Reviews Of The Worst Things I Ever Tried For My Acne Prone Skin Including Topical Prescriptions Like Duac & The Combined Pill – Lucette + Brevinor.

Before reading this post please remember these are my personal experiences with various products or medications I was prescribed to try and help my acne. Everyone is different so whilst these may have been borderline nightmarish for me for someone else they might be life changing in the best possible way.

I didn’t realise until writing this post just how traumatic some of these treatment attempts sound but truth be told the vast majority I’ve brushed under the carpet and forgotten about. Throughout this post I’ll link some more positive previous blog posts of mine which may be of interest such as my absolute favourite effective skincare products and life changing discoveries which helped me to better accept my skin rather than clinging onto the unattainable notion that my skin must always be clear.

Duac – Prescription Benzoyl Peroxide.

I was prescribed this at around the time my Oxytetracycline anti biotic journey was reaching the end of its course in 2016 meaning my skin was virtually clear at the time. I was advised this topical benzoyl peroxide product would give me the best chance of ensuring my treatment was effective long term so began using it at night. The reality was I ended up with bleached pillowcases and an INCREDIBLY red swollen puffy face which felt like the most extreme sunburn I’ve ever experienced dialled up about 10 notches. It took several weeks to recover from the tight, strained red face after using it less than 3 times. I’m not at all saying this is a bad product, I just really don’t think my skin can cope with benzoyl peroxide in leave on forms… seemingly neither can my bedding which was ruined!

Zineryt USED WITH Adapalene

Even just typing that combination dreamt up by my GP makes me want to hide behind my hands. Before I tell the story of this horrible duo I’d like to add that using Adapalene on its own has transformed my skin with minimal side effects and I am a huge fan. However; using it at night when the instructions for Adapalene didn’t mention breaking it in gently along with Zineryt in the mornings was a disaster for my skin barrier before I even really knew what that term was. Even though I was using a rich night cream twice a day my skin ended up splitting and weeping looking almost like popped blisters from using these strong active ingredients together. It was so incredibly painful and anything but subtle that I almost didn’t go to work for several days. I spent over a week conversing with the floor to avoid meeting people’s eyes and crying lots partly at the sight of my reflection and from how uncomfortable it was. A colleague asked if it had been an allergic reaction as it looked so sore and I almost fled home. I went back to my GP and was prescribed a week of antibiotics to ensure I didn’t get an infection. Once entirely healed I did some serious research and consulted pharmacists for advise about Adapalene and began introducing this very slowly as prior to the disaster it had been working brilliantly. Luckily for me this worked out well.

Lucette – Combined Contraceptive Pill

It took less than 3 weeks for this pill to start really negatively effecting me in a way that left me very frightened. I was prescribed it as it was thought to be similar to Yasmin, known for helping with acne, but less likely to cause blot clots. Whilst taking the pill each night I felt fine but the minute the 7 day break period arrived I was an absolute mess. I experienced the worst period pains I’d ever felt leaving my eyes watering and me heavily relying on pain killers to somewhat function. By about day 2 I couldn’t function properly anymore and I ended up taking almost the entire week off work as I felt so nauseous. I was frequently overcome by dizzy spells meaning I had to navigate my way around my home on all fours as I didn’t trust myself to stand up without blacking out. I’d get big black splotches appearing in my vision and ended up sitting in my shower tray just so I could wash my hair and even then the event lasted over an hour. Prior to this I’d previously taken 3 contraceptive pills with no side effects even remotely close to this so it took me a while to connect the dots. I never started the 2nd month’s blister pack and didn’t experience those scary side effects again so I know Lucette was the causes. For whatever reason Lucette and I just aren’t compatible. Worryingly a second GP months later tried to convince me to give this one another go, needless to say I decided sit down showers and a week of house crawling weren’t odds I wanted to gamble with so declined.

Brevinor – Combined Contraceptive Pill

You think after the disastrous Lucette story that I’d have given up on contraceptive pills but for some reason I ended up trying another, I think this was because my GP would only support this as I kept declining a 3rd round of antibiotics. This time: Brevinor. This caused my skin to worsen week upon week of taking it. My acne has always been focused on my chin and jawline. Imagine drawing a rainbow shape from the corner of your jaw up to your nostrils and back to the other jaw corner and that gives you an idea of my typical acne affected area. Whilst taking Brevinor I was getting hugely painful cysts popping up on the daily down the sides of my neck which made sleeping on my side very uncomfortable and sometimes not possible. My cheeks began to break out and for me this has always been the biggest tell tale sign that something is wrong because my cheeks just never get spots. I was waking up with new spots every day and even started developing body acne for the first time across my collarbones. I stopped taking this within a month and gave my body time to recover from the experience and all went back to normal very quickly. Both my experiences of Lucette and Brevinor freaked me out at how quickly my body reacted and how extreme the side effects could be.

I somehow dodged spot treatments like toothpaste and TCP and fortunately don’t really have any hugely extreme skincare disaster stories!

Sensitive Comments Welcome

Monthly Round Up – The Best Ways I Made Money, Saved Money and Bargain Finds in February

At the end of every month I’ve always posted a round up of all the samples or products I managed to claim for free which lead me to the idea of a monthly spending, saving and bargain summary. Below you’ll find my favourite highlights of February.

4 Litres of Plant Based Milk For £1

I managed to pick up 4 full size cartons of various plant based milks using Shopmium and Green Jinn in February. These included Jord Organic Oat Milk, Rebel Kitchen Mylk and 2 different cartons from Mighty Pea. As I don’t eat dairy and typically get through a carton of milk in 7-10 days this meant I spent only £1on milk which lasted me the whole month and will last a bit beyond. Say for the sake of easy maths that I typically spent £1.80 on non-dairy milk a week these deals have saved me £6.20 over a 4 week period which is not to be sniffed at!

I also got lots of free snacks this month that were dairy free including 6 vegan flapjacks from Plantastic via Shopmium which I love and will definitely be buying in the future. I also picked up a large bag of popcorn and 2 very discounted Alpro chocolate mousse packs to try. These saved me needing to buy much beyond the basics. I used to think cashback apps like Green Jinn, Shopmium and Checkout Smart would be a waste of time as I don’t eat dairy but they’ve helped me save a lot of money on my food shops.

A New Pair Of Jeans For £12.50

Jeans, socks and underwear are about the only items of clothing I don’t buy second hand. The reason I don’t tend to buy preloved denim is because I literally wear my jeans to death. If they get holes in I’ll patch them up to wear around the house and when they eventually die I recycle them via textiles recycling schemes. I typically wear RRP £40 jeans from River Island that I buy as factory overruns on eBay for half the price but wanted to try a new style. New Look is the only other high street brand I’ve ever found which fit me well and I hit across a 25% off denim promotion across the whole site. For reasons unknown to me the pair I wanted were the only pair within womenswear that were actually 50% off bringing the total down to £12.50. Postage was also free.

eBay Sales

This month I made the most of the £1 insertion fees promotion to make a £29 profit on one item whilst decluttering. I then sold a second item for £19 bringing my total earnings from my unwanted belongings to £48. Although not technically a money maker yet I also spent an entire day going through my wardrobe being really ruthless to have a good clear out. I’ve managed to fill a Bag For Life with clothes which will soon end up on eBay for me to hopefully make some more money on the side.

Beauty Products

This month I didn’t buy any new skincare that wasn’t a direct replacement and even then I only made one purchase. I did end up buying 6 full size bottles of Charles Worthington and Lee Stafford shampoos, conditioners and a dry shampoo in Boots’ clearance section for a total of £6.28. These will last me a very long time whilst keeping any toiletry spends low hence my decision to stock up.

Whilst decluttering I found 4 bottles of pink hair care which I’d no longer use and offered to send these to one of my favourite Instagram accounts Kara Olivia Beauty after seeing she was colouring her hair pink. She offered to trade me a spot treatment which would expire before she got a chance to open it. I spent £3.20 shipping the Bleach products to her which I had no use for but didn’t want to bin and gained a Banish Acne Scars fighter gel which I’m incredibly excited to try.

Low Cost Gifting and Handmade Cards

I had 2 friend’s birthday presents to put together and send off this month. Rather than buying a generic card for £2-3 each in supermarkets on an essential trip out I opted to buy a £2 pack of 8 blank brown paper-style cards which I could decorate myself. I used some coloured Sharpies I got for free via O2 Priority Moments a while back to write Happy Birthday across them and personalised with images cut from magazines or printed small photos. All told I’ll be able to make 8 thoughtful cards for approximately 25p each whilst having fun in the process so I’m really pleased with this little money saver. Lets say the average card cost is £2.50 and I bought 8 I’d be spending £20 which means by buying my £2 decorate-it-yourself-cards I’ve made a saving of £18.

For the gift themselves I reused 2 existing beauty boxes I had. I added free samples including designer perfumes, mascara, hair care and low price deals from high end beauty brands like L’Occitane.

Free / Low Cost Homeware

I used £10 of my Nectar points to buy a cake tin, mixing bowl and 3 kitchen utensils. All told I had to pay £1 extra to cover these but was more than happy with that. I also discovered the wonders of Facebook Marketplace and picked up 2 beauty John Lewis tumbler glasses for free. I was really impressed with how easy this was, the pick up was contactless and very simple.

Comments Welcome

February ’21 – Freebie Haul. A Round Up Of All The Things I Got For Free This Month & How I Got Them

I can’t believe how quickly we entered February and before I knew it the month was over! I find this especially impressive considering in the UK the whole of February has been spent in lockdown with the days sort of blurring into one. Without further a due below are the list of freebies I’ve been able to pick up this month.

Food

4 Litres of Plant Based Milk – Jord Organic Oat Milk and Mighty Pea Milks. I managed to get these for free via using the app Green Jinn which gives you cashback on supermarket purchases. These were 100% cashback so I received the amount I paid for them back in my PayPal account within a few days by uploading my receipt as proof of purchase. As I don’t eat dairy this was a brilliant acquisition and kept me going for 4+ weeks.

Rubicon 1 litre drink – this was my second bottle of this for free via the app Shopmium which works very similarly to Green Jinn. The referral code “g2ye4k” will earn you a free tube of Pringles if you decide to download the Shopmium app.

2 x boxes of Plantastic flapjacks – Again this was via the app Shopmium. The boxes were on offer at “try for £1”. Earlier in the month they ran a promotion which I took part in and gained £2 credit which when added to the flapjack offer made them free. I’ve previously tried these via Checkout Smart and really liked them. It always makes me happy when cashback apps include dairy free options as they’re never particularly cheap.

1 x 90g bag of Sweet Popcorn – via Checkout Smart in Tesco

Beauty

Sure Deodorant Travel Mini – sponsored Facebook advert. This came in really handy as mine suddenly ran out and I hadn’t got a replacement bargain lined up!

Versace Dylan Blue perfume – Boots sampling

Alien Mugler perfume sample – sponsored Facebook advert. I was a little disappointed that this was such a small sample.

Lancome Genefique Serum / Eye sachet – via the Lancome website. These serum samples are worth around £12 so I tend to save them for a relative who loves high end beauty and pop them into any gifts for them.

A selection of February’s free samples

Valentino Homme Aftershave sample – via a sponsored Facebook advert. I’m saving up aftershave samples as I don’t tend to get very many and will be gifting them to a friend for their birthday in a couple of months’ time.

Lancome Idole Mascara sample – on the Lancome website earlier in the month there was a quick game that you could play and winners won a sample of their mascara. Luckily the game was very easy and quick!

Kleenex Anti Bacterial Hand Gel – this came via Send Me A Sample and arrived very quickly. Given the current pandemic sanitiser is always handy!

YSL Black Opium perfume sample – via Boots sampling. I received an email inviting me to fill out a form to try this perfume.

All told I’ve impressed myself with the amount of samples I picked up this month. I’m always so pleased I came across the supermarket cashback apps as they help me to save money on my weekly food shop and are great opportunities to try something new. Finding them also adds a bit of excitement in lockdown!

Reviews of Hyped Skincare Products Suitable For Acne Prone Skin That I’ve Tried – Some Worth Buying & Others Worth Dodging!

I’ve been dealing with incredibly acne prone skin now for around 6 years. During this time I’ve tried more skincare products than I ever care to properly count. Since creating my Instagram account I’ve become aware of some almost cult favourites amongst the acne community, some of which I’ve tried, and other’s I’d like to which will appear in a follow up post. Read on to find out more.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ Moisturiser

I won’t write, yet again, all the reasons I love this product as I’ve done so before on countless occasions! For me it is my absolute holy grail of day moisturisers that I’ve been using for years. Every time I venture into a new day cream, which is very rarely, I come straight back to this. It’s gentle, hydrating, helps me so much with hyperpigmentation and more.

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser

I definitely wouldn’t have thought to try this if it weren’t for Instagram’s acne community but it’s been brilliant at helping me manage any drying side effects from acne prescriptions. It’s gentle, suitable for sensitive skin and good value for money. I would buy this again but have ventured into Cerave’s new Hydrating Cream To Foam cleanser to try next as I’m so used to foaming textures that I prefer them. My only complaint was that I found the bottle didn’t last as long as I’d expect but this is likely due to me using too much to compensate for the fact it didn’t foam! I didn’t notice any irritating flaky or tight skin from prescriptions at all after introducing this into my routine.

Pixi Glow Tonic

I’ve been using this now for about 4 weeks around 3 times a week in the mornings as I use prescription retinoids at night. So far I’ve experienced no irritation or purges and have noticed some improvement with congested pores. So far I’m really pleased with how this is going as usually I’m underwhelmed by toners and don’t really see any benefits or improvements.

Clinique Anti Blemish Solutions

Sorry to say that for me this was a big no. I found the range far too drying and strong for my skin. The toner in particular, which is heavily alcohol based, stung and was almost uncomfortable to use at times.

The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc Serum

It took me a long time to try this product as all the reviews I read seemed a bit like marmite – people either loved it for helped their skin or said it caused mass breakouts. I eventually took the plunge and I have to say within a month I was wowed. I’ve previously tried one other product from this brand and was very nonplussed. It didn’t really do anything for me and I didn’t rebuy. However; this has to be the only product I’ve ever tried in 6 years of having acne prone skin that has ever made a difference to the oiliness of my skin. My skin is combination but by 3pm no matter what I wear, be that mattifying skincare or make up my forehead always gets shiny. I’ve become more conscious of it seeing it on Zoom lately too! This product definitely helped to mattify my skin and stop me looking like my forehead was glistening by mid afternoon. It didn’t feel oily to the touch. I started using it just in the mornings and then upped to twice a week. It hasn’t helped for enlarged pores as it advertises but I can’t ignore that since using it my skin has been incredibly well behaved. I survived a few weeks of intense stress, eating more sugar than I want to admit and lack of sleep without any serious notable breakouts. I will 100% repurchase this and it is such good value for money. My bottle is about half empty after 4 weeks of use.

Comments Welcome

Dots For Spots VS Cosrx Acne Master Pimple Patch – A Review Of Patches

For a long time I dismissed the idea of pimple patches. I didn’t really see the point of using them and couldn’t really imagine them being very effective. A friend gifted me the Cosrx Acne Master Pimple Patches last year which I starting using somewhat hesitantly. I got on surprisingly well with them but had a couple of reservations hence deciding to buy the Dots For Spots.

Here’s a comparison break down of the 2 products:

Cosrx Acne Master Pimple PatchDots For Spots
PriceRRP £5.99 for 24 patches£5.99 for 24 patches
Patch SizeMixed – 3 different sizes per packAll the same
Product Claims (as per their stockist’s website)Protects against bacteria, sticks to skin well, breaks down debris from white and black heads and absorbs it, helps to flatten cystic acne, doesn’t dry out skin, can be applied under make up and even worn in the shower.Promotes faster healing, ultra thin and translucent with tapered edges to seamlessly blend into skin, moist environment to absorb impurities from spots.
Results within (as per their stockist’s webiste)Wear for a minimum of 6 hoursWear for a minimum of 6 hours

Cosrx Acne Master Pimple Patch Review

I have seen these on Yes Style and even eBay for closer to £3 a packet which I’d be happier to pay for this product. I really like how effective these patches were for me when used on white heads. The first one I ever used blew me away as my skin was instantly flatter after using only one sticker and the area looked days later in the healing process. What was left of my spot was minimal, no pus, no dry skin, no scab and minimal redness. I had similar results like this with other spots. However; although I had no experience wearing pimple patches before these they were much thicker than I expected. Online it says you could easily cover them with make up but frankly I really don’t think that would be very subtle or work well at all. I only ever wore these either at night time or around the house as I felt they would have drawn attention to my spots if worn out and about. I also found they didn’t always stick as well as I’d like. I never had a patch fall off my face but I definitely felt the subconscious need to keep pressing the patch back onto my spot. When I looked in the mirror on several occasions I felt as though the edges of the patches were peeling up slightly but, at the end of the day, they did still absorb the gunk from my white heads. I have to be honest I didn’t realise these could be used on cysts so never put that to the test.

Likes: very effective at absorbing gunk, sealable packaging to store items safely,

Dislikes: Not as subtle as I’d hoped, I didn’t feel like they stuck to my face as well as I’d like even after following the user instructions perfectly.

Dots For Spots Review

I bought these hoping to find thinner pimple patches and these definitely tick that box. I’ll quite happily wear these any time of day or night as they are really subtle and at times I even forgot I was wearing them. They definitely stopped me poking, prodding and faffing with my skin when wearing them as they stuck on really well and I didn’t feel as though I had to keep checking up on them. The tapered edges really help them to blend into skin and out of the two patches you’d have far better luck applying make up over these without them being obvious than the Cosrx product. I was able to get these to stick really well even along my jawline and around my nose which I never even bothered trying with the Cosrx ones as I just thought I’d be wasting my time after having to repeatedly press ones on flat areas of my chin to make sure they stayed put. However; these really don’t absorb gunk for me in the same way as the Cosrx patches which really disappointed me. I was really excited when I first put the Dots For Spots on as they’re virtually invisible and stop me touching my face so I thought I was onto a real winner. The first Dot I applied did break the skin of my whitehead but didn’t absorb the gunk leaving me to wipe it away. This happened with several patches. I found myself having to repeat patch applications to the same spots to try and take the anger out of my spots which never happened with the Cosrx ones. More times than not the patches didn’t change colour from clear to white even after wearing for 6+ hours so I could still see my whiteheads in tact through them.

Likes: virtually invisible, totally stopped me touching my spots

Dislikes: Nowhere near as good at absorbing gunk, the packaging can’t be sealed, I still felt like squeezing my skin after removing the dot as I felt the impurities hadn’t been removed that well.

The Final Verdict

Cosrx Acne Master Pimple PatchDots For Spots
Best For Sticking Powerx (but they didn’t hurt to peel off)
Best For Invisibilityx
Best For Absorbing Impuritiesx (by a long way!)
Best For Stopping Me Touching My Face When Onx
Best For Stopping Me Squeezing Spots (or what was left of them!) x (these left my skin so much flatter that there was virtually no squeezing temptation left!)(as these didn’t absorb as much I kept wanting to squeeze any excess gunk)
Best Results From Using 1 Spot Stickerx(sometimes even after using 2 or 3 I didn’t get great results)

I wouldn’t rush to buy either again. I’m eyeing up the Cosrx Clear Fit Master Patches as my next foray into the world of pimple patches. I wouldn’t say that either of these products are bad, they both help, I just would like to find the best of both worlds – thin, stays put and very absorbent. If I had to buy one of these again I’d go for the Cosrx patches and only wear them at night as they are very effective.

Comments Welcome