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Bicarb of soda – the secret to battling blackheads?

Having read blog after blog in search of a way to rid me of those pesky blocked pores known as blackheads, I saw one solution recommended by many – bicarbonate of soda (or baking soda). This method simply involved a damp, make-up-free face and rubbing on the bicarb of soda for 30 seconds, particularly focusing on blackhead prone areas.Neutrogena visibly clear blackhead clearing cleanser I’ve tried many commercial products to oust blackheads, not least because I thought this too might mean fewer spots, but none have really had any significant effect. Salicylic acid is favoured in these products and I’ve tried this both in scrub and cleanser forms with minimal visible results.

Blackheads are such a bugbear – although I know few people notice these on others, those on my nose, forehead and chin stand out to me like a sore thumb. This results in the inevitable urge to squeeze the things out – a big no-no I know. So of late I’ve been making a great effort to leave my blackheads alone; I’m banishing the prodding fingers that more often than not only cause infection.

bicarb of sodaThis has not, however, ended my desire to be blackhead free. So two days ago I delved into the kitchen cupboard and gave the bicarb of soda new residence in the bathroom. My first observation when applying the bicarb of soda to my face was that this is definitely an exfoliant. It wasn’t the harshest of scrubs I’d tried, but certainly not the mildest either. It felt peculiar to be rubbing what I know best as an ingredient for cookies onto my face, but of course many are very familiar with the cleaning properties of bicarbonate of soda. When my 30 seconds of scrubbing were over, I thoroughly rinsed my face and patted it dry with a towel. My skin felt incredibly soft and smooth as so many a blog had told me it would. And the blackheads? Well, they really did look significantly reduced. Unfortunately in my close examination of the results my eyes kept settling on the blackheads that remained – old habits die hard, and I may have tried to squeeze some of these remaining black specks from my face, but luckily I caught myself before any damage was done. Fairly satisfied with my squeaky clean face I went to bed.

nice-wooden-bowl-full-of-bicarbonate-of-sodaYet, in the morning the number of blackheads on my nose appeared not to have diminished as much as I had thought they had just eight hours ago. So that evening I rinsed my oily skin and again applied the bicarbonate of soda, and again I looked at the results (perhaps slightly too closely, as the temptation to squeeze the remainders was back) and blackheads did seem visibly reduced once more. Now, I was going to try this a third day running as I was seeing progress, but then realised that never would I normally exfoliate my poor skin relentlessly day after day – the quest for a blackhead free face would have to take a break.

But the verdict? A positive one. There certainly was a difference in my skin. Whilst many of my pores were still visible, fewer were plugged with ugly black dirt, and I felt confident both times I tried this method that ‘London’ had been thoroughly cleansed from my skin. It left a much nicer feeling than my usual exfoliating cleanser does – and I’ve been hooked on that for years! So whilst I won’t be dipping my face in bicarbonate of  soda again tonight, I feel that if used every few days this method may have success at banishing my blackheads. Another blogger converted!

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Such a thing as spot eradicating skincare?

When teen spots carry on beyond your teens, ‘it’s not fair’ comes to mind. This thought seems, however, less justified when you do a bit of research and discover the large population also suffering from adult acne. So for those of us with spots in our twenties, thirties, forties or fifties, is there a really any skincare saviour we can turn to?

I first encountered spots at about the age of 13, they came in waves, sometimes one offs, sometimes full face breakouts. I came to the end of my Clearasil, Clean & Clear, and Tea tree & Witch hazel tether at the end of my GCSE’s and went to the doctors. Within a month my prescription of antibiotics and PanOxyl 2.5 Aquagel were working wonders – that is if you ignore my dry red face caused by the peroxide; but for me it was a welcome exchange.

But the waves did not stop here. A few months after the antibiotic course ended, the spots crept back. The PanOxyl Aquagel dried out a few, but it was no real match. So back on the antibiotics I went. Again, soon I reveled in my clear skin, loving the lack of concealer dependency and my make-up-free beach face that I felt comfortable to share with the world. Alas, it did not last, and short of staying on antibiotics permanently and risking the formation of all sorts of resistant bacteria, I was more or less back to square one.

I battled on with the PanOxyl Aquagel with varying success depending on who knows what other factors. Mostly I carried on in fear of what might happen if I stopped using it! This was until a fateful day when I discovered I could buy it no more – Stiefel, the company who make PanOxyl, could no longer source ingredients, and manufacture had stopped. My skin at this point, for whatever reason, did get worse. So, armed with my laptop (and a face of acne) I took to the internet. Continue reading

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