Adult Acne Skin Woes!

A Model Recommends

This was a little video update on the state of my skin, but actually, I’m rather late in posting it here on the website. The worst of my skin problems seem to have passed for the moment (touch wood) and I have the breakouts under control! Woohoo. I’m going to do another post and video this week with the final “routine” that I stuck to in an attempt to clear up my complexion and also go through some of the products that were entirely ineffective. I hope to God that Mr AMR doesn’t read this, but I have to admit that I used my skin as a bit of a guinea pig at first, using the breakouts as an opportunity to test out things that had previously been unsuited to my skin. (Him: “You’re not trying out loads of crap on your skin, are you? That’ll make it worse!” Me: (angry face) “Of course not! I’m not stupid you know!)

All in the name of research.

Anyway, it seems ironic that earlier this year I was struggling to properly review things for my Teen Skin series and then BAM! Spots a-plenty. I think that my skin problems have actually been stress-related, or that stress affected my hormones, because all is fine and dandy on the health front, and now that I have my new “zen” attitude towards life (ie, have cut my working hours to under 70 per week) my body seems to be getting on with me again.

 (Thank you man in the sky, whoever you are.)

Do enjoy my scary skin close-ups! This was actually not filmed in the worst part of my Bad Skin Season, because that would have been entirely gross. Pustules a-go-go. But enjoy nevertheless! Those who can’t see the video pane can click HERE. PS – soft-veil-glow effect on my skin is the Clarins powder foundation, see info below!

I  hope that this video is useful to some of you. I have always had very good, blemish-free skin until recently and I’m convinced that my spots were caused by stress and poor diet during the time running up to my MA submission deadline! Trying to reduce your stress levels is difficult, but it’s quite simple to cut out excess sugar from your diet and pare back your skincare routine so that it’s simple but effective. I’ll let you know an update soon!

Products Used:


Melvita Purifying Mask:

Liquid Gold:

Liquid Gold Serum:

NUXE Creme Fraiche de Beaute Light:

Elemental Herbology Moisture Milk:

Clarisonic Mia:

Alpha-H Balancing Cleanser:

Decleor Fresh Purifying Gel:

No7 Tinted Moisturiser (Fair/Medium): Boots

Clarins Powder Foundation in Sand:

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. Sarah
    October 16, 2012 / 6:39 am

    Really great video Ruth. I suffer with the same type of breakouts every now again and swear by returning to alpha h to help calm my skin down. Great to see you being so honest it’s very reassuring for the rest of us!

    • Cosmic Alice
      October 16, 2012 / 3:03 pm

      Avene Triacneal is the only thing that works for me, it takes a while to kick in but it’s worth the effort.

  2. Kostromitskaia Julia
    October 16, 2012 / 6:54 am

    Hi Ruth! Thanks for the update. Have u heard or tried Glytone exfoliating lotion? They have a 17% AHA lotion.

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 10:59 am

      Whoa!! Is that safe to use outside of a salon? Do you know what pH it’s at? xx

  3. October 16, 2012 / 7:45 am

    Anyone who has had bad breakouts, and their skin is left with those marks from the spots.. I can recommend a natural skin peel. Sr Schrammeka, Green Peel, is an all natural, herbal skin peel.. that can peel away the old skin, for the newer to be revealed. Its from Germany and it does work. If you have it, it does mean planning your week.. as your skin will peel away. The peel is done at a salon, but you have an aftercare programme of products to use. So, don’t despair people.. skin care is improving for all our needs

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 10:58 am

      Thanks Mel, that sounds amazing. Where can you get it done? xx

  4. BeautyGeekUK
    October 16, 2012 / 7:51 am

    Hi Ruth,

    It’s so funny you’ve posted about this as a couple of weeks ago I posted a few posts (promise to try and stop using the word “post” now) about my long-term skin battles (which I document quite a lot on my blog) and how I’ve come to the realisation that we can throw the absolute best skincare at our problem skin but if we’re not at least acknowledging what’s going on internally then skincare alone isn’t going to work. Therefore I’ve started trying to cut down on sugar and dairy with the hope that it’ll help.

    Man I wish I had your skin though! Even when you were breaking out it still looks great; definitely going to look into the Clarins powder! xx

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 10:59 am

      It’s weird, because it was so glowy and great elsewhere and then these awful patches of breakout! x

      • October 16, 2012 / 11:08 am

        Yes cut down on dairy and sugar. Also take some fish oil supplements, antioxidants, and possibly evening primrose.. we have to work internally, and externally for the best skin we can have.

  5. Emma
    October 16, 2012 / 8:16 am

    Your eye makeup looks beautiful in this video, what is it please?

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 11:00 am

      I am trying for the LIFE of me to remember… Think I used the Naked2 palette actually! x

      • Emma
        October 18, 2012 / 7:04 am

        Thank you- I have that already, so I don’t have to madly dash out and buy anything! x

  6. Caroline
    October 16, 2012 / 9:39 am

    Apart from masks and creams I always drink Weleda’s ‘Birch Juice’ whenever my skin is being a pain or just looks bad and it works quite well (after two weeks or so). Xx

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 11:00 am

      Haven’t tried that…how does it taste? xx

      • Caroline
        October 16, 2012 / 12:27 pm

        Honestly if taken with water it’s weird, a very ‘herbal’ taste, but alright if you add it to juice or tea! :)

  7. Darina
    October 16, 2012 / 9:45 am

    Ruth dear, pleeeease do a review of top Hyaluronic acid products! do you think Hydraluron is good? xx

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 11:01 am

      It’s nice, quite basic, but does the job! I’ll look out my top ones and do a post! xx

  8. Darina
    October 16, 2012 / 9:49 am

    oh by the way, when I was abroad and only using Liquid Gold every day, it didnt do anything for my super clogged pores !( shock horror!) only in combination with a ton of other exfoliants/ cleansers my skin looks ok..

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 11:02 am

      Yes, I think that BHAs are better for clogged pores, LG is better at keeping skin glowy and clear so long as you don’t have proper acne/breakouts. Anything more and you need a bit of salicylic I think! x

  9. Syd
    October 16, 2012 / 11:40 am

    Hi Ruth! Are you using anything in particular for the marks left behind by the spots? Would you please suggest one product? Thanks

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:43 pm

      Yep, I’d go for Filorga Meso-C, personally. You can find my full review if you type it into the search box xx

      • Syd
        October 16, 2012 / 8:10 pm

        Thanks so much. I read your review of it just now. ordered it already. Do I have to wear spf in winter too?

  10. October 16, 2012 / 11:48 am

    I had a horrible reaction to some cold cream earlier this year – cue three months of acne hell. It was horrid, my face just didn’t feel like my own anymore. I eventually visited the doc, and a course of antibiotics sorted my skin right out. So if anyone’s really having trouble, sometimes it is worth speaking to your doctor – it can break the cycle and give your skin a chance to recover so you can test better products. I wish I’d done it sooner. I have to be careful about the products I use now but I’m not a miserable, acne-covered girl anymore. Nice column Ruth! x

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:42 pm

      Hello my cousin Kristin! How lovely to see your face! I didn’t know that a reaction could trigger acne like this – I suspected, at first, that mine was from this crazy Japanese product I tested. The reaction was pretty much instantaneous.. But I thought that it must have been a different cause. Now I’m re-thinking the situation! Hmmm. We must meet up soon for wine. xx

  11. eva
    October 16, 2012 / 12:33 pm

    I had the same problem some months ago!I have used liquid gold,balanced cleanser and nuxe creme fraiche light at that time but my skin didn’t improve that much. I changed my regime and I have stuck to it since I saw my skin becoming clear, not so reactive and glowing!! I found that nice cleansers that balanced my skin and make break outs less red and aggressive (after one week of use my skin was completely clear) are the Darphin intral milk for the morning and the Clarins pure melt cleansing gel with marula oil for the evening (my skin is so soothed!). You really should try them! I use Caudalie’s vinoperfect serum and creams as well. I find this combination perfect for my skin(24 years old,normal to combination with minor break outs).

  12. philippa
    October 16, 2012 / 12:45 pm

    I went
    through exactly the same thing about six months ago (at 29) until last month, it was so utterly depressing not having my normal skin and not knowing how to get it back, I finally got rid of it in a couple of days of antibiotics – as it seems it was folicitus, an infection of the hair follicles
    from threading. Either way,my skin thankfully is back to normal and clear, but I have been left
    with red marks where the spots were and have found that ever since then
    whenever I do get a once a month spot, after the spot goes down I am left with a red mark (maybe something to do with being 29 and not having
    such super young skin that renews itself instantly). I would love to get rid of it, as loved not having to wear foundation in the past,which I can no longer get away with. I have
    found that using a cellular renewal mask twice a week (Arbonne RE9 Cellular
    Renewal Mask– which has Glycolic Acid, Lactic
    Acid, Salicylic Acid, antioxidents and smells of orange – thought you would
    like it Ruth! I think it may be like your liquid gold but with more natural ingredients
    perhaps?) as well as
    having a daily anti-oxidant drink (Arbonne essential antioxidant and immunity
    drink) has faded the marks – but I wondered if there is anything that will get
    rid of them in one hit or at least within a few weeks have the marks totally gone?
    I’ve tried – but am not loving – Estee Lauder Idealist, I think its clogging my
    pours and causing a few small black head bumps around the area I am trying to
    treat (I have super sensitive skin so I try to only use organic, non parabin, non
    mineral oil products). Ruth, do you have anything you would recommend to
    totally get rid of the red marks fast? Have you found you have been left with
    red marks and if so, what have you used post breakout for this? Filorga Meso C? Please help!

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:41 pm

      WOW! I didn’t know that could happen – thank goodness you went and found out! I don’t think that there’s a total quick-fix; you’d do well to take a little time with fading them, I think! Especially as they’ve only been clear for a month! The Filorga-C is excellent and Perricone has a concentrated C in little tubes. I think the Filorga might be better, though.. x

      • philippa
        October 16, 2012 / 3:59 pm

        Thank you so much! I will give it a try. Just checked my diary (yes – i kept a skin diary to track the hell that was going on on my face) and its been seven weeks clear, so think I will treat myself to a celebratory Filorga C on week 8 of clear skin (especially as M&S have 10% off all their beauty products at the moment). Thank you for your advice. Threading my eyebrows has always been fine, its when I decided to try having my sides threaded it all went wrong – big mistake! x

  13. Sarah A
    October 16, 2012 / 12:53 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I occasionally go through phases where I have similar stress breakout, and I have been at a loss for what to do skincare wise. I have found that reducing stress is extremely helpful. While I can’t reduce the amount of pressure at work, I do find that taking 8 minutes out of my day to meditate works wonders. I like to use The Meditation Podcast (available on iTunes) because they guide you through how to relax your mind. Thanks again for the post. I look forward to see the final routine that worked for you.

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:38 pm

      I have just downloaded 10 Mindful Minutes, or whatever it’s called. Will start my meditating tonight! xx

  14. Sylvie
    October 16, 2012 / 1:00 pm

    I share your pain as a fellow skincare junkie, but I do think Mr. AMR has it right… When I have bad skin and stress, I scale back to not much more than rose water and the occasional yogurt or clay mask, and start drinking loads and loads of water. Seems to help!

  15. Sylvie
    October 16, 2012 / 1:01 pm

    (I just noticed the auto-Mr. Bear picture… Very very excited.)

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:38 pm


  16. Helen
    October 16, 2012 / 1:33 pm

    Adult acne, well any acne, can be so utterly frustrating and demoralising. As a life long sufferer 14-34 with no clear period whatsoever I can empathise with anyone blighted with spots, cysts and yucky blockages.

    Thankyou for highlighting that even beautiful models like yourself have to deal with being less than perfect! I will definitely try out the products you mention over the next few weeks until I start the dreaded Roaccutane.


    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:38 pm

      I hope the R works for you – if you need a cream to combat the resulting dryness, have a look at the Efflacar Compensating. It’s excellent. x

  17. Cher
    October 16, 2012 / 1:58 pm

    Usually my chin is the crap spot with all the hormonal breakout but recently they have shifted to my right cheek as well…
    Do you have any ideas how to calm cystic pimples? Cos the ones that grow on me never surfaces and they just stay there for ages regardless of how much bha or clay mask I put… Sigh

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:37 pm

      I think it’s worth checking with the doctor that all your hormones are OK – unless you’re a teen, when it kind of goes without saying that they’re all over the place! I have been using Efflacar Duo from La Roche Posay and it’s incredible! x

      • October 16, 2012 / 3:54 pm

        If the spots are appearing only on your right cheek.. and if thats where you put your hand, or your grubby mobile phone.. clean the phone regular with surgical spirit, and keep hands off face.. sometimes we contaminate our own faces.. mobile phones, get make up and other germs on them and then we touch our faces.. Hope this helps xx

    • October 16, 2012 / 4:18 pm

      @Cher I used to have this problem quite often. I found that using the Clarisonic and the Paulas choice 2% bha liquid works wonders (although the clarisonic will bring those spots to the surface inititally). I also use the Liz Earle clay mask and sometimes the Mario Badescu cystic drying lotion to help dry them up. Taking fish/evening primrose oil also helps me. Hope this helps! xx

  18. Jennifer
    October 16, 2012 / 2:07 pm

    I’m happy for you that your skin issues have been sorted out! Needless to say you are beautiful no matter what, but I’m sure you FEEL loads better now :-) It is amazing what stress can do to us! May I suggest yoga? )If you don’t already practice, that is!) I’ve relied on my daily yoga practice for the past 12+ yrs to help me manage stress; it really does work wonders! GREAT for the complexion, as well. (Way to tie it in to your post, huh?!?)

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:36 pm

      SO many people have told me to do yoga. I must get signed up! xx

  19. L
    October 16, 2012 / 3:18 pm

    Just wondering what nail polish you are wearing in this video?

    • RuthCrilly
      October 16, 2012 / 3:35 pm

      It’s called “killer colours” in Quicksand xx

  20. Samantha
    October 16, 2012 / 8:46 pm

    If there is any advice I could now give to other people in their late teens (18 and above) like I am, it would be to first know your skin (ie, sensitive, combination, oily, dry, etcetera), and to ALWAYS consult with an expert in the field. Yesterday, my mum’s insurance changed, and I was finally able to buy my holy grail gel that has helped to keep my acne at bay. In one night, I can feel a difference. It is slightly noticable, and it is a shame the instructions say to use it at night, but I do believe that it is best to stick with what works, and not to cave in to things that are ambiguous at best in what they do.

  21. Katie
    October 16, 2012 / 10:14 pm

    This has been a great post to read and all the comments have been so helpful and insightful. Thank you, Ruth! My acne isn’t terrible, but it is just always there and that is a huge frustration. It’s mostly on my chin/jaw line, so that tells me it is hormone-related. This is pushing me to go to the doctor and seek out something that will help balance me out.

    Have you tried any retinal products? I’ve read that also helps with acne.

  22. Heidi Lee
    October 17, 2012 / 12:45 am

    Hi Ruth. Thanks for posting this. Your articles are always so helpful and funny. I usually have clear skin with occasional breakouts during those pesky once-a-month lady days. I tried the Alpha-H Liquid Gold and really like it. I find it more gentle than the DDF Glycolic Toning Complex. I’m thinking of trying the Liquid Gold Intensive Night Serum, but I cannot find a site that has the full list of ingredients. I know that it has chock-full of great ingredients like Niacinamide, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Hyaluronic Acid, but I am quite fussy with what I put on my skin. Do you have the full list? Thanks!

  23. Jessica Drey
    October 17, 2012 / 4:03 am

    Hi Ruth, I’ve just tried to update my skincare regime as I noticed that my current one wasn’t cutting it now I’ve hit 25. I bought a lovely day cream and eye cream, and once I got home I noticed the box listed the recommended age group as 40-55! Is there a reason they have this on the box and should you follow the recommended age range? Would love an answer as I’m not sure if I should return the products I purchased, even though they seem to work well for me based on a sample I had.

  24. Ann G.
    October 17, 2012 / 4:57 pm

    God,I have been through acne as a teenager(though I’m still 19).It kinda started at around 11 y.o,a few months before I got my menstruation and lasted till my 18! I hated it.Absolutely hated it.And to this day I do get breakouts cause I get those horrible sebum ‘peaks’,you know those awful little lumps,and I just cannot resist squeezing them.So naturally they become spots.Also,I’m left with quite severe scaring,not just the red/blue spots that are left after the pustules are gone,but actual scars digging into my face :'( So sad.It isn’t as bad as it sounds,I mean I’ve seen worse,but I wish I could do something to make my skin magically become smooth and clear. :( So,I guess iff you’re used to it well…You’re used to it.When you’re used to having perfect skin,it must be hell.Just remember there’s worse. ;)

  25. Mags
    October 19, 2012 / 12:59 am

    I had a exact same outbreak when i was in med school and blamed it on stress ect…i tried everything under the sun. RetinA was what helped the most but my skin was still not perfect. Then i decided to try gluten free diet…and oh my! My skin started clearing up within first few weeks. I had same exact acne as yours, which is called comedonal acne ( those under the skin bumps that arent inflamed or painful and hard to get rid of). I saw someone mentioned folliculitis. From your video it doesnt look like that to me. Folliculitis looks like white little pimples around hair folicle. What happens is a folicle tract gets pogged and inflamed by bacteria. For that you do need antibiotic. It will usually apear in men because they shave ( easy to get bacteria into the skin due to micro damage the razor causes), but the lady who mentioned threading could totally get this too since it’s the same mechanism of infection.

    Exfoliating agents like glycolic acid or retin a will help to get rid of existing acne and those under the skin bumps. Those are called comedones and best way to get rid of them is extraction at the dermatologist’s office and retin a. But it wasnt until i went on gluten free diet that they finally stopped forming. Hope thos helps :-)

  26. CharlieWarlie
    October 20, 2012 / 12:34 pm

    Love the video – I’ve gone off the pill this year and I’m doing a PhD so the combination of hormones and stress have done a number on my skin (and the rubbish food I eat when I stay late at work, my poor skin has no chance!). I recently bought the Ren Clear Calm taster kit so have been giving that a go and it is helping. I’m definitely buying the large size of the wash when my little one runs out but I’m unsure about the day/night creams. I might give that Nuxe mattifying cream a try instead and try and cadge a sample of the Lotus oil off a Clarins counter. Just thought I’d let you know your link isn’t working for the Nuxe cream – I can’t find it on feelunique at all so maybe they’ve run out with all your readers rushing to buy it! I’ll be getting it from Marks and Sparks as its 10% off beauty at the moment. x

  27. Ruby
    October 22, 2012 / 6:40 pm

    Hi Ruth,
    Thank you for the post. I experience exactly the same problem when stressed from balancing work, life and uni. One thing that struck me about your post was where you break out. I found that where I was breaking out was where I was actually touching my face (unconsciously) when sitting at my screen frustrated or trying to focus. When I became aware and stopped touching my face my skin cleared almost immediately. xx

  28. Katie
    October 23, 2012 / 4:36 pm

    Hi Ruth, I love your vids, although you have cost me so much money as I have to now buy all the great things you have recommended!!! I was just wondering if you had any info re: diary and acne?

    I have recently cut out diary as found lots of linking information to acne, no outcomes as of yet (two weeks tested) but have lost 3 pounds in weight!!

    Have you ever come across links to dairy exacerbating acne due to the hormones which cows are fed to keep them lactating..

    Katie x

  29. JB
    October 24, 2012 / 1:12 pm

    Ruth, would you recommend avene extremely gentle cleanser and their skin recovery cream for someone with redness, sensitivity and breakouts? I am thinking of going back to basics with my skincare.
    Thanks :)

  30. Alicilera
    October 30, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    Hi Ruth! I have combination:oily and sensitive skin- wld u recommend the melvita purifying mask or the Liz earle deep cleansing mask for me? Thank u!! <3

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