No matter how good your routine is, you're going to encounter times when your skin has a tantrum*, and you're left dealing with the results.
In my case, when I realised that the Mario Badescu moisturiser wasn't working for me, my skin was looking a little worse for the wear. It's good to have a plan in these kind of situations, particularly as you don't want to cause more damage with over-eager application of product (have done it, not pretty).
I started with my Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Balm to remove the makeup on my face and around my eyes- I needed to go in with something gentle on my eyes, because I'd be avoiding them when I was using the stronger products. I made sure I got the face-washers nice and hot while I was cleaning the balm off, to open up my pores and get the skin ready for some treatment.
Then I moved on to a product that belongs to my boyfriend - I saw it in the shower and pinched it for a good clean. It's a Neutrogena Deep Clean Blackhead Eliminating Scrub (ignore the Chinese writing, he bought it while he was traveling in Malaysia, but the same product is available in Australia)
I massaged the product into my skin using wet fingertips, then used very hot facewashers to rinse off and get a bit of a steam going. The steam was helpful in preparing my face for stage 2, the mask.
I was drawn to this for the large amount of Salicylic Acid, which is a power ingredient for fighting acne. While the large amount of SA in this scrub means I wouldn't use it every day (my skin is quite sensitive) I think it's a great one to grab in case of emergency.
Once my double-cleanse was finished, I applied a mask from Puretopia. Again this has a power-punch of blemish fighting ingredients, including clay to draw impurities out, and Niciamide (aka Vitamin B3) to treat spots and prevent them from leaving red marks.
Optional: feel self indulgent and sorry for self, decide to debut face on blog covered in white clay.
After about 25 minutes I pulled out my friend steaming-facecloth (honestly I just like to pretend I'm having a spa at home) and removed the mask gently, rinsing out and re-applying the facecloth a couple of times.
If I'd had one or two particularly nasty spots, I would have dipped a cotton bud in this miracle stuff from Malin + Goetz. Just the tiniest drop on the face of a pimple will completely dry that beast out overnight. Magic.
Finally, I returned to a more normal routine to finish off. I know I can be guilty of overreacting to a breakout, and completely drying the *&^% out of my skin. Which is not all that useful, your skin freaks out, gets redder and angrier and starts manufacturing more oil. Instead, I used the targeted products at the start, then finished by nourishing my skin, so it would start to repair itself.
I used the REN Rose O12 Moisture Defence Oil as my serum. This product is unbelievable and I feel bad saying that because honestly, it's very pricy. So, firstly, try and get a sample first before your commit. I squeezed every last drop from my sample, it was love.
It's the most wonderfully hydrating product, with no parabens, sulfates, mineral oils or synthetic fragrances. So, essentially I was giving my skin a big drink, without adding to the crazy reaction going on. Also, even though it's got no synthetic fragrances, it has such a large amount of rose (which is full of antioxidants) that it smells like heaven.
I cannot speak highly enough of this product. Big gushing review coming up. Moving on.
For my final layer, I'm back to my standard tried-and-true nightime skincare, 5 in 1 Restore Cream from First Aid Beauty.
I'm so impressed with this product, no muss, no fuss, no nasties, just really good ingredients (Niacinamide, antioxidants) and it's priced really reasonably online.
Massage the moisturiser on in nice slow circles, take off your headband and you're all done.
This isn't a long term solution, but it's a good SOS, and I promise you, within an hour, my skin was calmer, softer, and starting to return to its old self.
The fact that I'd taken my glasses off and had a glass of wine probably aided my assessment.
*Note that this is an SOS routine for spotty skin, if you have an allergic reaction these products will make your skin even more angry and inflamed. Before you do anything, have a good look at your skin to make sure it's not an allergic reaction- be very aware of skin that is red and angry, tight and uncomfortable, hot or covered in spots which are all the same or similar size, and have popped up everywhere overnight (compared to acne which will be concentrated in certain areas, and more slowly develop).