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My Secret Weapon For Breakouts & Adult Acne

My Secret Weapon For Breakouts & Adult Acne

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So let’s talk skin! A subject which has caused me quite a bit of stress (to say the least) over the past year. If you follow me on Snapchat (@retroflame1), you’ll already know about my struggle so far, but this is actually the first time I’m sharing everything in more detail here on the blog. I touched on the subject in a recent Youtube Video, but I want to share everything here too. So let’s start from the very beginning…

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All throughout school, I was one of those really lucky girls who never suffered with my skin. Of course, I had the odd breakout every now and again, but nothing a bit of concealer couldn’t hide. At the time, I probably didn’t even realize how lucky I was. Fast forward to the year I turned 25…it was time for my skin to finally have it’s ‘moment’ and boy, did it have it!! I’ve talked about it before, but last year was a year where a lot of things changed for me (quit my job, new visas, etc.) and although these changes resulted in so many great things, the whole process brought quite a bit of stress along with it. My routine drastically changed from March of last year right up ’til the end of the Summer and my skin just didn’t deal with it very well. Add in the highest number of flights I’ve probably ever taken in the span of a few months and it was just a disaster waiting to happen.

Seeing as I had never really had any bad experiences with my skin up until then and taking into account the fact that I was over my ‘hormonal teenager years’, I had absolutely NO IDEA what was going on or what in the world I was supposed to do to fix it. I’ll be 100% honest and tell you straight out that my skincare routine up until that point was pretty awful to say the least. There were many a night I would use a face wipe to take off my makeup (I know, I know, I’m sorry!!) and my ‘morning routine’ was pretty much non-existent. I guess I had that silly ‘Why fix it if it isn’t broken?’ mindset…but then all of a sudden, it came back to haunt me.

It was like I woke up one morning with a breakout which had already decided it was going to find a permanent place on my face. Of course initially, I thought it was just a few spots which would go away after a few days. Maybe my diet had something to do with it or it could have just been the long flight I was just on. I figured it was just temporary – like all my breakouts had been before. But unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. It was far more serious this time. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this was the beginning of a mild form of Adult Acne. No signs, no warning – it just happened.

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Personally, whenever I used to think of acne, I used to think of a WHOLE face covered in spots. But what I’ve learned is that Acne can come in many shapes and forms. There are many causes, but for me I think the main triggers were stress and an imbalance of hormones. I also know that I just wasn’t looking after myself properly. I was busier than ever (I was trying to do absolutely everything myself), I was barely sleeping and my skin just broke down. And you know what the extra annoying part of it all was? The breakouts were causing me stress and the stress was then causing more breakouts, so I really felt as if I just couldn’t win. I was totally lost.

I know it may come across as being vain, but wow – when you’re not feeling confident in your own skin, it affects absolutely everything. I remember going onto my Snapchat asking you guys if you had any suggestions (it even took me a while to build up the courage to do this) and a few of you recommended me to get in touch with Jennifer from The Skin Nerd. I remember sending her a message and just HOPING she would reply and within the space of about a minute – she did!! She honestly couldn’t have been more helpful and recommended a whole new skincare regime for me. I honestly will never stop being grateful to her for taking the time out to help me. It meant more than anything to me!

So I started my new routine and was so so strict with myself. I cleaned up my diet, started exercising more and tried my very best to cut a little stress from my life. I continued on with this routine for a few months and undoubtedly, started to see a difference but I knew I still had a long way to go. The breakouts weren’t as severe as before but they were still not fully going away. It was still a mild form of Acne. I kind of felt like I had already gotten in too deep and although the new routine & products were helping (still so mad at myself for not starting sooner), I still needed something that would tackle these breakouts head-first and I was determined to find a product to do so.

I won’t lie, I tried a lot!! My poor bank balance was getting lower and lower each night at around 12am as I desperately ordered the next ‘miracle product’ from Amazon. Some helped for about a week, some were an absolute disaster and some products are still sitting in my drawer unopened. I was sticking to the routine that Jennifer had given me, but I was desperate to find a more reliable acne treatment.

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Rewind to last November and it was like the universe knew I needed guidance. I went onto my emails one morning, like I do every single day, and saw an email telling me about a new product called ‘Differin Gel’. Being honest, I often ignore quite a lot of these emails but seeing as I was still so skin-obsessed (understatement), it caught my attention straight away. The top line of the email described this product as “the first and only FDA approved, over-the-counter (OTC) product to contain a full prescription-strength acne fighting retinoid – adapalene. It’s the newest advancement and ingredient in OTC acne category in over 30 years.” So basically a product which has the same strength as a prescription and you can buy it over-the-counter. As you can imagine, I immediately kept reading…

It went on to explain that Differin Gel contains the only multi-benefit dermatologist recommended retinoid – adapalene – available without a prescription to CLEAR breakouts where they start (deep in the pores), PREVENT lesions before they begin, and as a result, RESTORE skin’s texture and tone.  Retinoids are a form of Vitamin A. Since as early as 1925, researchers realized Vitamin A was an important part of keeping skin healthy. Researchers started creating different forms of retinoids that have become the basis for many prescription acne medications.

Seeing as it was actually my first time hearing about the brand, I looked into it more and came across this piece on the FDA website -from which I knew it was totally legit. I think after trying so many different products during the previous 6 months, I was automatically more skeptical, but there was something about this one which really drew me in. So I emailed the company back and said I would be more than happy to try it out! 1 month on, I’m finally able to share more details with you. I’ve been using it every single morning since December 1st and I can honestly say, I’m starting to finally see results. I use it in conjunction with my regular skincare routine and without a doubt, I’m seeing a difference. My skin is still not perfect and back to the way it used to be, but it’s getting there.

Trust me when I say that I wouldn’t lie to you about something like this because I know that feeling when you’re on the receiving end. I read so many reviews about products and purchased them only to find out that they were absolutely awful. It was like one kick in the teeth after another and I promised myself that when & if I did find a genuinely good product, I would immediately tell you all because the internet needs more HONESTY and genuine help. I know so many of you reading today suffer from bad skin and I really know EXACTLY how you’re feeling.

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Photos by Lisa Richov

As I mentioned, I’m only a month in with this product so I still have a long way to go before I can give you a full review but my impression of it so far is really good.
It’s approved for use in people 12 years and older with mild to moderate acne and should be used only once daily and integrated as an important step into your morning or evening skincare routine. For best results, acne sufferers should first wash skin with a mild (non-irritating), non-drying cleanser, apply a thin layer of Differin Gel to clean, dry skin (full face), and follow treatment with a moisturizer. If product is used during the day, allow it to dry before applying sunscreen.

I’ve definitely learned to be more patient with skincare (it’s the ONLY way you’ll see results) and this product claims that results showed a sixty percent (60%) decrease in acne lesions after twelve (12) weeks and an eighty percent (80%) decrease in total lesions at the 12-month mark. So as I said, I’m still at the early stages but I’ll 100% be sticking to this product and I’ll be sure to let you know how I get on.

So if you do want to try it too, you can head to Differin.com to learn more and head to your favourite major retailer or drugstore to purchase. I do want to say that everyone’s skin journey is different and although I genuinely hope this product works for you too, it might not have the same results for everyone. But if your causes & symptoms sound similar to mine, it’s 110% worth a try! Even if this post just helps 10 of you, I’ll be so happy I was able to make a difference.

If you have any more questions about anything skin-related or any more specific questions about the product, just send me a message on Snapchat (@retroflame1), Instagram (@retroflame) or you can email me at theretroflame@gmail.com.

Hope you found this post helpful and I’ll keep you updated on my progress,
Erika x

*This post was brought to you by Differin Gel.
As always, all opinions are my own and I only ever partner with brands I truly use and believe in.


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  1. Deirdre

    30 January

    Hi Erika!
    Just wanted to say, I also use Differin (I opt for the cream form, as I don’t like the feeling of gels) but as I’m living in Ireland it is on prescription, and was prescribed to me by my dermatologist (also my treatment also includes an antibiotic). Using it for ages, and it has made a huge difference to my adult acne- glad to hear you’ve gotten some relief, too! Just wanted to offer my experience for Irish readers who might be interested in the product, they might need to talk to a doctor first :)
    Deirdre

  2. Orla

    30 January

    I’ve suffered from acne from the age of 12. I’m 26 now and get the odd breakout but nothing major. But it’s back acne is my problem! I have it for as long as I can remember and nothing I do is helping it! I must look into purchasing this! Keep up the amazing posts Erika 💗xxx

  3. Emma

    30 January

    Erika,
    Fascinated to hear that adalapene is available over the counter in the US- this is prescription only in Ireland!
    I think you have highlighted brilliantly a huge issue with acne…very expensive products that are not FDA etc approved/no evidence of benefit– There are many very evidence based ways of treating acne (oral and topical)-differin included-most of these in Ireland are on prescription though, so a Gp visit would be the best way to go for advice and treatment.
    Two things I would also highlight with differin–need to use suncream as makes your skin photosensitive and also as it is a retinoid not recommended in pregnancy or those thinking of getting pregnant!

  4. Quotes Tadka

    2 February

    Can I just say what a relief to find a person that truly knows what they’re talking about on the web.
    You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More people really need to look at this and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised that you’re not more popular because you surely have the gift.

  5. […] my Differin gel which I absolutely swear by. As you already may know from my previous post ‘My Secret Weapon For Breakouts & Adult Acne‘, I only started using this product a few months ago but I have already seen such an amazing […]

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