Starting from when I was around ... twelve (?) I struggled with acne big time and it was a major mood-influencer on me for years. I was obsessed, I went to doctors multiple times crying my eyes out, feeling so ugly any time I had to leave the house with a break-out. Although this is a tad dramatic ( a tad) - I know how shit it feels when your skin is acting up. I used to wake up not wanting to go to school because the effort of trying to hide all my spots with layers of concealer and foundation was genuinely overwhelming. I didn't even like wearing face makeup but I couldn't go a day without it. It'd ruin parties for me because I just couldn't feel good about myself. I think it's quite hard for some people to understand just how bad it can make you feel but this is for those who have experienced or still are experiencing it.
Of course, and it should go without saying, no-one with acne SHOULD feel like they can't go out because of their skin, it is completely dumb and we are all more than our skin - however - the fact is that it can make you feel like that and it made me feel this way for years, therefore I want to share what helped me in case it works for others.
I have a list of things that worked short-term but I also have a solution that has pretty much cleared up my skin forever (touchwood (not taking any chances)).
1. DUAC - STEROID SPOT CREAM
This is the only thing that the doctors gave me that helped. I've not been prescribed it in ages, it's great because you only need a tiny bit, pop it on a few spots before you go to sleep and over the course of a few nights, the spots tend to clear up. wahoo. There are so many other creams out there but, again, this is the only one that was actually worth-while for me so it might be useful asking your doctor if you could get this lil cream prescribed.
2. RED LIGHT THERAPY SUNBEDS
I will probably get into trouble for suggesting this but it is one of the methods that worked for me personally! I used it at the end of High School because I had started working in a beauty salon/ sun bed parlour and so learned a bit about these beds. This was also around the time I started getting eczema for the first time and these kinds of sunbeds are a great solution for getting that cleared up too. Of course, I am not denying that sunbeds are bad for you. They are bad. However, going for a ten-minute sunbed is the equivalent of lying out in the sun for a couple of hours and we all do that from time to time. You can wear sun cream in sunbeds and they are a hell of a lot safer nowadays than they used to be years ago. These SPECIFIC types of sunbeds have these red lights which speed up skin rejuvenation. A lot of people use them for anti-ageing too and when my eczema is flaring up, I still pop in for the odd one. But remember - EVERYTHING IN QUANTITY.
3. HIMALAYAN CHARCOAL FACE MASK
The only face-mask (I've found) that does more than make your face feel nice is the Body Shop's 'Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask' and it is FANTASTIC. Yea, it's a little pricier than those sachet one's you get from ASDA but I swear it's worth it. It was a friend (who is a body-shop guru btw) that recommended it to me so it's worth listening to! (thank-you Sarah!!) It leaves the skin feeling properly cleansed (and of course, soft as a baby's bum.)
4. TEA TREE
Something else to try is tea tree oil. From time to time I slap a lil bit of this on my face before I go to sleep and it's great for drying out cystic (yum) spots. However, beware, if you are using pure tea tree oil you need to dilute it before putting it on your skin because it is very harsh. It's also got a really nice natural smell so get that on your wee face if you want to wake up smelling of nature.
Not the greatest saviour but handy if you're at a sleepover and have forgotten your skin care utensils and want to dry those bad boys up. It was a momentous day when my Mum let me in on this little emergency tip.
6. THE GREATEST SOLUTION TO CLEARING UP YO SKIN.
Whenever anyone asks me how I cleared up my skin, this is the immediate advice I give...
Most people are not going to want to hear this but it has literally changed my skin forever and I wish I had done it sooner. Cut out dairy. I went completely vegan but it's the hormones in dairy that are commonly linked with acne. Yea, there is a lot of speculation around this but after reading about the change it made to other people and then the change it made for me, I'm pretty convinced dairy is closely linked with acne. During exams I slipped up a fair bit - you know when for seem reason you think you need chocolate and pizza to de-stress?- and oh my god my skin was ragin with me, I broke out straight away. Now that I'm back to full veganism, my skin feels great again!
Obviously different things work for different people, I'm not saying that if you have dairy in your diet then you are going to be all spotty. If your skin is really getting you down and you're really willing to try anything to help, give this a shot, at least for a couple of months. I would have gone to any extent to clear up my skin and really wish I'd known the difference dairy can make sooner so I hope this will be useful for those that haven't considered this option yet.
Good luck (and remember sleeping with make-up on doesn't do ANY favours (toner that shit off))