This post could easily be about the year 1999 and I could be writing this mid-way through Beauty School, a time I was mad for smoky eyes, my Babyliss Steam Straightener (Remember those- I thought that was the best invention like eva!) and pearlised white eyeshadow highlighting too thin sperm brows.


The year I also had a horrific acne breakout from overworking my skin training in Beauty School.


But its not it is circa 2011 and at the ripe old age of thirty (oneish) when my skin chucked an almighty, astronomical mental.

Nice one.

Only 6 months after having the best skin of my life for my wedding.

Alas breaking ties with the contraceptive pill started a chain reaction of awful hormonal teenage skin again.

I managed to get some control of it by using trusted Dermalogica’s range but then come August things started to get really bad.

I was testing products out like a mad thing and using so many things my skin just didn’t know what to do so it just had a tantrum and chucked all of it’s toys out of the pram and a whole lot of zits out of my pores.

This was also around the same time I started using my Clarisonic Mia which in conjunction with my product flurry was making my skin purge.

I had hormonal oily skin, oversensitised breakouts plus a whole lot of surfacing skin congestion from my Clarisonic.

It was not pretty.

But wait it gets worse…

I decided in September we needed help, me and my skin, somewhere we could go to work through our problems together. So I booked us in for some therapy. Some LED light therapy – a whole course of it.

LED therapy is fairly new and much raved about and is a totally new approach to treating skin. There are many hybrids now but most usually fall in or around Blue Light – to treat acne, Red Light for anti-ageing and collagen stimulation.

I was getting eight regular treatments of the blue light therapy – which works by killing the Propionibacterium acne causing bacteria and a bonus oxygen facial afterwards.

By rights I should have been on the path to clear skin. I could have bet the $500+ outlay on it.

But nope- I got sidetracked and bedazzled. The clinic was running a deal on peels and the therapist talked me into a course telling me they would only enhance the effectiveness of the light therapy so I started having them at the same time.

I had a salicylic peel (serious peeling and face dandruff after that one) a pumpkin peel (hurt like burning in hell but not so much peeling) and a lactic acid/glycolic peel (somewhere in between on pain levels and flakiness)

Somewhere in between peel number two and three and LED number five my skin went absolutely, full blown, lie on the floor and bang your fists and feet mental.

I may also have been “trialling” the oil cleansing method at the same time – foolish, foolish girl.

So it seems somehow with my oversensitized, overpeeled face and exposed pores – the oil cleansing was a catalyst for one almighty deep pore infection. All over my face. In places I’ve never even had a zit, like all over my cheeks and under my jawline.

Absolute skin carnage.

The pores were blocked really, really deep down, infected, painful and hard. Too painful to even contemplate squeezing and the multitude of blemishes on the surface were angry red.

I didn’t know what to do – then I found this article from Beauty Editor Canada and the description was exactly what I was experiencing.

On reading that article I followed suit and went to the doctor and got antibiotics for the infection which I took for three weeks which really helped.

This was my skin a few weeks AFTER antibiotics – you can see where all the cysts /infection had been and I was still breaking out but it had calmed down considerably.

This was now October and there was still a whole lot of damage left behind I needed to treat. Congestion, scars and all those deep cysts that were no longer infected but still needed to surface and clear.

This was partly the reason I undertook Natural November. I needed to cut back on products, shelve the Clarisonic and look to rebalance my skin to try and stop breakouts and heal all these horrific scars and marks and redness I was left with.

Turns out a month of natural, simple, gentle treatment was just what was required.

Mid way through November my skin had calmed significantly, so much of the congestion had cleared and the redness and marks were calming.

I do believe by going really gently with the Kosmea and Mukti Cleansing routine I was rebalancing and my skin was calming and not being so over sensitised.

However it was by a twist of fate at this time I was in contact with Rebecca Powne the founder of Be in Awe Skincare around the same time. She gave me the opportunity to trial some of her serums which I truely believe were pivotal in the turnaround.

The Be In Awe mantra was so aligned at that time to what I needed both for the state of my skin and also for the Natural November undertaking. Natural yet powerful and effective with a traditional Ayurvedyic underlying principle that focuses on balance.

We believe skin care should be free from potential irritants and harsh chemicals. It should be made from premium quality ingredients in packaging that will not harm the environment nor compromise the integrity of the product. It should be affordable. It should work.

Rebecca didn’t just send me the products she actually called me and we had a thirty minute consultation on the phone which considering Rebecca’s B.A in Ayurvedic Studies (Indian Medicine) and B.H.Sc. in Clinical Dermal Therapies, was extremely valuable.

She prescribed firstly their Calming Serum to rebalance and secondly their Clearing serum to breakdown the rest of the congestion. had she asked me for two words of what my skin needed “Clearing” & “Calming” would have been it.

So within two weeks of using the Clearing Serum  followed a minute later by the Calming Serum twice daily there was a marked difference

Amala Clearing Serum

The Amala Clearing Serum  is salicylic acid based. With Oleanolic acid, Nordihydroguaiaretic acid Azelaic acid as the other active ingredients chosen for their anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.It is then blended with natural oils like Apricot Kernel and Sunflower Seed and healing and inflammatory essential oils such as tea-tree, lavender and sandalwood. There is also ginger root in there which nods to the Ayurveda

It smells unusual slightly warm and spicy, slightly astringent and almost musty like corked wine! It is light and almost gel-like in texture, absorbs straight away and is easy to disperse and control  from the pump packaging. I was using it twice a day all over my face – I have now cut back to once per day at night on my t-zone and there is still some left.

Nirvaata Calming Serum

The Nirvaata Calming Serum is slightly creamy in texture yet still light and absorbs readily. It smells quite marzipan-mixed spice like and dries to a really soft, velvety finish which I love , no grease factor whatsoever.

It’s hero ingredients include essential fatty acids, Bisabolol and Vitamins E and D3 along with colloidal oatmeal, wheatgerm oil, frankincense and more ginger root.

All chosen for their natural anti inflammatory effects and ability to aid in skin barrier function, reduce the effects of external stressors and maintain the cell’s energy levels.

I’m using this only intermittently through the week now as things feel and look so much calmer.

So great and fast has my success with these two products that next up I am going to try the  Kaanti Lightening Serum next designed for post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, While my skin is no longer congested or breaking out it is scarily scarred and still really marked.

This is my skin just after Natural November. About six weeks after the photo above. You can see it is still heavily marked but all those marks are actually healed old blemishes (except the whopper on my cheek)

Breakouts had all but a few cleared.

I look awkward because it is bloody awkward taking photos without makeup!

Ten weeks on my skin is remarkably balanced and is only getting the odd pimple here and there and looks so much healthier. I can report only two spots in the past three weeks!

It is clearer than it has been in years which is some change from the worst it has ever been sixteen weeks ago.

I’m just focusing on the scar reduction now- onwards and upwards!

So what have I learned during this turbulent and trialling skin year?

  1. Do not overwork the skin. It has come back to bite me in the ass twice in my life – giving me acne. Ill never let it do it a third time. Keep your routine simple and introduce new products slowly and one by one.
  2. Be cautious of the effect the contraceptive pill can have on the body and your hormones. I have had to rebalance my gut, vitamin levels and suffer greasy hair and skin and breakouts since coming off it. My hair has also started growing almost like it was stunted before. Great in theory but for the moment I have a halo of fuzzy new hair growth!! Perhaps take breaks from it or look at alternatives intermittently. I wish I knew the effect it was having on my system and had this retrospect.
  3. Clarisonics may cause purging. While I’ve introduced mine successfully now again and am using once daily and ave noticeably cleaner, tighter more refined pores – we did have a bumpy ride to begin with
  4. While the Oil Cleansing Method is used and adored by some – do approach with caution and be careful what other treatments you mix it with. Do read that post and comments I linked to above just to arm yourself with what may happen and how best to approach making the switch and maximising results.
  5. If your skin chucks a mental it is possibly a sign it is oversensitized, cut back, simplify and look for gentle, natural products designed to rebalance, you may even find over time like me they achieve better results long term.
  6. Sometimes we need help beyond the bathroom cabinet. It pained me after all my months of expensive probiotics and gut rebalancing I did to take antibiotics but needs must.

I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions- am rubbish at sticking to them past New Years Day. Instead I have declared 2012 – The Year of Good Skin.

I’m going to treat my skin with the delicate love and affection it deserves, and I will not use it as a testing ground or refer to it as “my bastard skin” ever, ever again even if it chucks another mental. Pinky promise!

Have you come to any of those six conclusions before yourself?
What are your New Years Skin Resolutions?
Have you tried any of the Be In Awe serums?
Have you a top tip for healing acne scars/post inflammatory hyperpigmentation?

12 thoughts on “The year my skin chucked a mental

  1. dempss01

    You poor thing! This sounds like you&#39;ve had a terrible time! I&#39;m glad you&#39;re back on the road to recovery now. <br /><br />OCM can definitely cause purging to begin with because it draws out all the gunk from deep down in the epidermis. It doesn&#39;t happen to everyone, but it can happen. I&#39;d say this purging, along with everything else your skin had been though, caused the huge


  2. Me, my best and I

    @demps01 you &amp; me both! I read heaps about OCM purging so presumed when my skin started to breakout that is what was happening and I persisted however this was more than a purge and I should have stopped- it was a deep rooted infection/ flare up that has left me scarred and took 5months to heal. It seems from reading the article I linked to &amp; comments that a minority of people have this


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