LuvTL Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.” ― Kahlil Gibran

Lady vs Acne – Battle Royale

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Just before my 35th birthday, I received a package in the mail.  It was a set of liquid lipsticks I had purchased online – my very first online makeup purchase!

Excitedly, I ripped open the box and removed the packaging from the tubes.  I tested it on my hand, picked the color I wanted to try first and plopped myself in front of a vanity mirror to try it on.

It looked awesome!  It was this dark purple with an undertone of fuchsia.  So pretty, but I had no where to go, and sitting there with just purple lipstick and no other makeup on seemed a little foolish, so I had to take it off.

For those of you who have never applied a matte liquid lipstick before, I will tell you that it is a bitch to take off if you don’t know how – and I didn’t know how.   First, I wiped it with a makeup remover cloth, which smeared it across my chin.  Then, for some reason, I went for the hand soap and washcloth.

Such a bad idea.

I don’t know if it was the soap, or the ingredients of the lipstick, but my chin broke out worse then it ever had before.   Not even in high school, had I gotten a breakout so bad.  Thirty-five freakin’ years old and I still had to deal with this crap!

I should mention that I don’t have a face routine, like apparently so many other people do.  I wash my face when I wear makeup, but I don’t clean it or moisturize it on a regular basis.  The first thing I needed to do was pick up a face cleanser.  I decided not to go with a standard drug store product like I usually do.  My skin looked angry and I didn’t want to do anything to irritate it anymore.  There is so much advice available, and so many products.   I wanted positive results and I figured I shouldn’t skimp, but that still didn’t mean I could afford to put out money for something that didn’t work.

Ding, Ding, Ding…Round 1:

I headed over to the Sears cosmetics counter and showed my face to the ladies who worked the counters.  They suggested a face cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

I would love to tell you that these three products solved the problem, but unfortunately on my skin they didn’t seem to work.  That’s not to say, they don’t have some really good aspects to them, but they didn’t do the trick for my skin.  Not only did my acne seem to get worse, but my face was drying out and flaking.

Round 2:

After two weeks of watching my chin get even worse, I decided to seek out some more advice.  I was hoping to counterbalance the dryness of the cleanser and toner.  I turned to the internet, and after a bit of research I decided to add an exfoliator to the mix to remove any dead skin, and a serum and night cream to add hydration.   To get these products, I went to Winners.


Round 3:

It was about two more weeks after adding the new products – and besides the acne breakout – my skin was looking really good.  I started to become addicted to face products.  After more research online, I learned about AHA and BHA micropeels and the benefits it has for the skin.


Round 4:

I had several open acne sores that I was worried could be infected.  With a q-tip I applied hydrogen peroxide to the sores, which was possibly the WORST thing I could do.  The Hydrogen Peroxide seemed to spread and bubble up under the skin.   Now, on top of the cysts and white-heads, I had what I could only describe as alligator skin.  I could literally push the bubbles around under my skin.  I had never seen anything like it before.

Round 5:

My acne had only gotten worse.  I had to wear foundation on a regular basis, which was creating a vicious cycle of oil and dryness.  At Christmas time, I had won a charity auction and got a spa facial treatment for $15!  It was a microdermabrasion treatment with a clinical nurse.  I made an appointment for early January, hoping she could finally give me a solid solution to my acne problem.  She was very thorough – which impressed me, because I thought she would rush through the procedure since she was not getting money for it.  She closely examined my skin and said it wasn’t dirty or greasy.  She thought that I had a yeast infection on my chin.  She told me that the products I was using was making it worst.

download (11)She told me that for a toner I should mix Witch Hazel with a dash of Tea Tree Oil and apply it to my face.  For an exfoliator, she recommended that I use Epsom Salt with a bit of water.  For a face moisturizer, she suggested Canesten …. that’s right, she wanted me to apply vaginal cream to my face.  She said it would help with the infection on my chin.

I cut out all the other products and started the routine she recommended.

My skin continued to flake and now it was breaking out at the same time.  On top of that, the contaminated skin was starting to spread down my chin and onto my neck.  At this point, I was fed up.  I totaled up what I had spent: 

Product Brand Purpose Cost
Acne Solutions Cleansing Lotion Clinique Cleanser 25.00
Perfectly Clean Multi-Action Toning Lotion/Refiner Estee Lauder Toner 32.00
DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Oil Free Creme SPF 25 Estee Lauder Moisturizer 62.00
Super Facialist Una Brennan Exfoliator/Mask 9.99
Organic 8 essential oils D&H Australia Serum 12.99
Night Cream Dead Sea Minerals Collection Moisturizer 9.99
Vitamin C Professional Anti-Aging Serum with Hyaluronic Acid(AHA) and Vitamin E Maritime Naturals Serum 35.99
Anti-Aging Nightly Purifying Micro-Peel Olay Prox AHA Serum 37.99
Spa Treatment Service 15.00
Witch Hazel Rexall Organic 8.95
Tea Tree Oil Rexall Organic 12.97
Epsom Salt Rexall Organic 7.99
Anti Itch Cream Canesten Topical Cream 16.99
Canadian Tax(13%) 1.13%
Total 327.

That’s right.  In 2 1/2 months, I had managed to spend $327.27 and I still hadn’t cleared the acne from my chin.

Round 6:

Time to see my doctor.  He said that just with one glance he could tell it wasn’t a yeast infection, but a bacterial infection that had gotten too out of control.  The only thing he could do was give me a prescription of Tetracycline.  He let me know that Tetracycline could cause me to be temporarily photosensitive during use.

Round 7:

I couldn’t bring myself to take the pills.  I take several medications for my thyroid, anxiety and depression, and the idea of taking another one made me sad.  So, the pills just sat in my medicine cabinet unused.  I never planned to not take them, but each time I was suppose to, I put them back.  I wanted to take one more shot at choosing the right skin care product, but I wasn’t sure what to do.

Fate intervened.

I was checking out the different products at the Bulk Food Store, I happened to pass a display that had very basic, organic soap bars.   A bright, orange bar caught my eye.  It had the word “Carbolic” stamped on the front.  A description of the soap informed me that it was a product that had been used for decades as an antiseptic, antibacterial and acne remedy.  Until that day, I had never heard of it.  It was $1.99 plus tax, so I figured why not.


The very next day, I noticed the redness on my chin fading, a couple of pimples had vanished and my skin probably looked 20% better.  It was astonishing.  I used it for a couple of days, and my face improved pretty drastically, but the bumps and cysts were stubborn and wouldn’t go away.

Round 8:

It occurred to me that when I swim in my gym’s saltwater pool, my skin tends to look better.  I had always assumed it had been the sauna, but I thought back to how the spa technician had mentioned using epsom salt as a toner and scrub.  I went into my pantry and got the Sea Salt out.  I mixed a cup of distilled water with 2 tsp of sea salt.  First, I washed my face with the Carbolic soap, and then I applied the salt water to my chin with a cotton ball.

The very next day I looked in the mirror and I had about ten white-heads on my chin.  I was shocked.  (Well, first I was terrified and then I was shocked).   I calmed myself and looked closer.  The white-heads weren’t new.  They were from cysts and bumps that had already been on my face.  The salt had brought everything to the surface.  Something told me that this was the solution for me.

Round 9:

For the next several days, I repeated the routine.  My face was clearing up dramatically.  Since I had cut out my exfoliant, and I wanted to make sure I was clearing away the dead skin, I decided to make a homemade face mask with sea salt.  I made the mask with sea salt, honey and grape seed oil.  I applied it to my face, rubbing lightly in circular motions.  Then I let it rest on my skin for 10 min before rinsing it off.

The sea salt cleaned my pores, and the honey and grape seed oil softened my skin.

Then I got a cold, and since I needed to steam my head anyways, I decided to add sea salt to the water.

By the time my cold was over – approximately a week later – my skin was almost completely clear!

So, for $1.99 + tax, and the use of some items I had in my pantry (or you can purchase them at the grocery store), I cleared up the worst case of acne I had ever had!

Round 10:

I have developed a routine to keep my adult acne down to a minimum.  If I don’t do this on a daily basis, I will break out with white heads:

Morning Routine Night Routine Weekly
Cleanse skin with Carbolic Soap Cleanse skin with Carbolic Soap Homemade Sea Salt Scrub
Apply Sea Salt/Water as toner Apply Sea Salt/Water as toner
Apply Vitamin C serum
Apply quality moisturizer with sunblock

And that’s it!

I have $327.27 worth of face products (not to mention various other face masks) that I can’t use, because every time I do, it causes my skin to break out.   I don’t blame the quality of the products I purchased, I just think that for my skin they didn’t do the trick.  I’m hoping to review each product so that you can have a better idea of what I think their pluses and minuses were.

So if you’re finding that no matter how much you spend, you just can’t get control of your acne – or maybe you can’t afford to spend much money on products that just might not work – give my routine a try.  It might be exactly what your skin needs.


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