In the spirit of disclosure, I’m going to preface this article by admitting that my skincare routine has, for the most part of my adult life, been a bit of a hot mess. Sure, I’ve winged my way through patches of blemish-free, smooth, even glowy skin over the years, but on average, I would say I’ve definitely not been living my #bestskinlife. But here’s the thing - I’ve just turned 38, I’ve got two small kids and I’m starting to get some sort of semblance of normality back in my life now that they’re older and settled, so to say it’s time to concentrate on a little self-care is the world’s biggest understatement...
To delve a little deeper into my skin journey is to go back to high school, where my seemingly fine, albeit a little sensitive skin went into full-blown breakout mode overnight when I was about 16. It wasn’t the sort of acne that was controlled by over the counter creams or medications, either, so after countless doctor appointments, I was put on Roaccutane, a pretty severe oral medication that comes with a long list of side effects but also gets serious results. After six months, I was foot-loose and pimple-free and enjoyed fuss-free skin for the better part of the next 10 years. Success! Or so I thought…
When I started my career in magazines, the editors were always put into two categories – you were either a fashion girl or a beauty girl, and the two worlds very rarely crossed over. I was always happiest as a fashion girl – give me shoes and bags over serums and potions any day – but I also had the luxury of having beauty editors around me at all times, so if I ever did need advice on creams, treatments or makeup, I’d have a reliable source and a plethora of samples to try at any given moment. This was how I plodded along for the next few years – not really giving much thought to what I put on my skin and thankfully not having any real issues. I used the very best creams and had access to all the fancy treatments but in all honesty, I just didn’t care that much because I didn’t have to. Ah, youth.
That all changed when I hit 30 and saw another bout of acne hit me completely unexpectedly but just as aggressively as when I was 16 years old. Again, I was faced with countless doctor and dermatologist appointments, and after trying a few different options, I was put on Roaccutane for a second time for another 3 months. This was not an ideal scenario given the side effects of the drug, but to be frank, I was totally desperate and ridiculously unhappy to have such problematic skin well into adulthood. Did it work? Undoubtedly, but it also kick-started some serious skin paranoia, and I’ve been on an endless quest to live my best skin life ever since.
Over the next few years, I tried everything from pharmacy brands to high-end potions and everything in between. I’ve paid hundreds of dollars in expensive facial treatments and at one point, even almost burnt my entire face off thinking it was the answer to beautiful skin. I’ve (stupidly) followed influencer fads and bought into the new, young and hip beauty brands hitting the market, and I’ve also been totally natural, choosing toxic-free ingredients and even relying on a combination of coconut oil and blind faith to give me a natural glow. To say I’ve done it all is putting things mildly. And yes, when you’re dealing with acne it’s always important to look inside as well as out, so I’ve also eliminated dairy and avoided sugar when I’ve needed to calm down my skin and keep spots at bay.
So here’s the part where I tell you what no one really wants to admit – nothing really worked. No matter what I did, or didn’t do for that matter, my hormonal acne still reared its ugly (often cystic) head at random times of my life. While I’m at a good place with the texture of my skin now, it’s the mild but frequent acne and just-won’t-budge pigmentation that still gets me down. So when I heard that Dermalogica was releasing a range of products targeted to acne-prone, adult skin, I knew I had to learn more.
The new AGE Bright Clearing Serum and AGE Bright Spot Fader are two products that are designed to work specifically for adult acne and prematurely ageing skin thanks to the latest active ingredient technology. Not only does the AGE Bright Clearing Serum include salicylic acid to help reduce breakouts, but it also features niacinamide and white shiitake mushroom to promote brighter, even skin tone and smooth skin. It’s a double whammy if you’re someone like me who’s battling with the odd hormonal spot whilst also wanting to maintain a youthful and stress-free appearance as I inch closer and closer to my 40s, gulp.
On the advice of my Dermalogica training specialist Brittany, I now use this every morning after double cleansing with PreCleanse oil and Ultracalming Cleanser followed by Pure Light SPF50 moisturiser. When I do feel or see a spot making its way onto my face or neck, I immediately dab with the AGE Bright Spot Fader up to two times a day. This pen-like product is a game changer for so many reasons, but my favourite being that it not only targets active breakouts but helps to eliminate post-breakout marks, too. It’s also handbag-size so you bet that I carry this baby around with me everywhere I go from now on.
As an acne-sufferer, one of the things that always scared me was “layering” too many different products on my skin, as surely that was just a recipe for disaster on my overly-reactive face? Well, it turns out you can layer efficiently without causing more skin stress, you just have to know what to use and when. I now have a consistently reliable nighttime routine that involves double-cleansing, using the C-12 pure bright serum to help tackle my brown spots and dullness, and the Pure Night moisturiser, which is a seriously nourishing face cream that also happens to feel as light as a feather on your skin. Magic? I’m starting to think so…
While this new skincare routine is a far cry from my otherwise basic cleanse-moisturise-spf trio of recent times, it’s undoubtedly been the regimen I’ve needed to get myself back onto my best- skin-life-track. It’s also forced me into a few minutes of self-care each day which I’m relishing for the first time in a long time. There’s something almost meditative about placing each product onto my face in a circular motion each morning and night, and the results have quite frankly been almost instantaneous. My skin is brighter, my pigmentation is fading, and my acne doesn’t stand a chance against the daily combination of the AGE Bright Clearing Serum and AGE Bright Spot Fader. I’ve been using less makeup as coverage than ever before, and I’m starting to really appreciate the appearance of clean, natural, sparkly skin.