August 31, 2015

Post-acne Maintenance

A picture of a tattooed woman outside and jumping in the air with her back to the camera

It's been a while. When I started this blog, I knew I didn't have a set theme. I wasn't going to have a make-up blog or a fashion blog, it was just going to be what it is. Maybe if I had a theme, I would be less sporadic with posting, but I'm the kind of person who has a breakdown over choosing bread in the supermarket, so...
One of the pros for having no set theme of content is that I can post about a variety of things/whatever I feel like. I've decided to add in more of a lifestyle/travel aspect and will be blogging about our upcoming trip to California and my recent surprise hen party to Paris. I think it's a good platform to post photographs away from regular social media, as well as my recommendations, things to do and see, etc. I'll post on my instagram about any new posts so be sure to follow me over there, my handle is @katiethirks.

My acne struggles have obviously been a focal point of this blog, but now that I've begrudgingly gone back to Yasmin having been told I have PCOS, my skin has at last settled down so I'll be shifting the focus to maintenance. I've found it difficult to be back on the pill, it feels wholly unnatural and I don't feel like it was my decision. Of course it was, but I guess it's the fact I had very little choice because I wanted to clear the acne up fast. I went through a patch of feeling like my body was against me and was really angry that it wasn't just working the way it should. It's a weird and complex feeling to resent your own body. I'm hoping I'll be better equipped to deal with the PCOS symptoms when the time comes to stop taking the pill again, which will probably be at the end of the year, all being well. The relief I feel at having an almost clear face is hard to put into words. I currently have three small, active pimples. My complexion looks great (funnily enough, I don't feel egotistical saying that). The Yasmin has clearly done it's job and reduced oil production by overriding my hormones. I just hope these small spots clear up in the next week as we are getting married in 12 days. WAH!

While I'm on the subject of my face (are you bored of hearing about it yet?), I've been doing at home facial peels to help with the redness and marks left behind, mainly on my cheeks, temples and under my ears along my jawline. I've only done one Salicylic Acid peel
at 15% and two Glycolic Acid peels at 30%, but there's a definite improvement. The so-called "downtime" is minimal, but I definitely had more peeling with the Salicylic and it does sting compared to the Glycolic. However, it's so effective in clearing out pores and I've been dabbing a tiny amount on any spots that pop up and it shifts them so much faster. I'd actually been using these Cane + Austin acne pads from Space NK daily before deciding to do the peels. I've found them really great, but expensive and I felt I needed something with more oomph - they're a mix of Salicylic 2% and Glycolic 5%.

I opted to DIY the peels because I couldn't afford the £80 per peel a local clinic charged, so I chose to do this at home understanding the risks, having researched the types of peels, percentages used, how to neutralise the acid, aftercare, etc. As a note, if you choose to do a facial peel, please seek professional advice first! Consultations are usually free at cosmetic clinics, you don't have to tell them that you plan on doing it at home - it's a good way to have professional look at your skin and advise on the type of peel best suited to you. It's cheeky, but hey, we're all on budget. Make sure you then buy from a reputable company who are able to offer you advice. I bought mine from this Australian company via Etsy and they've answered all my messages, given me really helpful advice and troubleshooting tips (I'm not endorsed by them - this is my own view etc.). I won't be doing another peel now in the run up to the wedding as I'm afraid my skin will be peeling on the day, but will continue afterwards.

Something else I wanted to mention is the Spin for Perfect Skin brush by Vanity Planet, a US company. I'm sure you're familiar with facial brushes, there's a bunch on the market - some way more expensive than others. I was lucky enough to be sent a Spin for Perfect Skin brush and I've been using it for about a week now. I used to think they were an unnecessary fad, but upon seeing the dirt on the brush AFTER I've already removed my makeup, I'm a convert. It's such a great addition to my routine and is really contributing to keeping my complexion clear. I've used it with the Kiehl's blue herbal cleanser on a wet face and also with Liz Earle by using the brush in place of a muslin cloth - I apply the cleanser to my dry face, massage it in, then wet the brush head, use the brush as normal then rinse my face. It's versatile for all types of cleansers. The brush uses a super gentle rotary action that feels really nice after a long day, like a mini massage. I've used a manual, wooden one from Boots before and it felt so rough on my skin, unlike the Spin brush. The brush comes with four attachments including; the daily cleansing brush, an exfoliation brush (to be used 2-3 times a week after using the cleansing brush), a larger body brush and a pumice stone for your feet. It's basically a head to toe solution for all your cleansing and scrubbing needs. I was impressed with how sturdy the unit is, it doesn't feel cheap or likely to break. It requires 4 x AA batteries, but I think they'll last quite a long time - you can always buy rechargeable ones for economical reasons. You can also choose from a range of colours and, for readers in the UK, they have a UK shipping facility so you will get it within 2 days of ordering, rather than waiting for one from the US.

If you want to try a Spin for Perfect Skin brush, you can get an amazing 70% off by using my personal code katiethirks, better yet if you follow this link, the discount is automatically applied. The RRP is $100/£65, but with my code/the link, it's $30/£20. I only work with brands that fit in with my lifestyle and ethical choices and am very selective about who I work with. I get several emails a week from a number of companies offering to send me products and generally turn them down. My reviews are honest and I would never positively recommend a product unless it matched my high standards. Consider this a disclaimer!

One last thing I want to mention - before bed I mix a generous amount of Argan oil with 4 drops of lavender essential oil in my palm and pat it all over my face and neck. I've been doing this for months and it's really helped soothe, soften and heal my skin. Argan oil is a wonder oil and I swear by it. It's great for fine lines and scarring and doesn't clog pores - if anything, it balances my skin.

I hope some of this is helpful for anybody in a similar position. Acne is so hugely debilitating and my self-esteem has been at rock bottom over the last 6 months, it feels so good to be comfortable in my skin again. If I can help in any way, please let me know. As always, use the comment form below or send me an email.

Follow me on


  1. Have you ever been recommended to go on roaccutane?

  2. Have you tried Agnus Castus? It's a herbal supplement that increases the production of progesterone. It can take 3 months of taking it to see results so it's not a quick fix, I've been taking it for two months and my breakouts have massively reduced, just have the scaring to deal with now!

    1. Hi Holly. Apologies for my 6 month late reply! I've actually been seeing a medical herbalist since November, which is when I stopped taking Yasmin. I take a daily tincture which has Agnus Castus and (I think) 6 other herbs. I've had a few spots, but nothing like the acne breakouts I was experiencing. That being said, it has only been 4 months and 3 periods. I've been really nervous. Every morning I scan my face to see if I've broke out. May I ask how your skin is and whether you're still taking it?

  3. I've had an horrific breakout on my forehead recently (I was trying to grow my fringe out but I've caved and am going to get it cut in again this Saturday), despite being on Yasmin since January. It's so frustrating that there is no rhyme or reason to my acne! I hate being on the contraceptive pill in general so I am looking forward to reading more about your journey after you give it up again, if that's still your intention. I'm building up the courage to come off mine so I can at least get tested for PCOS and try to understand what's going on with my body!

    Your skin looks flawless at the minute and I was so thrilled to see pictures of your wedding on Insta. You both looked incredibly beautiful and radiant and I hope yr having the best time on yr American adventure! I recently postponed my wedding (for a series of long and boring reasons) and I love the idea of packing up and going somewhere sunshiney with only me and my future husband!

    Lots of love to you and I'm looking forward to your next post, whatever the topic!


© cold girl fever | All rights reserved.