Skin oh skin oh skin, where oh where do I begin with you?
My skin was pretty normal and dare I say perfect throughout my teens. I never had to worry about anything outside of the reliable hormonal break out on my chin at that time of the month. So you can imagine my horror when my skin went into turmoil at twenty five… TWENTY FIVE!? Adult acne you say? You’ve got to be kidding me!
Well, it was a mild form of adult acne but it completely knocked me for six, taking my confidence and my self worth with it. So after almost three years of battling it out with my skin I can safely say that after trialing and testing almost every blemish related product out there, I think I have gotten to grips with exactly what my skin needs.
This routine has worked for me and I thought it would be interesting to share it with you all, however everybody’s skin is different so what works for me might not work for you and it’s also worth noting that I have upped my skincare a notch in the lead up to my wedding day.
I’m going to be having regular skin peels from now until my big day thanks to the heroes at Alumier MD, my skin is in a great place right now, compared to what it was three years ago and even compared to what it was in these photos back in October in Saint Lucia, however I still have trouble with breakouts and even more annoyingly when the breakouts have gone the scars and pigmentation they leave behind. So my routine will be changing little bit but I still thought it useful to share the bits you can get your hands on easily and somewhat cheaply if you're in a similar boat to me.
Your skin is the first thing that someone sees when they look at you so to know it’s not its best was really upsetting for me. My self confidence was at rock bottom and I couldn’t even look people in the eye as I was so self conscious of the turmoil my skin was in (I have photos which I plan on sharing after my Alumier MD journey)
The products photographed in this post have helped get my sparkle back and more importantly my smile and my confidence; when I shot these back in October 2019 I was SO chuffed with where my skin was at, which totally shines through in the photographs; however, when I look at them now I can see how bad the scarring was, even just a few months ago, which I think says a lot about where my skin finally is now, it’s looking better than ever and it has a lot to do with these very products.
So let's start with cleansers and how I was going about my routine all wrong by stripping it with "acne prone" face washes which left my skin dry, irritable and often flaking off. As I have quite dry skin naturally these products simply weren't right for me despite them being for spotty skin like mine. Instead I decided to go down the gentle route and found the REN Evercalm gentle Cleansing Milk and have since made my way through at least 8 bottles of the stuff. My skin loves it, it’s a creamy milk consistency with no fragrance and no nasties, it takes my make up off easily when used with a warm muslin cloth and I’ve had absolutely no reaction to it whatsoever. I’ve introduced another REN cleanser recently as a pre-cleanse which is the brand new REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Oil Cleanser. This cleanser is great to start off with as it completely breaks down make up, pollution, SPF etc ready for your second cleanse, mine being the Evercalm gentle milk; I’ve only been using the jelly oil cleanser for a few weeks so I can’t say too much about it BUT I’ve had no break outs, my skin is so silky smooth and I quite literally feel squeaky clean after using it.
Let's say I'm having a pamper night, which I LOVE to do twice a week usually on a Wednesday and a Sunday I'll use the Dr Barbara Sturm facial scrub, a really gritty exfoliator that makes me feel totally buffed. My skin looks and feels baby soft after using a pea size amount and working it into my skin, I truly, truly love this product! Following up with a clay mask, my fave is the Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask, apparently it's a 3-in-1 multi-tasker which can be used as a targeted spot treatment or a face wash but I've only ever used it as a good ole fashioned face mask. It purges pores of dirt without stripping the skin of essential moisture and oils, which is pivotal for me and my skin as I do get rather dry skin. I've gone through two pots of this stuff and can't see myself stopping any time soon.
Toner wise, I have yet another REN product (can you tell I just LOVE REN) I use the daily Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic and I truly, truly love it. A liquid exfoliant which is gentle enough to use every day, twice a day, is good by me and having used this for the past year I would say it has certainly given me my glow back.
Back in the day I remember everybody raving about the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo and I just had to give it a whirl. Back then my skin was great and I just didn't see the benefits that others did. However, when using it on skin that was pretty bad my goodness has this product changed my life. You know those annoying tiny under the skin bumps that usually grace our chin and jawline area? Well this product completely got rid of them for me.
And finally, I've got to talk about the Disciple Dreamy Skin which has really helped with tackling the scarring and pigmentation that my spots have left behind. Things like this take time and whilst it's certainly not an overnight cure (what is!?) Dreamy Skin has really, truly helped to speed up the process.
I completely adore popping this on before I go to bed every night; it's a powerhouse treatment that helps to regenerate skin cells while you sleep, which works to reduce pigmentation and dark spots, whilst also minimising fine lines and the appearance of pores, plus it smells and feels truly wonderful on the skin and I just can't get enough of it.
I've more recently introduced Vitamin C c/o a drop or two of the REN Glow Daily Vitamin C Gel Cream into my daily Drunk Elephant Moisturiser and also a couple of drops of Hyaluronic Acid in the form of the Dr Dennis Gross Marine Hydration Booster but it's too early to say whether these products have helped the overall quality of my skin and I know that to help my scarring further I will need to introduce retinol into the mix... However scary this may be.
And when it comes to treating the actual spot or spots I must have tried every single spot cream out there but once again REN come up trumps with their Non-Drying Spot Treatment which you can actually use underneath make up, a game changer for me! I also adore the Glossier ZitStick too for overnight break outs, Zitsticka's are wonderful for beasts that are beginning to grow, literally a little sticker for your spot. AND for super troublesome skin I can't recommend the Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel, a series of at home peels for five days that transformed my skin. A little pricey but if you've got an occasion coming up and need that added boost then SO worth it.
It's by no means perfect but we've come a long way my skin and I and I'm really rather proud of where we're up to right now. I hope you found this post useful and I'd love to know if you use any of the products I've mentioned. Leave any other tips and tricks, lotions and potions in the comments below as I'm sure they'll help me and other readers alike.
So glad you’ve found your groove with skincare, it’s a right faff trying and testing loads of skincare trying to find what works! The Lush Jade Roller face bar is really lovely- plastic free, smells so good, and makes my skin feel so soft and clean- I really recommend trying Lush products!
Megan Ellaby says
Ahh thanks Lucy, it’s so glad to finally be on top of it and to somewhat know exactly what is causing the problem and what my skin needs to fix it. It’s been one long journey!
Ahh yes I’ve heard great things about Lush skincare, I must give them a whirl x
Hey just wondered if you have ever used the Alumier home products? Im looking at changing my skin routine and have heard they are a clean brand with none of the bad ingredients etc!
Megan Ellaby says
I’ve been using Alumier MD home products for the past 6 months and I love them x
Which Alumier clinic are you using? I’m looking for one in Manchester!
Megan Ellaby says
Sarah Lou Aesthetics in Monton Green xx
Hi lovely! Love this blog post!! I’ve been struggling with my skin of recent years (since a teen I’ve always had combination skin) only since coming off the pill has it changed completely and is so much more dryer than it’s ever been!! After a friend visited a dermatologist and said to her ‘you really only need a good cleanser and good moisturiser’ I’ve been taking a more simple approach to just try and drink more water and keep my regime simple, which I think has helped 🙂 I’m very intrigued to give REN a try though after I’ve seen you being a fan of it! I saw it in the Trafford centre just before Christmas (Marks and Spencer’s have a really good REN counter there)
p.s loving these film pics!! <3 I had a 36 exposure throughout November and December which has gotten lost in transit so I’ve been really upset this week 🙁 Where do you get yours developed I’m Manchester based too? 🙂
Lotsa love Danielle xxx
Megan Ellaby says
Ahhh yes simplicity was key for me to start with and to calm my skin down a little bit too! Ahhh yes I adore the M&S beauty counters, so so wonderful aren’t they!
I usually go to Max Speillman on Piccadilly Gardens to get my shots developed xx
Hey Megan, this blog post is so useful! I’ve been suffering with mild acne and scarring since high school and am only now starting to work out what actual ingredients are best for my skin (I’m 24 now) and I’m the same as you with the ‘acne treatment’ products making my skin very dry and in turn more oily. I’ve heard lots of stuff about the REN evercalm cleanser and think you’ve persuaded me to give it a go 😊 also, the Pixi vitamin c tonic is good if you are interested 😊 x
Megan Ellaby says
Hey Alex, so glad you found this post useful! REN is my jam, I truly love what they do, their natural ingredients and their gentle products have truly helped me!
Ahhh yes I’ve heard such great things about the Pixi tonic’s thanks babe x
I got a bad case of adult acne when I got off birth control pills around the age of 24. I got on accutane after several attempts with prescription based anti-acne-creams and it helped 100%, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it really. It’s a really harsh and controversial kind of medication and if there’s one thing I’ve learned (which is probably the most important of all) it is that we cannot sort out skin from the outside only. I’ve cut out almost all dairy of my diet and I hardly eat meat anymore either and that’s helped a lot too. But of course everyone’s skin is different 🙂 I’ve found out that my skin is not at all acne prone, it’s actually super sensitive. So today I only use products with at least 1 certification (Eco-cert, Nordic Swanlabel our Allergy certified) and preferably without perfume/fragrance too. Like you I’ve found that milk-cleansers are a lot better for my skin too, although I used to love that squeaky clean feeling of soaps and jelly cleansers haha!! But it’s great to hear you are finally getting there with your skin 🙂 I know completely how it is to struggle with that even in your late 20s, it really does give your confidence a knock down. All the best x
Megan Ellaby says
I cut back on dairy and sugar for months too but it didn’t make any difference to my skin unfortunately. But yes, it’s so true about our skin reflecting what we put in our body too but I’ve always eaten pretty well and I guzzle water like it’s going out of fashion so it was so out of character for my skin to play up the way it did. I’ll get there with it I’m sure and hoping to having a real good glow by my wedding day (fingers crossed)
Thanks for the advice on the 1 certification products, thats really interesting to know x
So pleased to hear your skin is getting better. I hear you though, 24 was my unlucky number after teens with mild spots. It rocked my confidence. Awful. Nothing I did seem to help: diet or skincare. Thankfully after 6-7 yes I found the right formula plus my hormones seemed to change – thankfully. I’m now 40 and can thankfully say although I get the odd zit (normally when I’ve overindulged in one way or the other) it’s settled. Is does get better and sounds like you have lots of good advice! Simple, light and French skincare – that’s my rule haha! la Roche Posay is marvellous isn’t it! Good luck with the rest of the skincare hope the peels help!
Megan Ellaby says
Oh thank goodness, I’m so thrilled to hear your skin settled itself down again. Praying mine does the same! Thank you Vivien xx
I’ve followed your blog/channels for a number of years now but never commented on your stuff (which i read frequently) however, this particular post i can SUPER relate to.
i too never had bad skin in my teens other than the odd spot here and there and it wasn’t till about 2/3 years ago my skin started breaking out. It was mainly on my cheeks, i COULD NOT get rid of them. Trying all sorts of products, celery diets and skin care routines. Some days i would look and my face and get a spot on my chin and think well at least its not on my cheeks. Or at least this ones not big. It was getting me so low wearing more makeup than usual to hide them, and recording a spot diary and feeling they were getting worst and worst. I wasn’t on the pill or any form of contraception, had a balanced diet and had been checked for poly cystic ovary syndrome as i had read that gives bad acne as a symptom. Again, that came back negative. i eventually went to the doctor (who said it wasn’t that bad) i begged for some pills which did start working after 1 month. It wasn’t until last year where i relocated to Dubai with my job that i saw the biggest difference…. i forgot to get a repeat prescription of the pills before i went. which then of course i started to panic. waiting for the juicy spots to make an appearance….. although they ever did. it’s as almost as if relocated cured my skin (not saying you should or anyone by the way haha) but i do think that maybe because i was anxious, stressed and fed up with my job and things weren’t going anywhere in areas of my life that it effected my skin. i do still get the odd one now and then which is mainly hormonal but nothing quite like before!
i’m going to start getting some peels and book in for some skin help as i still don’t feel its perfect. i wish i had flawless skin, however i feel comforted that you and others are also going through skin care drama in out 20’s. you’ve defo persuaded me to give some of the products you listed above ago (the peels sound interesting) and i look forward to your next post regarding your skincare routine 🙂 (sorry to waffle on haha)
Megan Ellaby says
Hey Liz, thanks so much for commenting, it means so much 🙂
I’m so thrilled that you’ve managed to settle down your skin, how incredible that it was when you relocated and settled into life in Dubai that it calmed itself down, man our skin is so confusing isn’t it!
Let me know how you get on with the peels or any of the products you try out, I’d love to hear more from you 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing your story xx
I’ve had problems with my skin since being diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15. I’ve always, always had at least 2 breakouts on my face, but no more!!! The single best thing I EVER did for my skin was oil cleansing – sounds scary at first especially as acne prone people are naturally scared of oils but I’ve never seen something has such a drastic effect. My skin literally glows, I’ve not had a spot in 2 months and my blackheads have significantly reduced. I’d really encourage anyone to look it up! After buying in to literally hundreds of products that would swear to fix my skin it’s so, so refreshing to use something that isn’t just a big beauty brand. I use Jojoba oil, any brand but good quality, you can use loads of other oils too. Honestly look it up, it’s saved my skin, I don’t even feel the need to wear foundation anymore.
Thanks for another great post Megan!!
Megan Ellaby says
WOW that is so fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing your hack! x