11 Oct 2014 46 comments

5 Things: More Advice for Blemish Prone Skin.


I feel like I do a post like this every year; some advice for myself to note down, and also for anyone else who may be suffering from breakouts. The journey to clear skin is a long, unpredictable one, and I am forever finding products that I think work – but I don’t want to concentrate on products here. This is about the other factors that I think have helped in my mission to blemish-free skin…

Skip Antibiotics, Take Probiotics
On a recent visit to the doctor, he gave me another round of antibiotics for my spotty skin – I had said I was feeling low about it, my skin hurt (both inside and out) and I just wasn’t feeling myself. I am convinced there’s another reason for it (thyroid problem, magnesium or B12 deficiency… something) but he would only prescribe me the same antibiotics that I had been on months before – even going as far as to say ‘if they don’t work, just call up for a repeat prescription’. His solution was to stay on the antibiotics – forever if I had to. I started to take the antibiotics, but I saw no difference. My mum is pretty much against taking antibiotics if you don’t have to, so I came off them – swapping them instead for nutrients. Now I take probiotics to help replace the good bacteria in my gut that the antibiotics would have killed off – I take BioKult with my meals, just a few a day, and I already think this has helped SO much! Even if you’re not on antiobiotics, I think these can really make a difference. I also wear Vitamin B12 patches, which I think help me to feel so much better. If I don’t keep up with wearing the patches, I become irritable, cold and shivery and super tired. I also started taking Biotin which is meant to help your hair thicken and grow a whole lot – I’ve also heard it’s amazing for skin so I’ve been taking it every day.

Go Natural
I guess I’ve been slowly working my way over to the natural side for some time now, but recently I’ve used only natural products where skincare is concerned – and what a difference it’s made. I made a lot of changes at once (with the vitamins, going natural etc.) so I can’t place my finger on what exactly it was that cleared up my skin, but I definitely think going natural was a step that changed my skin dramatically. I also bought a Konjac sponge; my friend Annabel only uses natural beauty products so her blog is like my bible – she recommended a Konjac sponge ages ago and I only just took her advice. These are all-natural sponges that are infused with charcoal or clay to help the skin look its best. I use this with an all-natural Nourish or Weleda cleanser both morning and night and I haven’t looked back.
One of the reasons why I didn’t use natural products earlier in my skincare-obsessed life is because I didn’t get that nice smooth, silky feeling that I did with non-natural products – I’ve come to realise that instant results are not what we’re looking for with skincare (usually the ingredients added to give that slippery feeling aren’t the best). Now I settle for smooth skin and a bit of radiance thanks to my sponge and a nice creamy cleanser.
If you’re stuck on what brands are a-ok, I recommend checking Being Content to see what’s on their list and getting clued up on ingredients in this amazing post.

Try To Find The Cause
As I said, I was freely huffing the antibiotics until they finally worked and then huffing more when they didn’t; not ideal. Instead, I’ve tried to work out what it is that’s causing the issues; I’ve given up dairy, tried to keep a diary of what I’m eating/doing, and started taking a cocktail of vitamins. My advice would be to research; my mum is big on the holistic approach so she often sends me links to things she’s read and I often look up deficiencies and other causes. Making some simple changes in your lifestyle should help, if you’re a long-term sufferer like myself. I know this sounds tedious, and it’s probably not entirely necessary if you get the odd blemish, but I was at my wit’s end and spending hundreds on skincare. For me, I think actually trying to work out why my skin was breaking out was crucial to clearing it up.

Make Small Changes
I also think making a few changes here and there help too; I love Caroline Hirons Acne Cheat Sheet as it hones in on the small details; simple tips such as avoiding foaming cleansers, cutting down on sugar and using lukewarm water (rather than cold or too hot) sound like unimportant details but I found they made a big difference. I also use a clean face cloth each time I cleanse and use chemical exfoliators more often than manual scrubs. Also – be gentle with your skin, go easy on the rough hand movements and don’t scrub at it. Cherish it like a newborn kitten.
Obviously drink more water, have a peppermint tea before bed and eat well too. I feel like people dismiss these steps as they’re so minor, but I reckon they make a huge difference.

Stick With It
Implement a nice, easy natural skincare routine using delicate products that work and stick with it. I recommend making the changes slowly over time so you don’t upset your body or whatever, but keep track of what may or may not be working. Remember it takes a while to see a difference in your skin, so have faith and think positive thoughts! Oh and remember to keep skin hydrated, especially if you’re using spot treatments. They be seriously drying!

Here’s to more clear skin times ahead for me – can you think of anything that has helped you get a healthier complexion?

  • I was on antibiotics for a couple of years and honestly didn’t notice a difference – I was scared of coming off them though in case I had a really bad breakout. I plucked up the courage to stop taking them, and my skin is exactly the same. I didn’t like the idea of taking something with strong side effects that wasn’t even benefiting me.
    I’m definitely going to look into the vitamin B12 patches! I’ve had deficiencies in the past so that could explain a lot. I just try and drink tonnes of water, and avoid putting anything too oily on my face.

    • I did at first but I think they stop working, and I just got this fear that they were doing more harm than good.
      Yeah I think they’re really good, it seems like they’re pricey but I think they’re worth it – you only put one on for 24hours once a week so it’s not like you have to wear them constantly. I seem to be one of those people that’s always lacking in something so I try to keep on top of supplements! Hope you find a solution soon! x

  • This is very useful advice, I’ve been on antibiotics for the same reason about two years ago, but they stopped working after a while. I’m going to try the B12 patches, as I’m a vegetarian I don’t get much B12 in my system anyway, so that might make a huge difference.

    I also read that when your breaking out right above your eyebrows (only the eyebrows, not in between them or anywhere else), your immune system is on a low. And since that’s the only place I’m breaking out, I’m going to look into that too.

    Thanks Kate!

    Jimmy | http://amsterdaily.wordpress.com

  • Really interesting post! I will definitely be trying some of this advice, thank you.

    Laura x

    Must Have Girl

  • My skin has been horrible lately ! Thank you for the tips. I’m going to try all of them !

    Feathers and Brushes | Swiss | Beauty & Lifestyle

  • Great tips & advice, thankyou for sharing πŸ™‚ I love the photo! x

    Angela | The Sunday Chapter

  • Marina F. PiΓ±eiro

    I was also on acne medication a while ago and my skin cleared up completely. Now I still get some acne but nothing close to what it was before. I’m going to look into the probiotics for sure. I also find that with a balance diet my skin looks and feels so much nicer. And for sure, less is more when it comes to skincare. Before I was using a ton of products trying to sort my skin out but keeping it simple has helped a lot!
    Marina x


    • I found the less is more approach worked for me too, now I just cleanse, tone and then use one treatment and one moisturiser both morning and night! x

  • I like to put on face masks πŸ™‚

    Ellabella: Heart Shaped Coconut Bath Bombs

  • This is such a helpful post! Doctors always prescribe antibiotics or that horrible cream that drys your skin out so much it hurts more. I’ve found drinking water and making sure I don’t touch my face throughout the day helped a lot.
    I still get blemishes so I’m going to try and see if these will help my breakouts too x

    tmzn loves / beauty blog

  • petitepea2011

    I find that simplifying my routine works a treat. If I’m rubbing serums and moisturisers and target area creams and whatnot all over, my skin goes WTF and starts coming up in huge red spots. Whereas if I use whatever handwash I have next to the sink and a scrub once a week or so, i have no issues.


  • Mia

    Antibiotics did nothing for my terrible skin. Roaccutane, however, did make a massive difference, but the side effects (as everyone warned) were pretty awful. However, I took it for a relatively short period of time, and after coming off it, my skin stayed good. I still get spots – I suspect I’ll never have perfectly clear skin – but I now treat them with very simple things like tea tree oil, and stuff with high salicylic acid content.That works for me and, the biggie, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of fresh air. It’s so trite – and everyone says it – but it’s really true! I’m lucky that I live by the sea, and my dog benefits from frequent beach walks, but I really think that helps my skin.

    Also, cleaning my skin, really, really cleaning it, keeps it looking good. I suspect I was never really taking proper care of it when I was a teenager – face wipes, what was I thinking?! – but a thorough cleanse, non-alcohol toner and light moisturiser has left my skin looking the best it has in years. Throw in the occasional clay mask, a twice weekly gentle scrub to lift flaky skin, and an overnight serum, and I seem to have finally found a skincare routine that keeps acne at bay! Took a while though!

  • Great pic! I’ve never tried any medicine to improve my skin but I’m going to look into it!

    Josie xoxo | Fashion Mumblr

  • Thanks so much for these tips Kate, I’ve been considering antibiotics for a while now and I’m so glad I haven’t xx


  • What a helpful post! Thankfully I’ve never had a problem with my skin, it’s probably the only feature I like about myself lol.


  • I also think simplicity is importance! x

    BerrieBlogs {beauty blog}

  • Daisy Churchward

    May have to try some of the pro-biotics, I was on a pill for a while that kind of helped my skin but sure enough it stopped working, also love looking at Caroline Hirons blog. Really has helped my skin dramatically, as well as all your recommendations!


  • alicekatex

    Such good advice! I think I may try the pro biotics, I saw Caroline Hirons talk about that on one of her q&a posts! xx

    http://www.alicekatex.blogspot.com β™₯

  • Jodie Vernon

    This is such a helpful, informative post! I’ve suffered with my skin for years and after seeing a dermatologist for something completely different she told me that no one knows your skin better than you and if something doesn’t work in 6 weeks it never will!

    Jodie xo // La Lune Song

  • This is so helpful! My skin has been a little spotty lately and I haven’t been able to figure out why, but I’m definitely going to use these tips!

    Kelsey | kelseybeauty.blogspot.com

  • I definitely agree with sticking to certain products – my skin goes AWOL when I switch up skincare products! X
    Elise @ Elise Dopson

  • charlotte samantha

    Such as good post! So helpfull!

    Charlotte // http://www.charlottesamantha.co.uk

  • Wow, this was really good advice. I agree with the daily probiotics. I also think using raw honey has changed my skin, it’s never been brighter!

  • I definitely think it’s best not to take antibiotics for acne! It’ll just add to antibiotic resistance problem out there (spoken as biochemistry graduate).

    I’ve recently come off the pill and my skin has gone a bit insane so I’m currently trying to find a new regime to keep my blemishes under control. I find triple cleansing in the evening to take every bit of makeup off is very helpful – I use a cleanser or wipes, then micellar water and then cleansing butter (like The Body Shop Chamomile one)!

    Tara / Headline Beauty xox

  • Rachael Schauer

    This is a wonderfully helpful post! Thank you so much for your advice and the great links you provided! I am book marking this post to send to other πŸ™‚

    Something I have found that has worked wonders as a spot treatment is dropping tea tree oil on an ice cube and applying it to the blemish for 15 minutes. I usually do this before bed and by morning the spot is nearly, if not completely, gone! Follow up in the morning with coconut oil to moisturize your skin and you are good to go! (Coconut oil is wonderful for me – even with my oily, acne-prone skin!)
    Mindful Rambles

  • Great tips, will definitely be taking them into consideration!


  • Such a good post, some really great tips.

    Jess x

  • I think lots of herbal teas and a clean diet has helped a lot; I use hormonal balancing skincare and although I had luck with antibiotics, I would much rather use skincare to solve any breakouts. Definitely going to look into BioKult as my mum’s just come out of hospital and lots of pills and surgery have made her stomach sore so we need to build up our digestive systems and lining – thanks for the tip!

    Lauren x

    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty – http://www.brittonloves.blogspot.co.uk

  • Demi Middleton

    Skin problems often are a sign that something inside our bodies isn’t right so it’s great that you’ve switched to more natural remedies!


  • i love my konjac sponge (i blogged about it here) but i actually find every other day better, personally.



  • Such helpful advice, I switched to only natural products and it helped my skin so much, plus vitamins.

  • Margery Ho

    Such a helpful post! x


  • Karina

    Just so you know Biotin can actually cause acne for some people, so be careful with taking it πŸ™‚

  • Zoe

    Really cute things!! πŸ™‚ much love from http://devilreturnsprada.wordpress.com/

  • Maisie

    Such a good post. Also a bit rando but I love your phone case! I need it for myself!


  • Its been 6 months or so that I started following your blog and trust me I’m hooked! I had acne prone skin and ever since I started trying your recommendation I have only seen improvements in my skin. So a big thank you!

  • My skin has been so bad recently.. I’m going to try some of your suggestions. It just sucks having to be patient! πŸ˜‰

    Sam // http://www.thatsfetch.com

  • I don’t take prescription pills because of their side effects and also they’re not good for your body. I try to wash my face regularly with the skincare that works and also try to workout to release the sweat and toxic inside your body. Drink lots of water and sleep early. I think these are the key points. x


  • Olya Kryukova

    I think this is the most helpful article for me ever written. Feeling so much support. I believe the problem is inside, from the food or some other negative habits. It is a long process, I am exactly on the point of getting rid of dairy from my life.

    Water, water and more water.


  • Thanks so much for this post. I’ve been battling with all sorts of skin issues including Acne for 11 years now, and even a double course on Roaccutane didn’t help. I’ve discovered that lots of things by Lush (particularly Let The Good Times Roll) have worked wonders on my skin and don’t break the bank either.

    This post has been so so helpful!

    You can read my skin story here: http://www.femmenism.co.uk/2014/10/my-skin-story.html
    Sarah xo

  • Hannah W

    Your doctor sounds awful! Mine gave me antibiotics which cleared my skin up a treat, but played havoc with the rest of me (*cough*six months of thrush*cough*). When my acne reappeared after a year off the antibiotics, he took one look at my notes and said ‘I’m not messing around with antibiotics again – I’m referring you to the dermatologist’! It’s no wonder you see so much about antibiotics becoming ineffective when there are doctors like yours giving them out when they know they aren’t doing anything…

    I know a few other people have slated it it here, but he gave me Duac cream to use while I waited for the dermatologist appointment and that really helped too. I found that mineral foundation made a huge, huge difference as well – I use Lily Lolo’s foundation and concealer, and if I switch back to liquid for a week my skin gets very upset about it!

  • ChristinesBeauty

    very good tips! I think it will help a lot of people – myself included!

  • Rosie Williamson

    Biotin is not amazing for your skin especially if you are prone to blemishes etc. I have really good skin normally and I was taking biotin for the past 3 months. I had to stop a few days ago as I had constant bumps around my mouth and chin and all over my back which is odd for me!! I had been drinking lots of water too, since stopping taking them a few days ago I have already nearly gone back to normal!! BEWARE!! xx

  • Sarah

    Ty for the tips, Kate. One thing that’s helping me a lot, is to not wear any makeup on the places, where I tend to break out. I know it’s not easy, especially since the blemishes Can look so ‘in your face’ , but just after a couple of days with no makeup, my skin has already started to clear up .