Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011 - The battle against acne and stretch marks!

Sounds like the title of some Dr Who episode or ancient Science Fiction film, but alas, I feel the majority of beauty purchases made this year are going to be an attempt to either hide or cure the acne and stretch marks that are currently plaguing me. Even though I often sound and act like one, I am not a teenager and I am not pregnant, so in typical teenage fashion 'It's not fair'!

I had carefully planned my skincare regime for the New Year, saving and then stocking up on a load of Sarah Chapman and Emma Hardie, but they might have to wait while I try all the acne products out there until I find one that works (have been using the Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery though which I like a lot). It never ceases to amaze me how hormones can affect the skin so quickly.

My Lovely Sarah Chapman Collection that will be going into hibernation
 I am probably massively over sharing here but here goes, I came off the contraceptive pill in September, having been on it for the best part of a decade, not for contraceptive purposes but medical reasons. Just two weeks later my skin and hair started getting very oily and the spots began. I had hoped that the Alpha-H I was using would have balanced things out but over four months on, no periods but full blown acne instead. I never realised it was even possible to have this many spots on my back, but obviously it is my face I am most concerned about. I just start to think that a couple of spots are clearing when the next morning, another ten appear!

The items I had got to really treat my skin in the New Year are:
  • Sarah Chapman Ultimate Cleanse
  • Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial
  • Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery
  • Sarah Chapman Dynamic Defence Day Cream
  • Sarah Chapman Hydrating Skin Booster
  • Sarah Chapman Skin-Tone Perfecting Booster
  • Emma Hardie Rejuvenating Night Cream
  • Emma Hardie Lift & Sculpt Skin Plumping Serum
  • Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complex
Unfortunately, the only ones I have been able to use so far are the eye recovery and the Peau Vierge. The rest will be sat under my bed for a while. I had thought that this would cover all my skincare needs for the year, but obviously my skin hadn't realised I had a plan (maybe even a cunning plan at that - been watching too much Blackadder this Christmas!).

So my current skincare routine is currently this:
  • Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleanser (used with Clarisonic)
  • Vichey Normaderm Purifying Astringent Toner
  • Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery
  • Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complex
  • Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleanser (used with Clarisonic)
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water
  • Vichy Normaderm Purifying Astringent Toner
  • Vichy Normaderm Night Cream
  • Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery
For my body I have been slathering on Bio Oil like a mad person, going through 200ml in two weeks, am sure it should last longer than that! I 've had a lot of stretch marks on my hips and thighs for ages, a delightful side effect of my medical condition, but just before Christmas I noticed them on my bust. This was a bit of a shock and as my skin is so pale, dark purple marks tend to be much more noticeable. I know that you can't really do anything once the marks are silver so I thought I'd attack as best I can right now. They have faded a little, enough of an improvement for me to restock with Bio Oil.

Sorry that this post is so long, whenever I think I will try to endeavour to make them more concise, I end up with a thesis! In short, does anyone have any good ideas about how to help acne and stretch marks? I really want something I can use on my back and I'd also be interested to know from more knowledgeable people than I, whether reverting to acne skincare ranges is beneficial or would I be better sticking to the Emma Hardie/Sarah Chapman as I had originally planned?

I've been browsing on a few beauty sites and Murad makes a clarifying spray for acne on the body which sounds pretty good, best I can find so far. Fingers crossed something will start working soon as I have to be a bridesmaid (my first time, very scared) at my brother's wedding on 30th June. The dress is strapless so I'd prefer not to have acne on show to all 150 guests!


  1. I had severe acne (cystic spots all over face) for over 5 years, the only thing that stopped it was going on the pill. However, through the ridiculous amounts of skincare products I tried there were definitely ones that made it worse and those were often the ones geared towards acne skin and any sort of scrub/microdermabrasion type product. Best to keep it very simple and I would go by ingredients and this is the most helpful list I have found
    I know it seems tedious by I really think its beneficial to go through all the ingredients in your chosen product and if they are rated 2/3 - 3/4, to avoid using it.
    I hope it clears up soon x

  2. Hi Replica,
    Thanks so much for your advice. Last time I had severe acne was when I came off the pill previously and going back on was the only thing that stopped it. I'm hoping that given enough time it will sort itself out but I had forgotten just how uncomfortable it is, plus the delightful purple scarring that's left once the spot is gone! Am off now to look at the link and swot up on my ingredients knowledge.
    Thanks again,
    Jennifer X

  3. I tend to treat acne as a rash, and try to use as many calming, gentle, healing products as possible.

    Acne treatments are best when they're preventative, so regular, gentle exfoliation with something like Lancome's Exfoliance Confort (a super gentle exfoliant) would be a good start. In terms of clearing what's there, a 2% salicylic acid gel to open up and disinfect pores (Dermalogica Overnight Clearing Gel is very gentle and can be used every night when needed), then a clay mask to draw out impurities might be a good way to go (something like NARS Mud Mask).

    I've also used quite a bit of the Mario Badescu line and am a fan. For cyctic acne, I can't go past their Buffering Lotion as a topical treatment. Their drying cream is also very good at drying out pimples, and I find it can be used on cyctic and normal acne.

    I also like the Mario Badescu Drying Mask because it helps to heal the acne-affected areas and sooth irritated skin. It also helps to absorb excess oil and prevent further clogs. You might like to try the Healing and Soothing Mask if you need something less drying though. I have also used their Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, but you might be better off using Cetaphil paired with gentle, regular exfoliation, as Glycolic Foaming Cleansers can be quite drying and can irritate acne-prone skin further.

    You also might need a very light moisturiser (depending on how oily your skin is) as acne-prone skin can be dehydrated underneath, which can lead to more irritation.

    In terms of the stretch marks, how about Strivectin?

    I hope this helps! x

  4. Hey, I'm gonna be a bridesmaid (first time as well) at my friend's wedding this summer too so I guess we have the same goal of making our skin look perfect.
    I have quite a problematic skin as well - sensitive and lots of blemishes on the t-zone. And I've noticed that during the holidays my skin has gotten even worse (I think that lots of food and wine just doesn't do me any good).
    Regarding your skincare routine: I think that the Vichy Normaderm products are far too agressive for any skin type and I agree with Replica that most times these agressive anti-acne products make it even worse: so you're then left with the blemishes and dry and irritated skin. I'm currently using the Nuxe Honey Cleansing Gel for the face and I like it a lot.
    So, my advice would be to use gentle products and then perhaps just one thing that really helps getting rid of acne (I know some people really like the Paula's Choice BHA gels and lotions).

    I really hope that you find your perfect skincare regime. Btw. how are you liking the Peau Vierge?

    x Klara

  5. Hi Dempss,
    Thanks so much for all your suggestions, I really appreciate you taking the time to give such comprehensive advice. I've heard good things about the Dermalogica clearing gel so will give that a try. I know their active moist moisturiser also gets great reviews so that might be the way to go. I have been using an Alpha H clay mask weekly but wasn't sure about exfoliation. I will definitely look into the Mario Badescu line, sounds great. I have the Strivectin eye cream but as it did nothing for my dark circles I forgot about it. I was put off the stretch mark cream because of the price and I have such a large amount of skin to cover, but maybe it would be worth a try on just the bust area.

    Thanks again,
    Jennifer X

    Hi Klara,
    I'm not impressed at all with the Normaderm products, another £50 down the drain! I think my next step will be to try a much more gentle regime. Am so nervous about being a bridesmaid, the other two are the bride's sister and best friend, neither of whom I know (I hardly know my brother's finace!) so I feel a bit like the odd one out. In a way am a bit upset that I won't get to choose my own outfit for the wedding, instead I'll be in head to toe lilac!

    With the Peau Vierge it is quite hard to tell. The problem is that because it is tinted, the light is too dark for me. It is more me when I have a tan. As it is a tint, it is quite blendable but it still looks a bit dark and gives quite a dewy finish, so I've only worn it on days when I haven't been leaving the house. It hasn't irritated my skin at all like I know some retinol treatments are meant to,so that is good and I think my cheeks look a bit clearer, but it is too early to say whether it is worth £90. To be honest, I'm not quite sre what to expect. I know others have said they sawa difference straight away, but I definitely haven't. However, my skin is battling acne at the moment so maybe I'm not the bet to judge.

    Jennifer X

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  7. I think that finding the right skincare regime can be a very long and expensive project, but it's worth trying (I hope!)
    Don't worry about the wedding, and regarding the dress, at least you won't have to go throguh all that "what to wear" ordeal (at least that's how I try to think about it).

    Thank you for your opinion on the Peau Vierge, I really hope that a colour will be a good match for me. Hopefully you'll see some results with it - I'm at this point right now where I'm willing to pay bit more just to have good skin.

    x Klara

  8. This is probably a bit slow of a response and you may not have the problem now but I used to suffer from hormonal breakouts all of the time and I couldn't take the contraceptive pill. I researched for something natural, and I came across an article about Fermented Cod Liver Oil - I won't lie it is gross and quite pricey but a jar lasts at least 2 months, and you store it in the fidge. I find the gel the most plalatable as I just put a teaspoon of it on my tongue and swallow with a drink. Needless to say once this had gotten in to my system I have barely had a spot since. I would rather try and treat something internally rather than putting too much on my skin as less is usually more in terms of keeping it balanced. Hope this helps. Lisa