skin tone lightly over your base. This will relieve you of that horrible wet foundation feel. However, if you’re someone that likes to bake your entire face, skip it this time.

4. ALWAYS carry supplies

If you’re likely to sweat your makeup off or need to retouch, make sure you carry a concealer, a brush and a mirror. You’ll be able to make any retouches to your melted base without having to carry your entire makeup bag.

5. Beware of sunglasses

If you’re planning on wearing sunglasses, you will have a mark on either side of your nose where your glasses have rubbed off your make up. The way I would suggest getting around this (other than wearing a light coverage foundation rather than full, or even just rocking your skin without foundation) would be to put your sunglasses on before you leave the house for a little while. Your makeup will come off, and quite significantly. However, by applying just a little concealer and blending it in with a brush, you diffuse the colour and blend in any obvious lines or smudges. This also works on the zone between your nose and mouth – just be sure that you stop sweating before retouching or it won’t have the desired effect.

BONUS: Sweaty girl tip

While I was on Roaccutane, I would get very hot and sweaty very easily, and as a result it was a NIGHTMARE to keep makeup on my face (particularly between my nose and mouth). Makeup would break up and go patchy even as I was applying it. The trick? Apply stick deodorant to your face to create a really smooth and even base. Obviously don’t use the same one that you would apply under your arms. You can get these for a few pounds and they last AGES. This COMPLETELY solved my problem, even if it is a little unconventional.

I hope these tips will be really helpful in keeping your special summer makeup looking glorious!

Xo

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How to do your makeup when you have acne

Being able to cover your acne successfully is really important for your self esteem, whether you have one spot or suffer from cystic acne. I had terrible cystic acne for 2 years and learnt a few tips and tricks to cover it up and boost my confidence. Keep scrolling to find out more!

Use a colour corrector

To tone down redness, colour correction is your best friend! Green concealer will neutralise any redness on your skin and your acne will be much easier to cover – it is the best way to create a perfect base. My favourite one was by MUA and only cost Β£2 from Superdrug, but pretty much every brand sell colour correctors. The key is to use it sparingly. While you do want to neutralise the redness, you don’t want to look like Shrek. Apply it sparingly on all of your areas of redness and blend it out well. It will make your skin look a little ashy and devoid of life, but you’ll add the colour back into your skin with foundation. If you apply too much (like I did with the LA girl one – which was far too bright a green) you will look like an alien, and you won’t be able to cover up such an intense green colour with your usual foundation.

Layer your products

Instead of caking on a thick layer of foundation, and then continuing with full coverage concealer and a foundation powder, do thin layers to build up the coverage. Yes, we want to cover everything up, but too much coverage in thick layers can actually draw attention to your acne. Layer things up! Colour correcting before you apply foundation will already help to reduce the visibility of the redness, and a smooth base will help to disguise any bumpiness. Thinner layers will avoid a caked look and will make things appear more natural.*

* As natural as you can with the amount of makeup you have on.

Set your makeup

To make sure that your makeup lasts all day, you need to set it into place. Otherwise it will slip and slide all over the place as the day goes on and reveal the redness underneath (AND SPOIL YOUR HARD WORK!) Also, if you have layered your products (as you should), you will have quite a wet face after. Depending on your skin tone, I would probably recommend using a translucent powder over a coloured powder to avoid a cakey, muddy look. Despite it saying ‘translucent’, it does leave a bit of a white cast on the skin. You can easily add colour back in with bronzer – but get that base set!

Beware of shimmer!

Everyone loves highlighter but if you have acne on your cheeks, be careful where you place it. Apply it higher on your cheek bones, rather than towards the apple or lower on the cheekΒ as shimmer will emphasise anyΒ texture you might have – regardless how small. I’d recommend even avoiding a blush that has shimmer in it – it’ll draw attention where you don’t want it. This is about covering your acne, not highlighting it (literally).

Take your makeup off really well

Use products that are right for your skin. I think that cleansing balms are the best to remove every last bit of makeup. To remove the balm, I personally love using konjac sponges – I think they’re much gentler on the skin than muslin clothes and give your skin a lovely, gentle exfoliation. I found that for me, muslin clothes inflamed my acne and made my cystic spots worse, but just be sure to do what is right for your skin.

Let me emphasise thatΒ makeup is FINE to wear when you have acne prone skin.Β Do not let anyone tell you that wearing face makeup will worsen your skin, when it can be the only thing that can boost your confidence and make you feel better about yourself. While makeup can’t work miracles on your skin, it can work miracles on your self esteem.There are products that won’t agree with you – that is the same regardless of the type of skin you have – and these can cause breakouts. However, once you find the products that work for your skin, don’t feel afraid of using them! Remember that you are taking your self esteem into your own hands and doing something positive for YOU.Β 

Xo

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Probiotic skincare – why I’m interested in it, and you should be too

As someone who has a sensitive stomach, I rely on probiotics to feel better. The positive effects of probiotics on the gut are well documented… but what about in skincare?

Before I begin, let me emphasise that I am not a doctor, nor a scientist specialising in this field of research. If anything is incorrect in this article, I would be happy to correct it. I myself wanted to understand what probiotic beauty actually is and what effect it could have. My interest in probiotics definitely comes from having a number of food intolerances, and relying on these foods to feel myself again. If you are interested in reading up on gut health and probiotics in food, the Clever Guts Diet is an amazing read and brilliant for anyone who has food intolerances or wants to understand their gut better.

Okay, let’s start from the beginning. Probiotics are a substance that stimulates the growth of microorganisms, especially those with beneficial properties. Basically, these are the good bacteria that are most commonly found in your gut and keep it healthy. You have probably seen probiotic supplements or have heard about Actimel/Yakult. Maybe you even know a few foods that are natural probiotics (yoghurt, saurkraut, kefir). What you probably didn’t know is that skincare is increasingly being formulated to include these good bacteria.

There is growing research that topical probiotics can remedy anything from acne to ageing skin. The introduction of probiotics into skincare products focuses largely on the idea of balance – restoring and repairing your skin that is overstimulated. It is in this state of imbalance that dermatological issues such as acne, rosacea and dryness can emerge. Introducing probiotics is like starting a bacterial fight – the good bacteria derived from probiotics declare war on the bad bacteria that cause acne and other skin related issues and take over to bring back balance to the skin. There has even been research that lactobacillus (usually found in yoghurt) is effective in restoring the skin’s barrier and is successful at reducing acne.

Here are some ways that topical probiotics can help your skin:

Restoring the protective barrier
Your skin’s protective shield can be damaged by a number of factors, from β€˜bad’ bacteria, to environmental factors such as stress and pollution. The microorganisms that cause skin ailments are seen as foreign and so spark an immune reaction to deal with this potential threat. In turn this causes inflammation and redness on the surface of the skin. Applying a topical probiotic creates a literal barrier between your skin and the bad bacteria.

Neutralise the bad bacteria
According to Dr Bowe, the substances creates by probiotics can have β€˜antimicrobial’ properties, which means they tackle the bad bacteria and kill them. This functions in a similar way to traditional antibiotics and can help reduce inflammation. There is still on-going research into which strains of bacteria have this property so they can be marketed into antimicrobial products.

Stay calm
Probiotics are known to have a calming effect on the gut, and this extends to the skin too. They calm down the cells that want to react to bad bacteria and suppress signals to the immune system to β€˜attack’. This reduces flare ups of acne and rosacea.

I have been aware of probiotics since I was about 16 and was pretty unwell after taking antibiotics for a long time. It was the good bacteria in probiotics that solved my long standing stomach woes.Β I first saw about probiotic skincare in an email from Beauty Bay, and it instantly got my attention. It highlighted the brand Tula, which have a pretty wide range of products that contain probiotics and Kefir (a fermented yoghurt that is known for being great for your gut). The brand was started by practising gastroenterologist Dr. Raj, who voices the importance of balance to maintain our health, both on the inside and out.

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As I’ve already mentioned, probiotics can have a wonderful calming effect on your skin. They leave skin looking hydrated, more even toned and reduce inflammation. The TulaΒ products include powerful natural probiotics combined with superfoods such as blueberries, turmeric and kefir, as well as more familiar skincare ingredients like vitamins A and C and AHAs.Β  The products are packed full of calming ingredients, such as turmeric and white tea that would be especially great for acne prone skin.I would loved to have tried these products out when I had my cystic acneΒ for their anti-inflammatory properties.Β  Their hydration products look beautiful too, with some seriously impressive before and afters on each product page.

Probiotic skincare also has great anti-ageing benefits too. Aurelia skincare focuses on restoring the balance in your skin, and promoting the repair and reproduction of collagen and elastin. Rather than using peptides to stimulate collagen and elastin repair, probiotics can improve the skin’s defence mechanism organically and promote the natural healing process. I recently got the Aurelia Revitalise and Glow Serum, and I’m really interested to if or how my skin changes with use. I am in love with the idea of naturally promoting the repair of my skin, but also really like how clean and natural the ingredients in this type of product are. Both companies that I have mentioned have a commitment to using natural products, which is completely in line with the idea that beauty starts from within.

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And it doesn’t stop there – consumable beauty is now a thing too. There are increasing numbers of products that you take orally, either as a supplement or a powder, which claim to have a positive impact on your gut AND your appearance. You may have seen GLOW by The Beauty Chef or other products by this brand that promotes improved gut health, as well as a luminous complexion. Their founder’s philosophy that ‘beauty begins in the belly‘ seems sound – when you feel good, you look good. When you nourish yourself properly, you see the benefits everywhere. This idea also correlates to what is known as the β€˜gut-brain-skin axis’ – the notion that anxiety and stress can lead to gastrointestinal issues, causing inflammation. Consequently this can trigger inflammation of the skin as well. By orally consuming probiotics, you could effectively be killing two birds with one stone.

The founder of probiotic skincare brand GallinΓ©e, Marie Drago, emphasises the importance of the ‘natural bacterial ecosystem of our skin‘. She states on her website that ‘modern lifestyle, pollution and overuse of antibacterial products and detergents‘ are having a damaging impact upon the state of our skin, leaving it dry, stressed and sensitive. By adding probiotics and prebiotics, they function to rebuild the healthy skin ecosystem (just like they would in your stomach).

At the moment, the only downside is that probiotic skincare is more or less exclusively in the higher price bracket. However, since the launch of Aurelia (the first probiotic brand to launch), probiotic skincare products have started to flood the market and I’m convinced that it is only a matter of time before the more affordable brands invest in this research and follow suit.

It is worth noting that there is still uncertainty whether it is the microbiome that improves the skin, or improvements in the skin that consequently have positive effects on the microbiome. Knowledge about bacteria in the gut is still being discovered, so it will take a number of years before research into its relation to skincare becomes clear. There is still a lot of research that needs to be done, as this is a very new discovery in probiotics. It also has the potential to completely shift the direction of makeup and skin care – that beauty is no longer β€˜skin deep’, and mark the birth of β€˜ecosystem beauty’.

I am here for anything that will naturally improve my overall health and skin, and I have total faith in this type of skincare based on my own probiotic experience. I will definitely be trying some of these brands when pay day comes around, and can’t wait to see the results.

Let me know what you think! Leave a comment here or on my instagram!

Xo

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My Roaccutane story

Generally speaking, I’ve always had very good skin. Like most other people, I would get spots at certain times of the month and when I was stressed, but I would never go so far as to say that I had ‘acne’. My skin type is normal/dry, which is not the typical skin type to get bad acne.

I used to take Tetralysal for my skin when I was about 14 (2010ish) to deal with the spots mainly on my chinΒ and at the time it did clear them up, but my spots weren’t serious. When I stopped taking it, I didn’t notice any difference.

When I started to take the pill (2013), I was sure to find one that was skin friendly, as my first pill (Microgynon) made me break out. However, the pill started to affect my mental health, so I was switching pills pretty regularly to boost my mood. After nearly 2 years of being on crappy pills, I decided the pill was not for me and opted to have an IUD fitted in the May 2015. I was told that the Mirena IUD (the coil with hormone) had the potential to cause skin problems, but I went with the hormone option as it was supposed to be better for my mood. For the first few months, everything was great: my skin stayed the same, my mental health was much better and I was feeling much happier. However, when I moved to Spain for my year abroad in September 2015 my skin went downhill fast. I remember noticing in October time around my birthday that I had a lot more spots than usual, they were much bigger and in places I don’t usually get them. The main difference was that these were big, red spots that didn’t come to a head, unlike the spots I had before. I started to get cystic acne on my cheeks which moved down onto my jaw. I couldn’t work out what was causing it! I started using a new skincare kit, but didn’t see any sort of progress.

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Β December 2015

As I was living abroad, I didn’t feel as though I could go to the doctors about this as I didn’t really know how to vocalise my issues and my medical Spanish was practically non-existent. I went to the doctors at home when I was back for Christmas and was given a topical cream called Differin to keep things in check. This did help a little, but didn’t offer me the results I was really hoping for. I did some research online about African Black Soap, which for me helped to keep my acne under control. I would wash my face with it twice a day and it would visibly lessen any flare-ups by the next morning. If I didn’t use it one day, I would notice an immediate difference.Β I started to do research online for some solutions and came across Roaccutane. For anyone who has ever looked into Roaccutane, you will know that the list of possible side effects are looooooong and pretty scary. They go from minor things like dry lips to really serious things like depression and suicidal thoughts. I was worried whether my mental health would be okay if I were to take this, but I knew that I wanted to try it. I sussed out eventually that it was my IUD that was causing my acne, but again I didn’t feel like I could get it taken out in Spain.

When I got home in June 2016, I pushed to see a dermatologist. My parents had private health care and I got to see a private dermatologist about my skin, which was possibly the most disappointing appointment I’ve ever had. Despite the fact that I have dry skin, the Harley Street ‘expert’ tried to tell me that I probably have acne because I use too much moisturiser, which was pure bullshit. I knew that if I stopped using my moisturiser that my skin would feel like it was about to crack and that the Differin would completely dry me out. As my acne was considered ‘chronic’ by the private healthcare providerΒ (which I knew mine wasn’t), I couldn’t continue to get my dermatology on privately and had to go through the NHS (which has a 16 week waiting list). I tried to get my IUD out as soon as possible (in the summer of 2016), but couldn’t get it taken out until November 2016. By that time, I had gone back to the doctors and really pushed for Roaccutane. To be able to get it, you have to have tried 2 other medicines first that haven’t worked. It is seen as a last resort medicine because of how heavy duty it is. In the meantime, IΒ had been prescribed Trimethoprim which is actually a drug to deal with bacterial infection and happens to have positive effects on acne. This actually really helped to tame my skin, but it was definitely not a long-term solution. I got the approval to get Roaccutane and started my journey in March 2017.

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November 2016Β 

Roaccutane works by reducing the amount of natural oil that your skin produces so blockedΒ pores are less likelyΒ (as acne is often caused by over-active oil glands, for people with oily skin – again, I was the exception). It also kills the bacteria that causes acne, and relieves redness and soreness.

This drug is definitely heavy duty. You have to have a blood test before they can prescribe you to make sure that you’re in good enough health to take it. Then for the first month you have to go back for another blood test to make sure there is no negative effect on you. You only get given a months dosage at a time, so you have to go back each month (which for me was super inconvenient as the dermatologists was a 20 minute drive away when I had no means of getting there). They calculate your dosage based on your weight. I was having 75mg a day which was super high. You also have to bring a urine sample to each appointment so your doctor can do a pregnancy test. From the very start they are very clear about the fact that you SHOULD NOT get pregnant while on this medicine, as it can result in foetal deformities. You’re also told you should not drink too much alcohol as this medicine already has to be processed in the liver, and adding alcohol into the equation too may effect how effective the medicine is.

The side effects were no joke.

Mine were:

  • Dry skin on my body and hands
  • Veeeery dry lips
  • Extremely dry eyes (which often led to eye infections where my eyes would get craazy blood-shot)
  • Extreme light sensitivity (both my eyes and my skin)
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling emotional over small things
  • Having a really runny nose but also a CRAZY dry nose
  • Getting really hot and sweaty very easily
  • Big nose bleeds all the time
  • Sensitive gums

I went through a few phases of having massive nose bleeds on a daily basis, including at the library while studying for my final year exams and on holiday in Rome. However, for all the side effects I had, this medicine was totally worth it. My skin instantly got better, and I can honestly say my acne has been cured. Towards the end of August, everything started to get a bit much side-effect-wise. I was on holiday with my boyfriend in Rome and I was having really bad nose bleeds every day, including once over dinner. I was super tired, was snapping at him a lot and getting really emotional over silly things, and I made the decision to stop taking my medicine. A course of Roaccutane lasts for at least 5 months. Having started in March, I should have finished in July. However, I was told that because I started on a half dosage that I’d have to take it for at least another month. That would have taken me to the middle of August, so I had done my time. After about a month, I noticed my side effects start to lessen. My dry lips and skin eased fairly quickly, but things like the tiredness persisted a little longer. The only side effect that has persisted is the sensitivity to sunlight, which is kind of annoying but if that is the price I have to pay for perfect skin now, then I’ll take it.

I have not had a single spot since I stopped taking this medicine in August 2017. My skin is better than it ever has been. I do still worry about scars on my cheek, but I’m not sure whether this is an issue that actually exists or whether it’s in my head. I know that my acne was caused by an external factor, rather than because of oily skin or genetics.

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My skin currently (April 2018, without make up)

Now I have 0 spots. My skin is completely smooth and feels amazing. When you’ve had such bad acne, it’s such a blessing to finally have clear skin. It’s certainly not anything I take for granted anymore.

I’m very aware that Roaccutane doesn’t work for everyone, or that some people have to do many cycles of it. I was one of the lucky ones whose acne was cured first time round. If you have bad skin, consider exploring Roaccutane. Do your research well, and weigh up whether you are willing to endure the side effects. They may be different to mine, or you might have exactly the same ones, but it is a personal choice that only you can make.

Things that I’ve learnt:

  • Don’t overload your skin with new products – While it’s super frustrating to have inflamed spots or a breakout, don’t immediately buy loads of new products and try these on your skin. I did this with a bunch of Mario Badescu stuff and it caused a breakout far worse than my skin before I tried the products (see the second picture).
  • Don’t reach for drying lotionsΒ – If you have cystic acne that are red and inflamed, unfortunately a drying lotion probably won’t help much. Perhaps if you have spots that come to a head (contain yellow puss) this may be a possible solution to reducing the size of the spot without popping it. Drying your skin out too much can actually be worse for it, as your skin will start producing MORE oil to compensate for the oil it’s losing.
  • Wearing/not wearing make up makes no difference on your skin – I’ve had people tell me that it ‘must be bad for my skin wearing so much make up’. Bullshit. This comment often comes from someone who has one spot every 3 months. As long as you take your make up off before bed and don’t sleep in it, and perhaps watch the ingredients you use, I noticed no bad effects from wearing make up. It was integral for my self esteem and made me feel normal when nothing else could. When I was on Roaccutane, I rarely wore make up but that was mainly because I was living in the library as I was in my final year of uni.
  • Ignore people that think they know better about your skin: From a dermatologist who wouldn’t listen to what my skin type was, to a taxi driver who told me people get acne from not washing your face, people think they know everything when it comes to acne. At the end of the day, no one knows your skin better than you do. You know what will cause flare-ups, which kind of products your skins likes and which to avoid, whether your skin gets worse in certain weather or certain times of the month. Sometimes the experts get it wrong. Find another expert. My NHS (non-private) dermatologist was far better, more understanding and had a greater knowledge of acne than the Harley Street doctor (FYI, Harley Street is private healthcare avenue in London, where you supposedly go for the best healthcare).

I hope you have found this post really useful or interesting. I love skincare and now love my skin after this long and frustrating journey, but every part of it was worth it.

Xo

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