Some of you may remember my wail of distress at combating a sudden attack of breakouts and pimples quite recently. I thank you all so much for your tips and advice but before I went to see a dermatologist, I made one last ditched attempt to wage my battle.
Thankfully, I won. *whew*
My deadly spot fighting combination was a mixture of tea tree oil and a tea tree oil cleanser, and a couple of products from Vichy Normaderm. I was actually going to give away the Vichy products to someone who might be more breakout prone than I am, but I’m glad I held onto it because I swear it helped my skin.
I also recently returned from a holiday with a pizza face, much to my horror. It must have been the polluted air or the daily sun exposure and sweat or just holiday stress and improper food and insuffucient sleep. But it was horrible to look in the mirror each evening and discover a new pimple sprouting. When I got home, 3 days of my lethal combination did the trick to stabilize things. *whew again*
I must note that barring the first time, my breakouts are relatively minor. One or two cystic acne for which the Nexcare Acne patch does help, but mostly small surface pimples and bumpy skin with clogged pores. So I start out by cleansing with a tea tree oil cleanser. You can use any one. I happen to have one by The Body Shop on hand that I usually use, so that became my day cleanser. In the evenings, I use the Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleansing gel which I desperately have to replenish!
After cleansing, I use a random moisturising toner (I would use one with salycilic acid but I had none so I made do or I also used apple cider vinegar) and then I apply the Vichy Normaderm moisturizer for day (white tube) and night (green tube). At night, I also slap on tea tree oil on the offending spots.
Every alternate day, I’d slather on a thick layer of the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Cleansing mask, which for me, works better than any others in clearing out gunk and in keeping my skin smooth.
This routine might seem a little drying, but by just sticking to it for a week, I began to notice improvements. In my earlier battle to clear spots, I used the clarisonic just once and found it helped, instead of making the problem worse. It cleared away the dead flaky skin and helped the products absorb better.
I am happy to report that my skin is no longer rough and bumpy and other than a few marks which I’m attending to with other serums, its pretty much back to the way it was. I’m glad to observe that these are all easily available at pharmacies at very wallet friendly prices! 😀
This post is by way of a document to remind me just what can and does work for me. I don’t know if it will work for you, but if you have tried everything, its worth making that one last ditch effort to see if this might be your magical “Breakout Busters” combination too 🙂 I’m now working on getting my old skintone back and fading my pigmentation 😀
The Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash is available at The Body Shop. I have stopped purchasing so the current price is unknown. The Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleansing Gel retails at RM29/100ml and the Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ Anti-Imperfection Hydrating Care (Day) and Normaderm Nuit Anti-Imperfection Rejuvenating (Night) creams retail at RM49/30ml each.
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Yay for Vichy Normaderm! I haven’t tried using tea tree oil o combat spots as I’ve heard horror stories where people seem to break out even more after using the oil! That Nexcare Acne patch is amazing too! Paris you really saved my skin this time around, thank you so much!! <3
Yay indeedy! I tried the Vichy Normaderm moisturizer a while ago, but found it a little drying – perhaps it was because I wasn’t facing problems then. But when I did, I was quite surprised that it worked very well for me. I’m so glad it helped you too, as well as the Nexcare patch! 😀 Tea Tree Oil has always worked for me but as with everything, it will never work for everyone 😀
It’s been a long time since I used tea tree oil. I remembered that it didn’t work for me as a teen and stung badly. But I might need to find a new acne treatment cream. I shall look into the Vichy creams u use!
Tea Tree Oil does sting, I agree. But being a bit of a masochist, I rather like that sting. It makes me feel like its working LOL! I don’t know if the Vichy ones will work for you, but if you get the small tubes, they are quite inexpensive to try 🙂
I’ll might try them soon. Getting acne on my neck! Of all places.
Ouch! I had acne on the back of my neck once – were like boils! Awful 😛 I don’t know if it was my pillow case or if I touched something dirty but it cleared up later. Perhaps its the haze – air quality has been awful here but I’m not sure about Singapore
Got them when I’m in HK.
HK eh? erm… dirty air? Food? Travel stress? 🙂 Either way, I hope you find a solution soon! 😀
Time to dig up my travel set of Vichy Normaderm when I’m next back in Malaysia! 🙂
My skin decided to rebel, much like yours, when I didn’t stick to my normal skincare routine when in Singapore. 🙁
Sigh… I never have nice skin when I go away. Never! Maybe next time I go anywhere I should carry this combination – maybe then, I won’t break out and will have nice holiday skin for once! 😀
i have a tea-tree oil scrub from TBS, it was quite good at clearing congested skin. my skin condition is a little funny now as it is very unstable, was nice 2 weeks back, but now experiencing breakout here and there. grrrrr!
Maybe something has changed in your diet or lifestyle in these 2 weeks? I know mine is due to the travelling. Always kills my skin one way or another 🙁
I don’t use tea tree oil, but what I do is to use a little more of my Clinique toner, which zaps anything off! ^.^ thank god for oil slick skin, heh heh.
Good to know you have a winning combi too! I couldn’t use the Clinique toner. Kills my skin and then some >.<
I currently have a rather bumpy forehead, to which I apply tea tree oil from The Body Shop to every night. There seems to be less spots, but they’re still not completely gone. Crossing fingers that they’ll all disappear!
Denise, I find that when I have those bumps under the skin that aren’t pimples and don’t look like they’ll be pimples, just rough skin, a bit of salicylic acid helps when used with tea tree oil. You can try the aspirin mask (cheap) or a salicylic facial wash or scrub to exfoliate the skin and it helps the tea tree oil do its job better too. That’s how I feel anyway 🙂 Hope it’ll help you!
Thanks for the extra tip! I’ll go buy some generic aspirin tabs to try it out 🙂
yes, its worth a try – and you won’t believe just how lovely and smooth your skin feels after the aspirin mask hehe… just make sure you get the uncoated aspirin which works better apparently. I used Disprin before. It was the only one I could find locally.
Eh I’m using that Aiken TTO too! So cheap and it works! Yeah! 😀
Good to hear that your pimples are gone now! Whoots! 😀
Yay! *high 5* That Aiken one is already quite old but as you said, its cheap and it works after all this while so I haven’t picked up a new one 😀 Yay for no pimples!
I been trying to replenish my Vichy, but is so hard to get this brand nowadays! Not available in guardian BU (they told me that they had to transfered the stock out), Solaris, Bangsar or watson Tropicana 🙁 Anyone know what happened?
Seriously Alexis? That’s a bummer! I see a lot of it at Guardian and Watson’s Midvalley but it might be because those are major branches of the pharmacy so they keep them well stocked. I don’t go to many others so I don’t pay a lot of attention to them. I hope you find your Vichy stock soon!
i”m like, so sad because i thought my breakouts were gone for good, even after roaccutane. but turns out i still break out due to the hormonal change i had during my super stressful working period (which btw, im still grateful to you for, cause reading your blog really helped sometimes, till i still feel a bit of deja vu now when i read it again) and i absolutely HATE the “AFTER” breakout period when we get more pigmentation due to acne scars and the dry skin cos of acne products. going thru it now. zzz
im glad u found a solution tho!!
Hey it was through your job that I got to meet you too! 😀 Well if there’s anything to be grateful for 🙂 I’d never taken roaccutane but I know people who do, and their skin always looks so amazing. And like you I detest that after acne period when you then have to battle scar pigmentation. Thankfully, I have products I know work (Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus or Clinique Derma White essence which I’m using daily now) and they help a lot to reduce the appearance, especially when used early 🙂 Hope you’re doing good now!
I am using Suki serums to control acne outbreaks and fade acne marks which I absolutely detest. The marks last 10 times longer than the acne itself! grrrrrr
You are so right. Fighting the acne is one battle and then we wage another battle against the wounds of war they leave behind! grrrr indeed!
If you are looking for something strong, you can try clindamycin gel/lotion. You can get them at any pharmacy for about RM30-40. But try not to use it too often, or else the bacteria will get used to it and it won’t work anymore.
Yes I was using clindamycin & it worked really. But it stopped selling in Singapore so I was disappointed. Happy to hear they sell in Malaysia must get one next time I go there.
Thanks for the suggestion Liping – I’ll bear it in mind for future reference 🙂
Guardian used to sell Blackmores’ tea tree pimple gel in a brown glass bottle yonks ago. It smelt of tea tree oil to high heaven and was a thick brown goo but it worked! I loved it! Apply overnight, next morning, offending pimple was shrunk and flattened! Sadly, they stopped bringing it in shortly after I discovered it 🙁
Glad to hear your skin is okay now… but remember to re-moisturize after all that oil stripping! 🙂
Yes Ma’am! 🙂 Actively moisturizing now that the breakout is under control or eradicated, and am now back to a hydrating/whitening routine – that Blackmores gel sounds amazing! Too bad they went and stopped bringing it in, the sillies
Vichy products are great! They are gentle and do the job!
Yes! And they are, in the main, affordable too!
I’m surprise that your routine didn’t make your skin rough!
As I know drying makes skin rougher.
So I’m kinda confuse sometimes in how to treat pimples and at the same time hydrate my face. LOL
Actually Stephy, it didnt 🙂 Instead my skin has felt lovely and smooth. I think its from all that salicylic acid, and it wasn’t drying either which I attribute to the Vichy moisturisers 🙂 I am just as confused as you are, but I tend to go in with all guns blazing and hope something works LOL!
I still suspect Tea Tree Oil to break me out. The Body Shop Tea Tree Overnight thingy did and since I started the BRTC Blemish Recover Balm yesterday I noticed new pimples, too. >..<
And where did the second half of my comment go where I complain about proper hydration not doing anything against my breakouts either? O.o
I never know whether to use an anti-acne product and then fight the results on my skin afterwards or just live with the acne, try to hydrate properly and hope the skin will become better eventually. >.<
Yikes! Promise I didn’t delete it! 🙂 But I’m not surprised that Tea Tree Oil breaks you out. Its quite an astringent product so people with sensitive skin may not like it much. And a hydrating regime doesn’t do anything for you? Oh dear… What I’d do, is hit up the anti acne first, get it under control and then try to hydrate it so it calms down and hopefully doesn’t return.
Glycolic Acid worked for me last year, but then I was still on the pill. I have gotten horrible breakouts since I’ve gone off it. >.< And my skin reacts to almost everything, even when I patch-test on my arms, I can see little bumps forming. O.o
I guess I will keep in hydrating with aloe vera gel (the less ingredients, the better) and try using an exfoliating toner before that. ^^;
Gosh Julia, it sounds like you have really sensitive skin! Or perhaps your body is just readjusting after you went off the pill? If nothing else, a hydrating regime will probably be best to stick to for now – at least you’d know your skin is kept hydrated and hopefully, the acne will clear up on its own somehow!
Thank you, you’re probably right. ^^;
Glad to hear your skin has cleared up. I like to use Tea Tree Oil on pimples too, it works well for me. And I will have to remember to check out the Vichy products if I get any breakouts in the future.
Thanks Gio and yes, do check out Vichy. I never gave much thought to them before when I didn’t have breakouts, but now I have, I do think they work well enough 🙂
i think it was the polluted air which resulted in all the breakouts. My skin was also clogged up very badly when i was on a trip to Shanghai last year 🙁
btw i love how the body shop t3 cleanser smells! so refreshing 😀
Oho! Then it must be the pollution! It cleared up quite quickly when I got back to our just as polluted but possibly cleaner air LOL! I like the scent of the tea tree cleanser too – its got zing especially in the mornings 😀
that happened to me too when i got back from a week long trip to the US. i’m thinking it was a combination of heat and insufficient sleep. it seems the best thing for me to do is just wait it out and treat with products that aren’t too harsh like the basic clean & clear salicylic gel. if i go overboard with products my skin gets dried out instead.
Ming Xiu says
seems like the solution for my acne-prone skin 🙂
about the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Cleansing mask, should i apply it on my face after or before cleansing my face? and will they provide free samples in M’sia Kiehl’s?
by the way, do you have any good products which can clear pimple scars(not the red-colored ones, the kinda brown+black ones)?
Use the Rare Earth mask after cleansing. You can try to ask if the stores have a sample. If they do, they should provide you with a sample. I use the Clinique Derma White Essence or Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus serums for fading marks. If they are fresh, they fade fast. Older ones take a bit longer but I’ve found these to be the most effective for me.