So, the magic of Christmas is over and I’m left about eight stone larger and with a complexion that mirrors a 14-year old boy’s. It’s a look that I am struggling to style out – basically I don’t want to leave bed until 2014, but I am going to have to at least go to the shop to buy cigarettes.
Here are my top products du jour for post-Christmas breakouts. You know how I know that they work? I didn’t take any to my mum’s for Christmas, and my skin is about a million times worse than when I left.
NB - I don’t care about the XO posting requirements, I'm going rogue, you are not getting a photo of my blotchy misery, you’ll have to believe me. Also, I tried lemons and grapeseed oil and all the rest of it in a desperate attempt to prove that the cheapo options are just as good. They weren’t. I am going to save them for my smug skincare months.
Firstly – cleanse. Cleanse. Cleanse. If you do not take off your makeup and wash your face at the end of the day, however tiring, I have little (no) compassion for you.
If you can’t be bothered to do it properly, Ole Henriksen do some great wipes with added Vitamin C (so a little more effective than a baby wipe, much as I love them). I keep them in my handbag during the festive season, just in case. I also like baby wipes for emergency anything, although the smell of them grosses me out.
If you can be bothered to do it properly, then good on you. I have just discovered Skyn Iceland whilst trawling beauty message boards (seriously, what has happened to my life?) who are my new favourite brand because they say they are solutions for stressed skin. Of course my skin is stressed. I am stressed. It’s Christmas and I can’t even have a liqueur chocolate. POOR ME.
Their Pure Cloud Cleanser is (yet another) hot cloth cleanser, my favourite type, and it has shea and cocoa butter in it for moisturizing as well as a load of things like ginseng which act as antibacterials.
The most common mistake people make during breakouts is assuming they don't need to worry about moisturizing because their skin is oily. This is a lie! Do worry about it! Or don’t worry, but take my word for it – your skin will repair itself quicker if adequately moisturized.
Secondly, Skyn has a topical Anti-Blemish Gel (£13) with willow bark – naturally occurring salicylic acid, one of my other faves. This dries out your skin a bit, so use it topically (I go for the more-is-more approach with skincare and assume that if I use loads, my skin will get better quicker). It dries out blemishes and makes them less luminously red.
Thirdly, Docteur Renaud, which I found in France and have harped on about ever since, make an Azulene Fresh Calming Gel. I don’t know what azulene is, but it smells like cucumber and you smear it onto red patches, wait ten minutes and wash it off, and it refreshes and tones. I do this AM and PM for optimum serenity.
Also, you can buy this one in M&S, too - I promise that my new love of M&S skincare is coincidence and not some bizarre marketing ploy. However, if you're in there buying all my recommendations, try one of Lyn Harris' perfumes. The M&S range is about a third of the price of Miller Harris, one of my favourite perfumiers, and just as amazing. Best collaboration ever.
Obviously, unless you are some sort of saint, you are going to have scratched at your face in a desperate attempt to perform a kind of 'home facial', leaving yourself resembling Edward Scissorhands. In that case, put some Pommade Divine on (topically) – it’s the most amazing healing gel.
Usually I resent products with petroleum jelly bases because they prevent absorption of moisture, but in the case of cuts or burns, it locks in your skin’s naturally occurring moisture and helps it heal faster. It’s about a million years old, it was sent all around the Empire in the 18th Century, so it’s oldy worldy and it lasts forever.
Finally, face masks. Origins’ Out Of Trouble (£20) is an absolute savior – a clay mask which absorbs moisture whilst exfoliating with salicyclic acid and soothing with camphor, I have been using it every day. It’s cheap - as far as my love for ludicrously priced skincare goes - and it works.
Whilst all this stuff helps your face return to the colour and texture it ought be, you will want a foundation. I use Clinique’s Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfecting Makeup which is designed not to clog up pores and to minimize them. When my skin is oily, my pores look huge so this is a pretty decent antidote and it somehow manages to resist the oil-slick that is my T-zone throughout the day.
Remember, less is more when you have breakouts - nothing makes your skin look worse than cakey foundation. Moisturise plentifully and apply small amounts in careful layers. Try to do it with decent lighting. I must fix the lightbulbs in my bedroom before 2013. Everything has fallen apart this week. Uh-oh.
What are your tips for breakouts? Do you have any products that save your self-esteem? I need them. It's the season of giving. Share with me.
Olivia is whining about her pores on Twitter @oliviasinger.