Beauty Review: Acne solutions

19 Apr

Acne is a massive issue for both boys and girls, and effects adults as well as teenagers. Even though I’ve not got severe or chronic acne, having a breakout of spots day-in, day-out is irritating and upsetting. Especially, when your monthly subscription of Comso comes flying through the letter box, and you STILL don’t have flawless matte skin like the gorgeous Katy Perry.

I have tried countless amounts of acne solutions to try and rid of these pesty little blighters.


1.Benzoyl Peroxide (peeling agent)

Cream, gel or face wash. You can get this on prescription as well as over the counter. I got a prescription cream and had heard this is remarkable in killing off any bacteria on your face. However, all it did for me was dye my dark eyebrows blonde, and change  my red towels into pink towels. You may as well pop along to your nearest Tesco, purchase some Cillit Bang, and squirt that all over your face* It’s a strong cream which can feel like it’s literally burning your skin away. I tried it for three months. No change.

2.Differin (peeling agent)




Cream or gel. This can be obtained via prescription from your GP. Differin contains the active ingredient adapalene, which is a form of vitamin A, it’s just as easy to use but nowhere near as harsh on your sensitive skin. You have to avoid sunlight and persist with it for at least three months. I did. No change.

3. Lymecyclin (antibiotic)

Tablets, one a day. This is an antibiotic, it is also a teratrogenic meaning it can interfere with the development of a fetus, causing birth defects.  So if  your boyfriend is aiming for a “goal” when you are playing “football,” make sure he is wearing the right “kit”. This attempts to not kill the bacteria which is sitting on the skin, but to stop the body’s ability to produce bacteria in the first place. With tablets, you aren’t directly applying product to your skin which can often feel like you’re not doing enough in the acne fight, you just have to be patient, knowing it’s all going on inside.. I persevered with these tablets for about a year, and have read that antibiotics can have a positive effect on the clear up of spots but the effectiveness trails off as people build up a resistance to low dose, long term antibiotics like this. No change for me. Still not Katy Perry.

4. Erythromycin (antibiotic)

Tablets, two, twice a day, with food. The doctor then prescribed me a different type of antibiotic which is similar to penicillin. The principal is based on ye olde tale of killing bacteria (by this time these bacteria are so clingy that I’ve started to feel sorry for the poor guys not wanting to leave my face). I was on these tablets for about 5 months but didn’t see any effect.

5. Doing Nothing

I then went through a stage of wearing very little to no makeup, washing my face with just water, no moisturiser, no products, no tablets, no anything. Nothing lead to no change either.

6.Vitamin B, and  Multi-vitamin tablets

Tablets, one a day. I then popped to Tesco thinking that a simple host of Vitamin supplements was all that I needed. It’s never a bad thing to take vitamins, if your body doesn’t need them, it’ll just flush them out, but if it does, it’ll use them. You can’t go wrong. No change in my face though, Whitney Whitehead and Billy Blackhead were still very much present.

7.Skin, hair and nails tablets

Tablets, one a day. It’s amazing what can be squished into a tiny pill. You take this little fella once a day and BAM! gorgeous hair, long/ strong nails, and beautiful skin. Didn’t happen for me.

8. Clinique

Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise, twice a day. It certainly is a good thing to have a beauty ritual, it can be time-consuming but your skin does pay off. There was no dramatic difference but this is a good basis for your beauty regimen, acne or no acne.

9. Cetaphil

Non-comedogenic moisturiser: an acne specialist mositurser. I then substituted my beauty based moisturiser for a medical based moisturiser. My skin clearly produces too much oil, hence the spots, yet if I don’t use moisturiser it is dry, flakey and tight. I needed something that was hydrating without pore-blocking. Non-comedogenic moisturiser is said to have a non-greasy formulation that is mild, non-irritating and long-lasting. However, I found Cetaphil very sticky and didn’t absorb well. Nonetheless, there are loads more brands of non-comedogenic moisturisers out there, I’ve got my eye on Avene and Dermalogica next, I’ve heard some good reviews from them.

10. Proactiv

Soap. An American revolutionary over-the counter treatment. I bought the £15 bar of soap. A lot of money to spend on soap. I found this really good.  Small little beads within the soap, you can feel it cleanses deep into the skin. However, I often found that when I use a new product it’s great for the month when I introduce  it, then my skin seems to get used to it and protests its boredom with abuse in the form of a big pimple at the end of my nose appearing right in time for my best friend’s wedding. I’ve not been using this long, so we’ll re-evaluate at a later date.

11.Changing contraceptive pill

Hormones play a massive part in oily skin and therefore acne. A change in your oral contraception may be the simple answer. This is my most recent attempt. I was on microgynon and have been transferred to ethinyl estradiol/desogestrel and have to test this out for six months.


This is an extremely strong and abrasive treatment for severe and relentless acne and should be only considered as ‘the treatment of last resort’ for unique cases.  I’ve not been offered this, but everybody I know who has suffered from acne, this has been their hero. When you are taking this you have to avoid alcohol, all forms of UV light, and as it may harm a baby during pregnancy as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage, it should not be taken whilst pregnant. It has recently been reported in the media that there is a proven link between Raccutane and depression, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts and suicide. There have been huge criticisms that this has been over and wrongly prescribed with severe and tragic consequences. I am not a candidate for this type of drug, and most people won’t be. Be careful.


Looking back from when I first started addressing my spotty T-zone, my skin has definitely improved but it’s still not Katy-Perry-esque; I still have acne spots. I’ll keep trying new things and testing pharmaceutical recommendations as well as over-the-counter beauty buys and keep you informed and updated.

Don’t expect overnight results, it’s a long process and it is extremely frustrating, especially when you have to give them a go for several months.  The most important part of your treatment plan should be patience, it can take a long while to see an improvement in your skin. But rest assured that through trial and error, you’ll soon find the right combination of products that lead the way to clear, glowing skin. There are literally hundreds of acne cures out there offering different treatment for different skin types. However, there is such a thing as ‘treatment resistant acne’.  The best thing is to ask for a dermatology referral. They know skin, inside and out!

Identifying skin type and treating it appropriately is key to maintaining gorgeous skin under any circumstances.


Lifestyle and beauty routine changes:


Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, it can help you feeling and looking refreshed and revitalised. It’s essential for the body, and is beneficial for your skin. However, sweat can have negative consequences on a person’s skin if it’s left to fester in post-gym clothes. Women can prevent the pore-clogging effects of the build- up of sweat while maintaining a regular exercise regimen by simply clipping your hair away from your face, removing make-up before your workout, using a clean towel to remove sweat, and hitting the showers once your gym session has finished to wash off the dirt, oil and bacteria that if left behind will encourage new acne.


Sleep deprivation affects most, if not all, the causes that lead to acne. It increases inflammation (the main cause behind acne) and increases insulin resistance (another bad boy behind acne). It can also increase stress levels. You need sleep to give your skin ample time to repair itself, so if you lack sleep time it  results in tired looking skin that reacts harshly under stress. Your body does everything from stimulate collagen formation to reduce inflammation and encourage healing while you sleep, so when you deprive your body of essential rest as well as nutrients, you are only contributing to your acne problem. So get more sleep! Try also sleeping on your back, and make sure your pillowcase is clean. Oils and other products in your hair transfer onto the pillowcase, which when brushed against your face, it then gets into your pores, causing breakouts.

3. Diet

What goes into your body affects everything. Remember, “you are what you eat”. Eat clean, look fresh. Water is king. Get 6-8 pints of water a day and you’ll notice a massive difference. It helps to flush out bad toxins and keeps skin dewy and hydrated from the inside out. Alcohol is a toxin, it affects your insides and out.  Alcohol can make existing acne worse, aggravating it and bringing additional heat to the source. Try to cut down your frequency and amount, Move away from the Rose (or at least add a splash of sparkling water to it). Try to increase your intake of dark green, leafy vegetables, such as Kale or Spinach. They are known to provide lots of fiber (for clear skin) and plenty of vitamin A and C (for wrinkles and discoloration). Fruit and veg is key to feeling and looking revitalised, try and eat between 5 – 7 portions a day, especially those which have a high water content. Cleanse your digestive tract with probiotics in food or via a supplement. Skin will appear clearer and more luminous. Try substituting a daily snack with a Soy Protein Shake that contains vitamins B6, B12 (for stress and anxiety) zinc and biotin (for clear, healthy skin) and vitamin E (for skin repair). There is a link between dairy and acne so try eliminate dairy products from your diet and see how your skin reacts.

4. Stress

Acne severity correlates highly with increasing stress levels. Address the source of your stress and take good care of your body. Get more sleep, exercise and set aside time each day for reflection and relaxation. This will enhance resistance to stress and nurture the skin to combat the effects of day-to-day stress. Stress relief techniques include deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga. Fitting these activities into your life can help reduce everyday stress and boost your energy and mood.

5. Beauty routine

Taking make-up off before bed – it’s the single easiest and most important way to prevent your acne.

Old make-up – expired make-up products can clog pores and  invite infections, also use brushes rather than fingers to apply make-up, and clean them regularly.

Dont pick – Picking and squeezing spots leads to infection, scarring, and the spread of bacteria, simple it exacerbates  blemishes. However, I definitely have acne excoriee where “patients pick at their blemishes compulsively because they’re worried and embarrassed about their skin. Every little thing that shows up on a person’s skin, every small pimple, they pick it. They can’t make themselves stop.” I do this ceremonially every morning, every night, and the hours in between. I can’t stop picking at my skin but I’m now doing everything in my power to stop. Acne Excoriee is actually categorised as a mental disorder. I wouldn’t go that far..

Face Scrub. You may think your bacteria infected skin needs a good old scrub to rid of it all. However, granular facial scrub can make acne worse by aggravating the skin. Acneic skin is sensitive by nature, and when skin is irritated it becomes inflamed and can trigger further breakouts. Treat your skin with sensitivity.


Understanding triggers can help create an effective skincare routine for all skin conditions, ages and seasons.


Acne friendly Cosmetics:

Clean pores are the gateway to radiant skin. While many women try to hide acne with concealer and foundation, this often compounds acne issues. Makeup can clog pores, which only worsens acne breakouts. How can women still wear makeup without affecting pores? Which cosmetics and beauty products are specifically designed for adults’ acne-prone skin?

Non-acnegenic makeup is formulated to not clog oil-producing pores and let skin breathe. Brands with the non-acengenic and non-comedogenic labels include:

MAC, Clinique, Lancôme, Bare Minerals, Almay, Arbonne, Shiseido.


Look out for foundation reviews coming soon!


There is no such thing as a guaranteed acne cure. If it works for you, use it, and then tell me about it ;-)

Remember, you’re not the only one! So many people suffer from acne, even the seemingly fresh faced beauty queens that are Victorian Beckham, Megan Fox, and even… Katy Perry. You know, the one who started this whole article, and my subsequent skin obsession! Typical.

*please, don’t do that



5 Responses to “Beauty Review: Acne solutions”

  1. naturalbalance95 April 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    IPL Laser treatment works a treat :) the blue light kills the bacteria that cause the Acne. Start with 2 a week for a month then see how it is, carry on if needed until clear … then a maintenance programme keeps the acne down.

    • Alice April 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      Brilliant, Thank you! That’ll be my new venture if the next attempts fail to work :D Is it expensive and are the treatments readily available? You could have just created the subject for another of my beauty test and reviews x

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  1. Beauty review: Eyelashes | Fashion, Beauty and Style. - April 23, 2013

    […] Perry herself has got her own false eyelash product out there (so you may not be able to get her skin in an instant, but you can borrow her eyelashes). It’s easier than ever to get glam eyes fit […]

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