The skin on my face has not been my friend the last 15 years.
Oh sure, we’d have a good six months here and there, but without fail, it would start break out in the most ridiculous spots that simply would not go away. I'm talking giant, deep spots with mega roots that would unpack their bags, and hang out on my face for months.
Thankfully, at 27-years-old, I have finally found the magic cure for my perpetually spotty skin.
My skin has been breaking out since I was 12, I can say that I have just about everything to try and get clear skin. Without boring you to tears, here is a short summary of the things I have tried.
Prescription drugs - I was on tetracycline and prescription strength benzoyl peroxide face wash. I was told by doctor's to stay out of direct sunlight as the pills made me more sensitive to UV rays. Lovely.
Proactiv - this was before the days of slick Katy Perry endorsements and instead their infomercial featured photographs from acne-ridden, depressed teenagers. Proactiv worked for a while, but then it just dried out my face to the point where FLAKES OF MY FACE would fly off mid-sentence. Not sure this was the teenage dream good 'ol KP had in mind.
Clinique - Ah yes, Clinique's rather expensive three-step skin regime. This was expensive. While it made me feel fancy using it, it did not clear up my acne. It just made it smell nice.
Noxema - "Maybe I just need something more simple!" WRONG.
Neutrogena “Those commercials with Jennifer Love Hewitt are so convincing!" WRONG.
The "experts" weren't much help, either. I'd have a facial or have my make-up done by someone who “knows skin”, and I would be told I don’t have acne, but that “something is blocking my pores”. I've been told I have dry skin, or sensitive skin, or to exfoliate, or to not exfoliate, and hey did you want to buy some of these really expensive products?
The 'Secret' to Clear Skin
Then, during a trip home to California and a particularly bad break-out, I noticed that my sister, who used to have the same skin problems as I did, had perfectly clear skin. I asked her what her secret was. The answer was simple: Go to Lush.
Yes, Lush. The fragrant shop that sells bath-bombs and is always banging on about plants and natural ingredients. To be honest, I was reluctant to go in because how the hell were a bunch of bath-bomb experts going to clear up my acne? Didn't I need scientific experts and a posh beauty brand's help? Were they going to rub some hemp on my face? But, as the spots on my face were now the bane of my existence, I decided to go.
I ventured into the Covent Garden Lush shop, and spoke to a friendly shop assistant about my skin. She listened to me explain my skin, how it feels, what’s “wrong” with it, and how I keep breaking out.
She then explained to me about how the skin works. She told me about how your skin is affected by limescale, and how it absorbs whatever is on your face within 30 seconds of washing it. She also told me about how your skin expels impurities over night, and the importance of washing your face in the morning. (Your face is thirsty, but if it has to keep absorbing the crap it just got rid of overnight, no wonder you’ll break out!)
She also talked to me about how she doesn't believe in “skin-types” and how she believes everyone has combination skin, mostly because the pours on your face are different. (The pores in your T-zone are open. The pores around your jaw line, cheeks and chin are closed.) She walked me through different products, trying each one of them out on my hand so I could feel how the product would work on my face.
I got home, tried out my entire new regime she set me up with, and I immediately was in love. The smells were lovely, the products themselves just felt better knowing they were handmade, and in a weird way, I looked forward to each step to my routine, whereas washing my face used to be some sort of awful chore.
Within the first week I saw incredible results, and now, four months after making the big change, I am hooked and a 100% believer of Lush’s philosophy on skincare. Some of the initial products I used were great, but didn't quite work for me, so Lush gave me some samples of new things to try, and were happy for me to return the newly purchased product I wasn't crazy about. Can you imagine a fancy, luxury beauty brand doing that?
I've included my daily routine below, but keep in mind what has worked for me will not necessarily work for you. The folks at Lush will be able to recommend the best products for you and your skin!
Toner: Tea Tree
Moisturiser: British Nanny
Spot treatment: Greased Lightning
Post-gym cleanser: 9-5
Facemask: Cupcake (2x a week)
Eye-cream: Enchanted Eye Cream
My skin looks and feels completely different. I haven’t had a huge, cystic spot ever since I started using Lush’s products.
The best part about having finally having clear skin is that on the rare occasion I do get a spot is this: I know why I have it. If I had a really stressful day or worked out without cleansing my skin properly afterwards, I’ll get a small spot. I’m starting to understand and know my skin like I never have before, and it’s such an amazing feeling.
Thank you, Lush!
Image of Coalface via Lush