Lucy is in her late twenties and works in public relations in London. She tells us about her struggles with problem skin, and how she's finally found the right skincare routine to beat breakouts.
"The weird thing is, I never had particularly bad skin at school. Other girls did, especially around 13 to 15, but I thought that I'd just struck lucky with genetics.
It was when I first moved to London for an internship that suddenly my skin changed, and I started getting acne all around my chin and at the top of my forehead. I tried changing my hairstyle to cover the spots at the top, but couldn't hide the lower part of my face. It was awful, especially at a new job where I had to - literally - put my best face forward. Instead, I felt self-conscious, embarrassed, even dirty, which I know is wrong. Whenever I got stressed, which is normal in a new environment, it felt like my skin became even worse.
After a couple of years, despite trying a series of different beauty routines, and buying every acne ‘cure’ under the planet, my skin was still red and bumpy. My mum recommended I visit a dermatologist, and I wish I had done sooner. I was diagnosed with severe nodular adult acne and was given accutane after trying a few other medications.
While I was on the medication, I started getting dry, uncomfortable skin (just to add to my concerns!) but research said this was one of the side effects. I read a lot of beauty forums and decided to try la Roche-Posay's Effaclar H moisturiser which is specially formulated to "compensate for the side effects, either visible or experienced, of over-drying treatments." The moisturiser is non-greasy and my skin felt soothed straight away.
Once I was over the treatment - and it did help my skin condition - I didn't want to risk going back to the products I'd been using before, because my skin seemed to respond well to the range, so I bought the foaming gel and the targeted breakout corrector. The gel I now use every morning and evening, and the corrector is when I can feel a red lump popping up, which is much rarer than before, but can still happen from time to time.
These days, with a regular skincare routine that doesn't aggravate my sensitive skin, I feel so much more confident. I've gone back to wearing my hair as I like - no more heavy fringe - and I've even had compliments at work about my increased self-assurance. If I were to give people in my situation three pieces of advice, it would be: go and see a dermatologist as early as possible, don't believe in the ‘cure all’ hype of certain products, and treat your skin to a regular, quality skincare routine."