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?