Thursday, 26 March 2015

Banishing Acne for Good!

Now today's post is a one that's very close to my heart, I will sharing my 6 year long journey to getting rid of acne for good. 
I have gone from an acne riddled face to an almost spot free face!

I know spots are a horrible thing to have and make you feel so down about yourself, but until you have suffered from severe acne, you don't know what a struggle with your self confidence is fully!

I thought I would share the background of my acne first of all. I first started to develop acne around about the age of 11. Now I found this to be one of the worst ages to suffer from acne at as most of the girls were starting to come into their own an flourish, whereas I was so desperately self conscious about my skin, I almost took a backseat. I HATED photos, and I constantly felt like the 'ugly' friend. A common partnership to acne is oily skin. And oh boy did I suffer from oily skin. I found that no foundation, no powder, no creams could mattify my skin at all, everything would simply slide off my face. 

So after trying every single treatment the doctors could offer, from creams, to products that actually bleached and peeled layers of my skin off which meant I wasn't allowed to be in direct sunlight, to being put on the contraceptive pill at the age of 13, I was finally referred to a dermatologist after 5 years of waiting as nothing seemed to work. I was put on the highest dose of Roaccutane after the dermatologist branded my acne as 'the most severe' that she has seen over the years. Now, I may add that Roaccutane has some serious side effects that you need to be aware of before you start taking it; hence why very few people are put on it.. It is the last resort. 
At the start of the treatment I had to sign a contract to say that I would not under any circumstances fall pregnant whilst on the tablet as it could cause harm to myself and the baby. This meant that every month I had to come to hospital to do a pregnancy test which was so distressing for me at the age of 16/17. That is only one of the side effects, others include dry lips, migraines, nausea etc, all the way to suicidal thoughts and mood swings. The latter two meant that the dermatologist would analyse my moods to ensure I was healthy at all times. 

The following picture shows what my spots could look like even through makeup.. Huge boil like spots that left me with scars so deep into my skin:
Roaccutane helped my skin so much over the course of the 1 year treatment and it did genuinely leave my skin flawless. But as you can only be prescribed it from a dermatologist, your skin has to be severely problematic to be put on it.

Now I was aware that Roaccutane would work so much quicker if it was teamed up with some amazing skin care, so I went on the hunt to find the best products to help me. I'd already spent hundreds of pounds over the years trying to banish the acne so I already had a few products I loved. I thought I would share these with you, in order to help people with acne prone skin.

First of all we have Boots Botanics Mattifying Foam. 
This product is seriously amazing at keeping that oil at bay all day but still making sure your skin has no nasties left in it. I use this every morning without fail. 

Another face wash/mask is Neutrogena's  Visibly Clear 2 in 1. I would use this as a face mask once or twice a week and it leaves my skin feeling so soft and clean, I love it.

Manukau Doctor was recommended to me as a product that helps problematic skin so I obviously went out and bought it and I can say it did make a huge improvement to my skin- so worth the price tag. 

Another important step in Skincare for acne prone skin is exfoliating. This helps get rid of all the old skin cells that could be hibernating bacteria. I chose Boots Botanics exfoliater as it has quite large beads in so you can feel it working away. 
An alternative and slightly more expensive exfoliater that I often used is Clarin's One Step Gentle Exfoliater. This just left the skin feeling and looking flawless and got rid of any dead skin cells/bacteria left on my skin.

Although I have oily skin, I also have dehydrated skin as Roaccutane dries the skin out. To combat this I swear by Clarin's Hydraquench moisturiser which I use morning and night.

I was told to use a gentle makeup remover as anything too harsh or scented could only make my acne even worse. I opted for Clarins One Step Cleanser as it was nice and soothing but took every bit of makeup off in one go.

To further mattify my skin before makeup I would and still do use Boots Botanics Mattifying Gel. This stuff is INSANE. I would recommend to every single person ever.  Oil can't even escape through this defence mechanism. 

Now, even a year or so after I finished the treatment; I still suffer from acne scars. And although I can easily use makeup to cover them up, I would still prefer to not have them.. Is that selfish, you tell me? To help rid these scars I use Witch Hazel as it is a healing aid. I just picked this huge bottle up from Boots and it has lasted me aaaages!

Another important part of Skincare regime for patients on Roaccutane is a good lip balm as the tablet dries the lips out to the point where it becomes painful. So I stuck to my trustee Carmex that I knew and loved to work. I couldn't go anywhere without this as my lips hurt so bad all the time.

Although the treatment wasn't at all pleasant, I am so glad I was put on it as it has cleared my skin up so well.
One thing I would say is that you shouldn't go to the doctor complaining about acne and expect to be prescribed Roaccutane immediately. This won't happen as the doctors have to trial and error every other treatment first as Roaccutane is so extreme. It took me 6 years to become acne free and I of course still gets spots from time to time, but nowhere as near as bad as 5-6 years ago. 

Feel free to leave a comment sharing your acne journey, or even if you have simply used any of these products without suffering from acne!

Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

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