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9 May

A Vegan Skincare Routine (for acne prone skin)

Since I was a teenager I have struggled with acne. To a lot of people it may seem like an insignificant detail but to anyone one that has ever had to go out with a full face of lovely spots, you know that it can affect your mood and confidence. Of course, some may say that we are made to feel negative about our less than perfect skin due to the airbrushed photographs we are bombarded with every single day of our lives. This is probably true but it still doesn’t fix the feeling of annoyance when a new spot appears.

I feel like I have tried every cream and face wash under the sun to clear my skin and none of them have really worked. At 18 years old, I was finally prescribed Isotretinoin (or Roaccutane) by my doctor. I was on this medication for about 7 months and it completely cleared my skin. It was a miracle and I felt so incredibly happy. However not long after my 22nd birthday I noticed the spots start creeping back and my confidence disappear. Isotretinoin is a strong medication and not one you should rush into taking. It is a last resort. So, determined to tackle these spots on my own I set about trying to find out what truly works for me.

Acne frequently occurs when oil and dead skin cells build up on our face and clogs pores. This is why I find that the best way for me to reduce spots is to dry them out. This is similar to how Isotretinoin works too. However if your skin becomes too dry then it can go into over drive and produce even more oil. It is a tricky balance. So even though you’re drying out those spots, this means moisturiser will also become your new best friend.

Now, before I tell you my routine I should inform you that my skin still isn’t completely acne-free, there are days when it is, but the main thing is that it is a hell of a lot better than when I don’t follow any routine. Also, what works for me may not work for someone else but I hope this does, at least, point you in the right direction. I do not claim to be a skin expert, I’m just someone who struggles with their skin and am constantly searching for products that work.

Generally, my skin is a mixture of dry and oily and it is always sensitive. This means that is can be hard to find a balance but so far this routine is working very well for me…


Every morning, I use Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser to wash my face. It is incredibly gentle and I love how soft my skin feels after I use it. I put two pumps onto my fingers, massage onto my dry face and then rinse it off with warm water and gently pat my face dry with a towel. I’m always recommending this cleanser to my friends, as this product alone has massively benefitted the appearance of my skin.

Next, I moisturise using Liz Earl’s Skin Repair Light Moisturiser for combination/oily skin. I find this to be a great moisturiser for sensitive skin, it’s very soothing. I love how light it feels and how soft my skin is afterwards. More importantly, it is not tested on animals.

I don’t like to do too much in the morning incase my skin reacts and I’m left looking like a beetroot the whole day. So if I’m going out, I let the moisturiser sink in and then apply my makeup. If I’m not going out and not putting on makeup, then I put on a little of The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% all over my face. This product is labeled as a ‘high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula’ and aims to reduce the appearance of blemishes and congestion. Truthfully, it does just that. The Ordinary’s products are a game-changer.


This is where the magic really happens. Now, I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times before, but it is so important to get all your makeup off before you go to bed. And I mean ALL of it! No cheating.

So again, I use Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser to wash my face. I then use Liz Earl’s Instant Boost Skin Tonic. I put a little on a washcloth and wipe all around my face so that it’s completely dirt free. It’s amazing how grubby your face can actually get during the day. I really like this skin tonic because it is alcohol free and so it really hydrates and refreshes your skin. It contains extracts of aloe vera and cucumber which means that it is lovely and soothing too. I then moisturise and brush my teeth whilst I let it soak in.

After this, I use the products that really help fight your acne and the scars they leave behind. I drop a little of The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% on my forehead, cheeks and chin. And then rub it all over my skin, moving from the centre outwards. I let that soak in and then, following the same process, do the same with The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. This product helps to target textural irregularities and unwanted pigmentation.

Alternatively, if my skin really isn’t looking good then I turn to NIP+FAB’s Salicylic Fix Concentrate Extreme 2%. This is specifically made to target blemishes and purify skin. The Ordinary do make a similar product with salicylic acid, however, it is frequently sold out which I guess is a sign of how well it works.  Salicylic acid is great at drying out those pesky spots.


In the morning, once a week, I will exfoliate my skin after I have used my cleanser. I alternate between Lush’s Mask of Magnaminty and The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution– depending on what I feel like my skin needs. I use Mask of Magnaminty if I’m feeling a bit spotty and want to calm my skin. I find this mask is great at drawing out spots and speeding up the healing process. I use the peeling solution if I need a deeper exfoliate which leaves my skin feeling brighter and with smaller pores. Unfortunately, if I exfoliate any more than once a week it causes my skin to break out. Therefore, if you find this happening, maybe even try exfoliating every other week.

Another natural way to dry out those extra tricky spots and reduce redness, is to dab a bit of tea tree oil on top. You may find you need something stronger and so I recommend looking for a vegan and cruelty-free product that contains Benzol Peroxide. Although you may need to visit your doctor for that.
Regardless of which products you choose to use always remember that if you’re going to dry out the skin then you should hydrate it again. Keeping your skin hydrated is key to looking healthy and youthful. It also means your makeup will sit better. Never forget to moisturise.
While it is important to look after yourself, it is also important to look after the world around us. This routine is not 100% sustainable in terms of packaging, I wish it were, but that is something I am trying to work on. The next best thing I believe I can do is make sure my routine is vegan and cruelty-free. There is never a reason to exploit and harm animals.
Ellen Prizeman

I have just graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Fashion Marketing. I am particularly interested in sustainability, green design and veganism- anything to make the world a better place. Frequently described as 'a bit of a hippie.'

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