Friday, September 21, 2012

Skincare 'Mare: Back to Basics

                          A mere fraction of the products my skin has been trialing recently, along with items from Pai, Suti, Nourifusion, Laura Mercier.....endless list...

Recently, it seems that my skin has been getting worse and worse. It's really frustrating, because I had perfectly good skin in the first place, with only the odd spot here and there at that time of the month. But after years of neglect, relying almost solely on facewipes to do the job and often falling asleep in my makeup, it was time I started taking responsibility for my skin and giving it some TLC. Yes, it seemed to be fine. But if I didn't start looking after it properly then I would have no one to blame but myself if I did happen to break out terribly, or worse still, begin to age prematurely.
For a while, I had a pleasant relationship with Liz Earle skincare (as many of us bloggers have done). My skin seemed to quite like it and I found that I really enjoyed the process of cleansing my face with Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and then following it up with Instant Boost Skin Tonic and ......moisturiser. I did, however, notice one or two more little blemishes appearing on my forehead from time to time, but they were very small so I didn't think much of it.
Eventually, I ran out of my Liz Earle stash, so I decided to experiment with a few new products - not because LE wasn't good enough, because it was, and I loved it - but just out of curiosity, really.

Recently, I was lucky enough to win a big hamper of skincare goodies in a blogger giveaway, and I was thrilled at the prospect of having some new products to try out. Funnily enough, despite my love for all-things beauty, I didn't use to have much of an interest in skincare, seeing it more as a necessity than an enjoyable ritual, but nowadays I genuinely take pleasure in my daily routine - and especially in pampering myself with facemasks a couple of times a week.
Anyway, I started using my lovely new products - all at once, as I had received a cleanser, toner and moisturiser all from different brands - and also started using masks more regularly, and yet all it seems to have done is make my t-zone start producing excess oil (really annoying if you've got a fringe, as it makes you look 'unclean'!) and cause my skin to start breaking out in big, red, angry spots! I wouldn't call it acne, and it is only usually one or two at a time, but seriously - I've never had spots as big as the ones I am getting now! I've also noticed a couple of blocked pores on my forehead, whereas I've only ever had them on my nose before. It seems to me that the more I take care of my skin, the more it rebels. Unfortunately, as I did start using all of my new products at the same time, it's impossible to know f something in particular is causing my issues. I'm using a cream cleanser by Pai (which I have now discovered contains nut oil), a refreshing peppermint spray toner from Suti and a light Orchid moisturiser from.........., and the interesting thing is that all are supposed to be nice, natural products, with minimal additives or parabens, which understandably, I thought would be doing my skin a world of good.
I popped into a local chemist yesterday, hoping to get my hands on some Sudocrem, as several of you lovely ladies suggested to me on Twitter that I pop some on my blemishes in order to send them on their way as quickly as possible. The pharmacist told me that the use of a toner can actually sometimes do more harm than good, as closing your pores can prevent your skin from breathing. And there I have been, spritzing away with even more enthusiasm since my problems began, with the belief that closing my pores was the best thing I could do to prevent breakouts.
After chatting to my mum on the subject of skincare, when she remarked that I'd always had lovely skin and that perhaps by trying to take care of it I was actually smothering it, I had to concede that maybe she was right. But how can you go from a regular, thorough skincare routine to leaving it well alone and not feeling disgusted? I just don't think I could do it.
In a bid to find out if it is, in fact, the products I'm using that are causing my breakouts, rather than hormones or something else, I have literally abandoned them all - at least for now - and gone back to a simple product I used to use in my teenage years - a Clean and Clear gel face wash! It feels so wrong, and I am really missing spritzing on some toner and slathering on a good layer of moisturising cream before bed. I gave myself one last clarifying mask last night, hoping to send my exisiting blemishes on their way, and now I'm going to stick to the basic face wash and a plain, unperfumed moisturiser for a couple of weeks and see what happens. I feel as though I'm about twelve years old again, but it has really made me think:
 Are we so concerned with preventing premature ageing, breakouts and the like that we really are just wasting our money, overloading our skin with things it doesn't need and doing it more harm than good?

What are your views? Do you any skin saviours for when your skin just can't take any more?



  1. My skin turned into an absolute disaster, but once I cut a few of my products out it improved so much. I've literally just gone back to basics at the moment. Hopefully it'll stay that way! x

  2. Fab post! I'm obsessed with my skin and skincare products, having suffered with acne as a teenager and now I'm 25, still being spot prone. I love looking at different products but I think you're right, it's sensible not to overload your skin with too many. Interesting what the pharmacist said about the toner!! Never realised that.
    Good luck with going back to basics, hope it works :-) maybe it was trying too many new things at once before? xx

  3. Funnily enough, my skincare routine flits between Cleanse & Polish, Special Cleansing Gel (as in your photo!) and Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. I usually use C&P when I've been wearing makeup (not every day for me) and the PCG when I haven't, with the microfoliant a couple of times a week. This seems to work for me. I love Liz Earle toner but can't get along with the moisturisers, they're just too heavy for me and tend to make me too oily and pimply.
    Could it just be the change in your routine that has caused you to break out? An overload of too many new products? I hope you manage to get your skin balanced soon!

    rachael @ madeupoflittlethings


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