Acne Update | How I Cleared My Skin


Let's talk skincare. One thing I've battled with ever since I was a teenager is acne; thankfully I didn't have it very severely but I struggled with it on my forehead as a teen, and then again all over my face after coming off the pill in late 2011. Going on the pill at 19 really helped regulate my skin and keep the acne away but since I started getting pregnant, breastfeeding, getting pregnant again...and again (!) hormones have wreaked havoc with my face and it hasn't been fun to deal with, to say the least. 

Then in May of this year I miscarried and I experienced breakouts like I'd never had before. I felt like my face had suddenly exploded with cystic, sore and painful spots which would not go away no matter what I did. That summer was a pretty dark time, as going through something that painful is already horrible but doing it publicly with lots of people watching was even worse. The online trolling & abuse got so awful that I ended up quitting my channel/blog for the longest I've ever done and took a complete backseat role on our vlogs. I was being called obese, chubby, ugly and was told I had "caught the chicken pox" from my kids...on my face (referring to my acne). You may be reading this and thinking what on earth does it have to do with skincare, well in my opinion it has a whole lot to do with it! I'm quite certain that when you add stress on top of raging hormones it's a recipe for disaster. One of the worst breakouts I ever experienced (whilst on the pill, when my skin was generally good) was right before our wedding when I was the most stressed out in my life. 

So in my desperation, in June I sought out the help of a dermatologist. She pointed me in the direction of Obagi Clenziderm which consists of a cleanser and toner (with 2% salicylic acid) and a lotion containing 5% benzoyl peroxide. I was warned that the system is harsh so to start out I only used the lotion once a day. Well that warning was no word of a lie, because the first day after using the system my face burned like it was on fire! I was also given a factor 50 sunblock (Heliocare Advanced SPF 50 Gel) as my skin would be so sensitive from the treatment. Along with this system I was signed up for fortnightly peels which I only kept up for about a month (due to getting knocked up again!)

Initially the treatment was pretty brutal. My skin felt like it got way worse and I almost started to lose hope. It would clear slightly, then another breakout would happen and it would look even worse than the last one added to the fact that I was now peeling and dry from the benzoyl peroxide. So not only did I have an acne problem but now I also had flaking skin which looked awful under makeup! When I expressed this to the dermatologist she encouraged me to keep going with it, and explained that the products were resurfacing my skin. I was doubtful but continued with the system in hopes that it would get better. Then, in July I fell pregnant again and had to stop using the lotion until 16 weeks. My skin still looked bad but the flaking stopped (unsurprisingly) and I chalked these newer breakouts up to first trimester pregnancy problems. 

At one point I did get very discouraged and referred to our good friend Google to see if anyone else had similar issues with the Obagi Clenziderm system. The impatient part of me had expected my skin to clear up beautifully in 2-4 weeks (haha!) so I couldn't help but feel disappointed. However what I discovered from reading online reviews was that it typically takes up to 5 months of constant skin resurfacing until you can expect to see a visible improvement. So I waited it out until 16 weeks and then started using the whole system again (very sparingly). And slowly but surely my skin started to clear up massively. 

The reason I'm writing this blog post is not to sell you any products or give anyone advice because I'm not qualified to do so. But a lot of you have noticed the significant change in my skin so I wanted to give you an honest account of what has worked for me, based on my personal experience. Having said that it's definitely worth noting that I am currently 5 months pregnant so obviously my hormones are different than normal. And usually women's skin improves in the second trimester anyway, however I do feel like my skin hasn't looked this good in a VERY long time. 

Other things I've been doing to help it include getting regular hydrafacials (about every 3 weeks), which normally lead to a little breakout of maybe one or two spots afterwards which then clear up pretty quickly. The dermatologist also recommended I make the switch to mineral makeup which I've done since June. And I religiously take off my makeup every night with Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm and a wash cloth (I was doing this beforehand anyway). I clean my makeup brushes after every use, I have a different face towel to my bathroom hand towel (always have done). I still use the Clenziderm cleanser and toner twice a day, along with a tiny amount of the lotion only on any spots that crop up now and then. Added to the Clenziderm system I haven't stopped using my regular moisturiser and eye cream which are the Tata Harper Rebuilding Moisturiser and Restorative Eye Cream. 

I hope this post will help some of you or answer any skincare related questions that you've recently asked! And if you've ever used Obagi products let me know how they worked for you. Did you find them effective? Would you recommend them?

26 comments

  1. I also really struggled with acne in my first trimester, and still now into my second. I established a similar routines, (minus the facials, which I may try now!). It was such an emotional toll on me too to be experiencing acne, so I feel your pain!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your skin is looking so great Anna and I can tell it has given you your confidence back! :) I too have been struggling with hormonal cystic acne around the jaw line for the last 2 years, its is finally starting to settle with the help of some awesome products/diet changes. It's a long journey but worth it to have my confidence back too! Keep being awesome! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I struggle with same acne. Defintiely because of hormones but maybe also some food products... do you have any tips how to figure out which products may cause it?

      Delete
  3. Would this still keep my face clear from spots on a daily basis if I used it and do you u know how I could get rid of black heads? 😏😚Ly

    ReplyDelete
  4. That was an amazing post! I found it really helpful! Thank you for sharing it with us. Hope you're all having a good day❤

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Anna!

    Loved reading about your experience with acne. I remember when you had it a few months ago. Good to hear you have managed to clear it up. Your skin looks incredible (but it didn't look bad before either) :)

    I also developed acne recently as an adult. It happened very gradually and I didn't notice how bad it was until I saw some photos from last year (when I was spot-free). Though it was a shock, I accepted I had acne and moved on but my mum put me under a lot of pressure to do something about it. She said it was "such a shame" and I could have been "so beautiful". Her comments offended me at first but I am glad she made me go to the doctor. It was discovered that I had a large ovarian cyst which I would have not known about otherwise! Hopefully I will be able to sort it out. If the spots go away too then that will be a bonus. I do not mind the redness but peeling skin is so annoying haha!

    Congratulations on your clear skin and on your new baby! x

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Anna, I read your post with great interest as I have suffered with acne/breakouts since my early teens and only got it under control in the last few years and I am now 45!! I went on strong medication when I was about 20 which helped but didn't completely clear it up. I continued to suffer until about 2 years ago I started using Obagi Clenziderm and my skin improved so much, I also started having a Hydrafacial every 6 weeks. My skin cleared and has stayed that way. I now use the SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age range (as I'm an old bird now!!) as well as continue with my Hydrafacials. I just wish I had discovered these years ago! Kareema xx

    ReplyDelete
  7. Such a great post, I have a sensitivity to sunscreen, which isn't good considering I live in Hawaii, is the heliocare targeting people with sensitive skin? I thought it might be due to the treatments you were doing, I thought maybe it makes your skin sensitive as well.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anna,
    I love your honesty in this post. When our faces are the first thing that people see, interact with, and remember, acne and other skin conditions really bring down the confidence. I suffered with acne from age 9 into my 30's. I had the thought that it would never totally clear up and I just needed to cover it up. After the birth of my son, and the crippling post partum depression, I decided to do a few things for myself! I joined a skincare company to clear up my skin, restore my confidence and help others restore theirs!
    I know the value of inner confidence and I want to show my son that I am not only a small business owner but that I can make a difference in someone's life!
    Anyways, long time fan, my son and I love your family! We watch daily!
    Xoxox

    ReplyDelete
  9. I struggle with terrible acne, and it started once a hit my 20s (I'm 24 now). I always had a little bit when I was a teenager, but nothing compared to what I have now.

    Sometimes it makes me truly miserable... it's so bad on my face that sometimes even makeup can't cover it. And now for the first time in my life I've started getting acne on my neck, chest, shoulders and back. Which makes me so self conscious I can't even go out in a singlet anymore.

    I've tried natural skin care products, expensive clinical brands, I've tried going on medication, and after all that it's probably the worst it's ever been now.

    I feel like I'm constantly fighting a losing battle with acne and it's wrecked my self confidence. I'm so glad that you were able to clear up your skin, and I really hope that eventually I can find a way to do the same!

    Sending love from New Zealand,
    Beck x

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love your honesty Anna! From watching your videos I've noticed that we may have similar skin problems and they are such a pain. I love that you are now finding solutions for your own skin, but I must say as a 23 year old with acne seeing an awesome blogger post her makeup free face, spots and all, (and still look georgeous) was so comforting and made me feel more confident being bare faced too! Would love to learn more about the hydra facials as well!

    Awesome post :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love your honesty Anna! From watching your videos I've noticed that we may have similar skin problems and they are such a pain. I love that you are now finding solutions for your own skin, but I must say as a 23 year old with acne seeing an awesome blogger post her makeup free face, spots and all, (and still look georgeous) was so comforting and made me feel more confident being bare faced too! Would love to learn more about the hydra facials as well!

    Awesome post :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. My brother has suffered really badly since he was a teenager. He's 38 now and nothing the GP gave him worked. In fact it got worse. He has scars all over his chest and back where he has had huge boils. The NHS dermatologist gave him so creams but they didn't work and he didn't find the dermatologist very helpful. His job comes with private health care which covers the cost of a consultation so he decided to go private. From the very first appointment he felt more positive as the dermatologist actually listened. Unfortunately his health care through work only provides 2 free consultations and doesn't cover prescriptions. He was prescribed some tablets which I can't remember the name of but they cost £200 for a months supply. He started taking them and although they came with warnings about a lot of side effects and he had to wear factor 50 all the time he found they worked and for the first time in over 20 years he felt confident with his skin. Unfortunately after a few months of paying a couple of hundred pounds to see the dermatologist and £200 p/m for the tablets he couldn't keep up with the payments. He went back to NHS dermatologist and told them about the tablets but they refused to prescribe them on the NHS so he is now devastated to be back right at the beginning. It is so unfair.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Loving the blogs Anna! This was a very interesting post to read for me as young teen with minor acne. I have really noticed a difference in your skin, you are so beautiful! So excited for #sacconejolybaby ! Love, Sarah

    ReplyDelete
  14. Anna, this is so encouraging! THANK YOU for sharing your detailed experience. That can't be easy to put yourself out there like this, you go mama! I'm a first time mom of a 5month old boy. My skin has been going bonkers, so just hearing another mother'a account is so reassuring.
    I have absolutely noticed the difference in your skin the last few months, and you are looking absolutely gorgeous! Thank you again for sharing. Love and hugs to you, Johnathan and the kiddos! Your friends from Seattle, Washington- Suzie

    ReplyDelete
  15. I never had problems with acne when I was a teenager but now for some reason I get spots,then I stress out about it, and then I get more. It's a never ending circle 😣. I just want you to know that you helped me a loot! Your skincare videos, your snapchats always give me hope! I am so happy that you fell better and more confident! You should, because you are a very beautiful women, inside and out! ❤

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anna your so inspiring!!! Love ya ❤ please check out my blog at Itsmadisonevans.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm going through adult acne as we speak. I'm 29 years old and like you, was on the pill from a teen, during which time my skin was flawless! Having come of the pill a couple of years fuel to health reasons, ever since I have been in a constant battle with acne around my hair line, on my chin and upper back. My skin is so sensitive to virtually all products, I can only use a certain make up remover, certain face wash and moisturiser. It gets me down massively! I can't get facials at all as the acne gets horrendously worse. I've tried everything and my doctor is useless! Your post has cheered me up knowingly I'm not the only adult fighting acne. :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have just read (at the moment) paragraph 1 and 2. I want to clarify some things:
    1. Never ever let people stop you doing what you really love. People are mean and disrespectful, but also kind and lovely. Focus on those people, Not everyobody likes you, and some of them just feel better if they have the chance of getting you down and make you feel bad about yourself.
    2. As a teacher (spanish viewer), I am so factual when I say to you: keep educating your children in the same way. Growing up with some restrictions (don´t give them all of the presents you received for example) but with the freedom of being themselves, give them the opportunity to create stories, speak about whatever they want and built their future as you two do.
    3. Keep being the woman,the wife and the mummy you are. You are beautiful and special just because of being who you are.

    After this reflection, let´s continue reading :) (Sorry about grammar or spelling mistakes)


    Lots of love,
    Carlota XX

    ReplyDelete
  19. I was getting spots even now in my 30s and I found it really frustrating! Anyway I got diagnosed with a lactose intolerance nearly a year ago and once I reduced dairy, particularly cheese my spots just went away! My skin is so much better now. Except for occasional PMS breakouts

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Anna - I think I've written on one of your posts (or maybe a video) in the past, but I thought I'd share my acne experience again. I used a dermatologist prescribed cleanser in my late teens and then in college, seemingly out of nowhere, I started having massive breakouts. I tried everything the dermatologist suggested - creams, cleansers, rounds of antibiotics - and nothing worked long term. When she suggested Accutane as the next step, I knew I needed to find a different solution. Besides the fact that Accutane is so dangerous, I knew several people who had been on it, and my acne, while bad, wasn't near that level. I slowly weaned off the antibiotics over about 6 weeks and began seeing an aesthetician who specialized in acne facials with all natural or mostly natural products. After the first session, my skin cleared up about 80%, and I continued to see her every 1-2 months for about 2 years. The facials were 2-3 hours, including skin prep, extractions, and the use of organic anti-bacterial serums. I also switched to a completely organic skin care line, eventually transitioning to the GM Collin line (can be hard to find, but its produced in Canada). Combining that with birth control made a massive difference in my skin. My breakouts now are very minimal and tend to be hormonal, brought on by stress, or antibiotics. All the time I was taking antibiotics, they were actually causing breakouts, not treating the problem. I was so uncomfortable and self-conscious when my acne was at its worst, I didn't want to go outside, do anything social, take pictures, etc. It can really have a negative impact on you mentally, so I totally understand where you are coming from. Ultimately, stick with the regimen and products that work best for you, everyone's skin is different.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks so much for this Anna, my skin problems are really similar to yours so I was dying to know what's worked for you as your skin has improved so much! Went out and bought the Clenziderm range today and I'm so excited and hopeful ��

    ReplyDelete
  22. I found out the hard way that I am allergic to benzoyl peroxide. I went through a period of breakouts because of birth control, so I bought Proactive (over 10 years ago). My acne got exponentially worse, so I went to the dermatologist. He told me to stop using the benzoyl peroxide, gave me antibiotics to clear the acne and did not try to sell me a skin care line (he totally could have because I would have purchased anything). I followed his instructions, and my skin cleared up after a month or so after switching to salicylic acid treatments and switching pills.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm so excited to read this! I stopped taking birth control pills a year ago and my absolutely perfect skin slowly got worse and worse..horrible cystic breakouts that left scars and made me not want to leave the house. I piled on makeup and felt absolutely horrible about myself, like I would cry at night when I took off my makeup and snap at my husband when he called me pretty. I finally decided to go to a dermatologist a few weeks ago (I put it off because I was worried they would prescribe antibiotics and honestly I was a little embarrassed) and purchased the Obagi skincare line. While obviously I think the whole process takes time my skin has already slightly improved and I'm so excited about it! It's like a weight has been lifted off me. The products definitely burn while you get used to them and they kind of smell but people have even been noticing they are working! Yay! Anyway just had to share, thanks for posting...it's encouraging to know other people are having good results with this product :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Anna, I think http://montana.plant-life.org/species/oeno_bienn.htm is really good for women´s health especially for skin and regular period .

    ReplyDelete

Please be nice...the world could use some positivity! :)

Custom Blog Design by pipdig