The Skincare Products That Saved My Sensitive, Spotty Skin : My Skin Journey

Ever since I entered my 20s I have been dealing with breakouts. My breakouts changed from the monthly hormonal chin spot that I experienced in my teenage years, to regular red spots and whiteheads, usually around my chin and mouth area and sometimes around the hairline too.

It is something that seems to be getting worse with age but I have finally figured out what the triggers are for my skin.

My triggers:

The first is stress – waking up to bad skin every day certainly does not help this.

The second is London, which is super polluted and has hard water which I am convinced is a big reason for making my skin worse (my skin always get better when I’m back home in countryside and was even fairly well behaved in New York thanks to their soft water).

The third is diet and digestion, as even though I like to eat healthily most of the time, I really notice that after a night out drinking or eating sugary food, my digestion gets messed up and my skin instantly goes blotchy, red and blemish-prone.

Finally, something that I have only recently started to discover is that because I have sensitive skin, certain products can really break my skin out. These often include oilier products, products that promise ‘glowing skin’ (such as the NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation which I am gutted about as I loved its coverage)  and botanical products, especially those with rose in.

My skincare routine:

So knowing that these spots and breakouts are kind of inevitable, I have been trialing all sorts of skincare routines to help manage it. I am SO pleased to have found a selection of products that have been really working for me, especially because my wedding is this September and I was ridiculously nervous that I would have bad skin on the day. The skincare products that have saved my sensitive, spotty skin are:

Best sensitive skincare products

bareMinerals Dirty Detox Skin Glowing and Refining Mud Mask

I love using a mask once a week and the Dirty Detox is now pretty much the only one I use. I did a full Dirty Detox blog review here and love it because it feels gentle on my skin (not drying or causing a tight, hot sensation which often happens with my sensitive skin) as well as leaves it looking so much fresher and clearer. Yes the green goopy texture can get messy, but the best things in life always do. I believe it is sold out at the moment but due back in this September 2017!

bareMinerals Oil Obsessed Cleanser

I think this has to be my all-time favourite oil cleanser because it literally removes everything, including waterproof mascara! I usually apply it after using a Bioderma micellar water to remove my makeup as living in a grimy city like London, one cleanse just isn’t enough. I know that blocked pores can lead to breakouts so by thoroughly cleansing – gently – this seems to help.

Other good oil cleansers are: The Body Shop Chamomile Silky Cleansing Oil and the fab DHC Cleansing Oil.

La Roche-Posay Serozinc

Ah La Roche-Posay, where would I be without you! Serozinc is a spray that contains zinc as a key ingredient, which is known for its oil-regulating, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. I like using this in the mornings before I moisturise because my T-zone can get super oily and I feel like it does a good job at tackling this. It feels like a cool mist when you apply it and like all La Roche-Posay products, is designed especially for sensitive skin.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo

I have been using Effaclar Duo for years, ever since my manager at L’Oreal recommended it to me after a particularly bad breakout. It is designed to unclog pores (thanks to LHA and salicylic acid) and clear skin by correcting the appearance of imperfections and fighting against marks. I typically use this just on the areas where there are spots as & when I need it as I find that it helps to reduce the size/angriness of the spot and speed up the healing process. It seems to work better on whiteheads rather than those big, angry, deep, sore spots – has anyone got a recommendation for helping with those?

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra

Toleriane Ultra is my favourite skincare find, possibly ever. I spoke about it in my The Best Moisturiser for Sensitive Skin post but to recap, it is specifically designed to be use by the most sensitive, reactive skin types, so you know you are in safe hands. I use this every day as it is incredible at leaving my skin feeling SO soft and calm and it seems to really be improving my skin texture too. Because this is so gentle on my skin, it is also allowing it to heal and recover the marks from previous breakouts. I think this is my favourite moisturiser of all time.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Riche

This is the richer version of Toleriane Ultra which I use for the evenings or if my skin feels particularly dry. The texture is much richer so I find it easiest to apply by tapping and pressing into the skin. I don’t need this all the time but it is a great option if you get dry skin or need something richer at night.

Another night cream which I still love is the Joan Collins Timeless Beauty Contra Time Night Cream which you can now get from M&S!

The products that saved my sensitive skin

Finally, Some Tips for Breakout Prone Skin

  • Identify what triggers your bad skin and then make steps to combat it. E.g. as many of my spots are hormonal, I have been researching natural ways to balance hormones e.g. by eating more leafy greens and less sugar. If you are someone who suffers with more aggressive acne then sometimes there is not much you can do about it other than seeking medical help. (My brother went on Roaccutane in his teens and it personally helped his skin a great deal).
  • Double cleansing – this is something that has worked really well for me and I feel that the idea makes sense, as it ensures that there is minimal grime left on your skin that can lead to blocked pores and breakouts. However, make sure that you are using cleansers that are correct for your skin type. An amazing online skincare guru is Caroline Hirons who is a fountain of skin knowledge.
  • Don’t pick and scratch at your spots. I know it sounds obvious but if you do, it makes the healing process so much longer and you are left with more redness and scarring.
  • If you wake up to a whitehead, don’t pop it! A dermatologist recommended running a clean flannel under hot water, waiting a few moments so that it isn’t boiling for your skin and then to hold it onto the spot for approx 30 seconds. Then gently wiping the flannel away. The hard white spot should have gently ‘melted’ and disappeared and if it hasn’t, just repeat until it does. I also then splash cold water on the area to soothe my skin, keep it clean and also because I feel that it ‘seals’ my pores!


Do you have any more tips or any product recommendations? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!