Thursday, 25 August 2011
Guest Review - Help: Clear Skin Supplements
Hello London MakeUp Girl readers!
In July I was lucky enough to win the Help: Clear Skin giveaway on this blog, and now I'm reporting back on how these supplements have worked for me.
Obviously treating a skin condition like acne is highly individual, and what works for one person won't necessarily work for another … but I am absolutely delighted to be able to tell you all that Help: Clear Skin has made a BIG difference to my skin! In fact, it's now known as "magic water" around my house.
Help: Clear Skin is a dietary supplement in the form of a white powder sealed in individual sachets. You dissolve the powder in a drink or food, and consume 2 a day. The active ingredient is called Praventin™which is rich in lactoferrin, a milk protein which apparently helps reduce the development of bacteria, thus helping to prevent the formation of blemishes. It also contains oligofructose (soluble fiber) and aloe vera, and is free from: artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and gluten, and is suitable for vegetarians, diabetics, and lactose intolerant people. I won't go further into the science in this review, but you can find more information by doing some research or visiting the brand's website: http://www.workswithwater.co.uk
The supplements come in boxes of 14 sachets (1 week's worth) for £9.99, though the website above currently has a buy-one-get-one-free promotion on both single boxes (£9.99) and a multi-pack of 4 boxes (£38.96). That makes the best price available at the moment 8 boxes for £38.96 – that's a 56 day supply at £4.87 a box.
Here's some background information about me and my skin:
I am 28 years old, I have combination, sensitive, acne prone skin. I didn't have much in the way of acne as a teen, but as an adult it has become a real problem. Most of my breakouts are in my chin area (including jawline and sometimes upper lip), and there is a definite hormonal aspect to my acne, though my monthly cycle does not account for all of my breakouts. I have occasional spots on my forehead or temple area but these are not my main concern.
I am absolutely not a skincare expert, but I have spent a long time trying to learn what's right for my skin. I have learned through experience that most acne treatments are too harsh for my skin. Because my skin is sensitive, anything that causes irritation, even if it reduces blemishes in the short-term, tends to lead to more of them in the long term. The most discouraging issue has been that despite my efforts, it has seemed like my acne has been increasing, not decreasing over the past several years. This has lead to me discontinuing all acne treatments on several occasions and sticking to a very simple, minimal routine, but though these measures have occasionally helped my skin regain balance when it's been over-dried or over-irritated, my acne has not responded.
I could go on for hours about acne treatments I have tried and the degrees of success and failure associated with them – and I'm happy to answer any questions in the comments – but as far as this review, suffice to say I've tried a lot of things!
At the beginning of my Help: Clear Skin trial I was already 3 weeks into keeping myself strictly to a skincare routine using familiar products that I know don't make my acne worse, but which also aren't enough to control my breakouts. I decided to stick with this routine so I could clearly attribute any changes to taking the Help: Clear Skin supplements. At that time I had at least 2 or 3 active spots at all times, and then had "breakouts" at least once a month with at least 4 or 5 active spots. My acne had reached a point where the red marks from former spots never got a chance to heal and fade before more spots popped up, and I was finding my skin to be an increasing source of frustration and distress not to mention embarrassment. It had been months since I had experienced a single day free from "active" spots.
Using Help: Clear Skin:
I found these supplements easy to take. Though they can be dissolved in food (hot or cold) and drinks (hot or cold, but not carbonated) I mainly drank them with water, or sometimes fruit juice. They dissolve fairly easily … with a few exceptions – if you just dump the whole packet in at once you can get a big lump that's harder to dissolve. So I sprinkle it back and forth across the top of the water and watch it fall to the bottom of the glass. Then I leave it be for a minute or two before stirring. I found that if I stirred a lot at the beginning it was harder to make it dissolve and sometimes the water was cloudy. I imagine these would dissolve even more easily in hot beverages, I'm just not much of a hot beverage drinker. In terms of taste, if it's in anything with flavor, I don't think I can tell it's there at all. I might be able to guess correctly in a blind taste test, but it would be a close thing. In water, I can tell it's there (and my husband confirmed that he can also detect its presence) but it's not at all unpleasant or hard to drink.
I like that the individual sachets are so travel-friendly, and that all the really relevant information is printed right on the sachet itself, including its "best before" date. I'm not a big fan of pink, but other than that I think the packaging is well executed.
Results from using Help: Clear Skin:
I saw results within 2 days of starting to take these supplements. Existing blemishes improved in size and especially in color (less red), and became less painful. Within 5 days, I had no active spots, though I still had plenty of red marks. My skin felt much more calm. I started to let myself hope that this would be a miracle cure. However, by day 7 I felt spots coming up again, and had 3 or 4 spots by the following day, BUT they were much smaller than my usual spots, and not nearly as red and angry. I thought that they were going to be awful and stick around for a week, but within 24 hours I could already see that I'd reached a turning point and they were starting to improve, instead of continuing to get worse as they usually would at that stage. Again my skin recovered, and I had a few completely acne free days. This state has more or less continued ever since. I get a spot or two (not as bad as my usual ones) which resolve much more quickly than they used to, and then I get a few clear days. I have to stress that this is a HUGE improvement, as it had been months and months since I'd had a single clear day.
Because things were going so well, I did start to experiment a bit instead of sticking to the plan I set up for myself. Firstly, I started taking only one sachet most days. I was already often forgetting my second dose, so I knew I still saw good results when using half as much. On my budget, buying more Help: Clear Skin is going to be expensive, so I wanted to know if I could make a box last longer. The answer is YES. I now only take one a day most of the time. The other change I made was to move away from the strict skincare routine I had set out and back into my more normal skincare routine of assessing my skin on a day-by-day basis and trying to give it what it needs at that time. (This is the skincare approach that usually works best for me.)
I have continued to enjoy the same results that I described above for over a month now. Help: Clear Skin does NOT completely stop my skin from breaking out - I still have small breakouts and a spot here or there a lot of the time, but there are fewer spots, and the ones that I do get go away much faster, never get as big, and are much less red. This held true through what would normally have been my usual hormonal breakouts. At those times I've gotten an extra spot or two, but still nothing like it used to be.
My current plan is to take two sachets of Help: Clear Skin when experiencing or anticipating a breakout, and one sachet per day the rest of the time. It's taken me a long time to get back to Lydia with this review because I wanted to make sure that the results I was experiencing weren't a short-term fluke, and I am convinced of that now. My husband, as a more objective observer, is even more convinced of the success of "the magic water" than I am. In fact, he notices a visible difference in the redness of my spots within an hour after drinking "magic water"!
Obviously I can't tell anyone whether this would work for them, but I am happy to answer questions about my experience. I will be re-buying Help: Clear Skin when I run out (hopefully for a reduced price as in the offer above, as I feel the base-price should be lower, despite being able to make a box last roughly twice as long as it should). I will also be looking around to see if I can find a less expensive alternative with the same active ingredients, though given the choice I would prefer to stick with Help: Clear Skin purchased at a lower price, as I know this product works well for me.