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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Acne - Cheat Sheet

One of the biggest concerns in the Clinic seems to be problems related to acne/bad spots and 'raised red bumps'. I have taken my time with this cheat sheet because of all the skin problems out there, this one causes the most upset/depression/stress and I don't take it lightly.

When I turned 40 a couple of years ago I experienced adult onset acne - along with food allergies.
Out of nowhere. I mention this because it it is increasingly obvious that the same is happening to a lot of women. I had near-perfect skin for 40 years and then suddenly, a face full of red, angry cysts. My GP put me straight on anti-biotics and I, in my desperation, took them unquestioningly.

Once I realised that the acne was more than likely hormonal, here to stay and that the anti-biotics were doing me no favours, I decided to fix it myself. And I more or less have. The reason I am giving you so much background is because you need to do the same for your skin.

There is no magical 'cure' for acne. There are different types, yes, but no one-dose-fits-all cure. So do read the below - but bear in mind that acne is different for everyone. You may have one type - or 3 types.
You need to know your skin, your body, your state of mind, your 'system' inside out to truly see results.

I'm using this as a 'skeleton' to build on. I'm posting it in place of the Clinic so when you ask your questions - if the answers are something that will help others - I'll add them to the body of this Cheat Sheet. Make it interactive - but more importantly - get as broad a spectrum of questions and answers/tips that we can.

I'm not touching on scarring yet - I'm assuming that the people who are reading this have active acne - in which case you are a little limited in what you can do for bad scarring.

Types/causes of acne:




  • Hormones - just starting periods, just finishing periods, peri-menopause, menopause (all of them), for boys - raging androgen
    Can cause over production of oil, slow shedding of dead skin cells, increases in the mount of androgen in your system - all creating the perfect breeding ground for acne




  • Bacteria - Propionibacterium Acnes is the bacteria that gives our friend its name - all it needs is the perfect environment to spread




  • Inflammation - illness, foods, stress - a system fighting illness is inflamed on its own, add medication and you are doubling your potential problems (not that that's your fault!), foods can cause inflammation (especially food allergies) and stress always causes inflammation - again, all breeding grounds for acne




  • Sensitivities - allergies, reactions to products, reactions to foods/environment


  • Looking at the above you may see where your skin fits in - and why anti-biotics just don't work for some people.

    Myths and Old Wives Tales:
    It seems that once something has been said in a glossy mag, heard on tv - or both - it becomes the Law. Sad but true. And not helpful to those of us with real problems that we want to fix!
    • Acne is caused by dirty skin. Not true. There is a massive difference between bacteria and dirt. Over-washing your face destroys the acid mantle that protects your skin, makes an alkaline environment, makes your acne worse and your skin a dry, dull, sore breeding ground.
    • You can 'dry up' spots. Not true. A spot is a mixture of oil, inflammation, bacteria and dead skin cells. No water in that list. All you are doing is drying the surrounding area in the hope that it will make the spot look smaller. What it actually does it put the spot on its own 'look at ME' platform.
    • You can use toothpaste or *braces self* nappy cream to spot-treat acne. I cannot EVEN.
      A one-off spot may have its redness taken down - temporarily - by applying one of the above. If acne could be fixed by Oral-B or Sudocrem all of our problems would be solved. YAY! *jazz hands*
      Dude. Stop putting toothpaste and bum cream on your face.

    Things that may help:
    Below are some of the things that have helped myself, friends, clients and readers of this blog. It is not a definitive list and is only suggestions.
    They may not work for you, they may work brilliantly - unfortunately there is no perfect recipe. If you are on serious medication speak to your consultant before supplementing. 
    • Avoid mineral oils when cleansing. Natural oils are better for the skin. They just are. (See one exception later on in the list)
    • Avoid too much alcohol in products. A 'tingle' is ok. A 'burning' is not. Products where the main ingredient listed is alcohol will dry out the surface of your skin, destroy the acid mantle and make the perfect breeding ground. However: alcohol is sometimes a necessary evil for suspending things like glycolic acid in a solution - where they would normally not work as well.
      (See Liquid Gold as an example - the glycolic benefits override the alcohol) It can be confusing but its a case-by-case basis.
    • Avoid soaps and foaming washes. These break down the acid mantle of your skin (think: armour) and make your skin a 10 on the 1-10 acid/alkaline scale. Remember litmus paper from science classes? Again - the perfect breeding ground.
    • Don't pick red cysts. A whitehead can be popped in the correct manner (see previous cheat sheets), a cyst is going nowhere and will always, always prevail if you battle it. And then it will scar. Just to teach you who is boss.
    • Don't completely strip your skin of oil and moisture. An acne skin that sticks solely to foaming cleansers and oil-free products is nearly always - always - reddened with inflammation and sensitivity. Thus making more work for yourself.
    • Treat your skin gently and with respect. You know what I mean. Abusing it with harsh products and getting angry with it - like it's a different person - will make it worse. Your skin belongs to you. Don't try and disown it when it needs you.
    • Cleanse with good quality oils and balm cleansers. There is absolutely no reason to avoid oil when you have acne. Again:
      There is absolutely no reason to avoid oil in cleansing when you have acne. Mineral oil, avoid? YES. Good, light, plant-derived oils? - no. They don't clog pores, they nourish the skin you are now pledging to take care of and they do not break you out. Cheap, nasty, mineral oil used in heavy formulations may break you out when you are cleansing, not good oils. Check labels. Avoid paraffin, paraffin liquidum, mineral oil in ingredient listings.
    • Use topical exfoliants. Acids used topically help alleviate blocked pores, dead skin cells, trapped hair follicles and reduce your acid mantle to the lower end of the scale - usually around a 3/4 - which is in layman's terms, strengthening your first line of defence to the acne. Think glycolic and salicylic.
    • You can use products like benzoyl peroxide, found in spot treatments, to topically treat bad acne spots. It can penetrate the pore and kill off the bacteria specific to acne, but I prefer the acids in the step above. Sulfur is more commonly used, but a word of warning - in my experience, both can be drying to the skin in high %'s. Go easy.
    • Hydrate your skin and consider that it might need oil in places. You can have acne in areas and be really dry/dehydrated in others.
    • Consider supplementation. I have no doubt in my mind that consuming large quantities of fish oil has saved my face. And it's not just me. People I know have had the same response. It works for acne OR psoriasis and eczema - so if you have any of those - or all - I would definitely recommend. I take anything between 3000 and 10,000mg a day depending on the day, my skin and circumstances. If you are vegetarian you can use flax - but fish is much better. (Sorry!)
    • Probiotics are a must. Especially if you are on anti-biotics. Your skin is the first place to show anything going on in the gut. Keep your stomach/intestines as strong as possible. Go for the highest dosage you can find - and remember with probiotics - they degrade very quickly so if it says 2 billion on the packet - by the time it gets through processing, packaging, delivery and shelf it could have gone down to 1 billion - literally halved. I always take double the RDA. 
    • Avoid moisturisers with shea butter. Yes its natural but its harder than most oils for the skin to break down and thus tends to clogs pores and give you nice whiteheads.
      Buy moisturisers with water as the main ingredient for day. You can use appropriate oils and balms at night.
    Foods:
    Unfortunately there really is no definitive list of foods that cause acne.
    There is however, awareness of foods that cause inflammation in the system (and therefore the skin) and would thus best be avoided:
    • Sugar
      The worst. And it's in everything. Avoid fizzy drinks, fruit juice (OJ breaks me out almost instantaneously), pastries, condiments such as ketchup, salad cream, brown sauce and steak sauce (cries). Get into the habit of reading labels. Fructose, sucrose, maltose, golden syrup, dextrose - all sugar. 
    • White foods
      Everyone laughs when I say it - but Mother Nature made very little white. Avoid white foods. They have, for the most part, been completely bastardized buy the food industry. Bread, pasta, cereals, sugar and cakes - if they are white - they are not real food. Think how fast your car would break down if you used 'petrol substitute'.
    • Red Meat
      Red meat is medically proven to cause inflammation. Not just of the skin - it has been linked to cancer, heart disease, obesity and most inflammatory diseases. This includes beef, lamb, venison, veal, pork and all of the subdivisions such as bacon, sausage, sandwich meat, salami etc..
      If you eat red meat, try and cut back and eat the best organic quality available. It is less likely to be loaded with hormones that aggravate your acne.
      Eat white meat or fish - especially oily fish like salmon. If you eat meat it should swim or fly. 
    • Dairy
      We are the only species that drinks the milk of another species. It's not natural and you don't need it. But again, it's in everything. Dairy contains hormones that can alter our endocrine system and contribute to acne. That includes cheese (cries, again). If you eat/drink dairy go for organic skimmed.
    • Fried foods/bad fats
      Avoid all margarines, corn oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, trans fats and hydrogenated oils. This obviously means by association you avoid crisps, chips (french fries for US readers) and deep fried anything. Use olive or macadamia oil.

    A word on anti-biotics. 
    If you are taking them and they haven't 'done anything' - something I hear a lot on the Clinic - stop taking them (in the appropriate manner).
    They are bad for your system, cause stomach problems and make you massively susceptible to severe sun damage. Why some GP's insist on giving out repeat prescriptions for skins that are not responding to them is beyond me. It's just lazy.
    If your acne is really bad - ask for a referral to a hospital consultant/specialist unit - but I do mean really bad - covering your entire face, possibly back, scalp, chest etc - a few hormonal spots once a month, while causing you to break out the heavy duty concealer - is not on a par with the suffering of people with the severest cases.
    Ask for that referral - and if you don't get one - pay to see a dermatologist!


    174 comments:

    1. Hi Caroline

      Only recently found your blog thanks to vivianna!

      I have post hormonal acne skin, which I am struggling to control! I'm now 27 no acne terrible clogged pores, lots of blackheads on nose chin and forehead but my cheeks are clear and generally normal skin type!

      I suffer with so much oiliness, especially when I wear make up (Laura mercier mineral foundation) I may as well not wear any as doesn't stay put long!
      I cleanse at night and was using la Roche posay but am convinced it was too drying and my skin felt tight!
      Now using no7 melting cleanser and a ren moisturiser which my skin drinks up very quickly!

      Ideally I need a post acne regime but am so used to having acne prone skin I have no clue what to use!

      Any suggestions would be so welcomed. Also where do you buy your fish oil from and is it capsule form ie would omega 3, cod liver oil etc be ok?

      Sorry for my huge rant lol and thanks so much for taking time to read

      Many thanks

      Steph

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      1. Lamberts Fish Oil 1100mg size are great.
        Why don't you start with some of the above tips and see if you get some improvement? Def try the Emma H cleanser.

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      2. what is all the waxy crap that sits in your pores that you cannot really see unless you are doing your teeth. Its not pimples, has no color, but just oozes out of your face when you squeeze your cheeks. How do i get rid of it. Totally gross sorry

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    2. I think I'll be speaking for a lot of people when I say thank you for putting this information together in one handy cheat sheet. I will be pointing people to this lovely page left, right and centre!

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    3. Amazing. Thanks for this. Please let us know how the Lamberts Fish Oil compares to the Perricones. Thanks muchly. x

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      1. Hi Kate!

        They are both great - the Lambert's repeats a little more than Dr P but if you eat afterwards its ok. :)

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    4. I was waiting for this - and it's great! I think you speak a lot of sense and I definitely see a lot of my skin symptoms in the things you describe. I always wonder though whether I actually have/had 'acne' or just a lot of spots, as I know there is a difference between the two. I think my skin has a cocktail of 3/4 inflammation and 1/4 hormonal redness and spots.

      Trouble is, I know the foods that aren't good for me (unfortunately dairy - in most forms) but I find it hard to avoid them all together. I'm now trying - very slowly - to cut out dairy from my diet and hope that will help with reducing the inflammation. Do you recommend switching to soya (to get the protein - though I do eat poultry once or twice a week), or is it best to skip it altogether?

      Thanks also for mentioning the Alpha H Liquid Gold - I am very tempted to try that but was confused by alcohol denat being the second ingredient, which I have always associated with being quite bad/drying for the skin. But your explanation that it is required to stabilise the glycolic acid, and that the benefits of the acid outweigh the negatives of the alcohol, really makes sense. This is the next purchase on my list.

      I have to admit, a little shamefaced-ly, to use a cleansing oil that has mineral oil in it (though this is the only instance of it and I am now moving away from it immediately).

      It would be great if at some point in the future you could look at scarring/redness as well - though I still get 'breakouts', my main issue is dealing with a lot of redness (not sensitivity as such - my skin is pretty sturdy when it comes to new products/ingredients) and both pitted and surface scars. Though my beloved rosehip oil spent the last year diligently clearing up a LOT of that, it is still quite visible. No rush on that, though - just a suggestion!

      Thanks again, and apologies for the essay ! x

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      1. Not an essay - get it out! :)

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      2. Thanks! It's hard to talk to my GP about skin stuff - he doesn't consider (and neither do I) my skin issues to be SO serious that I would need antibiotics (not that I would even take them) or even referral to a specialist/dermatologist; in some ways, he's quite dismissive on that front. On the other hand, my skin could definitely use some improving!

        I imagine it must be quite a lot of work for you to listen to all our woes and problems and offer up recs/solutions - I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say that it is so very much appreciated and valued. With all the shifting and conflicting views and opinions and loyalties of brands/'specialists', its nice to know that there's someone we can trust to just give us proper help and advice to look after ourselves and our skin, without any agendas. Thanks a lot for doing that :)

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      3. Ah thank you for thanking me :)x

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      4. Hi Caroline, quick question. When trying to avoid products with mineral oils, what sorts of things do you look for on the ingredients list? Will it actually say mineral oils or are there sneaky scientific names for different types? Thanks!

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    5. I actually did an intake of breath when I saw this cheat sheet was up, thank you. You are my oracle and I haven't purchased any skincare without checking on here first, I have read every blog entry. I will definitely be steering peeps your way from my humble blog :)

      I do have a question; I know sugar is bad but is fake sugar like the sugar-free chewing gum a culprit for causing skin reactions? I have bumps all over my face especially lower parts of cheeks, and I have very bad cystic acne on my jawline particularly on the left side? I've started using Neal's Yard Wild Rose (with a flannel obvs!) although I have just ordered the EH Balm. I also use a REN clay mask a few times a week, Liquid Gold and Caudalie Elixer for toner and Origins Mega Mushroom Moisturiser.

      I take loads of fish oil and I'm not on the pill if that makes a difference. I've been doing this regime about three weeks now and not much better yet am I just being impatient? I feel like something set me off and I can't think what else could be causing it other than bloomin' chewing gum as I don't do anything else naughty, not even wine or fags! So I'm at a bit of a loss really. Hope you can help x

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      1. I doubt its the gum from chewing - it could be any number of things. You may need to see the dentist for that side of the mouth - it may be your colon - so detoxing etc would help - and if you've been doing the routine 3 weeks it could just need more time.
        Fish oils take months to really benefit. Use the EH to cleanse and the NYard as a treat overnight.
        And get a good clay mask. Balance me, Ren, Clarins, Elemis - all good

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      2. Thank you so much for your reply. I will keep going with my new regime. Really looking forward to the EH stuff. Just one more thing if you see this, but is 9000mg fish oil ok when trying to conceive or should I cut down in the second half of my cycle? Thanks again x

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      3. Hard to say - varying degrees of opinion - you should be fine but if you want to cut back for peace of mind - why don't you half?

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      4. Yes I think I will cut back to half in second half of cycle. I don't want anything to potentially mess it up, don't even drink coffee anymore *wails* x

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    6. Hi Caroline,

      Thanks for taking the time to write this sheet.

      I have suffered with acne since I was 14 and I am now 32 and have always dreamed of having good skin but unfortunately the only time that this has happened was whilst I was on Dianette which I stopped taking whilst I had my two daughters.

      Whilst reading through your cheat sheet the part that stands out the most is where you advised about using foaming face washes and oil free products. This is all I have done since I was a teenager so now find it really hard to break that pattern however my skin is now red, inflamed and sensitive so can I ask if I put changes into place how long should it be before I start to notice any improvement in these problems? Also I have recently used the pai sensitive moisturiser and I am now breaking out with whiteheads is this because my skin is not used to receiving any moisture?

      Just to finish I also want to say I think it is awful how there are so many companies recommending these products to acne skin when in all procability it is making the situation worse.

      Thank you again, lisa

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      1. My word Lisa, I could've written this post! (my name is also Lisa). The only difference is that my acne is mainly on my back.

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      2. So a couple of things. You'll feel a difference after the first use. Make sure you cleanse properly - read the cheat sheet - it will feel weird at first.
        Pai may be breaking you out because your acid mantle is destroyed and the products are not able to do what they need to - your skin is just shouting at them. Yes, its not used to it.
        From now on buy calming, anti-redness products - try Darphin Intral toner for example. Lovely.

        And other Lisa - get some clay mask all over that back and a good moisturiser.

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      3. Mrs H - What you say about our skin reacting to products because of a destroyed acid mantle is a revelation! It now makes sense to me as to why I can experiment a bit more with products, whereas this time last year, I reacted badly to everything. Really good to know.

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      4. Many Thanks Caroline! Clay mask purchased and will be slathered on tonight.
        Other Lisa.

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      5. Hello Caroline
        I just found your cheat sheet, and I am so thankfull !!!
        I'm from France, I do understand all your good instructions for a appropriate skincare for acne prone skin like mine
        but can you please give me tips on products that I will be able to find in France if possible
        I am using actually "Neostrata" (face cream plus, glycolic formulation, AHA)
        Do i need a toner ? What do you call a good moisturizer ?
        Thanks for everything
        Sorry for being so late on this topic

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    7. "Stop putting toothpaste and bum cream on your face."

      seeing that has just made my day, hahaha.

      http://pretty-in-pink-blog.com

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    8. This is a nicely written comprehensive list of tips. What you say is very true, there is no "magic cure" which is why it's so important to cover your bases - doing as much as possible without accidently damaging your face or provoking outbreaks by accident.

      I also agree about antibiotics - I've taken my fair share and I'm pretty sure they've affected my body in a bunch of unintended ways. Nothing too horrible, but I'd go with a more "natural" approach if possible. Thanks for this post!

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    9. Thanks so much for this Caroline - fortunately for now I'm done battling my mild acne (thanks to... antibiotics, heheh - I guess I'm one of the rare cases) but I still appreciated this cheat sheet a lot and always love your approach to skincare. I'll be waiting anxiously for that scarring/hyperpigmentation cheat sheet. You're the best!

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    10. Great post!

      xoxo,

      colormenana.blogspot.com

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    11. Thank you so much! This was super helpful! I'm going to get myself some fish oil tomorrow! And raid all my products to see if they have mineral oil!!

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    13. I don't struggle with acne or bad skin at all, as I take very good care of it and have a really healthy diet...however, once in a blue moon i will get a gargantuan red cyst-like spot or two on the top of my cheek. as someone who really pampers their skin already, what should be my first line of action when something like this happens? (aside from waiting it out, as I already pamper my skin a lot as it is)

      Thanks for this awesome cheat sheet :)

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      1. some of us take super good care of our skin and a have a healthy diet and STILL have acne you know...

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      2. Yes, we know. I'm one of them. I don't think Jocelyn was saying otherwise to be honest.

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      3. Jocelyn I would attack back with a really good natural balm - like Darphin Purifying Balm or Neals Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm. Use them overnight on the area till it either goes away, or comes out.

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    14. Thank you for this sheet, couldn't concentrate on work when I saw this, so had to take a break from whatever I was doing to go check this out. I just saw the list of your favorite cleanser and since Clarins is my favorite skincare brand right now, I was just wondering if you would recommend the Clarins extra comfort cleansing cream for oily skin, considering it contains shea butter.

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      1. Tricky one - it has worked well for me when I've had redness - it's actually my favourite Clarins cleanser. It might be ok because you are washing it off - its not like its going to be in a moisturiser on your face all day? Why don't you ask for a sample - Clarins are great for sampling.

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    15. Hi Caroline, Thanks so much for this so helpful!! Recently I've been getting whiteheads but only around my mouth, jaw and occasionally on the neck is there anything specific that would be causing them? I'm 25 (don't drink or smoke, healthy diet) and have heard a lot of people in my age group mention this as an issue. I have the TSV Emma Hardie winging my way to me so fingers crossed that helps but any advice you have would be great!

      Thanks :-)
      Sophie

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      1. Whitehead spots or milia?

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      2. Whitehead spots.

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      3. Could be food allergies/periods/ovaries - anything different there?

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    16. AMAZING Caroline, you are a babe.
      I recently got acne at 21 and it is particularly a problem because the doctor also just told me I have very sensitive skin to the sunlight so I have all sorts of things to worry about these days. My skin is insanely dry therefore because of the sunlight and yet spotty so so my question is, do you recommend a particular day face moisturiser that is SPF50?
      The problem is that the doctor told me to use Avene’s cold cream to remoisturise my damaged skin but not in the daylight and as I live in Madrid I need to be able to use something else if it is going to be sunny. So I also have no idea what to wash my face with now either.

      How can I keep my face moisturised, protected from the sun AND spot free??

      Nightmare.

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      1. Can you get Alpha-H over there? Their SPF50 is great.

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      2. I can definitely order it online!

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    17. I dont agree with toothpaste.. I do it sometimes and it dries my acne till morning and it is almost gone.. it may not work for everybody, but it works for me :)

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      1. If it ain't broke don't fix it! :)

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    18. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant!

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    19. Thanks for the cheat sheet. I'm fortunate to never have had acne, but I'm storing this info in my memory bank for the onset of 40+ acne when the time comes. I will be using your advice here and from last weeks clinic when it comes to dealing with breakouts during my period and when I've not been as diligent in removing spf and make up.

      Again, thanks. I've all the clinic q&a's and have learnt so much.

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    20. I use alot of products you recommend and my skin is pretty good now :) my problem is when i put on foundation. it is lovely for the first hour and then appears to just sink into my pores and after a few hours i look awful...face almost looks dirty. Any advice ? thanks

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      1. You're dehydrated - read the Dry v Dehydrated cheat sheet over there ----->

        :)

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    21. This is probably going to sound really silly, but here we go. I have noticed from your previous posts that you, hmm... shall we say do not approve using Sudocrem on spots and now you have made it very clear in this post. My question is, however - why? I get an occasional spot and (ashamed) put some Sudocrem on it overnight - I feel it helps with the redness a lot, so I was wondering what bad does it do? Can it clog my pores?

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      1. As I said - if it works for you - great. :)

        It doesn't work like that for all people and there are better items out there - but hey - if it works - go for it! :)

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      2. Thank you! I won't feel bad using it now :)

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    22. You are amazing and I just wish I had advice like this when I was younger as I was on Dianette from the time i was 16 for cystic acne and at 37 and having been off it for a few years trying to get pregnant with my second child, this is teh first time that through blogs and youtube I've finally learned what is actually good for dealing with the odd hormonal cystic spot I get. recently it was said to me on a youtubers post that the alpha H was terrible because it contained alcohol, but I disagree, it is the first treatment i have ever used which actually does what it says and can improve on those odd spots without taking it's toll on my skin, and I urge any of the younger readers to follow your advice because i didn't have access to it when I was younger and what you said about treating your skin like the enemy really resonated - i once put neat vodka on my skin to try to 'dry out' the spots - it was not a pretty picture afterward, but having been though years of my skin actually being painful because of the spots, at 37 now it seems to be in good condition. Also, it was said to me by an older lady when I was younger and while i didn't appreciate it then I do now - if you have oily skin you WILL eventually get rid of the acne either completely or it being as bad as it is, and you then reap the rewards of an oily skin - i am 37 and have zero wrinkles anywhere on my face - ladies I work with who are ten years younger than me have crows feet already and now I am the one with the better skin.

      there is hope x

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      1. Ah thanks Tinyo - and I'm so pleased for you that is=t has cleared!

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    23. Is it okay for me to use rosehip oil as an evening moisturiser? I'm worried it will clog my pores and cause more breakouts but some sources say that it can actually help clear acne. x

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      1. I wouldn't. You can use it topically if you have scars - but too many girls on here have mentioned cystic breakouts after using it overnight.

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    24. I love your blog, but it does make me sad, thinking of how I have mistreated my skin from age 12 upwards, with the intention of getting rid of my acne. I doused my skin in everything from toothpaste to neat tea tree to lemon juice. Sniff. Poor skin.

      I'm now 34 and my skin is still acne prone and sensitive, and I have 20 year old pitted acne scars but since following your blog religiously, my skin has cleared up immensely.

      The biggest acne clearing factors for me over the years have been: giving up dairy (yoghurt is the worst for my cysts), no refined sugar, definitely no smoking and very limited alcohol consumption (for every glass of wine i'll get a massive zit!). When I started reading your blog, I was eating copious amounts of citrus fruits every day, so I have since knocked that on the head (begrudgingly) which has really helped. I also started taking the 9000 mg Perricone Omega 3's which have been incredible in reducing my breakouts. I also don't seem to scar half as badly.

      Products that have been amazing for my skin have been: Emma Hardie cleansing balm, P50v, Claudallie Beaute Elixir, Pai Geranium and Thistle Moisturiser and Pai Rosehip Oil and Liquid Gold on alternative nights. I also apply a mud mask a few times a week and apply Liquid Gold mask once per week. This routine has really settled my skin and whilst I am scared of trying new products coz of bad reactions, I am gonna try experimenting with EH's TSV night balm, although not entirely sure where to squeeze that in to my routine...

      I have also got rid of all my make up that contained Bismuth Oxychloride, which was such a huge culprit for me with the under jaw cysts and under the skin bumps. Bad!

      The next challenge is, dare I say it, coming off the pill. It terrifies me knowing how my skin might react, so i want to build a really solid skin care foundation before i do. I will be coming off it after my wedding in November, because I am SO not walking down the aisle with raging hormonal acne! No way no how.

      Thanks Caroline! If I were the Minister of Education, I'd hire you to start a school skin care campaign. Seriously, if I'd had access to this blog when I was a kid, my skin wouldn't be half as scarred as it is now. x

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      1. Ah Kate I'm SO pleased! And don't worry about the pill - if the aim is to get pregnant - that in a lot of cases, clears up the skin anyway. Not always - but a lot of the time! :)

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    25. What are your thoughts on REN's line for blemish prone skin? I have tried everything to clear my hormonal acne, including doctors creams etc and it never goes and now is worse than ever! x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. I'm trialling bits and pieces at the moment - if that is in your price bracket - then go for it - you can do a lot worse.

        Delete
      2. I've been struggling with the acne on my cheeks for the past year and a half, antibiotics, dianette, retina_A, dalaclin... nothing worked. It's stress/hormone related like yours, and I've tried all the main skincare ranges, Alpha H, MV skincare, dermalogica etc, and I could write a book on it.
        I was recommended Cetaphil as it's gentle, and this worked well for me for a while, but I have seen a huge difference in my skin after using some REN products- I mean incredible! I would recommend the mayflower cleanser and the toner is the best I have ever used! (it works a bit like Alpha H Liquid Gold which never worked for me) but this has all the acids I need and really reduces my redness etc.Completely balances my skin out.
        Take a few sample pots into a local store that sells it and get some of the tester to try out. They won't mind and will save you money. Good luck! You will get there xxx

        Ps. Try drinking lots more water and make sure your gut is tip top, lots of live yoghurt, no alcohol, and plenty of sleep always helps me if my skin is bad. Also exercise, fresh air and getting the blood pumping are all beautifying and help our lazy unhappy skin! Katie

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    26. Have oily V dehydrsted skin. would you recommend Trilogy or Yonka? Want a good brand I can use as my daily moisturiser, thanks

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Why are they the choices? Just out of interest. Both are fine.

        Delete
    27. Thank you for another great cheat sheet, I am now going to step away from the baby cream :) I have a few questions though and would be so, so grateful if you could please get back to me on them, as I have been suffering for years from horrible acne and nothing is helping!

      I have had really bad acne since I started puberty (I started at a very young age) and I am now 19 years old and still suffering from cysts, white heads, black heads, oily skin, dry patches, the lot! I have pale fair skin, that isn't sensitive but is so, so oily. My spots are usually on my forehead, nose, upper lip, chin, along the jaw area, sometimes in my ears and quite a few on my back and chest. I have also been left with a lot of scaring from previous spots and cysts.

      I have been to the doctors about them many times just to be given endless amounts of different drugs and creams, that never work and only tend to dry my skin out more. I am no longer taking these and have been trying out every single high street brand there is and none of them have worked.

      You have mentioned to use higher end products but as they are really expensive I would be grateful if you could please recommend a brand/brands that you feel are worth the price tag and may help out my skin, as I don't have enough money to keep trying out different more expensive brands.

      Also you mention taking supplements to help the skin and I was wondering if you could please recommend which supplements I should be taking and a good brand that offers good quality products.

      I understand diet and exercise play a big part in the health of my skin and lead I pretty healthy life style, so I feel my bad skin is mainly down to hormones. I would be so grateful if you could give me some extra tips to try and help reduce these awful spots!

      Thank you.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Start with Alpha-H Liquid Gold. That has the potential to fix a LOT on its own. And fish oil. 9000mg a day. Lamberts or Doctor Perricones - but Lamberts is much cheaper. DO that - the come back to me! :)

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      2. Thank you so much! I shall let you know how I get on :)

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    28. Hi Caroline,

      May I ask a quickie? It is just to get your opinion really. I am 47, have normal, clear skin which is in quite good condition considering! I use Sarah Chapman during the day (serum, moisturiser and eye cream). I was thinking of using Nude cellular renewal night cream and wondered if you thought it a good cream to use for my age? Would still use Sarah C serum under it. Many thanks Caroline x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. If you're using Sarah C - why don't you use Overnight Facial? It's much stronger than Nude.

        Delete
      2. Perfect - thank you x

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    29. Hi Caroline:

      Thanks for the cheat sheet. The best advice I've got from your blog re acne is the bit about not drying/irritating the skin. For example, I had a couple of pimples last night from a long day of walking around the city. Came home, did a double cleanse with a cleanser and a balm, and applied Darphin purifying balm. The spots haven't disappeared overnight but they're less angry and inflamed. So much better than when I used to wash my face with a foaming acne cleanser and then dab tons of drying lotion all over my face.

      ReplyDelete
    30. Hi Caroline! So pleased the cheat sheet is up!! Im looking for a balm or oil to use in alternate nights to liquid gold. I'm 26, acne prone, combo skin & 37 weeks pregnant. Thank you

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Darphin Purifying Balm. Neals Yard Wild Rose BBalm also good. Are you ok with the LG and being preggers? Don't panic - I would totally use it myself - just checking :)

        Delete
    31. If you get spots from introducing something new (a product or a different way of cleansing/massaging etc) into your routine, how long should you wait it out before you can know that it doesn't agree with your skin?

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Depends what it is, how bad the spots are - and what type they are. BUT - as a rule - a fortnight would probably stretch me to my limit if there was no improvement?

        Delete
      2. It's the balance me balm cleanser - I chose that one because I'm allergic to an ingredient in EH balm. I've been using it about 2 weeks now. Since using it I'm getting teeny tiny whiteheads on/at the side of my nose and chin...and a few blackheads on my chin which I've not had since I took roaccutane 5 years ago. It does really seem like it's clogging my pores which makes no sense from what you said above (and I'm removing it with a hot flannel so I guess it shouldn't be around long enough to clog them anyway.. I'm confused!)- could it still be bringing the junk up out of my pores? I really want my skin to like it!!! Haha!

        Delete
      3. You may have the same problem as the EH one - which is a shame as its hard to narrow down - do you follow it with a toner suitable for acne/oily ie with AHA's or similar?

        Delete
      4. Hi Caroline, thanks for getting back to me - I know you are busy x

        The funny thing is after the Roaccutane my skin was completely normal and perfect for about 3 years, then I (got poorly and) developed the allergy and it went extremely dry and sensitive - I would not have considered it to be oily/acne prone at all until this past month when using this cleanser. And the ingredient isn't in this balm (it took me 18 months but I did eventually narrow it down!) and I also don't have any breakouts on my cheeks so I don't think it can be the allergy.

        Could oils/balm cleansers just not agree with my skin? I feel sad!! haha. I do use decleor balm for sensitive skin at night and have had no trouble with that, I'm so confused!! Can send you a pic if it would help? x

        Delete
    32. Hi Caroline. thanks for the cheat sheet and for recommending the Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial last week. where can i fit it into my routine of P50V lotion, EH balm, KS oil-free day cream, Algenist Overnight Cream and Liquid Gold? which are the best deep cleansing and hydrating masks? once again i have similar skin to you x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Use it on alternate nights so LG, Algenist, SC.

        Lots of good masks - I'll root out my favourites for a post anyway.

        Delete
    33. I couldn't have said it better myself. This is a great acne cheat sheet and worth the try. Right now, I'm with Accutane but I've heard accutane side effects which made me think twice. So far I'm having few breakouts and getting 'better' than the last. I'm just hoping that once I'm done with the course, acne won't come back. Anyway, thanks and good luck.

      ReplyDelete
    34. do small yellow spots around the nose fall into the category of acne?

      thanks so much!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. No - thats usually your endocrine/liver systems. Keep them hydrated - don't dry them out. Try Liquid Gold - works for me - and take supplements - milk thistle, fish oil etc for your liver. And cut down sugar.

        Delete
    35. Hi Caroline,

      Wonderful cheat sheet! I wondered if these all apply with PCOS acne? I've started taking Lambert's Fish Oil - my dodgy knees are getting less crunchy, but my skin's just as bad.. I've come off anti-biotics and Differin after nearly 10 years of skin abuse. It's so damaged :(. But now acne is spreading across my chest, scalp and back - as well as covering every inch of facial skin. I mainly get white heads and pimples, the odd cyst too and I really don't know what to do with it any more. I can't be on any hormonal treatment either, so crazy hormones = even crazier skin no matter how well I treat it. Have you had any experience of ladies with PCOS acne before? And whether it can be tackled without meds? Going out of my mind... :(

      xx

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hi! Oh I'm sorry - I'm looking at doing PCOS next. xxx

        Delete
      2. Ah, so it's a totally different kettle of fish? I've just been researching/purchased other supplements, so hopefully PCOS symptoms will subside - including acne! But I'm intrigued to read your cheat sheet on it :) xx

        Delete
      3. Hello Mrs. Hirons. PLEASE do a post on PCOS. I am turning 32 and have had PCOS since I was 19. I have oily skin. I have recently struggled with a non related PCOS illness and had to go on steroids. HUGE mistake. I ended up getting steroid enduced acne. I have never had acne. It has been very devastating and hard to deal with. I have recently discovered your bolg thanks to Pixiwoo. I have been reading over it for days. I have started the Perricone fish oil like to you suggested in your post. I know you love EH cleansing balm, P50, pepta-bright and other things. I wrote down EVERYthing you said as far as steps to taking care of your skin. I am just confused on which of your favorite skin care products I should be using with oily skin. I could really use a list of things to use. My husband and I have three kids and one income so it is really important for me to have guidance in what to buy because I do not have much extra money but I NEED to do something. Thank you so much for all you do. Insert happy face here:)

        Sincerely,
        Kristin

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    36. Hi Caroline,

      I have been reading your blog for a while and love it - I have completely changed my skin care routine and after about 5 weeks am REALLY noticing a difference!

      I hope I have left it too late to get a reply from you concerning this post.

      I would like some advice for my teenage son. He is 15 and is currently about 2months into a course of Roaccatane prescribed by a skin specialist at our local hospital. We are definitely starting to see an improvement which is wonderful because we had to think long and hard about letting him start this drug as the side effects are horrible. The specialist said he has grade 6 acne on his face and grade 3 on his back - we were so worried about scarring!!

      Anyway, my question is - what products should I be buying for him to use whilst on the medication? He is really suffering with very very dry skin, lips, scalp etc. I'm scared for him to use anything because his skin is so delicate at the moment. And going forward - what should he use? Oh and if you a post about scarring at any point - that would be wonderful because I think that is a problem we will have in the future!!

      I would be so grateful if you could give me any advice about products for him!! Thank you so much in advance!!

      Lisa F x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Oh wow - poor thing. Keep an eye on him won't you - depression is a big side effect. Although the depression from dealing with the actual acne was a consideration I'm sure.

        V V dry skin is the main side effect of roaccutane. Is he taking fish oils? Omega 3's will really help to bring down the inflammation.

        Keep him hydrated with water based products - Murad have good ones - and have something heavy duty standing by like Neals yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm or even organic pharmacy ultra dry skin cream - but that's really heavy - stops dryness instantly though..

        Delete
    37. Adore your blog. Can't live without it now. Was wondering if Shu Uemura is considered mineral oil? I can't read the ingredients! I love this cleanser as a first cleanse. But if it's bad to use it would you please be able to recommend any alternatives? Thank you very much. X

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Yes it is mineral oil. If it works for you use it up! Any of the others that I'm always going on about are fine - Emma Hardie, Balance Me etccc

        Delete
    38. Hi Caroline,

      I really loved your cheat sheet, it's hard to find such excellent advice. Could you possibly make me some recommendations? I do not have severe acne and have managed to control the acne that I do have for the most part but I almost always have a few of small spots on my cheeks. I also tend to get a lot of blackheads and congested pores, no matter what I seem to do - extractions, clay masks etc. - they always seem to return with renewed vigour. My skin often has the tendency to feel quite thick and rough despite the fact that I exfoliate. I do apologize if this is starting to seem like a shopping list of problems but, on top of all of this, my skin is oily (particularly on my forehead and nose). I would really love to have a clear, blackhead-free, smooth, soft and balanced complexion (wouldn't we all):). I am 17 years old, but I don't mind saving up for more expensive products so long as they are good quality. I'm not sure if you need this but here is my skincare routine:

      Morning - Alpha-h clear skin daily face wash, DDF moisturising dew (but looking for something new)and alpha-h clear skin blemish control gel (where needed)
      Night - Alpha-h clear skin daily face wash, pure argan oil.
      Plus I use the Institut esthederm gentle deep pore cleanser 3 times/week and exfoliate once per week with the alpha-h micro cleanse (but also looking for something new which contains no grains)

      Two last things, which are a bit off topic, I sometimes get red, irritated skin on my chest - tiny red bumps and patchy red skin, do you know what this could be? I stopped using products with SLS and that helped but my chest is still irritated. Finally, could you suggest something for razor rash, I dread shaving my thighs because I get the worst rash particularly on the backs of my thighs which itches like crazy! How can I prevent/treat this?

      Thank you so much for reading this, I am very grateful.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. OK in brief, your system is very inflamed - sounds obvious but sometimes its the underlying issues that cause the other problems. You need to make sure you are following an anti-inflammatory diet - lots of omega oils, no sugar, no booze (sugar), low dairy etc. You'll get lots of info from Perricone's website - have a look. Alpha-H Micro Cleanse can be used more often.
        Argan oil is not what you need. Start with Alpha-H Liquid Gold - not expensive - 2/3 x week in the evenings and go from there.
        Lierac make a good toner for comb skin with fruit acids in it.. start small and work up! :)
        Also - your night time cleanser needs vamping up - a wash will not do the job. See other comments for recommendations. :)

        Delete
      2. Thanks for your advice! I'm going to start incorporating these things into my diet and skincare routine :) Do I need to moisturise after using liquid gold? If so,which one should I use? Also, I have heard that it is important to use a moisturiser with a decent SPF during the day if you use products with glycolic acid, you recommend me one that will not make me oily?
        Thanks again, you are a genius!!

        Delete
      3. Also, does anyone know where I can get the Lierac Paris Refreshing Toning Lotion (I think that was the one Caroline was referring to) in Australia, online or a store?

        Delete
      4. Hi Natasha, re your red bumps & shaving rash, read up on Keratosis pilaris. I had raised bumps on my upper right arm and 'chicken skin' legs. It's often confused with acne. My GP said the only thing to get rid of it was Hibiscrub, an anti bacterial wash. My arm's almost cleared up after quite a few months of using the wash and not squeezing the bumps. I also used to get god awful itching when my leg hair was regrowning. Try not to scratch it, I'm sure I've given myself spider veins in the places I used to do this. I now use a homemade salt/fine sand/light oil scrub 2-3 times a week on my legs and moisturise after and I no long get that 'legs on fire' feeling.

        Delete
    39. this was so so so helpful! thankyou :)
      i was wondering if you could reccomend some topical exfoliants? I know of the alpha H liquid gold but unfortunately I can't get my hands on it because I live in canada and can't afford the taxes/ duties :(
      xo

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Biologique Recherche P50 - available in the US.

        Delete
    40. Hi..Caroline, If only I saw this cheat sheet 10 years ago.. I have pretty bad skin for my age I'm 28 with dry,combination,dehydrated,acne prone oily you name it , anything bad that's me. I recently saw ur blog and ordered alpha h LG and alpha h serum. It haven't arrived yet.. And i have also started eating fish oil tabs. I have one problem many moisturizers tend to break me out. Either they are too greasy for me too rich in texture I don't know :(. Can u ps recommend me a good moisturizer which is oil free.I m currently using neutrogena oil free moisture for combo skin.. Which doesn't break me out but I don't think it's doing anything interms of moisture. Pls help.. I can't thank you enough.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Obvs wait and see what Caroline recommends, but the only moisturiser I could use for years that didn't break me out was the Neutrogena oil free, but then I tried Pai Thistle and Geranium and it's perfect. My skin purged for the first two week but then it settled nicely. Good luck!

        Delete
      2. Hi,

        Yes you could go for Kate's suggestion - or alpha-h make good hydrating moisturisers for oilier skins. And Balance ME. :)

        Delete
      3. Thanks caroline and Kate I really appreciate your time

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      4. Thanks caroline and Kate I really appreciate your time

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      5. Thanks so much for ur time

        Delete
    41. Hi Caroline,

      Thank you for the cheat sheet! It is a boon for people like me!

      Would like to know if constipation causes or aggravates acne? I have often heard people saying this.

      Thanks and Best wishes.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Not for everyone but for people on long term meds - things like codeine block you up like a BRICK (I should know!) :) - it can add to the problem, but shouldn't give you full on acne - no.

        Delete
    42. Thanks for this - I find myself saying "What would Caroline do?" a lot lately!!

      ReplyDelete
    43. I've been reading many of your posts since I discovered your blog last month, and have been looking forward to this. I'm 22, and have been battling with acne for 10+ years now. My skin is clearer now than when I was a teenager, but I still have 2-3 pimples/cysts on my face almost all the time. BP used to work for me a few years ago, but I've since become allergic to it. So I'm looking for a better alternative.

      After reading your post, I will definitely be taking Omega 3 supplements. Glycolic acid has helped my acne a bit in the past, but it would quite often sting and turn my skin a rash-y red. I'm Asian, and it's made my skin terribly sensitive to the sun and caused me to tan horribly (which I'm desperately trying to avoid) despite wearing sunscreen. (I think my skin, in general, is sensitive to exfoliation.) However, after reading all the raves, I'm thinking of giving Alpha-H Liquid Gold a try, even though it's much too expensive for me as a student living on student loans.

      I know you've mentioned to avoid soaps/foaming cleanser, but what is your opinions on organic cleansers without sulfates/mineral oil/etc.? The ones that I've been looking at use primarily Glycerin Soap Base, which is made of (taken from their website):

      Saponified oils of Coconut and Olive
      Purified Water
      Vegetable Glycerins
      Oleic Acid

      Thank you! :)

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. they may work - but be careful of drying?

        Delete
    44. Hi there, I've just come across your blog and must say that it is a revelation! I have a question re products but will do the background first
      I'm 20 Years old, with dry/ inflammed skin that has the occasional spot but not regularly, I don't smoke, drink much or eat much dairy or sugary foods. I'm currently using clarins cleansing milk followed by their camomile toner, or elemis soothing camomile cleanser and followed by their apricot toner. In terms of moisturising I was using clarins hydraquench rich cream- which is the only thing I have found hydrating enough during the winter and am currently working my way through a few samples to find something else.
      I was wondering if you had any product suggestions for a slightly lighter moisturiser now that we're (finally) heading into summer
      I am also looking to add an eye cream to my routine as I tend to suffer from undereye puffiness.
      I have also noticed that you recommend oil based cleansers and wanted to know what benefits they have over cleansing milks, as I have previously been told that milks would work best on my sensitive skin
      Thank you, its so nice to find someone who talks common sense

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Would you mind posting on today's clinic - sorry - too much detail required that could be useful to others :)

        Delete
    45. Will fish oil help me if I have hormonal acne? Some spots dont surface and then after weeks/months turn in to pitted scars!! PLEASE help me!!! xxxx

      ReplyDelete
    46. Hi Caroline,
      My boyfriend is 21 and has suffered from acne for the last couple of years, although it isn't severe it does really get him down sometimes so this post is really helpful thank you!

      I was just wondering if you had any recommendations for more affordable cleansers/moisturisers/treatments out there that will still do a good job. We are both students at the moment so our budgets are quite tight! He suffers from mostly red spots under the surface and the occasional whitehead. The redness and inflammation is the main problem.

      Thank you for any help you can give :) x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. try Anthony for Men on the Mankind website.

        Delete
    47. Hello! I was just wondering if you would consider adding a section on scarring please? I've managed to get rid of my acne spots but am left with horrible red scars which make me so self concious of my skin! So please could you include any tips on scarring and how to make it lighter/go away :) Thankyou very much, huge fan of your blog, keep up the good work! xxxx

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hi Laura, Sorry I've just seen this! Try HEAL gel available form Victoria Health or Liberty. If they are red that's good - it means they still have a blood supply. :)

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      2. Thankyou! Will give it a go :) xx

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    48. Hey, I have hormonal acne, and its got worse since i've started taking the contraceptive pill, I guess its gonna take a while for my hormones to calm down but I was wondering if you could suggest anything to try to beat/reduce the spots. I feel like my skin is dehydrated yet I still suffer acne breakouts and blackheads.. I'm so confused about my skin type because I don't have 'oily' skin so I don't want to use products that make my skin feel dry (which is what happens after i cleanse with products containing glycolic/salicylic acid)
      I'm just confused what products to use- acne ones are targeted at oily skins?
      also can you recommend a nice moisturised with antioxidants to reduce scaring that isn't too expensive (I'm a student.. :( )

      please help and thank you in advance, I love reading your blog :) x

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Can you post on today's clinic please - this came through after last weeks closed. Thank you.X

        Delete
    49. hi there, im just wondering about moisturiser the folloing morning after using liquid gold? Should the moisturiser contain spf, and can you recommend any for oily skin? Thank you!

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Use your regular moisturiser - you should be incorporating SPF into your routine either through skincare or makeup anyway? No? ;)

        Delete
      2. Yep youre right, im trying to get on top of combatting a few years of acne by rehauling my products and diet! Thanks a lot, if you have any recommendations for a decent spf moisturiser it would be great! Thanks :)

        Delete
      3. Try Elemental Herbology Balance SPF.

        Delete
    50. Hi,

      I think I have an infection on my face. Does anyone know any good dermatologist in London?

      ReplyDelete
    51. This comment has been removed by the author.

      ReplyDelete
    52. Hey! I have started cleansing with a Balm Cleanser about a month ago, and i'm crazily breaking out in pimples all over my forehead. I also started to eat cleaner.Should i keep doing what i'm doing andwait it out, or is it a bad sign? Thanks!:) x
      (btw. I never had acne befor, only a lot of dull skin and blocked pores..:))

      ReplyDelete
    53. Hi Caroline - what do you think of PRIORI products (lactic acid based - http://www.beautybay.com/skincare/priori/categories/advancedaha/) if I've got loads of tiny bumps on my cheeks that won't go away? I use LG on and off, but it makes me quite sun sensitive - especially since I was on Roaccutane for a while (which didn't stop the tiny bumps coming back for the third time!!) and I'm in sunny Singapore over summer. They don't turn into pimples proper or anything, it just looks kind of awful in the light :( I have Pai rosehip oil back from when my skin was better - should I be using that still? What else can I do? It looks really bad in the light and I'm at my wits' end. Awful sorry to be posting here- you're a star. Thanks so much.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. also - forgot to mention I've been taking fish oil supplements (2000mg/day) for three weeks now - as per your recommendation!! xx

        Delete
    54. Hi Caroline,

      I'm looking for a cleanser for sensitive skin with bad hormonal acne on the jawline. We don't have emma hardie in australia (which seems to be your best recommendation), so I was thinking maybe lush ultrabland or trilogy very gentle cleansing cream. Are these good alternatives? And when I second cleanse, should I be using the same cleanser or a different one?
      Thanks!
      Sophie

      ReplyDelete
    55. Hi Caroline love your site and your writing style, wish you had more posts because they're so informative and entertaining :)

      I started using a balm cleanser (Elemental herbology) after reading your posts and was amazed at how effective it was on my plugged pores!

      My question is, how much should you massage with the balm cleanser? I'm afraid that rubbing too hard at the congested areas on my face will make my skin break out more; in particular the skin around my mouth and chin seems to be breaking out in spots that come to a head. Not sure if it's purging (i've been using the balm cleanser for 2 weeks at least, and i had many little clogged and plugged pores in those areas) or if i'm massaging too hard. Other parts of my skin seem to be taking well to this new part in my routine though.

      Your thoughts would be so helpful, how much should one really go at it with a balm cleanser?

      Thanks!

      ReplyDelete
    56. Red Meat is one of the most acidifying foods we can eat. Therefore there is clear contradiction in your recommendation to avoid it at all costs. If an overly alkali skin is a cause of acne, red meat would help to acidify the skin and potentially help the condition clear.

      ReplyDelete
      Replies
      1. Hi Anon, to be honest it's more the inflammation, the saturated fat and the hormones IN the meat. It's fine if you want to rub a steak on your face! :)

        Delete
    57. What you said about rebuilding acid mantle makes a lot of sense! But how do we go about doing that if it's been destroyed from bad reactions to products, etc.?

      ReplyDelete
    58. Hello! I am totaly deseperate and I think you can help me.
      My fight with acne began when I was about 10 years old, I was the first girl in my class to have acne. I have always been the one in my group with the bigest amount of acne. So I start trying everything. At 14 I was deseperate and I went to a dermatologist. She prescribed me a super strong acne wash with glycolic acid and a topic treatment and she told me to not use moistizer and that with that my acne will go away. After a while my skin was terrific, like super dry and disgusting. I went to see her again beacause my acne still be there and she told me that it was impossible that my acne stop. Since there I made of not having acne my number one goal.
      I'm 17 now and everyone around me doesn't have as much acne has I have. I try everything, I don't eat bad, I moistrize my face and really take care of it. But because of all tose years of arch acne treatment my skin is now super sensitive and dehydradate. What can I do? My mom want me to take acutane, but I am scare...

      Please help me I feel like nobody undestand me...
      Thanks a lot!
      p.s sorry for my grammar mistake, I am french :)

      ReplyDelete
    59. I have had moderate/severe acne and spots for about 2 years now, originally I thought it was only hormonal but I am 17 now (I know I am still susceptible to hormone induced breakouts at my age but nothing works at all and its getting worse) and it is just getting worse and worse rather than better. It is also all over my face, whereas before it was just on my cheeks. I have tried using plenty of cheap OTC products, prescribed topical treatments and recently, medication from the GP (oops!) but nothing seems to work. I have even tried some of the more pricey products you recommend like Alpha-H Liquid Gold and the Emma Hardie Cleanser but nothing seems to work :( I am currently using a Blemish Prone skincare set by REN which I am trying to persevere with but again, seems to have no effect. I am very intrigued by fish oil but some have said it broke them out - have you experienced this at all? Are there any particular products you would recommend for my skin? I get fairly painful whiteheads but no blackheads pretty much all over my face but focused on my cheeks and chin. My skin is Normal/Oily.

      Please help me!

      Thanks :):)

      PS. One extra question - do you think you should trial all products for a particular amount of time to confirm that they don't work for your skin or do you think you should see results in a few days? I always find it hard to tell and don't want to waste time on a product that isn't helping my skin.

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    60. Hi Caroline! I was referred to you by MeganIsobel on Youtube and need a drastic change in my skin. I'm 23 years old and I will admit I do have a bad diet, but I have definitely found, in my search for better skin, that I have raging pre-period acne and some general acne through out the month. I guess I came here to research and see if I really do need products aimed for acne-prone skin or just need general cleansing products.

      I'm on the Murad Acne Complex 30 Day kit. It is interesting because I had found that the kit changed the consistency of my acne. Not from big to small, but from large cystic acne to small hard clear fluid shooting (sorry that's gross lol) spots. I didn't know if this was an indicator for something or just a result of the kit.

      Thanks so much for your help!
      Brandi

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    62. Hi, i am so glad i came bumped into this blog! i have realised i have been doing so many thing wrong which is why i have had spots all over my face for about 2 years, my skin wasnt even that bad as a teenager and im 24 now :/ anyway i read your how to clean your face proper post and well i obviously wasn't doing that properly which seems strange considering iv had 24 years to learn lol but i wasn't cleaning my foundation off fully even though i thought i was with the muslin cloth and liz earle polish but then i used a flannel as well and saw there was still foundation on my skin!! Anyway i have combo skin i am oily in my T zone and think my skin gets really dehydrated because i notice after a 11 hour day my foundation looks really dry and ashy looking, looks really bad! I use Liz earle cleanse and polish in the morning and at night the same but I double cleanse using a flannel now and i use No7 day cream day and night as i cant find one that will be good for my skin (im hopeless) I just ordered the Emma hardy cleansing balm and the ren clay cleanser. Could you recommend me stuff and a routine as im hopeless at this and iv been getting really depressed with my skin. I hope you read this, i wasnt sure where else to post ?? xo

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    63. Hi Caroline I've just discovered you and I'm so glad! please do u have any recommendations for large spots on a back. mainly large and red, not ones you can squeeze. I'm getting married next year and really want a nice backless dress. do you have any suggestions for what I can try?

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    64. Great, informative article...It is true that a healthy diet proper cleansing can go a long way...I had a lot of trouble explaining this to my teenage son :)

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    65. Hi there - this was really informative. I have skin which seems to go from completely clear to a war zone. I am 28 and have had spots since I was 10 - I go to a dermatologist but peels such as Salicylic tend to just cause a lot of peeling but creates more irritated skin than giving me a cure.

      I have been having various peels for four years but nothing seems to finally sort it. And I get spots throughout my cycle although it gets worse around that time.

      I wash with Glycolic every day and that seems to help but the biggest strides seem to come from using Rosehip oil which has cleared up my acne scarring exceptionally.

      I guess I am asking whether it would be worth trying an oil based cleanser as I could have sensitive skin and I may be over drying it? I eat very carefully and avoid sugars and dairy as well as taking fish oil so I am at a loss as to what else I can do?!

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    66. I've been suffering from post-pregnancy acne (it's clearly hormonal to me) and I wish I would have found your post sooner. I've figured most of it out by now, but haven't tried supplements. I will get on that asap. Thanks.

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    67. I had no idea there were so many causes for acne. I had a major acne problem growing up and it still flares up ever now and then. Thanks for all the great information! I now have some good ideas to avoid future outbreaks. Thanks a ton!

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    68. Hi Caroline, I've just discovered your blog and it is amazing. I'm in desperate need of advice/help in terms of my ongoing skincare. I'm 46 have pale, freckly skin prone to oily T-zone and dry patches, skin feels taut at times. My skincare regimen has lost its way. Are there a number of staple products you recommend for skincare? My complexion is dull and needs a pep. I have a limited budget but am happy to splurge on high end products if they work. Is it ok to purchase products one at a time and then begin your regimen? I know your incredibly busy responding to everyone's comments. Any advice would be greatly received.
      Thanks
      Nyree x

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    69. Hi Caroline, I have just discovered your blog, its amazing, informative and I love the fact it is completely independent of the Beauty industry.I'm 46 and in need of help.My skincare regimen has deteriorated to the point where I have lost my confidence and am totally confused by the range of products available.I have a typically 'irish' complexion, pale, freckly, oily T-zone, occasional spots and dryness/tautness on my cheeks.In the past I have spent ££££'S on products that haven't worked or improved things.Obviously I'm interested in anti-aging but need to find a daily routine that gets my skin back to the best possible condition.Are there a number of tried and tested products you recommend?Limited budget I'm afraid but I'm prepared to splurge if products come with an independent recommendation. Is it ok to buy one product at a time and start the regime once I have built up a complete package, cleanerser, toners, exfoliants, serums, eyecreams, moisturisers, anti-aging products?Sorry this is such a long winded comment, I would be so helpful for any help and advice you can negative.If it helps your's is the first blog I have ever responded to.

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    70. Hi Caroline

      My Fiancee has had bad acne since the age of 14 or so and now he is 23. It's calmed down in recent years, mainly because I encourage him to take fish oil supplements, avoid MARMITE and BREAD and BEER (we think it may be yeast?!) and to cleanse and tone. We're finally thinking about a dermatologist/spending money on quality skincare. He uses Panoxyl and Sudocrem which also seem to help, but his skin is just so dry. Spots seem to be almost bruised/lumps/acne and just whiteheads around his nose. Skin is very oily, especially at night.

      I've read up on your blog and am thinking:

      Ren Clear calm (AM)
      Emma Hardie (cleanser PM)
      Anythongy for men – ManKind, or Pixi Glow (Toner)
      Any suggestions for a Glycolic based toner to follow?
      Hydraluron
      Moisturiser - i've seen some Ren suggestions

      Liquid Gold twice weekly.
      Clay face masks now and again - Balance Me maybe?

      We also have a wedding approaching which has made him even more aware.

      Any suggestions/advice would be much appreciated as we're both out of ideas now other than strong meds :-/ my gut feeling is diet and just a very, very oily face (probably compensating for the chemicals!).

      Thanks!

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    71. I am happy that i found your blog. I am in search for acne treatments which works. Any suggestions.

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    72. hello

      can you recommend something similar to emma hardie cleansing balm, i cant buy that in my countrie (croatia)?

      and is the avene Ultra Rich Soap-Free Cleansing Bar also the soap that is good to avoid for face cleaning?

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    73. Hi Caroline! I just found your blog.
      I have always had acne, and I have visited the dermatologist since I was about 12 (I'm 21 now) but last year it got worse because of the stress of the exams, so I took Roacutane for six months. It was really hard.
      The thing is that a year ago I ended the treatment, but because of the stress, I still get cystic acne... I don't know what to do, because I take a lot of care of my skin.
      I have seen the pixiwoo body talk, but I don't live in England so I don't know a lot of those brands. I'm from Mallorca (Spain).
      Hope that you could guide me.
      I'm loving your blog. Thank you.

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    74. Orange Juice!... I had never thought about it and it may be my answer. When I was in my teens I had really bad acne and had orange juice every single day, more than once. Now I don't drink as much and have better skin, however last week I went on a trip and all I had to drink in the mornings was orange juice and my skin went bad again. Thanks for the info!

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    75. Hi Caroline!
      I saw the video you made with pixiwoo and was very interested in your blog I'm from Texas and I really enjoy it thank you! I have a questions though, for toners what would you consider to be okay? Since I live in the US some things aren't that much available from what you've mentioned I just know to avoid toners with alcohol in them and moisturizers with mineral oil and shea butter and not use foam washes. Would Philosophy's purity cleanser be okay because that is what I am using at the moment thank you

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    76. Hello!
      I'm 17 and I really need your help! I have oily to very oily skin, I get what I would class as 'cystic acne' on my chin and jaw line (what I understand to be hormonal?). I am currently using Clean and Clear Continuous Control Acne Cleanser(milky cleanser)(I wet my face with warm water, massage it into my skin for about 1 minute then wash off with a flannel) it contains 10% Benzoyl Peroxide, but I've just discovered it contains Mineral Oil. I then use a toner (Biore Triple Action Toner which contains Salicylic Acid or I use Witch Hazel). Then I use the Formula 10.0.6 Day cream. In the mornings I'm naughty and only use the Biore Toner then moisturise with the Jurlique Clarifying Day Care Lotion(which I find REALLY helps with the oil control). Sometimes if I have really bad break outs I use Tea Tree Oil or Apple Cider Vinegar. Do I have the right skin care resume? Your help would be GREATLY appreciated!
      Thanks Brooke

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    78. Hi caroline! im 21 and i live in florida, and its super hot and humid here since its summer, i love going to the beach and wearing strapless or sleeveless shirts but i have acne on my back and arms, what can i do or use for it? ive been using murad bodyspray and it's worked alright but hasnt taken it away completely, i would love to hear back from you!, thank you :)

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    79. Hello Caroline, im a student with acne and can't afford all the expensive products, what are your opinions on the Simple skincare products? or is there anything you'd suggest for very oily, spotty skin but on a budget, also im going to try the fish oil as no antibiotics work!
      I hope to hear from you! x

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    80. Hi Caroline,

      Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I have had problems with acne since I was 18, and have kept it at bay with Proactiv...until recently, when I turned 30. I now regularly have large, painful, and embarrassing cysts, and I am at my wit's end. I have always had VERY oily skin and live in a very humid climate, so I have reacted badly to any heavy products.

      Since my breakouts started, I have tried many things to eliminate them. I eat a very healthy diet, take fish oil, and have a cleansing routine of Eminence Organics Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser, Michael Todd True Organics Blue Algae Toner or P50, and Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer. I have also tried the Emma Hardie cleansing balm, but it feels too heavy for my skin in the insanely humid weather here. Is there anything you can recommend to help me? I am so desperate at this point - I just want to cry when I look at myself in the mirror. Also, if you have any recommendations for a good sunscreen for very oily acne-prone skin, I would really appreciate it.

      I hope you read this, and thanks a million times in advance!

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    81. Hi! Your blog is amazing! I was just wondering if you could possibly email me to give me advice on which products I should buy for my skin. I've tried many moisturisers and was so surprised when I read that I shouldn't use foam cleansers. I am now totally lost. My skin is quite difficult because it is oily and I have acne but it gets dehydrated easily and I have no idea what to do. My email is: emiliaalicestiller@gmail.com

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    82. Hi! I love how you talk about skin and skincare! I have dehydrated acne prone skin and was advised to use grapeseed oil to improve the overall condition of my skin. What would your advise on that be? Should I give it a go? I have been having acne for the past 6 years now and I am getting desperate. I have tried many different cleansers, moisturisers, spot treatments etc. Please help!

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    83. Hi, this is so useful, thanks. I never used to have spots but for the last couple of years (I'm 37) my skin has been awful - pustules and spots. I read about Retin-A cream/gel being a good solution. I thought I'd get your opinion before trying it. What are you thoughts on Retin-A?

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    84. Dear Caroline

      I have just come across your blog. I have PCOS and have suffered from cystic acne for a while now. I'm on antibiotics but hard to say if they're actually working - i'm too scared to stop!
      I use Liz Earlie Cleanse and Polish and then the toner - are these good products? They don't make my skin red or sore like some other products do but not sure it does much in the way of controlling my breakouts.

      Kind regards

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    85. This was so useful! How can you tell is a moisturiser has mineral oil, does it use the term 'mineral oil' in the ingredients? Also are soaps and foaming washes the typical cleansers that are everywhere?

      Also what skincare products would you recommend for oily/acne prone skin? I've had spots since I was around 10 and it's so annoying. Sometimes my skin is clear but then sometimes it just goes crazy, and I don't even change anything with my skincare or eating.

      Seaside Beauty
      xxx

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    86. Advising people to stop taking antibiotics before the recommended course has finished is very irresponsible, that is the reason we have superbugs like MRSA & VRSA..

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      1. Actually we have superbugs because of the OVERUSE and ABUSE of antibiotics. And if you re-read my comment it says 'in the appropriate manner'. I would never advise anyone to stop taking anything they were prescribed without doing it correctly.

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    87. What is your take on using ALL natural coconut oil on the face for cleansing and moisturizing?

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    88. What is your take on using ALL natural coconut oil for cleansing/moisturizing?

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    89. I love the cheat sheet you have in how to prevent acne. This is very helpful not only to me but also to many people out there who are suffering acne problem. Thanks a lot!

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