Breakouts and oilies have been my two main skincare concerns for years, but last year my normally oily, acne prone skin went through a bit of a change and became slightly drier. I'm not sure if age is responsible, or if it was skincare routine and hormones/BCP (I suspect they all played a part), but breakouts became less of an issue for me and oilies less of a problem. I would still describe my skin type as combination (I still battle the oilies in my t-zone area), and it is still clog prone, but spots have become more of an occasional occurrence instead of a constant problem.
Because of the constant breakouts, my main focus with skincare was finding products to reduce and prevent acne, reduce redness and also prevent scarring. When my skin changed, my focus instead moved to skin texture and pores and I went on the hunt for products to help refine and balance. My skincare routine at the moment is quite simple and fairly fuss-free, which I find works best for me. The products below are all things I've been using for a while now, and seem to be working well and helping a lot with the issues I mentioned above. Particularly the Alpha-H products (my skin seems to love glycolic acid), and Avene's Eluage.
|Alpha-H Micro Cleanse, Balancing Moisturiser & Absolute Eye Complex|
There are quite a few products from the Alpha-H range in my skincare routine at the moment, as I picked up a little kit from Beauty Bay in a sale last year. I don't remember how much I paid for it, but it contained 4 great (and generously sized!) products, which have all found a place in my everyday skincare routine.
2 - Alpha-H Balancing Moisturiser & Gentle Exfoliant. I'm currently using this as my daytime moisturiser. It's a light weight, easily absorbed moisturiser, which hydrates my combination skin well and creates a nice base for make up. The 10% glycolic formula seems to help keep the oilies at bay throughout the day, has really helped to improve texture, and really helped to reduce acne scars, too. I must admit, it's not the nicest smelling moisturiser I've tried and it does tingle a bit sometimes, but it really is good stuff.
3 - Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex. I went through a bit of a puffy eye stage last year and tried quite a few different eye creams that promised to help reduce swelling, Absolute Eye Complex is the only product that really worked for me, though. The clear, thin gel feels quite cooling when it's applied and has a slight tightening effect as it sinks in and dries. It's definitely helped to reduce my puffy peepers, and I feel it's helped to improve the appearance of dark circles, too - not dramatically, but I definitely see a subtle improvement.
|Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish & Avene's Cleanance Gel|
4 - Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish.This was a PR sample that I received last year when the product was released. I was working my way through a bottle of Liz Earle's regular Cleanse & Polish at the time, so this one was stashed away. As far as I can tell, it's exactly the same as the original product, except this one contains rose and lavender, and comes in different packaging. I love the pretty packaging, but I'm not sure about the added rose and lavender. The scent is a bit too strong and overpowering for my liking and I have to say, I prefer the original. Like the regular Cleanse & Polish though, this does a fantastic job at removing make up and leaves my skin feeling soft, comfortable and clean.
5 - Avene Cleanace Gel. I've been using Avene's Soapless gel cleanser for a few years now. I'm normally quite fickle and tend to try different washes, but I've stuck with Cleanace gel because it does a brilliant job at removing any last traces of make up, and leaves my skin feeling lovely and clean. I've found a lot of cleansers and face washes aimed at oily and combination skin types tend to be bit harsh and drying, but Cleanace thoroughly cleanses my skin without leaving it feeling dry and tight. It's quite reasonably priced, too and the 200ml bottle lasts for months.
|Avene Eluage Cream|
6 - Avene Eluage Creme. I discovered this after searching through the skincare board on MUA for products to help improve texture. A few different products were mentioned quite a few times, but Avene's Eluage had some really positive reviews. Although it's aimed at more mature skintypes and is described as an anti-aging cream, it's working wonders on my combination skin at the moment. I was hesitant to try it at first, as it's quite a rich cream and I was convinced it would clog, break me out and leave my skin looking like a shiny mess. I have to say though, it's not done any of those things. In fact, I've noticed a reduction in clogged pores since I started using it, I feel it helps to reduce and quickly heal any blemishes that pop up, and I also think this has helped to balance.
I've been applying a pea sized amount after cleansing every evening for the past seven months, and I'm really starting to see some positive improvements. My skin looks and feels more even, redness and scarring is reduced and my skin generally looks healthier. I really am impressed with this stuff and have just purchased another tube along with the Eluage gel that's available. I'll write a full review on both of them soon.
|Hyaluronic Acid Serum & La Roche-Posay Effaclar H|
As well as the products above, I also occasionally use a moisturiser from La Roche-Posay (Effaclar H) when my skin's in need of a bit of extra hydration, and a Hydra-Vital Hyaluronic acid serum when dry area need some extra moisture. As I said though, I personally find that my skin behaves the best when my routine is kept nice and simple.
I thought it might also worth mentioning that the french skincare brands (Avene & La Roche-Posay) are currently on offer at escentual (25% off). And there are some pretty good deals on Alpha-H sets at Beauty Bay at the moment, too.