Five skincare “must-haves” that didn’t work for me



My skin has, at different points, been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been dry, sensitive and flushed, and I’ve also experienced horrific cystic acne.

As frustrating as it can be, it means the bar is set high for skincare and I’ve been able to test products for both extremes.

Having Googled skincare like it’s a full-time job, I’ve come across some cult-favourites and tried almost all of them out. Here are a few I wouldn’t waste my time on again…

Cerave Gentle Facial Cleanser

This cleanser is touted as the holy-grail of all drugstore cleansers. It’s supposed to be a much more dermatologically-approved equivalent of Cetaphil, and is praised by bloggers, vloggers, and ‘grammers for being exactly what it says – a gentle facial cleanser.

Sorry to say, but this cleanser turned my skin a violent shade of red and stung like a glycolic peel. The first two weeks I was insistent that I was having a reaction to something in my diet, because such a gentle product couldn’t possibly flush my face a vibrant magenta? I always wash my face for the night right before cooking dinner, so to me it made sense. But alas, as soon as I switched cleansers my skin returned to it’s normal, clear beige no matter what I ate.

Bio Oil

Many people use Bio Oil on their bodies, and I’ve even seen a few recommend it for the face. I haven’t dared to use it on my temperamental facial skin, because of the horrible reaction it gives me on my stomach and legs.

Sadly, any attempt at using Bio Oil to fade stretch marks and folliculitis scars only end in painful and itchy bumps across the area. When using it to fade stomach scars, my entire abdomen looked like it was exploding with chicken pox all over again. I’ve tried it a few times over the years and it never seems to get better. The one product that has had the results I was looking for without irritation, is Frank’s Coffee Scrub.

Witch Hazel

I see this one a lot on Pinterest, with girls claiming that using either Dickinsons or Thayers Witch Hazel as a toner twice-daily eliminated their congestion and textured skin tone. Desperate to cure my acne, I caved and ordered a bottle solely because so many average girls like me sported magnificent results.

It did nothing at all. Now, I see skincare experts and dermatologists warn of the astringent properties of Witch Hazel and how it might be too drying and irritating, although if I’m honest, I didn’t even get that. I noticed no results when introducing it, and none when I finished using it.

Rosehip Oil

This one is a bit of a head-scratcher, because my dry and sensitive skin should love something like rosehip oil! Especially when I make the trek back to my inland country town where the climate is drier than my face post-clay mask.

I remember trying it in high school, before my skin had any real complaints, only to try it years later and found it amplified my cystic acne. It’s vaguely annoying, because it’s meant to be a gentle all-rounder, but my reactive acne can’t seem to stand it.

The Ordinary Niacinimide +Zinc

This one divides the internet a bit. Some love it, some hate it, some love the ingredients but prefer other formulations.

Ultimately, I feel like it dried my skin out without reducing my acne. I sort of even remember it stinging a little? At the time I suffered from acne, and had a fair bit of Post Inflammatory Erythema (pinkey-purple acne scars) which many said Niacinimide helped to reduce.  I’d love to love this product for the no-nonsense ingredients and appealing price point, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Did you try any of these products? I’d love to hear how they worked for you in the comments below!


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