I've been wanting to write an update to my Skin Deep post that I wrote a few years back, for a while now but I've been holding off because my skin has been so up and down.

Just under a year ago now, my acne came back probably the worst it's ever been. I'd had a few years where my hormones were very much up in the air from being pregnant and having Hunter and I think last year they really started to settle down in to what is more 'my norm'! I took the photos above in July last year. I was crying with the pain and the appearance of my acne every day and nothing was working. I have to say though, at this point, my diet was probably at it's worst also. I was eating a lot of chocolate and other naughty foods, next to no fruit, only a small amount of vegetables and I wasn't drinking nearly enough water and instead consuming vast amounts of diet fizzy drinks. My skin was such a mess.

I was always one of these people who felt like my skin had to be scrubbed clean every morning and night because I had spots, and I'd use all manner of products to get my make up off and clean my face so thoroughly it would sting afterwards. I had read time and time again how being gentle to your skin would benefit it far more than harsh acne products, so I thought, what the heck - it can't get any worse right now! So I took one very big step backwards and pretty much started doing nothing!

I do just want to point out, before I get any further, that none of the products I mention in this post have stopped my acne, however, they've all helped with the texture of my skin and in making it more comfortable.

So, my routine... It felt really wrong, but I stopped washing my face with washes and scrubs in the morning and instead I started using coconut oil. I chose Kokoso because it was a brand I had used on Hunter when he was a newborn and I had found other coconut oils weren't as good on the skin - for us anyway. I started gently massaging it in to my skin after I had gotten out of the shower in the mornings and then I'd wipe it off with a hot damp cloth. I didn't even have to use a moisturiser because my skin was moisturised already from the coconut oil. Even from such a simple change, my skin really improved.

I continued with this routine, doing the same in the evening for several months, but unfortunately, as you might have previously read, my skin took a turn for the worse around November, when I started to get a rash across my cheeks and nose and I had to start using any and everything to get some much needed moisture back in to my face. I've written a bit more about 'the rash' over on the update I posted the other day.

Since then, I've started a new skincare routine and it's working much better for me.

In the mornings, I simply wash my face with water while in the shower and then moisturise afterwards. I discovered the brand Sukin in November and I was surprised to see how affordable their products were, even though they looked like a premium brand. I had been using the Facial Moisturiser, which I loved, until the other week when I decided to try out the Super Greens Nutrient Rich Facial Moisturiser just out of curiosity, and it feels so lovely on the skin. So far, even on these random hot, summery days we've had, they've not made my skin greasy and haven't broken me out at all. I'm honestly so impressed with this brand!... Anyway, that's it for my morning routine. Nice and simple.

At night time, I've been switching between a few different products but my routine is much simpler now. On the cleansing front, I've mostly been sticking with the Kokoso coconut oil for a one-pot-fix! Let me tell you, coconut oil is amazing for removing makeup! I just scoop a bit out, massage it between my hands so it melts and then massage it in to my face - straight on to makeup. Once I feel it's dissolved as much as possible, I remove it all with damp cotton wool pads. Occasionally, I'll repeat the process again - but not always - and then I wipe my face with a hot, damp cloth. However, I really hate the feel of putting oil straight on to a face full of make up and then having such greasy, mucky hands afterwards, so on nights where I can't face this, I'll use a cream cleanser. Almost the same steps as before: I massage the cleanser in to my face and then remove with a hot damp cloth and repeat if necessary. This has been my preferred method of late. I've been using Liz Earles Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser for years now and it's an absolute staple in my cleansing routine. It never feels heavy on my skin, never dries my skin out and never breaks me out in spots, and it's so simple and effective to use. I've strayed to other brands occasionally but always come back to this one. I usually follow the cream cleanser up with the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic which leaves my skin feeling really fresh, but it's not essential to use this as splashing your skin with cold water would have the same effect.

Whichever way I cleanse, I always follow with the same products: Clinique's Turnaround Revitalising Serum and then my Sukin moisturiser.

My skin improved even more and it seemed to love the hydration.

Although some of the products I use now are a bit more pricey, they last a long time and overall I'm using far less products on it then I was before. And if you can take the feel of the coconut oil on your hands (seriously, is it just me!?) then go for it! It's such a cheap and effective routine and was so gentle on my skin. You'd think putting an oil on your face would make acne worse or make your skin greasier but, for me, it didn't at all.

In January, as you might have read, we started the Slimming World diet. To date, I've lost 1st 3lbs, my fruit and vegetable consumption has vastly increased, my 'naughty things' consumption has vastly decreased and I'm drinking 2 litres of water (almost) everyday. So, with this and a good skincare routine, let me show you the difference in my skin...

These photos were taken a few days ago - while I was on my period also, might I add. It's a pretty noticeable difference don't you think!?

I still get spots - I think I always will - but when I do get them now, they aren't making my skin irritated and painful like they were before. My skin is also far less greasy now - but that might be down to when my skin changed a few months back, I'm not sure. But, overall, I'm so happy with it.

If your skin is like mine, combination/dry/oily/acne ridden/awkward as anything, if you've tried harsher products on your acne and they've stung or left your skin feeling sore, then try a gentler approach - both from the inside and out. It took a while for me to take the leap and try it, I must admit I was scared it would get worse by not scrubbing it clean and feeling that sting (for me, the sting meant my skin was clean!), but when it reached it's peak last year (again) and was making me so upset, I knew I had to try something - anything! I won't be turning back and using face washes or scrubs again and the diet (although we will be a little more lenient once we've reached our target weight) is something that will stay with us.

Gentler routine, cleaner eating and water - all the water - is definitely the way forward!