*NB: This is not a sponsored post. This is my own personal trial and error.
**NB: Please do not take this as medical advice. I am not a dermatologist and sometimes acne gets to the point where medication is the only option.
I will never forget the look on my business partner’s face when I showed him a picture of what I looked like without makeup. At that particular point I had stage 3 adult acne and had been walking around with a Roaccutane prescription in my handbags for weeks. That my friends, is the power of makeup. He had no idea what my skin looked like without makeup as we only see each other in the work environment and I wear full makeup to work everyday. I am fully aware that there are people with worse acne, I am not trying to win the prize for worst acne of the year with this post. My point is: we are sensitive to what our skin look like and this unfortunately affects our self-confidence irrespective of the degree of acne. I am going to put my brave foot forward today and show you what my skin looked like about a year ago versus what it looks like today. There are NO filters slapped on these photos, they were taken in natural daylight. Apart from the mascara I wear in the ‘after’ picture on the left side, I have zero foundation or concealer on my skin. I looked a bit grumpy in the ‘before’ picture on the left, but that was taken to show my best friend my despair with my skin which at that point was not even the worst it has been. I obviously have no pictures of the ultimate low, I barely wanted to leave the house.
I had previously been on a six months Roaccutane course and I remember the doctor advising that a booster course might be needed in about five years. I would say my skin was nearly perfect for two or three years before the odd hormonal breakout started to kick in again. During that time my stress levels surged through the roof due to a new business venture and I was soon back into full blown adult acne due to increased androgen production. Unfortunately this time around I scarred a lot more and when a blemish resolved it left a deep purple spot behind.
I naturally went to the dermatologist and he strongly advised for a round of Roaccutane to minimize the scarring. I was not keen for it as I am at the age where my biological clock is starting to tick and you need to wait a gazillion years after finishing the Roaccutane course before you can even consider to fall pregnant. I decided to rethink my skincare routine and see if I cannot perhaps improve it a little by making a few changes.
- The first thing I did was stopped drying my face with a towel. I have a roll of kitchen paper towels in the bathroom and therefore limiting bacterial transfer. It also goes without saying that you need to keep your makeup brushes and application tools clean.
- Secondly I put in a conscious effort to stop touching and picking my face. I am unfortunately guilty of picking at my face, especially when I am stressed. I suppose it is like biting nails, it doesn’t make sense but that is what we do without even thinking about it.
- To remove my makeup I use Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water (you can read my review here) and wash my face immediately afterwards with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser which is fragrance- and colorant free.
- I use the Dermalogica Charcoal Rescue Masque (you can read the full review here) once a week on my T-zone and exfoliate once or twice a week with DermaFix Derma Polish. I will do a full blogpost on the DermaFix DermaPolish Enzymatic Exfoliator as it is a stellar product!
- On the Dermatologist’s recommendation I stopped using Retinol (Retin-A) as it was making my skin too thin and aggravating my condition.
- The one change I made that had the biggest effect? I ditched all my skincare products and went onto Neostrata skincare. I realize this might sound like a sponsored post and I promise you it is not. My dermatologist, as well as two other dermatologist opinions I got, only advises for the use of Neostrata skincare range in terms of anti-aging and restoring your skin. I am sure he cannot possibly be 100% accurate in his claim as there are numerous prescription skincare available that I am sure will deliver similar results. Be that as it may: my doctor was super confident in Neostrata and that was good enough for me. And he was right. (Interestingly enough, my sister’s Dermatologist in Johannesburg recently took her off all her skincare and advised for the exclusive use of Neostrata. She noticed a major difference in her skin a few weeks in). Prior to ditching all my existing skincare products, I was using thirteen different serums, creams and potions. Crazy right? Candice Lee form In My Bag blog called it “beauty blogger skin” – she was absolutely right! It was just way too much for my skin. So what did I narrow it down to?
** As I said above I do not entirely agree with the Dermatologists that Neostrata is the only brand worth purchasing. At the end of the day we are all different and have different skin types. Please do not take this post as me saying that other skin care brands are rubbish – please note as always that this is purely my opinion and what has worked for me.**
Day Time Routine:
Neostrata Antioxidant Defense Serum
After cleansing my skin in the morning I apply the Neostrata Antioxidant Defense Serum. This serum contains 8 powerful multi-action anti-oxidants to protect against premature aging. If you are serious about anti-aging then this is definitely a must-have. R840
Neostrata Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream SPF20
After allowing the Antioxidant Defense Serum to sink in I apply the Neostrata Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream. This cream is part of the “resurface” range and aimed at correcting/preventing the visible signs of photoaging. This cream is rich in anti-oxidants and alpha hydroxy acids which work together to give you smoother skin. The Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream is oil-and paraben free. Non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic. R503
Neostrata Eye Cream 4 PHA
I bought this eyecream on the recommendation of a reader and I loved it! The Neostrata Eye Cream has a healthy dose of Hyaluronic Acid that provides optimal hydration to the delicate eye area. It is also infused with Green Tea, Evening Primrose-and avocado oils to soothe the skin making it suitable for readers with sensitive skin. The cream is fragrance- and colorant free. With long term use you will see a reduction in the fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes. R 440
Night Time Routine:
Neostrata Firming Collagen Booster Serum
The Firming Collagen Booster Serum is part of the “skin active” range and aimed at maximizing collagen production and maintenance of existing collagen. With regular use fine lines and overall texture of the skin is improved. I have definitely noticed a difference in the overall appearance of my skin texture. R840
Neostrata Bio-Hydrating Cream
This is definitely my favorite Neostrata Product and I have written a full post on this magical cream here. It is part of the restore range and reduces visible signs of aging, repair your skin barrier and provides optimal hydration. This is an excellent choice for readers with very dry skin and it is even suitable for sensitive skin. Non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic. R454
Neostrata Spot Treatment Gel
I don’t use this Spot Treatment Gel everyday as it is quite potent. It has a powerful combination of ingredients to treat blemishes and minimizes inflammation. I use it if and when needed, normally with my hormonal breakouts. R339
Neostrata skincare is available from selected Dermatologists or online. I normally order online from Skin Miles. In terms of online prices they are most competitive, guides you in terms of skin concerns for product selection and offers free delivery. You can click here if you would like to have a look at their product range.
I am a beauty blogger: makeup and skincare are my passions. I am constantly tempted to try new serums, facial oils and all the new magic creams that’s launched every week – it is my passion and it is hard to say no. As much as the temptation is always there, I refrain from using anything else as I am extremely happy with my skincare routine at the moment and how it makes my skin look and feel. If you have some skincare advise you are welcome to comment below