Ever since I can remember, I’ve always had sensitive skin that was prone to acne flare ups. Things got worse just 2 years ago, where my sensitive skin, combined with hormonal changes, led to a constant battle for clean skin on days on end - I was faced with with white milia bumps around my chin area and red spots all over my face!
Using an organic skincare range to combat my acne was the last thing on my mind. Other than smearing honey on my face as a mask, I’ve never tried anything more “natural” than that. But Frank Skincare, a local ethical beauty company, had a range of products that seemed right up my alley. Especially since, after hearing about the founder, Cissy's, personal story of combating her sensitive skin issues with her own range of products, I was inspired to do the same too.
So here's how it went...
My new regime
Before this experiment, my skincare routine was:
Fresh Soy Face Wash > Fresh Rose Hydrating Toner >Laneige Serum > Fresh Rose Gel Cream > Differin cream
A standard regime, with the exception of the Differin cream, a prescription cream I got from the doctors at the National Skin Centre to combat my hormonal acne. But I didn't want to rely on such a heavy chemical cream long term, especially since I found it a bit too strong for my liking - the cream made other areas of my skin very dry.
My new regime, kindly provided by Frank Skincare*:
Magic Wipe Cleansing Oil > Calming Face Mist > Radiant Preg Luxury Face Oil > Sooth Me Out Oil (on acne areas)
With this ethical, all natural routine, I did away with all of my usual creams and washes. Instead of a face wash, I now used a cleansing oil (!!) with no double cleansing (!!!), followed by a face mist, face oil, and an oil to target breakout spots. So yes, very oil heavy. How was it possible that this amount of oil was supposed to help regulate the oil production on my face? Nonetheless, I took the plunge.
I started using the Calming Face Mist in the afternoon to refresh my skin. Immediately my skin felt less dry and energised and there wasn’t the usual taut sensation that came with using other face mists - probably due to the lack of alcohol commonly found in most products. Instead, this mist contained ingredients such as chamomile hydrosil that contains antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic qualities. Hopefully, that'll help clear my acne!
At night, I was still uncomfortable with the idea of having so much oil on my face, so I used my drugstore cleanser (oops), followed with the Calming Face Mist. I then dropped three drops of the Radiant Preg Luxury Face Oil onto my palm and massaged it onto my face, first with my hands and then a rose quartz roller to promote circulation and better absorption of the product.
The oil is suited for both pregnant women, who are prone to hormonal changes on their skin, and those with sensitive skin with or without hormonal problems (me!). It contains a combination of 7 types of oils, such as sunflower seed, jojoba, rosehip, and Frankincense. Hopefully that meant I was putting more good ingredients on my skin. Or would I just be left with a greasy face?
After, I applied a tiny drop of Smooth Me Out Oil over problematic areas to calm my skin without overly drying it. It contained tea tree oil, Jojoba and Frankincense oil.
Surprisingly, I liked the feeling of suppleness in my skin. Since the oils absorbed faster than my usual gel creams, it saved me a lot of time. However, I felt that my skin had an oily finish after using the products. Perhaps I just wasn't used to the sensation of oil on my face yet.
Alas! My fears came true. I woke up with some white milia bumps appearing around my jawline and on my cheeks. But this wasn't entirely a surprise - I've been told that it takes some time for my skin to get used to the products when embarking on a new regime, much less so an all 'natural' one. This may just be a breakout period - so I should continue using the products to see effects.
What changed today was that I tried the Magic Wipe Cleansing Face Oil for the first time. It claims to helps remove both makeup and impurities, which reduces the amount of time and effort when we double cleansing. It also contains natural AHA from kiwi extracts to soften and brighten skin over time.
It felt weird to rub it over my skin as it was harder spreading it across my face as compared to a normal gel cleanser. After, wiping it off with a warm cotton towel, I was quite surprised by how clean and supple my skin felt after!
My bumps got worse and I could see the white pus forming inside :( I had to resist from popping them! I decided to continue with the regular oil cleansing, face mist and face oil, despite feeling icky when running my fingers over the bumps on my face.
A miracle! My bumps started to become smaller and disappear! I could still feel them under my skin, but I decided to ignore it. Also, I felt that my skin was starting to get clearer.
My skin was considerably more radiant but I still felt some small bumps and milia here and there. I’m wondering if it was because my skin was reacting to the amount of oil that I was putting onto my face.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture on this day :(
Some smaller bumps on my chin subsided but I began to have a few new bumps on my forehead. This has never happened before as my forehead is usually less prone to acne!
1 week later:
My friends commented that my skin had a slight natural glow! It became more radiant, though there were still traces of the milia bumps. The bumps were however very inconsistent and they kept appearing and disappearing which made me extremely annoyed.
2 weeks later:
This was the week that I had my period and thankfully, the bumps weren’t as bad as I thought. They still flared up though and my skin texture was still bumpy. However, they subsided (as usual) after my period ended and there were a few whiteheads and bumps under my skin which occasionally flared up.
3 weeks later:
One thing I really like about this routine is the amount of time I saved. I've gotten used to the therapeutic routine of massaging my face whilst cleansing and moisturising with the oil cleanser and face oil respectively. One point to note however, was that I felt that the cotton towel gets oily really easily (maybe because it absorbs all the oil from your skin?), and it was a bit of a hassle having to wash it so often. Despite that, I totally don't mind -- I’m a self confessed clean freak and this reduces my worries about the bacteria the cloth might have. HAHA.
1 month later:
Even though it’s been 4 weeks, I felt that the bumps were still on my face and that there was no major improvement other than my skin being slightly more radiant. I felt extremely discouraged on days when the milia and bumps appeared, so I kind of cheated and switched back to my regular products whenever I felt the bumps were beginning to get bigger. I still continued using the ethical beauty products every 2 to 3 days. I continued like this for about 2 weeks until...
2 months later:
I met Cissy again at another pop-up! I told to her that my skin wasn’t really improving and that the bumps were still there. Cissy then asked if I was still using the medical cream that was prescribed, to which I replied no.
She then explained that it might take a while for my skin to see results since I was really dependent on that cream in the past. Now that I've stopped using the cream, my skin requires some time to get used to using the new skincare products. For the best results, she recommended that I stick with the new products. Ultimately, my goal was to get rid of my acne and not rely on the acne cream again.
She also encouraged me to continue using the oil cleanser as it worked really well for her other customers with acne. After speaking with her, I felt motivated again and decided to continue with part 2 of my journey…
This is my picture taken today! After cheating for a bit, I’ve switched back to fully using ethical skincare again for about 2 weeks now. I am really happy to say that my acne has visibly been reduced, and my skin has gotten much more radiant. Now I would leave my house foundation-free, with some concealer to conceal my acne scars! Generally, my acne is more controlled and only flares up slightly when my period is approaching.
My Overall thoughts:
I would highly encourage people suffering from acne to give ethical beauty products a try. Firstly, I’m someone who doesn’t like to rely too much on chemical products (I would see a TCM doctor rather than a GP), so using the Differin cream was slightly off putting for me. Although I did experience breakouts and still have acne, I felt that it is in a more controlled state. Besides, compared to when I used gel creams, my skin was more hydrated throughout the day. I guess the ethical skincare routine did pay off for me as I am quite happy with my current skin condition! I’m definitely a convert now, and am really excited for how my skin will look like in the future!
You can check out Frank Skincare's range of products here.
*Disclaimer: we were given Frank Skincare's products to try out, but opinions are entirely our own.