The Best Sensitive Skincare Routine I’ve Ever Had
In 2021, I finally bit the bullet and booked my first appointment with a Harley Street Dermatologist… Since then, I’ve been following a comprehensive (but straightforward) sensitive skincare routine that gives my skin everything it needs and has nearly completely cleared my acne. In this post, I’m sharing the best sensitive skincare routine I’ve ever had.
My battle with acne began many years ago, in a distant time… it started the second I hit puberty at around 12/13. And so also began the never ending visits to the doctor and treatment plans.
In terms of treatments, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.
We started with the old standard: tea tree cleansers from the supermarket. Not exactly likely to be a match for my delightful combination of naturally oily skin and being blessed with genes from parents who both also suffered horrendously with acne in their teen years.
When this obviously didn’t work, I progressed to topical solutions on prescription. I don’t think I used these for very long because the main thing I remember is that holy hell, that shit BURNS.
After that I graduated to oral antibiotics. Erythromycin and lymecyclin were the go-to antibiotics for acne at the time. I ended up taking so many courses of these too that at one point I’m pretty sure I was immune and had to specifically request alternatives when I had something else that needed treating.
Finally, at the tender age of 14 I was referred to a dermatologist and put straight onto the dreaded Roaccutane. Now, for some people, this is a wonder drug for acne and it clears everything right up (this happened to my brother). For the less fortunate among us, it does a bit but doesn’t clear it up completely. And then you have to take another course in your early 20s. And the acne STILL isn’t 100% gone.
So as I headed towards 30, it was time to try and work out how to get rid of that last little bit of pesky acne. Throughout my 20s I had tried various cleansers, moisturisers, serums, exfoliators and masks without seeing much difference. To be honest, there’s far too much choice and it’s overwhelming, especially if you have a specific skin concern.
I was very specific when I spoke to the dermatologist: I didn’t want to take oral treatments if possible and I wanted to know how to improve my skin topically. And she listened and came up with a lovely routine that has made my skin the clearest it’s been for as long as I can remember (literally).
This skincare routine is very simple, doesn’t involve any horrendously expensive products and is super gentle. She gave me a selection of products to choose from in each category so what I’ve listed below is specifically what I’ve been using.
Step 1: Cleanse using La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Cleansing Cream for sensitive skin
Step 2: Apply topical azelaic acid 20% (prescription)
Step 3: Moisturise using Avène Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Balm for Dry Sensitive Skin
Step 4: Apply Avène mineral sunscreen Factor 50 (similar linked)
Step 1: Remove makeup using Garnier Micellar Water
Step 2: Cleanse using La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Cleansing Cream for sensitive skin
Step 3: Apply topical Differin cream (prescription, contains Vitamin A)
Step 4: Moisturise using Avène Tolerance Control Soothing Skin Recovery Balm for Dry Sensitive Skin
Step 5: Apply topical Duac to individual spots if required (prescription)
And that’s it. No super expensive, fancy potions and lotions. Just good, old-fashioned science and gentle products you can pick up on the high street or from a pharmacy.
I’ve seen a huge difference in the number of spots I’m getting (maybe one every couple of months now) and my skin texture and colour has also improved massively.
As a final note: this is my skincare routine that’s been tailored to my skincare concerns and skin type. I’d highly recommend seeing a professional dermatologist to discuss your own skin concerns if you’re thinking of starting a new routine. They will always be able to advise you best based on your concerns and your preferences.