I went off hormonal birth control in July last year and since then, my skin has sucked. My skin has always sucked quite a bit: I have dyshidrotic eczema on my hands, perioral dermatitis on my face and I have, at times, gone too far with the steroid treatment and ended up with a burning, raw steroid withdrawal rash all over my face. All my face rashes have been calm for the last six months, but now I’m dealing with a rush of real hormones that have made my face a place of angry, swollen blind zits a.k.a MISERY.
I’m 35 so not only is this painful and uncomfortable, I’m finding it super embarrassing. Where I once was quite happy to have makeup free days and be seen in public, I now don’t like to leave the house without a liberal smear of green concealer covered with ELF’s acne fighting foundation. Even between outbreaks, I need to use a lot more concealer than usual because the big, blind zits were healing very slowly and leaving marks long after the infection was gone.
Because of my sensitive skin, I had a tried and tested cleanse, tone, and moisturise routine before I got the breakouts. I’d do all three steps at night and in the morning wash with water and a face washer. But now my routine has been jacked up to the max with a constant rotation of new products and routines to try and hit on a magic formula to a) treat the pimples quickly (hard when you’re a serial popper) and b) prevent them.
Here are a couple of products that have recently made a huge difference to my current life of skin misery:
Korean acne bandages
I’m in an amazing skincare group on Facebook that talks about these hydrocolloid bandages constantly. They’re small, circular stickers that you put on after you’ve done your night time skin routine and go to bed. They draw all the crap out of the pore and help heal the pimple a lot quicker. For a start, I wasn’t convinced that these truly were the miracle product that everyone promised them to be. I’d heard people say that they sucked the life out of the zit and woke up in the morning with nothing, which has NEVER happened for me.
However, what they have done for me is firstly help to coax blind zits out to a head. Sometimes this happens the same night you start treating the pimple, other times it takes a few goes. But generally, you can get the head to raise and squeeze the muck out gently with a face washer in the morning. Zits don’t always come to a head, but usually when I take the bandages off in the morning, there’s some white colouring on them that shows you they’re working.The other thing they’ve done for me is cover the zit so I’m not constantly poking, prodding and touching. I work from home a lot and on those days, because I’m not wearing makeup and am not constantly busy, I find my fingers going to my face a lot. So I’ve developed a routine of wearing the bandages to bed, removing and completing my morning cleanse, tone, moisturise, and then covering them again for the day. This keeps my germy little mits off and means that I’m only tempted to squeeze in the more hygienic, gentle way (I will never not squeeze though…I am 100% of the school of thought that they won’t heal if the muck isn’t removed).
I get my stickers from eBay in a three pack so I never run out.
This stuff is freaking magic. I’m a borderline compulsive picker and while, as I said above, I will never believe that my pimples don’t heal faster after they’ve been popped, I’m also well-aware that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do said popping (again, see above). However, when you get compulsive, depressed, and annoyed, sometimes you do just find a mirror and prod at your poor skin. I think this is why I’ve had some spots that have left scars — it’s certainly why one or two of them have left purple marks.
I definitely don’t want to wear lifelong reminders of this (hopefully brief) period, so I went on the hunt for a product to help reduce scarring and encourage new skin growth and ordered this on a whim. MooGoo are my all-time favourite skincare brand. They create excellent products that have in the past healed my eczema and dermatitis outbreaks, reduced my reliance on steroid creams, and are really affordable (not to mention, they’re transparent about ingredients and don’t test on animals). I landed straight away on their Cold Pressed Tamanu Oil and I will never look back.
The results aren’t overnight quick, but I’ve been using it twice a day on these three forehead spots for three weeks, and the difference is definitely noticeable. *Gulp* Here is my non-makeuped scarred face (is it weird that I’m most upset about posting my no-makeup eyebrows?):
I recommend applying it, leaving for about ten minutes, and then applying your normal moisturiser over the top (I use MooGoo’s Skin Milk Udder Cream). For a start, I skipped the moisturiser, because it felt like the oil hadn’t soaked in yet. But, I think the moisturiser actually helps absorb that last little bit and stop it from lying on your skin where it will encourage new spots to form (and you end up with your finger placed artfully over a new zit ;))
A word to the wise though, if you are allergic to nuts, this probably isn’t the oil for you. It also has a really strong nutty smell, which I quite like, but others may not.
So those are my two can’t live without products at the moment. I’d love to hear from you if you give any of these a try! I’d also really like to hear of your essential products or tips for surviving the dreaded blind zit. Make sure you let me know by leaving a comment below.
Also, I want to acknowledge that my hormonal acne can quite easily be cured by going back on the pill (which I will be doing eventually), and that I am also very lucky to be able to even use skincare products like those listed above.
In the grand scheme of adult pimples, my issues are not actually super bad and I’m not suggesting any of these products are cures for the much more serious cystic acne that many women suffer from. I recommend reading this article by my friend Emily on Feminartsy if you’d like to read more about dealing with cystic acne as an adult woman. I’d also like to acknowledge that my dermatitis and eczemas, while also horrid, have been more or less confined to small areas since I’ve been an adult. I feel so strongly for those of you who suffer from debilitating skin issues and wish you love and strength. You’re all beautiful!
This post is 100% my own opinion of products purchased and used by me. While I’d love to get a MooGoo sponsorship *hint hint,* I have not been compensated for this post.