I was thirteen years old when I got my first pimple. An innocuous little bump, it popped up on my baby skin like an angry red devil, determined to stake its claim, build its house, and invite all its wild red friends to converge in lavish, painful parties at my expense.
My acne was mild to moderate. Reserved initially for the greasy area of my t-zone, it eventually expanded to the uncharted territory of my cheeks and jaw. It fluctuated – sometimes more severe, other times more manageable – but it was a persistent presence from my early adolescence until adulthood. I tried everything: natural cures, drugstore soaps, burning formulas with copious amounts of salicylic acid. I dried my poor, tired skin out to the point that it peeled and the acne came back more vicious and determined than ever. If you want a list of things that don’t work, or work for a time and then fizzle out, I’m your girl.
I remember, like bright stars, the things that stood out as having moderate success during this dark period. I was using Neutrogena’s Oil-Free wipes for a time, along my forehead and down my chin. They dried out the pimples on the surface, but did nothing in the long run. Lemon juice, tea tree oil and yogurt seemed to work for a while (separately, of course, not all together!), but, again, they dried out my skin to the point that it overcompensated and the problematic areas worsened. I became a combination skin type: two parts oily, one part dry.
I think the cheapest and most effective solution to my acne, in the days before I could afford spending money on cosmetics, was simply drinking apple cider vinegar. It didn’t do much to improve the texture and lustre of the skin, but it stopped new acne forming and balanced my PH levels beautifully. I stopped drinking it out of fears for my tooth enamel – and the taste was, admittedly, not my favourite – but as a quick, cheap, easy and effective solution, it was amazing.
Nowadays I experiment a bit more with skincare, ditching the heavy foundations and chalky powders in favour of a more permanent solution. I liked the Dermalogica range for a while, using the Special Cleansing Gel and Active Moist moisturizer with moderate success, but my baby-of-the-moment is definitely the Ultraceuticals range.
I’m fairly new to the brand (seven months or so?), but so far my experience has been nothing but positive. Just a quick run down/review of my current skin routine. I use their Ultra Brightening Foaming Cleanser in the morning and evening (it’s quite gentle, but has a strong chemical smell so may not be for everyone). It cleans what it needs to clean, removes makeup easily and leaves me feeling cleansed but not dehydrated. Basically, it does the job. It has a lot of “active” ingredients (Vitamin B3, Provitamin B and cucumber extract, to name a few), but in a product that is on my face for (maybe) twenty seconds, I’m less concerned about actives and more concerned about sweeping out my pores.
Also, foaming is a bit of a loose term. It’s more like a gentle amount of suds, but that’s a very minor critique.
Their ever popular Even Skintone Serum is next. It claims to smooth, resurface and refine skin texture, while getting rid of congestion. Did it do this for me? In a word, yes. Do I love it? Yes. Would I repurchase? Yes. I love this product. It has been the only thing to completely clear the pesky, small, under-the-skin bumps that lingered long after my teenage acne had disappeared. My skin is a lot softer and clearer than it used to be, and it is certainly, in part, due to this product. According to their website, actives include “AHAs, BHA, Bearberry Extract and Niacinamide.” Potent ingredients that have a chance to be effectual, as they stay on the skin instead of being washed down the drain.
Last, but certainly not least, in this lengthy discourse of Audrey’s skin routine we have the Ultra Moisture Cream. I cannot stress the importance of finding a good moisturizer enough; it is essential, in my experience, to keeping your skin happy and balanced. I remember in the early stages of my acne, I would forgo any sort of cream or moisturizing treatment, mistakenly believing it would add to the oil on my skin and cause further breakouts. My skin became stressed, I became stressed, and the vicious cycle was constantly perpetuated. All skin is different, of course, and not all moisturizers are created equal, but Ultracueticals Ultra Moisture Cream has served me well. With an impressive host of actives (Ceramide-3, Linoleic Acid, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate and Vitamin E), it’s a good staple if you want healthy, plump and supple skin.
The downside to Ultraceuticals is the price. There’s no denying that it’s expensive, ranging from $62 – $112 (AU) for the products mentioned above. It’s also prone to running out quickly, depending on the frequency of use, so be prepared for a constant investment. Is it worth the cost? Yes, but I think you can get away with cheaper alternatives for some of the products (i.e.the cleanser and moisturizer). All in all, however, I’ve been happy with the brand and will continue to use it in the future.