Advice I Would Give My Younger Self About Embracing My Acne

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I’ve had skin issues for as long as I can remember — from my teens, all through adulthood — with hormonal breakouts still a regular feature of my thirties (oh, the joys of adult acne). But as much as I’ve felt frustrated, embarrassed — ashamed, even, by my skin over the years, I’m now finally in a good place with it. And for me, that’s been quite a journey. 

As an inflammatory skin disorder that mostly affects women in adulthood, acne has close links to stress and hormones, and can impact our emotions in a serious way. Many of us feel anxious and insecure because of our skin, and over time our self-esteem can take a massive hit. 

Accepting and embracing our imperfections (yes, even our acne!) is the clear route out of this. But how do we get to that point? Here’s the advice that definitely would have benefited twenty-something me…

Pay attention to your self-talk

Many of us feel embarrassed or ashamed if our skin isn’t perfectly clear, but do you ever question why that is?! IMHO, unrealistic beauty standards have a lot to answer for. 

For years, I dreaded bright lighting. I’d avoid close-ups at all costs. I was fixated on my skin — and concealing it — which was feeding an insecurity that got pretty bedded in.  But at some stage, something changed. I began to catch fragments of my inner commentary, and pick up on the constant downers that played in my head. Noticing them meant I could interject, and ultimately challenge them.

Talking to ourselves in a loving, supportive way, and playing a part in normalising imperfections, is the path to feeling happier in our skin. But it most definitely does take practice!

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Find a go-to product that boosts your skin (rather than irritates it!). 

When you have oily or combination skin like I do — the type that really lets you know about hormone changes (like we don’t know already?!), you can be dealing with a lot — breakouts, blackheads, painful boils, dryness, irritation, rosacea… Sometimes all at once.

Finding that ‘rescue’ product that becomes your daily go-to and works in harmony with your skin, is a must. A lot of products claiming to help acne do the exact opposite — stripping skin of its natural oils due to their harsh chemicals.  

Look closely at the active ingredients in skincare products. I landed on Garnier’s Pure Active AHA + BHA Charcoal Anti-Blemish Serum which is powered by some wonder ingredients (niacinamide, AHA, salicylic acid, charcoal) that together calm and support unhappy skin.

It’s a simple step in my skincare routine — I apply it twice a day after cleansing, and because it’s fast-absorbing and mattifying (it rubs on clear and leaves no black residue), it gives my skin a smooth texture, and is perfect for sitting under makeup. 

Be gentle! 

Over-cleansing, over-exfoliating and generally over-fussing, were just a few of my favourite pastimes in my twenties. I’d try product after product, every technique, every tool, steaming, cooling, prodding, poking and a whole lot of pimple popping too — then I’d wonder why my skin looked worse. 

At some point, I was reminded that our skin is a living organ, performing crucial functions; protecting us from invading pathogens, regulating our temperature and pH, and serving as the main sense organ for our body. It’s a vital barrier that bears a lot of stress. And yet this is what I’d been subjecting it to. 

I’ve learnt that a simple, gentle, and respectful approach is the only way to happier skin. Another reason why the types of products we choose is SO important. Garnier’s Pure Active AHA + BHA Charcoal Anti-Blemish Serum is suited to my sensitive skin and contains active ingredients that nourish and support, so I know I’m doing the right thing in terms of healing and protecting. My skin feels healthier and calmer — and knowing it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and approved by leading dermatologists gives me that extra feeling of satisfaction when I’m using it.

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Embrace the best skincare hacks that come at no cost.

Sleep. Sex. Exercise. Say hi to three of your skin’s best friends — which by the way, cost you absolutely nothing. 

Getting an early night can be a godsend for acne, as when we’re sleeping, our body produces growth hormones to ensure our skin is producing enough collagen. This helps regenerate our skin and repair acne and scarring.

As for regular sex and exercise — don’t hold back. Both will get the blood flowing to our skin, and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), making way for collagen production and promoting fresh, rejuvenated skin. 

Bottom line: no need to spend a fortune on skincare — though it’s fair to say, effective products don’t have to break the bank. My fave, Garnier’s Anti-Blemish Serum, is priced at a very reasonable $34.99 RRP.

Enough with the shaming

‘Skincare fails’ are a reality of life. Sleeping in makeup, forgetting to moisturise, squeezing spots — we’ve all been there and got the resulting pimples to show for it. But we could definitely do without beating ourselves up.

We’re bombarded with skincare dos and don’ts, and so many contradictions. ‘Keep it simple!’ But also… ‘Apply these 14 products before you go to bed!’. No wonder confusion abounds. But ironically, the factors that most affect our skin are the ones outside of our control. Genetics, hormones, weather, stress, LIFE… so let go of guilt and just do what you can, when you can. 

By embracing our skin, our acne, and everything that makes us human, our confidence can soar — which is when life gets a lot more fun!

Click here to find out more about Garnier’s Pure Active Anti-Blemish Serum — scientifically proven to visibly reduce imperfections by 35% in 4 weeks. 

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