My Acne Nightmare: How I'm tackling adult cystic acne - Part One

Okay, it's been a while.

As mentioned in posts at the end of last year I have been experiencing some skin issues, namely dreaded adult cystic acne.  Horrifyingly this cycle started around September last year, and up until the last couple of weeks I have felt depressed and stressed out.  I've been ashamed of my own face.  Not cool...

To put you in the picture, I'm an older beauty addict.  At age 35 I pride myself at looking younger than my year count, and having relatively trouble free skin since age 21.   Mid last year I started a new job I loved, there was a little more pressure to keep up but I love it (still) as it's a career developing position in a field I love.  A couple of months into it I started breaking out, which I initially I out down to a little stress and a little of too many good times.  So I started looking after myself... the breakout got worse.  By the end of September my face was a mess of cystic acne, gargantuan pimples that were red, swollen, and painful.  I barely wanted to leave the house, let alone go to work.  I piled on the makeup, and my workmates were kind enough not to notice too much.  Thank god.

I put aside my favorite Korean products and switched to a wholly natural skincare regime including rosehip, argan, and coconut oil.  I changed my diet and drank nearly a water tanker a day.  By December my face was a war field.

I then turned into a research machine.  I was determined not to meet my next birthday (in March) looking like this.  I went back to my favorites, discarded what I knew wasn't working, and built a daily regime based on the Asian double cleansing method and the bazillion step skincare regime loved by many a Korean actress.  Fuck this, I thought, I need to put together the right steps that's all.... 

And so I started experimenting, that was two weeks ago, and now I want to share my results thus far, because I think it's actually working...  (WARNING: Closeup photos of my face follow - just saying)




As you'll notice, most of these products have a fair bit of use, yeah they've been on the test bench alone (including with the fiancee) but their powers combined...!

STEP ONE: Double Cleansing

Double cleansing is a well known 'secret' to great skin employed by many a Japanese and Korean celebrity.  Basically it involves a first cleansing process using an oil based cleanser to dissolve any oil based build up (makeup & sebum) on your skin.  My current product for this is the Holika Holika Soda Pore Cleansing BB Deep Cleansing Oil.  My first step is to massage this around my face with my finger tips and then rinse with tepid water.  I then follow with a foaming cleanser to remove the excess oil cleanser and completely cleanse my face.  Currently I use Tony Molys Egg Pore Shiny Skin Soap which I've ranted about previously.  White soap in the morning, brown soap at night.  After rinsing, I go a bit weird... 

STEP TWO: 'Toning' and Toning

My first 'toner' is more in line with what Western beauty products term as a toner.  But a bit different.  I decided to keep an au naturel stage in here (it works for me), and I use a 1:2 dilution of apple cider vinegar to distilled water.  I put this on a cotton pad and pat it onto my face.  After I let this air dry for 30 seconds I go to my second Eastern inspired toner.  Asian beauty products have toners which are usually more of a gel/serum consistency that you pat onto your skin.  Currently I am using Shocking Toner Special Kiss, which combines a toner & essence treatment in one.  I pat this about my face.  At about this stage my skin looks clean & refreshed!

STEP THREE: Treatment

So four products in I could potentially go nuts at this stage with essences and what not, but for now I've just been focusing on treating the acne.  At this stage I like to use Lush's Greased Lightning as a spot treatment.  This is about the stage I apply an eye cream as well :)

STEP FOUR: Hydrate

At present my daytime moisturizer is Olays Total Effects & Serum Cream.  As you can see I am nearly out, I'll be replacing this with Ladykin's Affinitic Snail Cream (to help heal my acne scarring) shortly.  For nightime I prefer to go straight to a sleeping pack, like Pure Supplements one shown below.

On a note on the below, once a week I also like to use a face mask. I also like to exfoliate once or twice a week so I've shown three of my favorite exfoliating products below also.

Quick Fix Facials clay mask and Pure Supplement Lemon Blueberry Rejuvenating Overnight Mask (my go to night cream)

Quick Fix Facials clay mask and Pure Supplement Lemon Blueberry Rejuvenating Overnight Mask (my go to night cream)

Left to Right = Gentlest to More Intense: Tony Moly Appletox, Banila Co Claypatra Facial, & 5 Seeds Apple Water Scrub.

Left to Right = Gentlest to More Intense: Tony Moly Appletox, Banila Co Claypatra Facial, & 5 Seeds Apple Water Scrub.


The first set of photos were taken on Day 3.  I really wish I had taken start point photos but my skin was such a mess I didn't think about it at the time.  The second set of photos are Day 12!

I'm definitely seeing an overall improvement in my acne and general skin tone.  This is very much still a work in progress but at least now I'm ready to start re-introducing some anti-aging and treatment products.  My next focus will be to reduce the redness and scarring left behind and further improve overall texture and pore appearance.    

Updates to follow!