My skin got me down - now it looks fresh and healthy

Frustratingly, over the last few years, EIMEAR HUTCHINSON says her skin has gotten worse - so she’s taken a number of steps to try and improve it
My skin got me down - now it looks fresh and healthy

SKIN ISSUES: There comes a point where you must ask for help, says Eimear. Picture posed by model

I HAVE always struggled with my skin. I have had spots almost constantly since I was a teenager, and although they were never bad enough to warrant anything overly drastic like Roaccutane, they were endlessly annoying.

I have had stints on different, milder medications like the pill to manage it, but most of those are but temporary measures.

Frustratingly, over the last few years, my skin has gotten worse. A combination of hormones that at times feel out of control and also the use of stronger, over the counter products like retinol. Individually, I understood what they would do for my skin, but often, when these products are used in combination, they can do more damage than good.

There comes a point where you must ask for help so I got in touch in my virtual friend, Dr Laura Lenihen who is a GP in Galway but specialises in skincare. Interestingly, my entire skincare routine was stripped back.

She wanted to give my skin a break from all I was putting on it and to give it a chance to breathe. I went back to using a facewash, toner and SPF and the only other thing that was added in was a topical Vitamin A cream.

A skin cycle is about six weeks so usually you have to stick at any new regime for about that long before you can tell if it is working or not. Often, your skin may actually get worse in the meantime as it tries to readjust and find a balance again. I’m still using the same skincare regime that Dr Laura prescribed over a year ago and it is working beautifully.

But that wasn’t the end of my skincare journey! I am a child of the ’80s so while sunscreen was always deemed important, there wasn’t quite the same emphasis or knowledge back then. I got burned quite a few times over the years, leaving me with a lot of freckles and pigmentation. I was interested to see if I could reduce the amount of freckles I have, because I had a lot, even in the winter when traditionally they should fade. So I did a course of Nu Derm by Obaji under the guidance of Dr Paul Keilty in Cork Medical Aesthetics in Midleton.

I won’t lie, it was a tough journey, the course was intense and obviously, to get rid of pigmentation, you have to strip back the skin, so I was often left with really dry patches. Did it work though? Yes, it really reduced the amount of freckles and pigmentation I have, but it remains to be seen if the effect is a long term measure or temporary.

I have also tried anti-wrinkle injections, mainly out of curiosity, and I know those aren’t for everyone, but I won’t lie, I adore them! I have had them twice now, again in Cork Medical Aesthetics; in September of last year I had three areas done, and again in February of this year, but that time only in two areas.

I have two very prominent lines at the top of my nose (probably from frowning and giving out over the last ten years!) and I wanted to try the anti-wrinkle injections to slow down and reduce the damage the constant contraction of those muscles was doing to the surface of my skin. I loved how it looked, it was really natural because I still had a lot of movement in my forehead but I looked a lot less cross when I frowned.

I had heard about Profhilo from friends and tried that earlier in the year too, again with Dr Paul (I have a path beaten to him!). A bit of an uncomfortable process, it involves injecting pure hyaluronic acid under the skin across your cheeks and chin, which stimulates the natural production of collagen and elastin. It is an expensive treatment done over the course of two appointments, four weeks apart - but it really does leave you with skin that glows, mine looks almost damp to touch and there is a noticeable reduction in the fine lines, especially at the top of my cheeks under my eyes.

And last, but not least, I tried microneedling recently with a lady in my village, Skin by Bernie. I have a lot of small red scars left on my face from old spots that literally take months to fade. Microneedling involves pricking the surface of the skin using tiny needles, this tricks the skin into thinking it has to heal itself, thereby causing the skin to produce elastin and collagen to promote recovery.

It is supposed to be excellent for reducing the scars and improving the surface texture of skin, so here is hoping that is the last step in my quest for the perfect skin.

I am so happy with how my skin looks now, the changes have been subtle but my skin looks fresh and healthy. I still get the odd spot but that’s OK. I used to spend a lot of time putting make-up on to hide my skin, but now I pour my energies into my skincare and rarely wear make-up, which I am delighted about.

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