Friday, 1 April 2016

My Skin Story & My Skincare Saviours (Acne & Warts)

Those who know me, are well aware of my obsession with all things beauty. As with many of us who established this love affair with skincare and makeup, for me it all started with having skin troubles when I was a teenager...

My Skin Story
Long story short, I have been struggling with my skin for the past 15 years... I could even say my whole life, but that is only slightly true. I have very fair skin that never tans, and despite applying SPF on summer holidays I got burned so many times that my body is covered in moles. Skin-wise this was my main concern up until I got my period when I was 10. Starting then, all throughout my teenage years I had acne, mainly in my T-zone but I had breakouts on my back and also my chest. 
Thinking back, my forehead was the most affected area, and to hide my shame I had a fringe cut (no hair straighteners yet + my wavy hair, I let you imagine the outcome) which just made the situation worse. My worst years definitely have to be, physically and also emotionally when I was 12-13 years old. I started using stick concealers, but being pale, obviously nothing matched and I was left with orange marks where I 'covered' the spots and pinkish pale where my skin showed through. It was really bad.

I felt very insecure about my skin most of the time (I actually still do), all because I felt alone in this situation, I couldn't talk about it without feeling embarrassed. All my friends had beautiful clear complexion with a rare pimple here and there that they always freaked out about, while I could only wish to have skin as clear as theirs... 

This won't turn into a horror story as I have never been bullied or made fun of because of my acne, so it never affected my social life badly. It was basically an ongoing fight with the mirror and myself... 

I accepted the way I was in a way, I wasn't depressed, and it never kept me from doing what I wanted but it had an effect on my overall confidence. 
I just tried to stay hopeful this phase will pass as soon as I'm through puberty... Well, I'm sure you could guess by now that it didn't pass. 

We all are different, different things work for us and for our skin. For some people it's changing up their skincare, for others cutting out food groups from their diet, while others simply just grow out of it.

For me, the change came when I was 20 and started taking a contraceptive pill. Before you get the wrong impression I didn't start to take it for my skin, that was just a positive side effect. I met my boyfriend and you know how things go in a fresh relationship... :D 
So basically the pill finally put an end to my totally messed up, irregular periods and the hormonal breakouts. First, my body acne cleared up and then my face. I still get occasional breakouts from stress and before getting my period but it is nowhere close in severity as it was before I started taking the pill. 

Oh, but this skin story is far from being a happy end...
My Mom once told me that as soon as the acne clears up I should prepare myself because the fight will continue but instead of breakouts I'll have to tackle facial hair. (Love you, Mom!Thanks for giving me a heads up!:D)
Well if it was the peach fuzz only I had to deal with in the coming years...

It all started with one pimple-like small bump on my forehead after having been ill for weeks (I've been hospitalised, my immune system was at an all-time low). It wouldn't go away so I started treating it like every other breakout I had before and basically wouldn't leave it alone. I would scratch it off, forget about it, then it would come back. 
It wouldn't ''develop" into a normal pimple that I could pop so I knew something was not right. 

I went to a dermatologist who diagnosed it as a wart and prescribed a tincture called Verra-med (main active substances: tretinoin and salicylic acid) which got rid of the wart in 3-4 days. 
I have to say that it did work, but I'm not 100% sure it was meant for facial warts as it created wounds and then left scars behind for long weeks after ''burning'' off the wart.
For a period of time I'd be free of warts but after a while, one would come back somewhere else. This struggle has been going on for 5 years now, so basically when I got rid of my acne, I got this present on my face instead... 
To be honest it never really bothered me for years, because I only had one or two bigger ones at a time. I got better at makeup and easily covered them up, so they just looked like a breakout.
If I had 3-4 days when I had nothing important to do, I'd just put this acid on and get rid of them. They would come back a couple months later but I felt like I had a cure for the problem. 

Things changed around a year ago when very small little skin coloured bumps started to appear on my entire forehead and created a ''lovely" cluster of about 30 flat warts. They didn't grow they were just there. My forehead became very uneven and when I covered them with foundation it actually made them more visible. 
Last November they spread to my right eyebrow area. I pluck my eyebrows every day and yes, sometimes my little eyebrow hairs tried to grow through warts and while trying to get a hold of them the warts would start bleeding. 
This was the biggest problem with the acid I used as well... It would go down skin layers deep and would get rid of the wart but it would bleed spreading the virus to other parts of my face. That's the reason I stopped using it, it was way too rough for facial use, and not a long-term solution.

So I was there in November with my forehead covered, in the process of spreading further down on my face when I decided that I need to get rid of these nasty little flat warts once and for all. I read horror stories of getting them removed by laser, so that was not an option. 
The thing with warts is that they are a virus, so you need to think about getting rid of the virus inside your body not just on the surface of the skin. Even if you get rid of them externally, they might come back if the virus is still active in your system.
This fact stood behind my decision when I started to drink apple cider vinegar each morning to cleanse my inside, and ordered a homoeopathic oil to cure the outside... and kept my fingers crossed that this combination will give my desired result.
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So this is where I stand nowadays. I have to face the occasional breakouts mainly around my chin and mouth area, fight this flat wart situation on my forehead, do something about the slowly appearing fine lines cause sadly I'm not getting any younger, tackle my visibly drier skin and try to fight discolouration, scars and large pores from my acne days...
Unfortunately, not everything can be solved with serums and creams but there are definitely products out there that can help with certain skin issues.
So here I present my skin saviours!

Cleanser
I wear makeup whenever I leave the house and once I start to put it  on, you can be sure that I will end up with a full face. I need something mild but still effective to take my daily "mask" off, and this rich cream cleanser is just perfect for that. I know I mention it in almost every post, but this is truly a beautiful cleanser to remove your makeup, and refresh your skin after a long day. 
Just like the Cleanse&Polish, this is also a permanent item that stands by my sink. Sometimes I use it twice a day, sometimes only in the morning to get rid of the product residues left on my face overnight. I love the fresh citrus scent and the subtle exfoliating grits which get rid of dead skin cells, but still leaves my skin smooth and soft.
Serums
In the recent months I have noticed that my skin became dryer and more dehydrated than before. As someone who had oily-combination skin all my life and tried to keep my foundation from sliding off my face halfway through the day and using different powders to keep myself matt, this is a whole new situation. I started using serums and oils around 4-5 years ago. I remember my first one was the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, and it did wonders to my skin. That's when I realised that oily skin and certain oils are actually a great match. And now that my skin is a bit dryer, my skin craves the extra hydration. Normally I would only use a moisturiser and primer under makeup but nowadays I slip in an extra layer of serum under all that.

I have dehydrated skin, so this serum is perfect for me. I apply it as the second to last step before my moisturiser and I can feel how much better the creams sink in and absorb into the skin when I use them above this product. 
I simply love this oil as an overnight serum! It is light, sinks in the skin pretty fast, doesn't stay oily-looking, but I personally would stay away from using it under makeup. If you have dry skin it might work for you though. Other than making your skin plumper and healthier, REN also promises that it will reduce the appearance of fine lines and premature ageing.Winner!
This lightweight serum stimulates cell turnover to improve clarity and radiance. I apply it to correct my uneven skin tone, and the pigmentation and scars left from my acne days. It is not too heavy so it's perfect for daytime as well as nighttime.
This is an other serum that I like both AM and PM because it's light but still gives the necessary hydration to get my skin looking smoother, fresher and healthier.
 Masks
I try to put on a mask 1-2 times a week depending on how my skin is behaving. These three are my current favourites.

For a clarifying mask, I like to go for clay or charcoal-based masks. I really liked the Aesop Parsley Seed Mask, the Origins Clear Improvement Mask and the Úna Brennan Pore Purifying Mask, but since I emptied those, I'm using this self-warming mask. It's oil-absorbing and cleansing, but it doesn't drag the skin or leave it dry.

This sheet mask is great when my skin feels lacklustre and dull. I leave this on for 15-20 minutes and my skin feels instantly better. It's cooling, refreshing and leaves the skin moist(I hate this word, but it fits here :D) and healthy-looking. 
This is my favourite overnight mask. So hydrating and soothing on the skin, it always feels so plumped and soft in the morning when I had this on overnight. I love putting this over Hydraluron and waking up to the softest skin in the morning!
Some extra bits
This spray was designed to target key signs of oily, blemish-prone skin. I use a light mist of this Zinc solution as my toner after I've cleansed my skin, while in the warmer months I use it to set my makeup. It helps with oil-control, so my makeup holds up longer and also prevents breakouts.

I've found the perfect description of what these peel pads do so I had to copy it for you. ,,This is a chemical 'peel' which works to melt the 'glue' that binds dulling dead cells to skin’s surface, revealing the healthy 'new' cells underneath.'' 
Perfect description... Before using this my skin just looks blah, after it's full of life, more radiant, the blah layer is gone and the awe layer is out. With use it should diminish dark spots, fade scars, minimise pores, battle breakouts and blur visibility of fine lines for younger-looking skin. If you're a fan of the Glow Tonic  maybe you should give this a go. Don't get me wrong, I like that product, but since I discovered these peel pads, I rarely reach for that bottle anymore. For those with sensitive skin, this might be a bit harsh though.Since I'm using these pads, I don't miss having Liquid Gold from Alpha-H in my cabinet and that says a lot for me. If I was writing this post a year ago, probably that would be here instead of this Pixi product.


So this herbal homoeopathic mixture is what I've been using to get rid of my flat warts on my face.  I have been using it for 4 months now, and I can definitely see a difference. It works, but it's not something that will make your warts disappear overnight. I put it on 2-3 times a day on the area affected and they slowly disappear. You need to get used to the strong smell but other that there is nothing unpleasant about this, it doesn't hurt, doesn't leave marks or scars on the face as warts disappear, it just gets rid of them. I've built this into my routine over the months. In the morning I apply it after my Serozinc dried on the skin. I wait until it sinks in the skin and continue with serum, moisturiser and primer.  I love that even though it is an oil, the makeup sits the same over those areas, and doesn't break up or melt my foundation. I can highly, highly recommend this product if you suffer from facial warts, because it truly works.

I use this cream whenever I feel a breakout coming up on my face. 
I only use it on my T-zone nowadays because other parts of my face are getting too dry, but I know that some girls/boys who have oily skin can use this as a day cream and it works as a blemish control and also mattifies the skin.
I wish I had this product when I was a teenager! It would have helped to speed up the healing of scars, shine control and to unclog pores. 

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Writing this post brought back lots of memories and feelings from those acne years. Having bad skin is like a rollercoaster ride. 
On clear skin days, your mood is better, you see the light, get your hopes up that maybe it's over, and then next day you wake up with a sore chin and bumps all over your face and ask the world why you have to deal with this? 
Having acne sucks. Having acne when you're a teenager and have enough changes already in your body is even worse. Especially in our world when people like to judge others by their appearance without exchanging a word, having acne really-really sucks... If you are lucky and have great skin, please be kind to those who are not as lucky as you are. You never know what they are going through. 
And if you are the one going through a hard time, just remember that your acne does Not define you. It is just skin. Try not to obsess over it.


Please let me know what your skin concerns are and what products work the best for you!?
If you have/had problematic skin, how do/did you deal with the emotional side of the issue? If you tried any of the above-mentioned products, let me know if they worked for you, or if you would recommend something better!

Such a long post, I know. Thank you for reading it all the way to the bottom. :) I hope you liked this post and didn't mind the reminiscing element...:)

Have a lovely day, wherever you are, and if you're feeling down please try to stay positive! Everything will be ok!:)




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