My Skin Story

In the Beginning…

Ever since popping into this world I’ve had patches of eczema and dry skin on my body, but the majority appearing on my face and fingers. Our family was brought up on Aqueous Cream to wash our faces, Hydrocortisone was always whacked out when I had an itch that wouldn’t budge, and Diprobase was a greasy saviour. When I was around 14 I began to get the dreaded teenage spots, and for the next 6 years I would embark on  a skincare journey of many GP prescribed acne treatments to help rid me of my woes.

The first product was a topical roll on treatment Zineryt. I applied it to clean dry skin day and night. It left a slight residue on my face and resulted in tighter, slightly stung skin, but after 3 or so months of usage my skin was beautifully cleared. 
Then, as with many skin reactions to treatments, I became immune to its wondrous ways and my spots returned. From here I had various creams, such as Differin (which I’m back on now, well slightly. More on that later), and eventually in my first year of uni, a combination of Co-Cyprindiol (a special pill to regulate hormones – mine were all over the shop) and Differin. Being on this pill helped my skin incredibly, however the same old story happens, and my skin, despite being on two treatments, is now immune in terms of helping my acne also.
Interestingly, I always found my skin to clear up and return to a somewhat “Normal” type in the warmer months. So many photographs of me in the summer sport a clear, glowing complexion, fewer dry patches and a nice sun-kissed glow. As the colder seasons came round, my dry skin heightened, at times making it almost impossible to wear makeup because of its flakiness and separation of product on my skin. I hated, hated those days.

Needing Change

A few months ago I purchased Effaclar Duo [+], a paraben-free cream/gel for “corrective, unclogging care, anti-imperfections and anti-mark.” I’d read up so much about this product, having first heard about it through blogs of girls who had practically created skincare shrines over its miraculous properties in healing their skin. Its prime purpose is to reduce existing scars or pigmentation, rather than as a spot-removal type, although some claimed that when applied on fresh spots it did help to get rid of them. I made the decision to make it a part of my life, and was left disappointed. I’d heard that in order for your skin to benefit from it, and for the product to work its magic, your skin needed to worsen, before any positive change occurred – like pretty much all acne treatments. Although it worked at drying up individual spots, when I applied it across the large affected areas, my skin always became far spottier. Of course, this is what I was prepared for, however, I think I probably felt that I couldn’t go through that (again), when my skin was bad enough, and so chose not to use it daily as I  probably should have… 

Taking Action

Over a week ago I watched this video with skincare specialist Caroline Hirons and her guest dermatologist, and certified expert Dr Sam Bunting. Seeing the title, my heart sang and despite her recommendation of Effalcar Duo [+], I decided after much deliberation to purchase a retinoid that I could apply at night. The Differin cream had lost its pizzaz and I thought if this retinoid wouldn’t work, then I’d head back to the uni doc, and pour out my woes once more.
The retinoid you ask? Avene TriAcnéal. The leaflet (which is SO comprehensive and detailed, and mostly en Francais…, states that due to the Glycolic Acid, a superficial peeling effect will occur, helping to eliminate skin imperfections and has a smoothing effect on the skin’s surface. Anddd, what I am most excited about: the Retinaldehyde limits news breakouts and prevents residual marks. Bingo. It should also help with anti-inflammation which is another absolute bonus.
However, because TriAnéal is actually weaker than Differin, I’ve decided to combine the two, and see whether two similar products that have similar properties and ingredients, will work together to banish the blemish! In adding this extra treatment product, I’ve also added another cleanser. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking by adding more products it will only aggravate the skin, but a super simple, streamlined routine didn’t work before and I’m up for trying to something new. So, my new nightly routine is as follows:

  • Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk – remove makeup. [sidenote, the balm is SO much better. But I bought this a while ago and I do not waste or throw away perfectly usable product.] 
  • Ren Centifolia Cleanser – cleanse my face. 
  • Differin 0.1% (Adapalene) Cream – over cheekbones, jaw line, chin, affected t-zone.
  • Avene’s TriAcnéal – on more pinpointed areas/spots.
  • Ren Vita Mineral Daily Moisturiser. 

I still take the Co-Cyprindiol pill, and am yet to see any significant results as of yet, but I’m excited to see what this “trial” period of combining products will do to my skin. 

That was an incredibly lengthy, meaty post. Perhaps I should have provided some relish and side salad to help ease the digestion? Please let me know your skincare journeys, routines and what works for you!


ps. I have recently seen some online articles here and here on the pill Spironolactone from our friends across the pond. I’m not sure if it’s only readily available in America, but it seems to be working wonders, and yet so little is spoken or known (to the public,) about it…


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