July and August were extremely busy months for me and because of that I barely had the time (or energy) to consistently post my skincare routines on Instagram. What you missed during those months was me being reckless and excitedly trying a bunch of new products all at once (I know, I know) and ending up with a pretty intense bad reaction. For the first time in years I had multiple big, red, painful blemishes and it was not pleasant. Luckily, I was able to very quickly heal my skin, so in this post I wanted to share with you the star products that helped me do that. As it was summer, my morning routine was all about sun protection, but in the evenings I was able to fully concentrate on tackling the breakouts, and as that’s when the majority of the healing took place, this post is going to focus on the routine that got my skin back on track.
CLEANSE AND TONE
One of the things I know when my skin is breaking out is that cleansing it properly is more important than ever. Because of that I chose two that would purify and calm my skin without stripping it dry. I opted for Votary’s brilliant Super Seed Cleansing Oil as my first cleanse because it’s deeply nourishing, anti-inflammatory and highly soothing. I used two pumps to slowly but firmly massage my skin for about 3-5 minutes (depending on how much time I had) to remove any sunscreen, dirt and oil and also to increase the circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage. This doesn’t emulsify so you must use a washcloth to remove it and while I don’t always like that, in this case it really helped to add a gentle exfoliating element that my skin needed at the time. I will be doing a full review of this very soon because it’s now one of my absolute favourite first cleansers.
Ingredients: Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Oil Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Curcubita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil Limanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Oil Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil Fragaria Ananassa (Strawberry) Seed Oil Nigella Sativa (Black Seed) Oil Papaver Somniferum (Poppy) Seed Oil Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Oil Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil Vaccinium Corymbosum (Blueberry) Seed Oil Tocopherol Borago Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil Brassica Oleracea Italica (Brocoli) Seed Oil Citrullus Lanatus (Melon) Seed Oil Prunus Cerasus (Cherry) Seed Oil Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Herb Oil Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower Extract Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil Limonene+ Linalool+ +Naturally occurs in Essential Oils.
For my second cleanse I stuck with one that has been a staple ever since it launched. Tata Harper makes some of the very best cleansers out there and if you have combination or acne prone skin, this product will help to balance and clarify it without being harsh or drying. I take one pump and massage it in to dry skin for about a minute or two before removing with just water. Sometimes I like to leave it on my skin while I brush my teeth to allow ingredients like willow bark extract (purifying), Montmorillonite (clay) and Lactobacillus/Punica granatum Fruit Ferment Extract (dissolves dead skin cells) to get to work. After removing with warm water my skin is always soft, balanced and calm. I have raved about this cleanser many times and for good reason. I can’t recommend it enough for a gentle yet effective deep cleanse that will purge impurities without stripping the skin.
Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Capric/Caprylic/Triglycerides, Water (Aqua), Glycerine, Propanediol, Glyceryl undecylenate, Aroma**, Sucrose Stearate, Decyl Glucoside, Oryza sativa (Rice) Extract*, Glyceryl Caprylate, Lactobacillus/Punica granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Papain, Curcuma Zedoaria Root Oil, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sucrose Palmitate, Zingiber Officinale Root Oil, Salix alba (Willow) Bark Extract*, Eugenia Caryophyllus Flower Oil, Sucrose Laurate, Abies PectinateLeaf Oil, Foeniculum Vulgare Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extracts, Kaolin, Bioflavanoids, Leuconostoc ferment filtrate, Montmorillonite, Mica, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Extract, Superoxide Dismutase, Soybean Peroxidase, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Linalool, Limonene *Ingredients from Organic farming **Clinical grade essential oils blend.
Even though this has only recently made a reappearance into my skincare stash, it was previously one of my most used products and even made it on my ‘2014 Ultimate Favourites’ list. This is a great toner if you are acne prone or dealing with breakouts, because it is highly purifying yet doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight or dry. It also has a light, fine mist that absorbs easily and doesn’t leave behind any residue, which I really liked. It was very important for me to be gentle with my skin during the healing process and this didn’t sting or irritate me at all. I also wanted to keep my routine quite simple and not overload my skin with too many layers and this helped me to tackle the blemishes without needing to use a bunch of products.
Ingredients: high-potency (aqua, organic rosa centifolia) rose concentrate™, organic alcohol denat (sugar cane extracted with lavender oil) with lavandula, phospholipids (liposomal delivery system), salix alba (TLC salicylic acid™ from white willow), ascorbyl palmitate (TLC vitamin C™), calming complexion complex™ (chamomilla recutita (matricaria chamomile) flower extract, organic rosa canina (rose hip) seed extract, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract), vegetable glycerin, organic aloe barbedensis (aloe) leaf powder, melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, organic ascophyllum nodosum (seaweed) extract, 100% pure (fragrance) essential oils, linalool*. * components of 100% pure steam-distilled essential oils 22.5% certified organic ingredients.
This trio here was easily the most important factor in why and how my skin healed so quickly. Together they provided everything I needed to calm the inflammation, unclog my pores, clear the congestion and soothe any irritation. From the very first night I used this combo I continuously saw a major reduction in the size and redness of my blemishes. I would use one pump of Organic Skin, two drops of the Super Seed Facial Oil and then two drops of the Salicylic Acid. I mixed all three in to a blemish busting microemulsion and applied it to my damp skin for even better absorption and efficacy. Applying oils to damp skin is something I really enjoy doing now and I love how bright, plump and clear my skin looks when I do it. I used this mix 4 times a week and on alternate nights I would just use two pumps of Organic Skin with three drops of the Super Seed Facial Oil to make sure I wasn’t drying out my skin. This method worked so well and really kept my skin balanced and calm while the breakouts were subsiding. I have a full review of Organic Skin here and the Salicylic Acid here, and will review the Votary oil very soon. You could easily use different products for the other steps but I highly recommend this combo exactly as it is because it was so effective.
MY SECRET WEAPON
I have had this Jade roller for quite some time now, but never really used it that often for no particular reason other than laziness, to be perfectly honest. When my skin broke out I immediately remembered how good it was supposed to be for draining cysts, increasing blood flow and eliminating swelling so I decided to give it a go. One night I applied a generous amount of the Salicylic Acid to my face and massaged my blemishes with the Jade roller. It felt cooling and soothing and I did this for about half an hour. Afterwards I added the La Belle Lune and the Votary and the next day was when I saw the biggest improvement yet. All my blemishes had shrunk significantly and were no longer sore or red. This was a massive revelation to me and I can’t recommend these enough now. If you suffer from frequent breakouts or puffy, irritated skin then you need this. It makes such a difference and not just to my spots; my whole face looked “perked up” and just healthy. I try to use this about once a week now and while I don’t need to use it with the Salicylic Acid anymore, I do the same thing with any of my other oils. It feels great, improves the health and look of my skin and is really relaxing, too.
Masking wasn’t a luxury I really had the time for but I knew it was something I needed to do if I wanted my skin to get back on track quickly and it really helped. I have a decent selection of masks but decided to go with my instincts and opted for one that I hadn’t used in a long time, but one that I remember working really well back in the day and that was this one. I first discovered this back in 2013 when my skin was very temperamental and I remember it always did the job of fully purging my pores and clearing congestion. It’s a traditional clay mask that is antibacterial, oil absorbing and exfoliating. I love the mix of ingredients (manuka honey, kombuchka, kaolin) and the fact that this mask isn’t thick or crumbly once dry. All you need is a thin layer and it wont flake off as it sets. I leave this on for about 15-30 minutes and then remove with a warm washcloth. After using this my skin would be left feeling fresh and soft and any gunk in the smaller blemishes would be drawn to the surface ready to be extracted. I think this mask and Elemental Herbology are really underrated because both are great. This product has been so consistently effective for me and I’m glad I had an emergency backup tube on hand when I needed it.
Ingredients: Kaolin*, Aqua*, Glycerin*, Tribehenin Peg-20 Esters, Cera Alba (beeswax)*, Myristyl Myristate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Capryloyl Glycine, Saccharomyces/xylinum Black Tea Ferment*, Mel (Manuka Honey)*, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract*, Sarcosine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour*, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil*, Malachite Extract*, Allantoin, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil*, Lavandula Angustifloia (Lavender) Oil*, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil*, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil*, Xanthan Gum*, Hydroxyethylcellulose*, Disodium Edta, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Geraniol* (source essential oils), Limonene* (sourceessential oils), Linalool* (source essential oils). *Ingredients derived from 100% natural source.
Once I realized what was happening to my skin this was one of the first products I reached for. It works so well at calming inflammation and isn’t drying at all. I have talked about this mask multiple times and you can read my full review on it here. After my skin was around 80% back on track I used this in the accelerated method (5 days in a row) and it helped to clear any lingering congestion and deeper inflammation. Both masks are great as overnight spot treatments and on days when I really didn’t have the time to do a proper routine, that’s what I would do.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Montmorillonite, Kaolin, Bisabolol, Silica Cetyl Silylate, Isodecyl neopentanoate, Panthenyl Triacetate, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Argilla, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Resveratrol, Naringenin, Arginine, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Perfluorodecalin, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Glycosphingolipids, Propanediol, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Mica, Quartz, Sucrose Palmitate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
I still haven’t quite got to the bottom of what made my skin react in this way although I have narrowed it down to two skincare products (Dr. Dennis Gross Pads and shockingly, May Lindstrom’s The Problem Solver) and two possible food allergies (tomatoes or shrimp). I have stayed away from all four until recently and just had a shrimp salad today for lunch, so we’ll see how that goes and I had tomatoes a couple of times last week to seemingly no effect. I am pretty sure it’s either the Dr. Dennis Gross or May Lindstorm products, but I can’t bring myself to retest either of them yet as my skin is doing so well thanks to what I’ve been using lately. Overall it took my skin about 9 or 10 days to completely heal from start to finish and considering how painful, deep and inflamed the blemishes were, I’m very happy with that. Of course, everyone’s skin is different and what worked for me, may not work for you but since these products did such a good job of fixing my skin I thought it was important to share them with you incase you’d like to give them a try too.
Part Two of this series will be all about how I treated the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation because we all know how those dark marks that get left behind after a breakout are even harder to get rid of than the actual blemishes themselves. Stay tuned for that and if you have any tips or products you use to heal your skin when it’s freaking out I would love to hear them.