Skin care and problem skin and acne talk

Skin care has become a very sensitive area for me to talk about. When I was younger (including my teenage years), my skin was perfect to the point where people actually commented on my great skin.

In my mid 20’s, things started to happen. Especially in summer 2013, my skin broke out to a point I would call it acne. It was a really hard time for me emotionally – I went to being proud of my skin to being very embarrassed about it. I started to search into acne in general and looked for products that could help me.

I have been in Asia before – China for 1,5 years and Hong Kong half with no problem. Then I just suddenly broke out in Hong Kong that summer. I went back to the cold (but fresh-aired) Denmark for 3 months, and my skin cleared up. I then went back to Hong Kong again for 10 months, and I started to break out again. Now, I have been home in Europe for 2 months, and it’s getting a little better again.

The tricky thing is that there could be many reasons for my breakout. It could be:

  • air pollution
  • stress level (I was extremely stressed in Hong Kong)
  • hormonal (going on and off with birth control)
  • the food (I ate out every day in Hong Kong)
  • products used (the different products I have been using the past few years).
  • Ohter factors??

I still don’t know exactly what caused my severe skin problems. I am just so grateful for it being better now.

My experience has made be become much more concious of what I put on my face, and try to stay away from scents and other bad stuff.

I have tried out some different products the last few years. I will be going through some interesting brands I have tried, and some brands I haven’t tried (yet).

Michael Todd true organics

“Just as important as what we put in our products… is what we don’t put in. We don’t use potentially harmful parabens, sulfates, artificial coloring, synthetic dyes, mineral oil, phthalates or triclosan so you can use our products without health concerns.” – Michael Todd

Michael Todd

Michael Todd is a really good brand. And by this, I have taken their customer service in mind also. I was unlucky to try them out in a period where my skin was absolutely horrible. So I can’t really judge the products as neutrally as if I tried them again now. Right now, I don’t NEED any more skin care products, but might be liable to buy/repurchase the following products:

  • Charcoal Detox cleanser – I have heard a lot about this one, and might still want to try it.
  • Citrus spray – can be used with makeup on and gives a refreshed kick. I like the idea. Have never tried it before though.
  • Pumpkin mask – I got this in a sample size, and loved it. I feel like my skin really gets cleaned, and I also liked the tingly feeling when applied.
  • Blue Green Algae Toner – I have gone through a bottle of this one. Still a little unsure whether I like the scent or not. What I like about it is that it has an anti-bacterial formula.

Read the review I have done on their customer service here, and the products here.


“Ingredients are not chosen on their aesthetic merit – only formulas with ingredients that are truly beneficial to the skin are selected. We select many naturally derived ingredients and use minimal preservatives in our formulations, just enough to give our products a shelf life.” – Kiehl’s

I saw a whole set at the airport for a very low price, so I couldn’t resist to finally try out some of Kiehl’s products! I haven’t gone through their myriad of products on their page, and I haven’t done any special research about the brand either. I will just go through the kit I got:


  • Big size Ultra Facial Cream (125ml) – which they are quite known for. Being in Europe now, the air is colder and dryer. It’s very lightweight, but does the job moisturising my skin and it creates a great balance for me. It means that it’s not too moisturising so that I get oily.
  • Big size Ultra Facial Toner (250ml) – when I first poured it out, I was a little sceptical. Having had acne and too much oil on my face, it scared me to see a toner that is not completely liquidy. It is a white less-liquidy texture. But surprisingly, when applied to the face, it does feel fresh and nice on the skin.
  • Big size Ultra Facial Cleanser (150 ml) – I like my face cleansers to bubble up to make me feel nice and clean. This one does the job without stripping the skin of moisture completely. It is not very liquidy, so I have to mix it with a decent amount of water for it to start gliding on the face. A little goes a long way!
  • Sample size Midnight Recovery Concentrate – It hurt when I dropped it and lost half of the bottle when I first got it. I used the other half up though. It smells delicious and feels so so good on the skin. But to be honest, I haven’t really felt any different besides that.
  • Sample size Ultimate Strength Hand Salve – I really like the smell. But I feel like I have to use a huge blob just to cover my hands. I have used much cheaper hand creams doing a much better job. When I use this up, I will go back to my Nivea Hand SOS Intensive Balm. I have VERY dry hands, so I always need something proper! I also love Avené’s Cold Cream Hand Cream – a more expensive alternative, but good if you want a brand that has the dermatalogical focus.
  • Sample size Orange Flower & Lychee Liquid Body Cleanser – I never spend money on body washes. So this was nice to have and smells SO good. I’ll sure keep the bottle for travelling. But would not splurge on something like this.
  • Sample size Flower & Lychee Liquid Softening Body Lotion – again, I always just go for a good old (and cheap) Nivea or Vaseline. I don’t feel the need to splurge in this area.

I just want to point out that I paid 515kroners/96USD/69EUR/58GBP for ALL that. The facial cream alone is 43,5GBP – I’m just saying…. it was a good deal! I am very happy about this purchase as what I needed was just some simple, scent(and crap) free products. After the torture in Hong Kong, I don’t want anything fancy – just some standard products that treat my skin well. These are doing exactly that! But on the other hand, they do not give my any special feeling of luxury either.

Paula’s Choice

“No added dyes. 100% fragrance free. Our products are based on our unique combination of research, reviews, and results-driven product development.” – Paula’s Choice

I tried to purchase Paula’s Choice when I was in Hong Kong. I really did. Read my battle with them here. After coming back, and I have been thinking a lot about the 2014-03-18 21.30.04whole exfoliation/scrubbing/peeling/cleansing masks thing, I have decided that I really want to try out Paula’s Choice’s Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant. My main problem is basically white heads at the nose area. With my acne I have had, I have been thrown out in the jungle of products and ingredients. It has been more than overwhelming. I just want my skin to be healthy and look healthy!!!

I did the research, and learned a lot from the Paula’s Choices advice-page.  More specifically about exfoliants, I read through this page and I learned so much in just 10 minutes. The thing is that it’s actually not good to use a scrub with beads, and peeling can also be too harsh on the skin. Paula puts it like this:

“Because AHA’s and BHA’s work through chemical processes, they can penetrate the skin and produce better results than cosmetic scrubs, which work only on the exposed surface of the skin.” – Paula 

Have a look of all their exfoliants here. But what about retinol, you would wonder, well, she describes it all here. The point is just that retinol is not an exfoliant like AHA and BHA.


“Ciracle is a skincare brand that cares about the skin from its past to present, and even further to the future. It is a vitamin focused product that effectively stabilizes the unstable nature of vitamin through the use of high technology.” – Ciracle


I first tried out Ciracle when I was in Hong Kong. It is a Korean brand, and I think it is only sold in Asia. Anyhow, I started to use Ciracle when I was breaking out like
crazy, and I felt like this brand helped me a lot. I used their anti-blemish line; the aqua-cream, the tea tree oil cleanser, and the spot-x treatment.

Mario Bedescu

“Mario had a very unique perspective about skin care, appreciating both the chemical nature and complexities of the skin, as well as the desire and innate satisfaction and confidence that healthy, clean, radiant skin can give a person.” – Mario Badescu

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I know… putting alcohol on the face is a big no no. But sometimes, when you’re desperate, you’re desperate. I have been using their Drying Lotion (for the popping pimples) and Buffering Lotion (for cystic pimples). They both contain a lot of alcohol, but have kind of been working on me. These products are SOS products. So one should always find the roots of the problems and try to treat from there.

Other natural products

When I was reading through blog posts in my reader, I got introduced to Etsy. It’s a site where individuals or small companies can sell their stuff via this page. This includes natural products that people hand make. More specifically, I bought some stuff from EcoFriendlyLiving. I was very interested in how their dry shampoo would work, and then I also added the eye makeup remover in the cart as it’s all natural, and the prices are absolutely reasonable. Browse their products here. I just ordered the products, so I can’t say anything about them yet. But you can search for more natural products on Etsy. That’s definitely a good way of exploring more (natural) products.


I am by no means any skin care expert. I am just sharing my experiences and impression I have of the brands and products. None of the products I have mentioned is sponsored. The opinion of the products is based on MY skin. Bare in mind that we all react differently on different products.

If you are dealing with problem skin or are just curious about the brands I have mentioned, I hope I have helped you towards your search for a solution or a certain product.

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any good suggestions for acne/scarring after acne.

I will do a post on my current skin care routine soon.

Talk to you soon 😀

Maria xoxo



  1. Love this post! I’m kind of going through the same thing; my skin hasn’t quite adjusted to the extreme weather so it’s temperamental no matter what I use. And I KNOW my starting birth control messed with my skin because it’s messed with everything else, I feel like I’m going crazy sometimes, anyways, I’ve decided on alternative bc so that should subside. My bf stressed out really bad and it stresses me out! Haha, it’s a horrible cycle. Although I’ve been trying to eat better (fruits & veggies) and I joined a produce co-op so that should help. My whole point is I feel where you’re coming from. While my breakouts aren’t too bad, it’s still not fun. I’m glad you’re making the change to healthier skin care. One of my favorite things to use is coconut oil as a moisturizer, you can get away with a very light layer for daytime but it works best for night time 🙂 I’m really impressed by the Michael Todd line though.

    1. Thanks for sharing, dear. It is really difficult to deal with skin problems like this. It can be so frustrating, and make one feel so unsexy. For me, I think I will be sticking to the products that make do not provoke my skin. I might try out the coconut oil thing. Have heard many good things about it – e.g. the multi-functionality 🙂

  2. I feel you acne pain girl! Though my acne started when I was about 11 or 12, and it’s now only recently subsided due to being on Accutane (which I actually just did a post on on my blog). I briefly used Kiehls and absolutely love the brand, their customer service, just everything about them! I only stopped using their products because I wanted to venture out and try other things.

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