Having PCOS comes with plenty of problems, but one of the more annoying ones for me is the the acne! It’s not the worst thing I have to deal with, but being nearly 30 with awful skin makes it hard for me to ever feel remotely attractive (unfortunately, I’m shallow enough to still care about my looks- I’ve not outgrown that)! As you’ll see from my previous posts, I’ve tried a lot of products, but I’ve also been trying treatments which have taken a few months for the results to be seen.
In December, I visited a local beautician, the wonderfully talented Gemma Armstrong of Gem’s Retreat, Workington. She consulted with me and advised me to try a course of Mandel Peels, which are gentle peels containing mandel acid (click here for a more scientific explanation). I paid £180 for the six treatments, which took eight weeks to complete.
I was slightly apprehensive about having a peel- you hear many horror stories and I was envisioning a Samantha from Sex and the City scenario- but the worry was unwarranted. I could tell the difference in my skin after the first treatment. The acne wasn’t as sore or irritated, and the redness had subdued a noticeable amount. Gemma started me on a lower strength, which was increased slightly after each treatment. The difference in my skin by the end of the treatment was wonderful! Before I tried the peels, I wouldn’t leave the house without at least my foundation on, and now I only wear make-up on nights out. Even then, rather than the heavy foundation I used to wear as a base, I apply only some MAC Mineralise concealer and a sweeping of MAC Mineralise Powder.
Since I finished the course, I have kept up with having a treatment once a month. I pay £40 for this, but it is, in my opinion, well worth the money. I alternate between the Mandel Peel and Microdermabrasion (which is helping immensely with the scars from the acne). I haven’t had an acne breakout since December, and my confidence is much higher now.
Gemma also recommended Collagen Shots to brighten skin, and to combat the early signs of aging (fine lines under my eyes for me). Although I’ve still got some fine lines, they do appear reduced and I certainly haven’t gained any more! My skin has a nice glow about it too, and I actually feel better in myself when I take it, due to the minerals that it’s packed with. I had a few weeks last month when I got out of the habit of taking it daily, and I felt worse for it, and my skin looked dull again. Now I’m taking it religiously again, the improvements are returning. This is £39.95 for a month’s supply, but once it is in your system you can take it every other day, so it isn’t as costly.
In terms of products, I’ve kicked my MAC moisturiser habit as it was costing me a fortune! My face wash is from Aldi, and I use their face scrub twice a week too. Together, both cost me about £3.50 a month! Add that to my Avon moisture gel, at £2 for 100ml, and I spend very little on products! I am beginning to believe that more expensive doesn’t always mean more effectively!
In order to get a better picture of my improvements, here is a photo taken last Saturday in which I’m wearing no make up at all, compared to one from a few years ago showing my typical breakouts.
Obviously my skin isn’t perfect, and I still get the odd blemish, but the improvements are great. I’m not trying to brag, or insinuating that I’m something I’m not. I’m hoping that sharing my experiences might help others who have suffered with acne like I have. It’s about so much more than vanity. I was ashamed of my skin, and now I’m confident enough to wear no make up in public, and I feel less self-conscious than I have done in years! I can’t thank Gem’s Retreat enough. She’s changed my perception of myself for the better!