I’m one of the lucky few who never had a dreaded ‘acne problem’ growing up. I’m extremely blessed to be able to say I’ve never had a blackhead spot in my entire life. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get spots now I’m all grown up unfortunately. I’ve usually always got some kind of spot covered up under my makeup. Sometimes it’s a full on stinger, and other times it’s a myriad of little bumps along my jawline. Today, it’s the little bumps. And they’re stretching up from my jaw all over my right cheek. In the right light, with the right make-up, luckily they’re invisible. But starting tonight I’m gonna change up my skincare regime for the next week or so, to make sure those pesky lumpy buggers get gone and stay gone. A couple of these products I use all the time as preventative methods (such as my Full of Grace bar) but some only come into my regime on weeks when I have spots. It’s always good to have a play around and see what works better for your skin when you use it repeatedly over time versus a hit and run kinda deal. But, as requested, here are my top tips and products for oily skin!
Do Not Use Make-Up Wipes or Any Rich/Oily Cleanser
I’m gonna go ahead and presume you don’t use make-up wipes as you know how bad they are for your skin AND the environment. I do admit though, when I’m in a rush/away from home, I occasionally succumb. However it’s important that if you have spots, you take your makeup off properly and remove every last trace of it to allow your skin to breathe overnight. A make-up wipe will remove perhaps a quarter of your make-up. When you have a breakout, try not to use any oily based make-up removers either (even that gorgeous Pixi one that all bloggers rave about). Keep it simple. I’d suggest micellar water, which is scientifically proven to be able to cling to dirt in your skin and pull it out, almost like a microscopic magnet. I use Lush’s 9-5 lotion (of course I do) and then follow with Lush’s Breath of Fresh Air toner water. Some people swear by their Tea Tree toner, but personally I find that one does nothing for my skin at all. The fresh sea water in Breath of Fresh Air ensures my spots stay sterile and reduces inflammation whilst also helping to draw out any gunk lurking beneath the surface.
LUSH Full of Grace Serum Bar (£8.25)
I’m trying really hard to make sure this isn’t a Lush appreciation post but I simply HAD to mention this product. It’s a little pricey for Lush, at around £8, but this is perhaps the one step on this entire list that I couldn’t do without. After taking off makeup, warm this solid serum bar up in your hands and spread over your face, paying particular attention to areas with spots. Massage in gently and then continue with a spot gel (which is the next step). Lush like to tell me that this serum ensures that anything you put on top of it permeates much more deeply into the skin, however I’ll recommend much more highly the calamine powder and rose oil that help to dry out oily skin and treat redness/swelling (calamine lotion is what is used to stop chicken pox spots from itching and scarring). I honestly could not be without this product.
Overnight Spot Gel (£2.99-£5.99 at Boots, different brands)
The next step in your overnight routine is to find a spot gel with a high consistency of salicylic acid. In this case, the brand doesn’t matter, they’re all one and the same. I’d almost argue the cheaper the better. Until it was discontinued, my favourite spot gel was a £1.50 one from Asda’s own skincare range. Their face wipes and moisturiser brought me out in hives but that spot gel killed a spot before it could erupt. It was gold-dust. If you prefer a more natural approach, I can recommend Lush’s Grease Lightning spot gel which uses witch hazel, thyme, rosemary and tea-tree as it’s active ingredients. It does work, but it requires around 3 coats I’ve found and your spot won’t be gone the next day, just more under control.
Clean & Clear Deep Cleansing Toner for Sensitive Skin (£3.19 Superdrug)
This is a suggestion for if the idea of a serum and a spot gel sounds too much for your routine, if you prefer something quicker and easier. I’ve used this liquid as a way to prevent spots for years. It comes as a liquid as thin as water, which you can pour onto cotton wool pads and spread all over your face. You can use it to take off your make-up too, if you like. It has a concentration of 0.5% salicylic acid so will do a similar job to a spot gel if applied to completely clear skin. On the downside, it is absolutely chock-a-block full of chemicals and acids and alcohols and so I’d recommend using this only once a day and ensuring your skin is well moisturised both morning and night.
Witch Hazel Primer (Collection £4.99 from Boots)
When it comes to daylight and the daily managing and covering of spots, I have a couple of solutions/hacks. The first of which is to use products designed for oily skin. My primer is a mattifying one that contains Witch Hazel which helps to ensure my skin doesn’t look oily later in the day. This primer isn’t quite strong enough to manage to mattify my T-Zone for longer than 6 hours, but I’m sure there are ones out there that are more expensive and longer lasting. For me, this one is enough.
If you’ve come out in a stonker of a zit the night before a wedding or big night out, fear not, as I know a way to make most spots almost completely invisible to a camera lens. Really, truly I do! After moisturising and priming your skin as normal, apply green concealer to the areas affected by redness and blend in with a sponge. Then, add a very light layer of foundation (or BB cream, I use Garnier’s BB Cream for this stage) to even back out the skin tone to a more skin-like colour. Then, apply your usual concealer directly over the spot(s) and pat to blend in with a clean finger and then pat over a layer of powder to seal. Repeat the layers of this second concealer and powder until the spot is all covered up to an acceptable standard. Then apply your usual foundation and set with a matte powder, making sure to dab very lightly over the affected area with the spot(s) so as not to dislodge all your careful work. Trust me, it works so well!
One Last Point
You may have noticed me talking about keeping your skin moisturised quite a bit within this post and I really do mean it. It’s a common misconception that you shouldn’t apply moisturiser or serum to oily skin but you need to and you should. Moisturise as you usually would (even if you’re like me and your daily moisturiser is designed to combat dry skin) but don’t use anything overly oily or rich. If you use no moisturiser, you will have dry skin AND spots which is possibly the worst combo in the world (trust me, I know, this is my skin’s usual). If it were possible to get rid of spots by starving them of moisture, you’d know by now. They actually need the right level of moisture and care to be able to heal and clear up. The only moisturisers I’d advise steering clear of during oily periods are anti-ageing products which are usually packed full of rich, thick ingredients to pump into thin, dry skin that can’t repair itself. If you do need those types of moisturisers, then I’m fairly sure you never needed this blog post to begin with anyway!
I hope this has helped and do let me know if you have any tips and tricks for dealing with oily skin and breakouts! See you soon! P.