Brought to you by Ellidh Aitken
For me skincare has been a seemingly never-ending journey. I have struggled with my skin for almost half my life, and I probably always will. Finding a routine to both soothe my angry skin, while also treating my acne has been hard, though I do think I have finally cracked it. I will not pretend that I am an expert or that I do not still get spots, I usually have one or two persistent ones every week. But, over the past few years I have come to live with this. In this article I want to share what I have learned and what has helped my skin over the years.
Day and night, I start my routine the same way;
Currently I use the Inkey List Fulvic Acid Cleanser. It is described by the company as a gentle cleanser which “exfoliates and cleanses the skin to reveal a brighter, healthy looking complexion whilst removing makeup including eye makeup.” This is due to the inclusion of Nordic Beauty Peat, which is high in brightening fulvic acid, and Kakadu Plum Extract which is rich in vitamin C. This cleanser removes my makeup perfectly and leaves my skin looking fresh. Afterwards I always use some micellar water to ensure my face is 100% makeup free.
Immediately after washing my face I use Boots Ingredients Hyaluronic Acid Serum to hydrate my skin. Hyaluronic acid is an amazing ingredient, a single gram can hold up to six litres of water. I use the Boots own brand, but any version you can access will do the trick. It is important to apply this to damp skin, so it pulls moisture into your skin, and not away from it. I follow this up with the Avène Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum. This works well as a base for the rest of my skincare and makes my skin feel plump and fresh. I have found that it is so important to hydrate your skin straight after cleansing instead of waiting until the end of your routine and applying harsh treatments to stripped skin.
In the mornings I then only have one more step in my routine, keeping it simple and soothing.
During the day I use the Cerave day cream. This is a nice thick moisturiser with SPF 25 which I really like as a base for my makeup. I never used to use SPF but recently I have made sure to use it every single day to protect my skin, even in the overcast Scottish weather. This is especially important when using harsher treatments like retinoids and chemical exfoliants which will make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. I also use the Boots Ingredients Caffeine Eye Cream to brighten up and gently moisturise my eyes.
At night I instead focus on using treatments to improve the quality of my skin.
To exfoliate I use the Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. This uses salicylic acid to unclog and shrink pores and smooth skin tone. You can use this up to twice daily, but I prefer to keep my morning routine simple and soothing and leave treatments for night. This product is one I noticed working straight away and have gone through multiple bottles. It has helped with getting rid of spots quicker and fading acne scarring. If you want to know more about it, it is popular on TikTok, where you will find reviews and proof of results.
The Inkey List Niacinamide this has been a recent addition to my skincare routine, but I am enjoying it so far. Like with the Hyaluronic Acid, you could pick up any brand of this and get similar results as it is an ‘ingredient’ style product. Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3. It works to control excess oil help with dark spots and pigmentation and maintain hydration. As someone with oily, acne prone skin, this product has become an absolute must for ‘normalising’ my skin. The Inkey List recommend using this before retinol to avoid irritation.
· The Inkey List Retinol. Like other Inkey List products, you can purchase a similar retinol elsewhere, but I really like this formula compared to others. I have found this does not irritate my skin like others have, for example The Ordinary retinol did not agree with my skin, despite using the same percentage of the ingredient. Retinol aids in clearing your skin as well as stimulating the skin renewal process. Because I have always used harsher ingredients on my skin, I decided to start using retinol to help my skin heal faster. I have noticed such a big difference in the general condition of my skin since using this serum and will not be getting rid of it any time soon.
· The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Night Treatment. I have only found this ingredient in the Inkey List range and I love it. I have used this longer than I have some of the other products I have mentioned and think it has made the biggest difference with my scarring and hyperpigmentation issues on my face caused by acne. The Inkey List recommend that you use this last in your routine, right before moisturising. This is described as an overnight mask created to help with pigmentation and scarring, the formula also contains 2% vitamin C derivative and 2% antioxidant-rich acai berry to improve skin clarity and tone
For my night-time moisturiser I stick with the Cerave Night Cream this simple formula is moisturising but sill thin enough that I do not feel like I have too much on my face, especially after applying my treatments. At night I also use the Boots Ingredients Retinol Eye Cream to moisturise and smooth out my eye area, without using the harsher retinol that I use on the rest of my face.
This routine may seem extensive but the changes I have seen in my skin have been well worth the hassle. This is not an overnight fix and I know it will take consistency and patience before I can finally say I have clear skin. Importantly, my routine may not work for you! However, if you feel like you could benefit from any of these products, I cannot recommend them enough. They will not break the bank either – so many brands are coming out with ‘ingredient’ style products which are often super cheap and simple to add into your routine. I built my routine after trying out countless different products like these until I found my perfect balance. As long as you listen to your skin and treat it well, changes will come. If you are still confused about how to treat your skin, try TikTok for reviews and advice or (when restrictions allow) contact some of the professionals featured on our app to get expert guidance.
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