Just a disclaimer, I’m certainly not a professional and you should consult your doctor before using any of these acne creams/medication. Plus this is just my experience with various treatments, different ones work for different people.
I’ve struggled with spots throughout my teenage years as many of us do, but last year in particular, my acne got so severe that I felt genuinely depressed as it was such a disappointment every time I looked in the mirror. I kept my skin very clean, and although I could cover it with makeup, I still felt like my skin was dirty, and the worst part is that many people think acne is something you can just ‘get over’, when in reality it’s incredibly difficult to cope with. I don’t have any pictures of myself (makeup free) from last year as I couldn’t bring myself to take photos, but my skin has cleared up so much and I’m very pleased with how it looks now; I definitely feel more confident. I’ve tried multiple treatments for acne, some of which worked well and others which didn’t, so here’s my experience with them.
Starting off with general skin care, the Dermalogica special cleansing gel and skin prep scrub are perfect for spot prone or oily skin. They’re both very gentle, but remove all excess oil and the scrub helps remove dead flakey skin to let your healthy skin breathe. Dermalogica is quite pricey but I’ve never found anything that works as well as this, plus they use plenty of natural ingredients which is great. Next I use the Dermalogica multi-active toner; I’m not convinced this toner, or in fact any toner in general has really benefitted my skin so I may switch to a cheaper one, but it does help my skin feel nice and fresh, and is great for prepping your skin before using moisturizer. I use Simple oil balancing moisturizer, I used to use a Dermalogica one but I actually prefer this as it’s ideal for very oily skin, but it’s still hydrating. It helps prevent excess oil production to stop your pores becoming clogged (and hence prevent acne) and like Dermalogica, Simple uses plently of natural ingredients and no harsh perfumes or chemicals, so it’s great for sensitive skin.
Now for the acne cream, currently I’m using Panoxyl (which I bulk buy from tower-health.co.uk as it’s hard to get hold of). This is the best acne cream I’ve used, it’s very light and doesn’t cause any irritation or redness, and the active ingredient is Benzoyl Peroxide which kills acne causing bacteria, and causes peeling inside of the pores. This may sound unpleasant, but it rejuvenates the skin and prevents build up of dirt and oils.
However I have tried other acne creams. I was first given Zineryt solution, which was honestly one of the worst products I’ve ever used. It was a mixture of powder and liquid which you combined and then applied by rubbing the applicator (seen in the picture above) over the affected area. I felt the application was unhygienic as if any bacteria or dirt gets on it, you’ll be applying that on your skin. Plus this product actually made my acne worse, previously I just suffered with small red pimples on my cheeks, but this caused me to break out all over my t-zone. Seeing as Zineryt was unsuccessful, I tried EpiDuo gel that contained adapalene (a retinoid) and benzoyl peroxide. This did help clear up the acne around my t-zone and certainly didn’t make it any worse, but I still had breakouts on my cheeks and this product made my skin permanently red, it didn’t feel sore, but it definitely irritated my skin. At this point I went on antibiotics, which I’ll talk about soon, and switched to Differin gel which only contained adapalene. To begin with I quite liked this product, as the redness disappeared and I had minimal breakouts, however as soon as I came off antibiotics my acne worsened, not only was it all over my cheeks, but small bumps also covered my forehead which I’d never experienced before, so I don’t think the Differin gel helped at all, I think it was just the antibiotics. The last acne cream I used before trying Panoxyl was Quinoderm, another benzoyl peroxide containing cream. By this point I’d realized benzoyl peroxide worked best for me, and I quite liked Quinoderm as my acne was beginning to clear, however it was incredibly painful to apply, it made my skin feel like it was burning. It didn’t cause any redness and the stinging went away shortly, but I decided to switch to Panoxyl which didn’t cause this sensation when applied, and I’ve been using that ever since.
I also used medication to combat my acne; as I said, I used antibiotics for a while but then when I came off them I began to break out again. When I began using Quinoderm, I went back on antibiotics and began taking the contraceptive pill, with the goal of controlling my hormone levels to prevent hormonal acne. This worked brilliantly, after two months or so I hardly broke out at all, and once my body had gotten used to the pill, I came off antibiotics, and haven’t suffered from anymore severe acne as the pill controls my hormones. However you definitely need to consult a doctor before taking either of these, but they are a good option for those suffering with severe acne.
Finally, these are just some skin care extras I use just to help keep my skin clear and keep oil at bay. Sunscreen is essential, I love this protect and moisturize one from Boots as it helps keep your skin hydrated and has brilliant UV protection. I often find I break out when I spend time in the sun with no sunscreen, as the UV rays can greatly damage your skin and cause premature ageing, so always wear factor 30 or higher during the summer months or when abroad. Next I have this clay face mask, which is also from Boots. I use this about once a week, and clay is brilliant for balancing out oily skin and purifying it to help prevent acne. Finally I always carry these Boots Skin Clear oil-absorbing sheets in my bag, as they soak up any excess oil to get rid of shine; it’s much better than constantly applying more powder as it reduces clogging and actually removes the oil so your skin can breathe.
This is my skin now with no makeup. It’s not perfect as I still have quite a lot of marks, and like everyone I still get the occasional spot, not to mention the excess oil, but all in all, I feel happy with myself now and can proudly look in the mirror again.
Image (of Zineryt applicator) sourced from: http://fabulousbeautyness.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/zineryt-review.html