Hey loves!
So my life has been very much involved with acne, I've had it for about 7 years and I'm currently 18.

I've had my up's and down's and I know a lot about different types of acne, so I hope these tips can guide you to improve your skin so you feel beautiful.

acne is a major part of growing up

Puberty. We all hate it. Our awkward stages where our body's are changing, we're growing into adults. Most people experience acne in this stage of life but in some cases, people can develop acne in their 30's. This is normal, that's what you need to remember.

Different types of acne

  • non-inflammatory

This can include blackheads and whiteheads. They may be in groups, found in areas where your pores are more prominent, for example, the nose and nearby area, temple, chin. These areas's can be identified as your T-zone, where you are producing natural oils called Sebum. However, some people may find they have blackheads on their arms, back, neck, chest or shoulders.

  • inflammatory

This can include pustules whiteheads with redness and soreness around it) as well as cystic acne(large and painful).
I personally had cystic acne and struggled with it but I have improved my skin now and only have some small active breakouts(not cystic) and remaining scars.

  • other

These can be sun spots or papules or nodules which I don't think applies to the majority of teenagers and I don't have much information on this.

What causes your acne?

Usually, the placement of where your acne is, can tell you what is causing it. These websites show how face mapping works.

https://www.annmariegianni.com/face-mapping/

http://www.dermalogica.co.uk/uk/yourskin/30_article_face_mapping_skin_analysis.html

http://www.refinery29.uk/face-mapping-treatment#slide-1

It's worth mentioning that if you find that one of these causes are right, the others may play a factor too.

  • Hormones

During puberty, our bodies produce new hormones which can cause mood swings, produce oil in the t-zone, I get active breakouts on my cheeks, chin and jaw, which I discovered is hormonal(so I can't control it without pills).

  • Stress

During exam season I notice that I break out a lot because I'm stressed. Obviously other factors can cause stress but this for me is one of the things that break me out a lot. During the summer I recover from the breakouts.

  • Bacteria

This one is kind of obvious. The whole stereotype of getting acne because of not washing your face properly is somewhat right.

always wash your face

I personally do 3 times a day as I have oily skin and I know the sebum that is being produced will surely break me out. In public environments such as schools, parks, buses and other forms of transport, there are free radicals and bacteria that can harbor their way into your skin. You obviously do not see the bacteria but it is always there.

never touch your face without clean hands

Whether you're putting on makeup, or leaning on your jaw, any little bacteria's can be transferred onto your face, so try to avoid this.

  • Diet

This can be connected to your acne, and is probably the most common factor when seeing what causes it.
Even if you feel that your diet may not change the quality of your skin, you may be wrong.

Sugary foods, junk etc. contain fats which contribute to your skin creating spots.

put good in, and good will come out

Opt for a healthier diet, include more vegetables and fruits, which contain healthy sugars like Fructose to satisfy your sugar cravings.

  • Bad reaction

Sometimes acne can be mistaken for a rash or reaction to a new product, food or pets. If you think this might be the case, visit your GP and take an allergy test.

Some people may not know they are allergic to foods such as dairy, gluten, wheat etc. so taking a test may help to clear this up, so you can change this in your diet.

If you think a new product may be breaking you out, stop using it for a week and see if your skin clears up. If nothing is working, it may be worth starting over and clearing your routine and starting with natural products that aren't harsh, for example, Simple skincare or Burt's Bee's.

Your skin type

Figuring out your skin type may help you to treat your acne. This means not just spot correcting but also nourishing your skin with moisturiser.
I personally have very oily skin and combination skin, so my t-zone is oily and the sides of my face are dry-normal.

  • Oily Skin

This is probably the most common skin type for people who have acne. As we mentioned before, your skin produces Sebum, which can cause your pores to become clogged.
Removing these oils with blotting paper every few hours can help to reduce that greasy look. I wash my face when I feel especially greasy or dirty. Using wipes may not be good for you as they have preservatives and chemicals in them to keep them wet.

The problem that people have when handling acne with oily skin is that they over-dry their skin out. Using harsh chemical face washes can strip the skin of its natural oils. Sebum is only a problem when your skin over-produces it.
I've seen a lot of video's showing how to "dry out your spots" and this really annoys me. I followed this advice about 5 years ago and I found that it didn't help my skin at all. In fact, it became more oily.

Drying out your spots or skin will make your acne worse as your skin will create more oil to even it out. This is why instead of drying the spots out, you should moisturise it.

keep your skin hydrated

This works because your skin will see it has enough moisture and will only produce a small amount of sebum. Glycerin can also be used when mixed with rose water as a toner because it helps to keep moisture in. I would recommend using tea tree oil on your breakouts and aloe vera after applying a light, oil free moisturiser.

  • Combination skin

With this skin type, you may experience blackheads or clogged pores in your t-zone. Similar to oily skin, you should try to blot excess oils away whilst moisturising well to prevent excess Sebum from being produced. Adding oils can help if they are lightweight and sink into your skin.
Using toners such as witch hazel, a healing astringent that can remove excess oil as well as naturally reducing acne, blisters, insect bites, irritation and inflammation.

It's important to moisturise with combination skin because there is still dryness evident even when removing sebum. I recommend on days where your skin is flaky or cracking to apply a moisture mask and leave it on during the night. One I can vouch for is the Avène Soothing Moisture Mask, as it is a cheaper option and available at both boots and superdrugs.

  • Dry skin

Some acne can appear on dry skin, as other factors excluding excess sebum are evident.

moisturiser is essential

Make it a habit to use a rich moisturiser every day and reapply when necessary.
Use exfoliators regularly (about 2-3 times a week) to scrub off dead skin. But don't use harsh scrubs because they can strip the skin, making it feel tight.

Using a routine

Continuing to use products in a routine is good for your skin as it will get used to them and they will be effective to heal your acne.

There are so many products on the market today which claim to prevent acne. In my opinion, don't use them. They're full of chemicals and preservatives that might harm your skin or cause more acne.

I instead use natural products or ones which don't have as many chemicals. Here are some ways to replace those products in your routine, which actually might heal your acne.

  • Face wash

I think face wash is a really important step in your routine, whenever the occasion, face wash is great at removing impurities, dirt, leftover makeup etc. which if not removed, may lead to more breakouts.

Finding a good one, may seem hard when on a student budget, but it may not be hard as you think.

start simple

Literally.
Simple Skincare products actually healed my acne, more significantly than face washes that were targetted for my skin type. Whereas other face washes claimed to heal my acne, they dried my skin out, which made me more oily.
http://www.simple.co.uk/our-products/product/kind-to-skin-moisturising-facial-wash.html
This face wash didn't have a targetted skin type, it was cheap AF(£2-4), and didn't dry my skin out. It made my skin feel like a baby's butt. I'm not kidding!

Along with face wash, there may be steps when taking off your makeup, and for that I would not recommend using wipes for(with preservatives and chemicals) but instead use the simple micellar cleansing water or the cleansing oil(I used both) and even for drier skins, they have a new hydrating micellar water!

  • Exfoliator

Here's where you need to be careful. It's recommended my dermatologists to exfoliate your skin about 2-3 times a week. If you exceed that limit, you can possibly harm your skin and irritate your breakout or possibly make your acne spread around your face.

Using a light exfoliator can be better than using something more gritty or harsh. Microdermabrasion is good as it doesn't feel harsh and still gets the job done.
https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-gb/face/exfoliators-masks/vitamin-c-microdermabrasion/p/p000052?utm_source=Google_PLA&utm_medium=sem_gen&utm_campaign=161004_PXShoppingGenericFace&utm_term=%7bKeyWordTerm%7d&utm_content=GenericTrade&gclid=Cj0KCQjw557NBRC9ARIsAHJvVVO3Pl8YX7my-Yd555dyCLjR_yM3xswNn_rnBOWG0tJ0ywgghlF5cEYaAuEaEALw_wcB&dclid=CKu6tpjbgdYCFfCi7Qod_q8Eiw

Chemical exfoliators are good as they don't feel harsh and can come in toners. Using Gylcolic Acid can be good for acne. I used to use the Pixi Glow Tonic as a toner between washing my face and moisturiser. It did help my acne and I did see a difference in my skin texture.
https://pixibeauty.co.uk/products/glow-tonic-250ml?variant=34997453898

  • Toner

This can be good at getting any remaining impurities off your skin that you don't know exists. Natural toners I like to use are witch hazel and rose water. They're nice to use between your face wash and moisturiser. It's somewhat satisfying to see the dirt and residue left on a cotton pad, knowing you've got rid of that bacteria from your face.

  • Moisturiser

This can be anything you like the feeling of. If you've got an oily skin type, probably keep away from oil-infused creams(for drier skin types) and go for oil-free or light moisturisers.
I use the Simple light moisturiser and occasionally I use the Forever Living Bee Propolis cream when I feel especially dry on my combo areas.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/182618313177?chn=ps&dispItem=1&adgroupid=49150986128&rlsatarget=pla-327951033285&abcId=1129006&adtype=pla&merchantid=115015455&poi=&googleloc=9044944&device=c&campaignid=861364963&crdt=0

Extras

I've only mentioned the basic things you would need in a skincare routine but there are other steps to include.

  • Serums

Probably good to put in vital vitamins into your skin and provide extra moisture.

  • Masks

I'm going to write my next article on this, I only use natural, handmade masks but anything you prefer. Use these 2-3 times a week too.

  • Aloe Vera Gel

My family swears by this and I definately see a difference in my skin texture and acne when I don't use this(it's dry, flaky and my acne is sore).
I use this every night after my moisturiser and lather it on thick. When I wake up and wash my skin, it feels so soft. It's good for all skin types and works to heal your acne.

  • Acne cream

Whether this is Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide, this is what will effectively heal your acne, and it's worth using it because it actually works. I personally use benzoyl peroxide in a gel called Duac, which is prescribed to me by my doctor and along with this, I take pills called Oxytetracycline, which change my hormones(as I have hormonal cystic acne) and they DO work!
If you're interested in buying anything like this, make sure you contact your GP or dermatologist first!

I don't know if I've missed anything, but I'm tired of talking about this topic! So I hope this helped! Be sure to leave any questions or comment what you think please! Thanks so much xx