The products that ACTUALLY made a difference to my skin!

Growing up I got teenage spots that everyone tells you ‘you’ll grow out of those’. Sadly that has never been the case. In fact, adult acne affects a lot of people.

Clinical studies indicate that between 40 and 55 percent of the adult population age 20-40 are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin. According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 54 percent of women older than age 25 have some facial acne.” (The International Dermal Institute)

Photo one – March 2019
Photo two – January 2020

My skin is by no means ‘cured’ of adult acne, but here are some hero products that helped me on my skincare journey.


Retinol was originally designed for acne, then more recently used for Anti-aging.

Paulas Choice 1% Booster

My original fav when I started using retinol for the first time. I used this every night without any gradual build up and experienced no irritation or redness. I don’t have sensitive skin, so it is recommended to start a couple of nights a week with retinol and build up if you think your skin is more sensitive. Make sure you use lots of hydrating products along side.

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment

This products for me was a step up from the booster serum retinol mentioned above. I was nervous how my skin would react, but it was the perfect follow on. Such a great product, lovely texture and slotted into my evening routine really well.

Fab results from both Paula’s Choice retinols, break outs improved and skin tone started to even out.

Medik8 Crystal Retinal – Available in various strengths

After using the above Paula’s Choice retinols, I went straight in at strength number 6. I wasn’t sure about how the strengths compared between the brands, however this seemed perfect. Zero dryness, irritation or redness. The texture is so velvety smooth, absorbs beautifully and left my skin ready for the next step in my evening routine.

This retinal is available in 1, 3, 6 & 10 so strengths available for the beginner retinal user too. What’s the difference between retinal & retinol I hear you ask? There are many differences between the 2, however one of the main differences is:

Retinal has been clinically proven to work up to 11 times faster than retinol. In addition, retinal has a much higher exfoliation rate than retinol, which contributes to even-toned, radiant skin” [Medik8].

Ditching the spot treatments

Hydration is key. I ditched drying spot treatments from my daily routine, such as concentrated tea tree oil, spot treatments like Mario Badescu drying lotion and focused on adding hydrating ingredients to help my skin heal. Here are my favs:

Aflorence Skincare Hydration Booster Serum

Such a light serum, but it really packs a punch. I love thats it can be layered underneath other products, so can still be used with my current routine to add extra hydration.  I have oily, blemish prone skin, so find that this helps to boost hydration without breaking me out.  

Indeed Labs Squalane oil

One of my absolute fav facial oils for the day time. Its is so lightweight, but sooo hydrating. I wear this everyday, I use it over my serums & mix a few drops with my moisturiser. It layers with other products so well and I’ve never experienced any make up piling with this oil. Its a constant repurchase for me.

Skincity 24hr Rich Emulsion Moisturiser *

I genuinely LOVE this moisturiser! The texture is thick, luxurious and lovely, but not a greasy or suffocating texture. The cream absorbs so well with out leaving a sticky or greasy film on my skin. I used every last drop and I will be repurchasing, it has really helped dehydration whilst using retinal/retinol.

Deviant Skincare Cleansing Complex

This cleanser is formulated without any butter or heavy waxes (the only wax is polyglycerol-3 beeswax but it’s much thinner in viscosity than normal beeswax) and at a low %.
This balm is soothing, hydrating and doesn’t strip the skin. It seems to help heal my blemishes and soothe my skin. The texture is gorgeous, smooth and it emulsifies beautifully. The scent is a little nutty, gorgeous! I am on my 4th pot and will continue to repurchase.

Have a look at this fab brand HERE

SPF – Always Protect

Paula’s Choice Resist Super Light Daily Wrinkle Defence SPF30

SPF is sooo important when using retinol products, as it makes your skin more sensitive to sun light, so its a must! I have one SPF I’ve found works for me, so I’m sticking to it. I am on my 3rd tube of this stuff, its fab. Not only does it protect my skin, but it hydrates, mattifies and provides a great base for my make up. It doesn’t clog or make me greasy, which I have experienced with other brands. Perfection!

Please keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different. Some products work for some skin types & some don’t, some sensitive skins can’t handle retinol, whilst others react to specific ingredients.

These are just the items that worked for me and helped to reduce my breakouts, even skin tone and hydrate my skin.

Items marked with * were gifted. Contains affiliate links.

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