We recently caught up with Sharon Hilditch, Managing Director of Crystal Clear and MBE for services to skincare, to ask her about her top tips for Acne and Spot Prone Skin.

Acne is something the majority of people will suffer from at some stage of their life. Often for men it is during younger years and, a downside to not usually wearing makeup is there is no way to conceal or hide blemishes and breakouts. Sorry guys! However for the vast majority of men they will not suffer so badly in later life whereas for women it is often in later life ladies who have ‘never had a spot my whole life’ can encounter it. For both sexes it will be linked to hormones and puberty often plays its part. For women, pregnancy or following babies and the menopause will be a factor and for both sexes stress, diet and lifestyle can change as you get older which is also a driver.

Whatever the age and reasons behind acne, one thing everyone has in common – they want to do everything and anything possible to try and reduce it or stop it.

So we asked Sharon, what do you recommend to someone who has ‘tried everything’ as is often the case we hear about when people telephone us +44 (0) 151 709 7227 and through our Salons.

“Well this is as good a start as any. When you’ve tried everything you’re probably at a stage where, regardless of whether you have acne or not, your skin is being overloaded with products and it just can’t cope. So this is good advice for both acne and spot prone skin. When your skin is at its worst you are probably at the best time to stop using everything. I know this sounds and seems impossible – the last thing you want to do but, believe me – there’s a reason for it.

You need to give your skin a break. Some products block the skin if they’re too heavy for you. So we are looking to allow your skin to drain off excess oils naturally (rather than through all the products). We also want to get back to you listening to your own skin, rather than what adverts are telling you.

For at least 2 weeks.

Ok, not absolute abstinence. You still need to cleanse and moisturise but only with very simple and light products. Essentially you are trying to let your skin breathe again and let out everything it’s trying to. You’ll worry this means more spots and it might mean a few in the very short term but what you won’t see is all the other impurities coming out, your skin slowly breathing a sigh of relief and getting ready to get healthy again. This is what we want.

Everyone can actually benefit from having a skin Spring Clean every now and again. No matter how clear or not your skin is.

So, for 2 weeks cut everything else out you’ve been using and just use your cleanser and moisturiser. Morning and night. That’s it. Consistency and simplicity is everything here.

Once you’ve done this you’ll almost certainly see and feel a difference in your skin. You can now slowly re-introduce additional products if you like (or for some people they’ll be happy realising just the simple 2 stage cleanse and moisturise is enough for them). Everyone always used to talk about toner as well but, these days most cleansers or cleansing gels or soaps take care of the toner bit as well at the same time.

All ranges will have a gentle version of their cleansing products – we have Soothing Cleansing Gel rather than the Deep Cleanse Gel. Often someone with acne will assume Deep Cleanse Gel sounds stronger and therefore it’s better for them. It’s not. If your skin is sore and delicate – treat it that way.

If you are going to reintroduce new products again then remember to go very carefully. And test one at a time. So add one new product a week to see how it affects you. If it’s bad, cut it out, if it’s good, continue with the next. And so on.

I recommend getting some advice if possible and you can do so through our own Skincare Advisors – they are all trained Skincare Professionals with years of experience so will be happy to help. You can call us anytime on +44 (0) 151 709 7227.

Even better will be visiting your local Salon 

Having Sharon to ask we couldn’t resist – what would she recommend as standard for acne or spot prone skin? She invented all of our products and treatments after all.

“Ok that’s easy. You need a really simple cleanser. For us it’s Soothing Cleansing Gel – use that every day morning and night.

Once a week use a gentle polish if you can – Oxygen Polish is great – it will slough away the outermost dead skin cells and impurities for you but gently.

If you want to use something specifically on your problem areas or outbreaks – I’d try Blemish Defense.

And lastly, I’d use a mask just once a week. 10 Minute Glow was developed to kill bacteria on skin 60 minutes after application and it’s been proven clinically to do just that.

Good luck if you are suffering with acne or spot prone skin – I know how difficult it is. Remember – you feel far more conscious about it and are more bothered than anyone else. But follow these tips and hopefully you’ll feel happier about it again soon.”