The 3 Products I'm Using in My 40s When My Face Acts Like a Teenager

nama winston adult acnenama winston adult acne

If your face isn’t covered in acne, how do you even know you’re… a middle-aged mum?

Yep, I’m 44, and after skating through my teens avoiding the usual hormonal acne thing, this year saw me experience the worst acne I've ever had. Turns out, raging maskne was my acne karma in 2020.

Earlier this year, I travelled interstate for a family emergency and spent most of the two-week quarantine period wearing a mask. It left me with itchy, uncomfortable, inflamed pimples over my chin and cheeks, and I've felt like a hormonal teenager's been looking back at me in the mirror most mornings since.

Only, the rest of my face still has the hallmarks of a mid-40s woman. It's been really fun.

I put this bout of adult acne down to maskne, stress, and… OK, fine... no-guilt comfort-eating Maccas on the daily. Usually, I would've turned to my go-to blemish products, like a strong retinol, but of course, I hadn’t packed much skin care for this unexpected trip. And I wasn't allowed to go to the pharmacy while quarantining.

So, I went on the Adore Beauty website, and after looking around and reading reviews, I purchased three products that would be delivered stat. I began using them as soon as they arrived, and aside from feeling really amazing on my sore skin, they actually helped calm and soothe my breakouts.

Here's a comparison of my skin before, and after following this new routine for around two weeks.

name winston adult acnename winston adult acne

The results after a few weeks of daily usage? Clearer skin. A glow. A relieved and happy Nama.

Now, onto what you came here for. These are the three products that quite literally have been saving my face in 2020.

1. Dermalogica Active Clearing Retinol Clearing Oil.

What: Dermalogica Active Clearing Retinol Clearing Oil

Why it's great:

Full confession: I was already an experienced retinol user before purchasing this oil, but I decided to try it because it combines retinol (to treat the signs of ageing) and salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid or BHA that's effective in managing acne).

Basically, the multi-tasking oil is the brand’s answer to the cries of women like me who thought part of getting older meant you wouldn't have to deal with this crap anymore.

Dermalogica Active Clearing Retinol Clearing OilDermalogica Active Clearing Retinol Clearing Oil

The oil has a deliciously soft, silky texture that feels enriching and moisturising, without making your skin feel like an oil slick. It leaves a lovely glow, and isn't so strong you can't use it every day, but I noticed my skin looked clearer after each night I used it.

Even now after my acne has cleared up, I still apply it at night before bed after cleansing my face, because it’s so comforting. I’m also a sucker for a good-smelling product, and this one has a light, fresh scent. I'd eat it if my face didn't need it more.

2. La Roche-Posay Anti Blackheads Kit.

What: La Roche-Posay Anti Blackheads Kit

Why it's great:

I'd never used this brand before but added the kit to my cart because the reviews about its skin-clearing abilities were so strong.

The kit comes with a gentle zinc cleanser, a mattifying moisturiser and a calming face mist.

La Roche-Posay Anti Blackheads KitLa Roche-Posay Anti Blackheads Kit

The Effaclar foaming gel was exactly what my skin needed – a simple, refreshing clean that didn’t leave my face dry. It's a very gentle yet effective cleanser for clean, soft skin.

I used the Effaclar K(+) Anti-Blackhead moisturiser with salicylic acid throughout the day (I usually wasn’t wearing makeup), but only on the areas I needed it to spot treat my blemishes.

Because my face was so red after a shower, the Serozinc calming toner - which is more like a fine, invisible mist - helped soothe flare ups of itchiness during the day. No scent either, which I liked.

3. Beauté Pacifique Submersive Serum Paradoxe.

What: Beauté Pacifique Submersive Serum Paradoxe 30ml

Why it's great:

Finally, this pre-makeup serum is the product that helped the foundation I wore to cover up said blemishes look natural, not cakey.

Part of my trip involved speaking at a funeral, which was going to be Zoomed to God knows who. I know it wasn’t about me, but still… my face. I knew the only way I'd feel comfortable speaking with confidence while being filmed close up was with a solid base, but when I trialled makeup over the acne, it looked much worse.

A girlfriend had a solution – she dropped over a sample of Submersive Serum Paradoxe to apply under makeup.

Beauté Pacifique Submersive Serum ParadoxeBeauté Pacifique Submersive Serum Paradoxe

First up, when I tell you this product's scent is divine, I mean beyond Oprah sort of divinity. If this came in a body-sized bottle, I'd use it all over and never apply perfume again.

It’s a priming, deeply hydrating squalene and grape seed oil concentrate that feels like a luscious serum, that's designed to be worn in the day under your foundation for better-looking makeup while nourishing your skin at the same time.

The glow factor is real, and it's great if your foundation usually looks dry, crusty or patchy within 10 minutes of applying, making the very breakouts you're trying to flatter more obvious.

So, thanks 2020. For irrevocably upending my life, and the maskne. And these products.