Banish Those Blemishes + Skin Care Tips

Banish Those Blemishes Adult Acne Treatments

My skin has been acting up in a major way lately…  I think it’s a combination of stress, hormones, and a 1-day trip to Cape Town a couple of weeks ago (it always takes ages for my skin to get back to normal after being stuck on a plane).  The air in planes is very drying, which can trick your skin into producing even more oil and we all know overproductive oil glands lead to breakouts.  Stress raises levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), which increases inflammation and causes oil glands to go into overdrive as well.  All in all, bad news for your skin.  So lately, I’ve been struggling with some nasty breakouts that seem to hang around for ages.  That was until I busted out my trusty blemish treatments.

Acne is a pain, everyone knows that.  I like to consider myself an expert when it comes to blemishes, acne and breakouts.  I’m by no means pretending to be a skin care expert or Dermatologist, but I am your average girl-next-door consumer who struggled with terrible acne in my late twenties.  Yes, you heard right…my LATE twenties.  I know what it feels like to have to deal with cystic adult acne, and covering it up with makeup doesn’t always help.  It was a very difficult time in my life, and I eventually gave up and went on a 6-month course of Roaccutane.  It was both a blessing and a curse.  It solved my acne issues for the most part, but it was an experience I would much rather forget.  The severely dry & sensitive skin, the chapped & bleeding lips, the joint pains, the back pains, the headaches…   I honestly wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy!

These days I still get those pesky pimples (not nearly as bad as it used to be), but can manage the odd breakout with the use of acne treatments.  If you suffer from cystic acne, then I suggest you consult a Dermatologist or skin care professional.  If you struggle with the odd hormonal breakout, or the occasional stress-induced blemish, then this blog post will hopefully introduce you to a few of my favourite treatments (plus they’re easy to get your hands on, no prescription needed).

First things first, head over to my ‘Beauty School – Oily Skin’ and ‘Beauty School – Combination Skin’ blog posts here to read up on the causes, makeup tips and how to look after your specific skin type.  Unfortunately, just cleansing your face isn’t enough to clear up a breakout.  To battle pimples, you’ll need ammunition in the form of treatments.  Before we get started, please note that I don’t use all of these treatments at the same time – that’s just overkill.  I went through my skin care stash in preparation for this blog post, and these are the products that I have been using on & off for the past year or so.

Are you suffering from an awful bumpy breakout that is lurking just below the surface, or a full-on volcano right in the middle of your forehead?  Fear not, here is a list of my top 5 gentle yet effective blemish battlers:

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil ♥ R 75,00 – This is the most natural targeted care for blemished skin you will find, because tea tree oil is a very powerful anti-septic.  I like to pour a few drops onto the end of cotton bud and gently dab on blemishes.  Fortunately this essential oil treatment from The Body Shop has been diluted with other ingredients so it’s not too harsh on the skin (unlike pure tea tree oil).  I find using this as a spot treatment stops the development phase of a blemish in its tracks, and if I catch it early enough it will stop the blemish from surfacing.  The spot basically just shrivels up and dies under the skin (I really do have a way with words sometimes, don’t I?).  Tea Tree Oil can be used in many different ways to help soothe blemished skin.  This can also be used for facial steaming:  Fill up a basin with very hot water, add a few drops of tea tree oil to your steaming hot water, drape a towel over your head, and hold your face over the water for about 10 minutes.   After the time is up, gently pat your skin dry, apply a moisturiser, and then dab a bit of additional oil on the affected areas.  Steam is a very effective way of opening up the pores, and the process flushes out bacteria and oils that cause acne in the first place. Remember, though, removing your makeup is a must before steaming, because you don’t want makeup anywhere near open pores.

Dermalogica mediBac Clearing Breakout Control

Dermalogica mediBac Clearing Breakout Control ♥ R 620,00 – This is specifically formulated to treat adult acne, and contains no benzoyl peroxide (which is a common irritant for sensitive skin).  Breakout Control stimulates the removal of impaction plugs (a blackhead or whitehead) and regulates oil production to help skin clear up and start the healing phase.  Breakout Control is an untinted gel that can be used as a spot-treatment or as an all-over treatment.  I personally only use it as a spot-treatment as my breakout areas are usually the jawline and cheek area. I find it does a great job of absorbing oil and clearing up blemishes.  Whenever I’m going through a breakout phase, this forms part of my evening skin care routine (for the duration of a week) and by day 7, most of the pesky blemishes have significantly reduced in size.  What I really love about this treatment is that it’s not drying or dehydrating at all, plus I feel like it actually soothes my sensitised skin as well.

You can purchase Dermalogica products at selected beauty salons (see their stockist list here) and at Dermalogica Concept Stores nationwide.

The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment

The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment ♥ R 35,00 – As far as using a lightweight mattifying treatment, that doesn’t dry out the skin, this little guy is exactly what you need.  This is a non-clogging, easily absorbed, oil-free moisturising gel.  Seaweed is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it will soothe the inflammation that’s causing those red, painful blemishes.   Seaweed in skin care products is a winner because it contains essential fatty acids that don’t just infuse your skin with moisture, but also prevent your skin from losing that moisture.  I know what you’re thinking…  “Why should I be worried about moisture loss when I’m dealing with acne?”  Here’s the deal, when you use a traditional acne treatment that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, it dries out the skin.  Seaweed purifies and balances the skin in the areas where you need it most, whilst delivering essential moisture to the drier areas.  All this, while you sleep.

This night treatment is a gel formula that feels very much like a liquid on the skin.  It absorbs into the skin almost instantly but doesn’t leave my skin feeling tight.  This is an all-over treatment, so it helps to reduce the production of excess oil and leaves my skin feeling plump and hydrated.  Unfortunately this travel size is not available for purchase anymore, but you can still buy the full size for R 155,00 (not bad for a full-face acne treatment gel).

Freeman Beauty Mint & Lemon Clay Mask

Freeman Beauty Mint & Lemon Clay Mask ♥ R 16,95 – This is a great clay mask for combination to oily skin.  This zesty cooling clay mask absorbs oil (as clay masks usually do), reduces inflammation, and minimises the appearance of large pores.  I use this specific mask from Freeman during the hot Summer months, when my skin is particularly oily and blemish-prone.  I find it’s great for sorting out PMS-related breakouts because I can use the mask consistently for a week without aggravating any sensitivity in the skin.  In fact, you will see best results if you use it for more than just a few days.

If you read this blog post, you will remember I mentioned that oily or combination skin that is dehydrated needs water- based products and this mask is water-based.  The Mint & Lemon Clay Mask absorbs oil but does not leave the skin feeling tight or dry.  It also contains peppermint oil which helps to soothe and nourish the skin, minimise breakouts, and help fade pigmentation.  Lemon which is a natural bleaching agent, which means it will help with hyperpigmentation and lighten acne scars.  I’ve also used this as a spot treatment at the first sight of a pesky little pimple – it works like a bomb!  You can also buy this mask in a full size tube at Dis-Chem for R 69,95.

Soap & Glory No Clogs Allowed Deep Pore Detox Mask

Soap & Glory No Clogs Allowed! Deep Pore Detox Mask ♥ £ 11,50 (R 219,00) – This is probably my favourite face mask at the moment because it is so fun to use!  It really is a very unique little mask.  Here’s why I love it so much:  It’s self-heating and colour-changing.  This is a scrubby face mask, meaning it contains micro beads to polish the surface of the skin.  It deep cleans, melts away pore-clogging sebum and softens the skin as well.  Don’t let the cute name fool you though, it definitely packs a punch!  As with the Freeman mask, I can also use this as a spot treatment as it does a great job of detoxifying problematic areas on the skin.  I massage a grape-sized amount of this white volcanic mineral-based mask onto dry skin, then wet my hands and rub & scrub in circular motions until it turns…BLUE.   The packaging says it starts to heat up after you’ve added water, but I always feel the heat as soon as I apply it to my face.  After 5 minutes, I like to remove it with a warm, wet washcloth.  Nothing feels better than using a warm washcloth to remove a face mask, especially on a cold Winter’s eve.

Getting back to the mask, it purifies, detoxifies, mattifies, exfoliates and effectively cleans out the dirt & grime from my pores.  My skin looks brighter and feels clean and clear.  I’m definitely not saying it solves all my blemish issues in just one application, but with regular use I always notice a difference.  I like to use this as part of my weekly pamper session (Sundays are my pamper days), and usually I will follow this up with a hydrating face mask.  I’m all about double-masking it at the moment.

*waves white flag*  This is the only product that is not available in South Africa BUT you can purchase Soap & Glory products from SolRetail (they offer free worldwide shipping).


♥  It’s very important to deal with a breakout quickly and effectively to kick start speedy healing.  If you stop a blemish from festering into a full-on pimple, it will ensure that no scarring or inflammation is left behind as a horrible reminder.   Spot-treating your blemish as soon as you see it can reduce its lifespan by 1 to 2 days.

♥  Remember, overusing acne products can lead to excessive dryness.  Apply the amount recommended on the packaging, not a giant blob of product.  Benzoyl peroxide can even cause chemical burns, so be sure to keep that in mind when you apply any acne treatment to your face.  Another ingredient that you need to look out for is Alcohol Denat. (most acne fighting products contain this) – it’s okay if you use a product that contains this as a spot treatment, but it may become a problem when you apply it all over the face.  Alcohol Denat. causes cell death and can destroy the skin’s lipid barrier over time.  Simple alcohols – mostly listed as ‘Isopropyl’, ‘Alcohol Denat.’ and ‘Ethanol’ can be very drying.  I always check the ingredients list whenever I start testing a new moisturiser.  The bottom line is this, try to avoid anything with simple alcohol listed among its first few ingredients or rather opt for something that says ‘alcohol free’ on the packaging.

♥  Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean ALL types of alcohol are bad for your skin.  There are fatty alcohols – anything called ‘Cetyl’, ‘Cetearyl’, or ‘Behenyl’ and these are derived from fats and oils.  They can actually be moisturising as opposed to drying.

♥  Acne products can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, so be sure to use SPF30 or higher.

♥  Wash those makeup brushes!  I know, I know…  Washing your makeup brushes probably ranks somewhere between watching paint dry and cleaning your cat’s litter box on your ‘To Do’ list.  I’d rather sit through an episode of ‘Days Of Our Lives’ than give my makeup brushes are good cleaning.  But if you want a clear complexion, you just have to suck it up and do it.  Bacteria accumulates and grows between the bristles of your foundation, concealer and other face brushes, and dirty brushes will just transfer that bacteria to your face.  Eew…  Even if your skin is clean / clear, your brushes are still collecting oil, dust and dead skin cells.  Don’t save it up in your brushes just to wipe it all over your face, wash those babies as often as possible.

♥  Leave your blemishes and blackheads alone.  Picking at your skin introduces more germs (even if you think your hands are clean), increases the chances of scarring, and can aggravate inflammation…which means more breakouts.  If you really can’t stand the sight of a particularly large blemish, then head on over to a Dermalogica Concept Store & go for a Microzone treatment.  It’s a 20-minute, targeted and effective skin treatment that targets pressing skin issues like breakouts, dullness, and tired eyes in a flash for immediate results.  It’s more affordable than a 60-minute facial, and will take care of any skin issues you might have.

♥  Bed linen can be a safe haven for bacteria. Change your pillowcases at least once a week, and the same goes for towels too.

Remember, ladies – miracles don’t happen overnight.  If you expect your skin to clear up in just a couple of days, you’ll be disappointed.  Depending on your age, skin type, genetics, lifestyle, diet and products used, it may take up to 3 months for your skin cells to turn over and reveal new skin.  Be consistent with your skin care routine, and be patient.



  1. Missy
    19 June 2015 / 07:45

    Awesome tips…. Would love to try The Body Shop Seaweed Clarifying Night Treatment for my redness.

    Any products for Rosacea?

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:26

      Rosacea is such a difficult skin condition to treat, because skin tends to be so sensitive too. The only brand that I know of that have a skin care range targeted specifically for redness in the skin and sensitivity is Dermalogica – their UltraCalming range. One has to be careful when buying more affordable products when you struggle with sensitivity because it can have a huge effect on the skin. I have sensitivity on my forehead and cheeks (red blotchy skin) and I find it’s best to invest in skin care products that you know will work – i.e. Dermalogica.

      • Lee-Anne
        15 July 2016 / 10:55

        Hi Luzanne
        You should try the Avene Range – available from Clicks. We have a range especially formulated for Rosacea – if you need more info please contact us on

  2. Anina
    19 June 2015 / 08:50

    Hierdie Freeman maskers is heerlik – ek hou veral van die aarbei en choccie ene. Moet myself keer om nie my lippe af te lek nie! n Trippie Body Shop toe is beslis aan die orde van die dag…

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:27

      Ek het nog nooit die aarbei en chocolate een probeer nie, want ek is nie mal oor ‘n sjokolade reuk nie. 🙂 Mar ek is mal oor meeste van die ander Freeman maskers, amazing kwaliteit vir die prys! x

  3. Rhea
    19 June 2015 / 09:05

    I love the Tea Tree option. Tea Tree is one of my favourite smells, I remember the having bottles of it around the house growing up.

    I had no idea that we could use the Body Shop alternative on the face! Thank you

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:28

      I love the scent of Tea Tree too, and Eucalyptus. 😉

  4. 19 June 2015 / 13:19

    Fantastic tips. I have skin that scars so so easily, and when I get a pimple, the mark can hang around for over a month after the spot itself has gone away. I have one that has been there for over a month since the spot healed?! I have no idea how to help with this but I do find that if I rub a little bit of tissue oil in to that area that it helps it to fade.

    I have INSANELY sensitive skin that freaks out during seasonal changes. I was going for a wax last week for my bikini and eyebrows, as the following day I was leaving on a 4 day trip to Mozambique. My nose had been very dry and a bit flaky from having a bit of a cold before, and I was battling with the dryness as it’s my biggest pet hate. I don’t enjoy Dermalogica products as some of them really irritate my skin (odd, as they’re meant to help sensitive skin). The consultant suggested I try a bit of the sample bottle of soothing booster, and I figured, what the hell, it’s soothing so it won’t react badly right? WRONG – I left for Mozam with a nose that had blistered into a rash from the booster! It looked like crocodile skin! I was so mortified as my skin is always smooth. Luckily, for this very reason, I always travel with antihistamine tablets and cream and it helped take the swelling and irritation down so much.

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:32

      I know how you feel, I have had acne scars that only start to fade after a month or so. In the past I always felt like I had to cover everything up with foundation and concealer but these days I walk around bare-faced whenever I feel like it. My skin isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be though, so the Roaccutane definitely helped. It was just a horrible experience. 🙁

      Tissue oil and Vitamin E oil definitely helps for scarring, and the Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm helps a lot too (you can buy a tube at Clicks).

      I hope your skin is better now? Sounds like you had a terrible reaction… Sucks having sensitive skin, I go through phases where my skin is super sensitive (red & blotchy) and other times my skin is normal (well as normal as it can possibly get). 😉

  5. sameera Mahomed
    19 June 2015 / 13:22

    I’m currently using Grease Lightening from Lush to banish pimples and blemishes.. Works wonders you got to try it..

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:33

      Oh yes! I’ve heard Grease Lightening is great, will definitely check it out next time I’m at LUSH. Thanks for the recommendation, Sameera. 🙂

  6. 19 June 2015 / 14:33

    My Spirits have become lower and lower due to my skin. But I have been making some active changes and will add a few of your tips into the mix as well to see how it goes.

    Thanks Luz

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:36

      I know exactly how you feel, I went through a particularly rough patch in my twenties when my skin was breaking out all the time. I hope your skin gets better soon, there’s nothing worse than feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. Maybe try making those changes & see how it goes. If it doesn’t get better, go see a Dermatologist and find out what your options are.

      Roaccutane is hectic, but it definitely changed my skin for the better.

      Sending you a big hug! xo

  7. Samantha
    19 June 2015 / 15:30

    Adult acne is the worst of the worst, it’s getting me down so much lately. Thank you for these tips, I’m going to make some changes to my skin care routine for sure. 🙂

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:37

      Adult acne sucks…a lot. I hope these tips will help you / your skin, Samantha. 🙂

  8. Isabelle Perkins
    19 June 2015 / 15:52

    You have helped me so much with this blog post, Lu! thank you, I am going to take your tips under consideration and going to look for the Soap & Glory mask. 😉

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:37

      You are so welcome, Isabelle. 😀

  9. Talitha ❤
    19 June 2015 / 17:06

    Presies wat ek nou nodig het, my vel is besig om deur ‘n slegte tyd te gaan en ek gaan definitief die Body Shop tea tree oilie probeer.

    Jy moet ‘n heerlike naweek hê, L. ❤

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:38

      Dankie dat jy tyd geneem het om my blog post te lees en ‘n comment te skryf vir my, Talitha. 🙂

  10. Cynthia
    19 June 2015 / 21:41

    Great post, Luzanne. My daughter is struggling with acne, will look at the Freeman clay mask and Body Shop tea tree oil for her.


    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:38

      Thanks, Cynthia – I hope her skin gets better. 🙂

  11. Jana
    19 June 2015 / 21:48

    Very helpful blog post, thank you Luzanne. My friend will love these tips, going to show her your post.

    The Body Shop was never really on my radar, but ever since reading your blog I am hooked on all their products.

    I’m always impressed with the products you recommend. So happy I discovered your blog earlier this year, I have read almost all of your old blog posts and have learned so much from you.

    Much love,

    Jana XO

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:39

      You are welcome, Jana. 🙂 I hope your friend enjoyed the tips.

      Thank you for leaving this sweet comment for me to read, you just made my day!! xo

  12. Marné
    20 June 2015 / 07:40

    Thanks again for a fantastic post! So informative and enlightening, really enjoyed reading it 😀
    Afterwards I rushed to Rubybox’s site because I was so sure that they started stocking Soap & Glory products a while back. If so, not anymore 🙁

    PS, have you ever tried Lush’s Greese Lightning? It’s also a tea tree spot treatment and (apparently) works very well. Have been uhming and aahing over it, but have not yet tried it.

    Blessings to you xx

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:42

      Yes, Rubybox sold a few S&G products a couple of years ago – I went crazy and bought one of each of the products haha! I’m not sure if the products didn’t sell that well because they never really restocked the products.

      I’ve heard it works like a bomb on acne and blemishes, I’m definitely going to check it out next time I visit LUSH.

      Have a great week, Marné! xo

  13. simone
    20 June 2015 / 15:12

    Love this post! totally needed this post.

    I’m almost out of the Dermalogica pre cleanse….so will look out for the breakout control. I used the Body shop tea tree range…but only that and it dried my skin out terribly. The shop assistant told me when I went back to alternate products… I didn’t realise that. Thankfully I think I have managed to sort out the dryness now by changing up some products.

    oh my word…wash make up brushes…*sobs* ain’t nobody got time for that…lol…but I know it needs to be done 🙁

    when I saw the currency I knew the white flag and confession was coming…but good to see we can get it if we really want it. sounds amazing!

    have a good weekend!

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:44

      Yes, I think the Tea Tree range is for oily skin that is very blemish-prone. I used the range on my combo skin last year and it was a bit too drying to use every single day. Neal has SUPER oily skin and he uses the whole range and loves it.

      Blegh, that reminds me….I have quite a few makeup brushes that are waiting to have a bath. Meh.

  14. Jess
    20 June 2015 / 16:12

    You need to try ***Solal Acne Clear*** (from Clicks) (+-R150 per month)

    I hate tea tree oil. I didn’t realise the Body Shop one was mixed with other stuff. Good to know!

    About the Dermalogica Concept Store Microzone treatment, Is there one in the CBD Cape Town? I searched on the site but couldn’t find it, but there must be! Is there any other similar treatment? Maybe at Sorbet?

    Thanks for the post!

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:46

      I’ll definitely go take a look at that – I’ve heard amazing things about SOLAL as a brand. I’ve been using their daily supplements for a couple of years now & love them!

      There is a Concept Store in V&A Waterfront (they offer Microzone treatments). I’ll find out for you if Sorbet offers something similar, will let you know in another reply to your comment. 🙂

  15. Lulu
    21 June 2015 / 11:58

    Tea Tree Oil is such an amazing product, can be used for such a lot of things. Trust your skin will soon be glowing again!

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:46

      I hope so! Thanks, Lulu! 😀

  16. 22 June 2015 / 12:53

    Great tips! Since exam season I’ve definitely been suffering with more spots than usual due to stress and having combination skin is such a pain for blemishes! The body shop seaweed balm sounds interesting, I think I’ll definitely be picking that one up!! x

    Toni x

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:47

      I hope all went well with your exams, Toni. 🙂

  17. 22 June 2015 / 22:35

    i LOVE the Body Shop seaweed products, especially on my oily acne-prone skin. I completely recomment La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ for speeding up heeling a spot/reducing the scar 🙂

    lillies and lipbalm

    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:47

      Oooh, going to take a look where I can find that product. Thanks for the recommendation, Mel. 🙂 xo

  18. 23 June 2015 / 11:59

    I’ve been suffering from breakouts quite a lot lately, so this post has been really helpful! Tea tree oil is one of my favourite spot treatments but I had no idea seaweed was so good for blemish-prone skin – I’ll have to try the moisturiser next time I’m in The Body Shop 🙂 xx


    • Luzanne
      23 June 2015 / 14:48

      Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post and leave a comment, Beth – I really appreciate it. 🙂 xo

  19. Jenny meier
    27 June 2015 / 08:26

    Thanks for the tips. I tried out the tree tea oil this week on a breakout and I’ve seen a significant reduction in how long it lasted and the severity!

  20. 25 August 2017 / 12:58

    Your blog has so much useful information and easy to follow tips, thanks! Like most of us, I didn’t know about The Bodyshop seaweed products and I am so excited to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Bria
    26 August 2017 / 07:38

    I keep dermalmd blemish serum in my travel bag for small emergencies. I’m sure it works great on blemishes, but I keep it for bug bites and small abrasions and other tiny injuries.

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