I admit it...
Whenever I hear a gorgeous instagram influencer talk about the skincare products she 'cant live without', it makes me want to buy them all immediately.
If a new product promises to give me radiant, blemish free skin, I'm first in line at the store!
But sadly, a lot of them fail to work and instead end up in my product graveyard (aka a drawer I have that's filled with half used bottles of moisturisers, toners, serums and scrubs)
I either that they are just too stripping and leave my face feeling sensitive and inflamed, sit on top of my skin and make my face look like an oil slick or even make my acne worse!
Not to mention the toxic ingredients list on most conventional products! I don't know about you, but I don't wish to expose myself to chemicals that mess with my hormones whilst caring for my body.
I have been on a mission to find safe and natural skincare products that will help to keep my skin blemish free, don't cost a fortune and don't negatively affect my health.
Luckily for you, I am going to be sharing some of my favourite products and skincare recommendations that have worked well for me over the past few months. (Reminder, everyone is different, therefore these products may not suit YOUR skin! )
It is important to remember that acne also needs to be treated internally through nutrition and lifestyle, in order to see long term changes. I have a full blog post here on the causes of acne (& solutions).
(My skin early 2018)
For me personally, identifying and removing foods I was sensitive to, managing stress, improving gut health and restoring nutrient deficiencies helped to improve my acne by 90% and the topical skincare helps to improve the quality of my skin, hyper-pigmentation left from old pimples and keeps breakouts at bay (the majority of the month).
*I have NO affiliation to any of these brands, I am just sharing what has worked well for me and some of my clients who have tried them. I have access to these products living in the UK, however if you live elsewhere in the world you may not be able to purchase certain brands. I recommend looking for products with similar ingredients online or at health stores.
* This post was updated March 2019 after consulting with Sara from Healthy Skin Glows, who is a skincare expert & microbiologist. I have noticed great improvements to my skin quality after using the following products *
Odylique Lemon & Tea Tree Face Wash
I have been using this face wash for several months now and I absolutely love it! It is very gentle, totally natural, slightly foaming and leaves my skin feeling fresh and balanced. The combination of lemon and tea tree acts as a mild anti-bacterial (without being stripping) and it also brightens the skin.
Eminence Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser
I absolutely LOVE this cleanser, as it not only helps easily remove all my makeup, but it also cleans my skin really well, without drying or stripping it. The ingredients are so clean and pure, hence why it has so many great reviews and fans! It combines cooling, calming ingredients like cucumber juice with gentle exfoliating ingredients like yogurt and tea tree. Highly recommend!!
Andalou Probiotic Plus C Renewal Cream
This moisturiser works great with my skin and provides hydration and nourishment, without being to heavy or greasy. It contains ingredients like aloe vera, probiotics, vitamin C and fruit stem cells which help to rebalance the skin microbiome and provide a healthy looking GLOW! Vitamin C is an antioxidant which is added to many topical skincare products because it is so effective at brightening dull skin and even improving the appearance of fine lines and hyperpigmentation from old acne marks.
Andalou Acai + Kombucha, Oil-free Moisturiser
When my skin is feeling a bit more oily (especially during the hotter months) I like to use a light-weight moisturiser that hydrates my skin, but not contribute to the greasy/shiny appearance. I love this whole range of products to be honest, because of their amazing ingredients and high quality combinations. This moisturiser contains fruit stem cells, aloe vera, probiotics (good bacteria) from kombucha and lots of other herbs/nutrients that contribute to great skin.
Facial oils :
Organic Jojoba Oil
Don't be freaked out by the thought of putting oil on your face! It can actually help to REDUCE oiliness and breakouts by cleansing deep into the pores, providing hydration and it breaks down trapped oil/dirt. Jojoba is actually the closest molecular structure to the sebum our skin produces. When we use harsh, stripping products on our face, the skin reacts by producing even more oil to compensate. Using an oil like jojoba for oil cleansing or as a moisturiser at night, signals that your skin is well hydrated and has enough oil, therefore it doesn't need to produce tons more.
Organic hemp seed oil
I hadn't considered using hemp seed oil until I heard Sara from Healthy Skin Glows talk about it on her website. Turns out that hemp seed oil is probably the best oil to use for someone with oily, acne prone skin, as it is rich in linoleic acid, something that people with acne prone skin tend to be deficient in! Linoleic acid is also anti-inflammatory, and prevents clogged pores, which are the precursor to pimples! I use this to oil cleanse or as a moisturiser in the evening after washing my face.
Serums & Toners:
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar & Water
Simple, but very effective! All you need to do is combine raw, unpasteurised (very important) apple cider vinegar with filtered water. I use a 50/50 ratio of each for my oily, acne prone skin, however for more sensitive or dry skin, use less ACV. Apple cider vinegar contains acid acetic acid which is mildly antimicrobial and helps to restore the skins natural PH. Don't worry you won't stink of vinegar all day, the smell disappears after a few minutes. Just apply to a cotton pad and rub it over your skin after cleansing and before applying an oil or moisturiser.
Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum:
I love using this vitamin C serum after cleansing and before moisturising to help increase the hydration of my skin and lock in moisture. This product is packed with a blend of high quality antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation and improve skin quality. Mad Hippie use a more stable form of vitamin C in this product to ensure it doesn't easily oxidise like other products can. I keep mine in the fridge as a preventative anyway, plus it feels amazing when you apply it cool. Let it soak in for a few minutes before layering another product.
Face Masks/Spot Treatment:
Wedderspoon Raw Manuka Honey
Step aside Sudocrem, the combination of raw Manuka honey and turmeric powder is my secret weapon for healing active spots, hormonal cysts, hyper pigmentation marks and squeezed pimples (yes I know, I'm terrible). Manuka honey is known for its antiseptic, healing properties and works wonders for any type of skin ailment, especially breakouts. I mix around 1 teaspoon of honey with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder and use it as a 20 minute mask or overnight spot treatment (be warned it will stain so use an old towel on your pillowcase!). When I wash it off my spots are much less inflamed and sometimes cysts come to a head and heal quicker.
Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask
I had to buy this on Amazon after seeing so many amazing reviews online from acne sufferers and I totally agree with their 5* comments. Once a week I use this mask to really unclog my pores and detoxify my skin from any impurities/trapped dirt/sebum. I mix it with raw, unpasteurised apple cider vinegar like it recommends (for the added acetic acid exfoliation benefit) and leave it on for around 15 minutes. It leaves my skin a little red, but this is normal, and it later feels smooth and any active spots I may have feel less inflamed.
So there you have it...My favourite non-toxic skincare products for acne prone skin, that won't break the bank!
I learned so much information about topical skincare recommendations from Sara's (Healthy Skin Glows) online 'Skin Rebalancing' course. Now that I understand the best ways to apply products and how to protect my skin barrier, my skin has never looked better. She even provided you guys with a 10% discount if you use the code 'VIVIEN10' at checkout.
I hope you found this post useful! If you did, I'd love for you to head over to my Facebook or Instagram pages and let me know. I share tons more information on skin care, hormones, acne and gut health :-)
If you would like 1-on-1 support identifying and addressing the internal drivers of your acne, you can work with me via Skype by clicking here.
(I do not own the rights to any of the images used in this blog post)