I have been plagued by acne since I was 10 years old. It has always affected my confidence and I thought I was in the minority and unlucky to have problem skin. I resigned myself to having bad skin forever until I realised I wasn’t taking care of myself.

I remember being a child riding my bike, playing outside and coming home to my parents who would remark, “what happened to your skin?” Topical ointments on prescription were applied and I think I was around 12 or 13 when our GP prescribed oral medication.

I took oral antibiotics for my skin right up until I was 17 and applied topical antibiotics. I changed from topical antibiotics to Clinique’s 3-step routine when I was 19 and at medical school. I remember I was told I was a type 3 and they only sold the soap bars at the time, no liquid soap. They also didn’t have a Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel, instead we type 3 skin types had to purchase a green bottle of oil-free moisturiser which didn’t last long at all.

I started Dianette when I was 20, which is licensed for the treatment of acne but is also an oral contraceptive, my skin was much improved and I managed to convince my GP I needed it right up until I was 29. My skin by this time was a lot better but I always had a small break out on my chin or cheek.

I used 3 step religiously until I was 26 when I wanted a change and was seduced by marketing to try different products. I used Lancôme and Chanel cleansers, moisturisers and serum with not much improvement in my skin condition until I discovered Elemis on holiday in Dubai when I was 30. I used their 3-step routine for combination skin and their Marine Collagen Moisturiser. At some point around the age of 32 I stopped using any skincare products apart from Simple, Clearasil and Neutrogena sporadically.

I wasn’t interested in taking care of myself until my 39th birthday when my husband booked me into Le Petit Spa at the Mailbox. I had a facial and bought their ESPA 3-step recommendations and treatment serum. I had a full skin analysis and was told I needed to hydrate more and use combination skin products.

My skin was much improved and I went there monthly for 3 months to have facials until I discovered the Rio Sonicleanse, which was like having a mini-facial at home with my ESPA products. I continued this regime until I was lured back to Clinique 6 months later.

ESPA skincare is wonderful and I cannot fault it, their products helped me restore my skin from 7 years of neglect. However, they are expensive and it was much more economical to go back to Clinique, who offered me a foaming cleanser for oily skin and the new moisturising gel as part of their updated type 3 3-step regime.

I wasn’t happy with the moisture surge gel I had been advised to use too as it didn’t seem to last and my skin felt flaky and itchy on my cheeks and around my nose, so I went back to the Clinique counter and was advised to use their Moisture Surge Intense Fortifying Hydrator and also their spot treatment gel as I was still getting a breakout on my chin monthly.

On return to the counter a month later to see how I was getting on with the moisture surge cream I was advised to change from type 3 skin regime to the Anti-Blemish 3-step and start the Dark Spot Corrector Serum. I bought these just before being electively admitted to hospital and used it when I was an inpatient for 10 days. I have to say it was marvellous, I had no breakouts at all but my skin did feel a little under moisturised with the Anti-Blemish All Over Clearing Treatment which is the moisturiser in step 3.

In the meantime Clinique launched their Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel which has been quite a find for me and is very effective at preventing any breakouts. I was hesitant about using this alongside my Anti-Blemish 3-step but it has not had any adverse effects and I only apply it to my problem areas in my T-zone.

At the moment I am using Anti-Blemish Solutions Cleansing Fioam, Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Lotion, Clinical Dark Spot Corrector Serum, Pore Refining Solutions Correcting Serum, Anti-Blemish Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel, Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel, Moisture Surge Intense Fortifying Hydrator. I have been using this regime for a month now and my skin has never looked better. I feel more confident and with their Superprimer Colour Corrects Dullness in Deeper Skins plus Anti-Blemish Solutions Foundation my skin looks radiant and flawless. Even my husband who rarely notices anything can see the difference.

Taking care of myself is hard work but as opposed to how I felt a few years ago I want to take care of myself and make the most of what I have. Next week I will be celebrating my 40th birthday and I hope to look my best.

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