Spot the Difference…my quest for clear skin


I got into beauty because of my love of make-up. Like most teens I used it as a form of self-expression and transformation. This love of the feel good factor cosmetics gave me and my passion for expression through the medium of writing is what made me pursue beauty journalism. But something happened along the way; my interest in skincare grew exponentially and I have now become somewhat obsessed with achieving perfect skin, sans make-up (I suspect such is the case for many a beauty editor).

Pursuing perfection is pointless (at 32 I know this all too well), never the less, the one thing that I just can’t let go of wanting to ‘fix’ is my acne. I hate that word but let’s keep it real. Up until two years ago I’d never seen a dermatologist or aesthetic doctor. Of course I’d interviewed many but I’d never had a personal consultation till I was offered one as a work perk. The Dr although brilliant fed into my need to fix my face – offering me a regime that would give me ‘perfect skin’. This encounter led me down a two year skin misadventure that has left me totally lost about what to do with my acne prone complexion.

Said doctor put me on a regime made up of prescription products and after weeks of peeling like a snake (I’d exfoliate in the morning, head out to a breakfast meeting and by the end of breakfast my skin would be shedding again) and an ongoing course of roaccutane my skin was clear and my pigmentation was much improved. Sounds amazing right? Wrong! After five months on roaccutane I came off the drug (you can’t take it long term) and started my six month wait for a course of laser treatments to get rid of the pigmentation that was left on my skin (skin is too sensitive post roaccutane to under go laser treatment straight away). It only took about three months for my acne to return (I currently get one week a month where my skin is relatively spot free) along with new pigmentation created by new spots (on darker skin types spots often leave patches of darker skin in their wake, while paler complexions will notice red patches that don’t disappear). As my skin improved along the way the products I used changed too. Now, I had no idea what to use since my skin had pretty much gone back to how it was before (if not worse) – it didn’t help that my Dr had left the country either!

I felt like all that hard work was a waste of time – the holidays where I’d literally built a fort on my sun lounger so as not to be touched by the sun, the cocktails I’d passed up while on roaccutane (you shouldn’t drink while taking the drug) and the time spent on my multiple stepped routine were all for nothing.

Perhaps it’s my diet I thought, or the fact that I train a lot – all that sweat on the face can’t be good right?! (It isn’t – make sure you don’t let sweat dry on the skin – give it a wash straight after a session). So along with cleansing immediately post workout, I cut out dairy and reduced my sugar intake (obviously that’s also conducive to weight loss and the dairy free diet is recommended to those with high testosterone – yup I have that too). But it just got worse. Perhaps it’s stress, working on a weekly magazine is uber busy, juggling that, friends, and regular training is full on. If you think about it, whatever causes your stress be it my first world problems or real ones, the results are the same; excess cortisol – that causes inflammation in the body – hello acne!

So, to figure out what to do going forward I booked in with Dr Roked, author of The Tiredness Cure: How to Beat Fatigue and Feel Great for Good, who works out of Omniya Knightsbridge twice a week. She specialises in integrative medicine, a practice that addresses the emotional, spiritual, environmental, social, nutritional, lifestyle and psychological issues that influence the health and wellbeing of her patients.

I get the results of my blood test next week and I can’t wait to see what’s really going on with my hormones and what course of action Roked will suggest to sort out my skin, and my exhaustion.

Look out for my next post on this to see how I will be eating, supplementing and perhaps even training differently going forward.