I remember my Mother telling me how lucky I was as a teen when it came to my skin.  I literally can remember only one time I had a pimple and I was 14 and it was before the school dance so I was gutted.  However the older I got, the more my skin begin to change; by 25 my reaction to stress and hormones was to break out – particularly around my chin and jawline in hard cystic acne deep below the skin.

At 29 we moved to Vancouver for a year and the dry air completely changed my skin again.  Coming from New Zealand where it significantly more tropical (read: wet and humid), my skin dried out and the cystic acne was even worse – every month it appeared. To add to my issues, I am a pimple popper, which meant I had both cystic acne (lumps you can’t really hide from a texture perspective) and dry, flaking, healing skin from where I was squeezing.

I began wearing a lot more foundation and carrying a concealer wand everywhere I went.  I tried to find photo evidence how bad my skin was during this period but all you can see is that I am wearing a lot of foundation and some slight discolouration around the left side of my chin and jaw – but really I had just become great at covering up – you can see a telltale bump in my jawline in the photo below… just imagine a tonne of those running along my jaw and under my chin.

At 30 I was back in New Zealand and my skin was not still not happy.  And now I had fine lines appearing around my eyes and forehead which at that point horrified me more than the breakouts which I had resigned myself to having each month.

After spending months buying expensive (but useless) drugstore brand retinols, I made an appointment with my local Caci Clinic to see what they could offer. At my consultation, I remember requesting we focus on the fine lines around my eyes, with a secondary focus on my breakouts …I had come to terms with the fact that breakouts were my life now and I had given up on having clear skin because I knew it was hormonal and facials can’t fix hormones right?

My fantastic therapist, Helen,  checked out my skin, told me it was really pretty good and recommended regular treatments that would either be microdermabrasion or sonophoresis-infusion (a tool that uses a current to push applied product further into the skin).  I signed up for a year of treatment on one of Caci’s programmes so I would have a facial each month, some free product and a computer analysis of my skin.

Helen and I discussed the products I had been using and why – retinols which would clear my acne for a few days or weeks and then it would come back.  A common issue apparently.  And we decided that each time I finished a product I would try and replace it with Murad, the range that Caci stock.  I have to admit I was thinking “mmhmm sure I’ll let you know when I run out which will be never”.

I was really focused on my fine lines and ageing overall, so Helen recommended a Murad eye cream.  I was prepared to buy an eye cream because I wasn’t using one and as it was my number one issue I felt justified in taking a risk on this range I had never heard about before.

Not going to lie, it was possibly the most money I have spent on a single beauty product.  I used the eye cream every night and within 10 days my fine lines were gone… this big issue was completely gone with the use of the right product.  And for a cynic like me, my interest in Murad was suddenly piqued….you mean it does what it says it will?! No!

When I went to my second appointment I was happy to trust Helen’s recommendation for products to improve my breakouts. Helen explained to me that she believed my breakouts were hormonal and we should address that first and recommend a moisturizer that contained phytoestrogens (from plants) which would help regulate the hormonal balance of my skin.  I was pretty surprised that we were going with a moisturizer to stop me breaking out, but Helen hadn’t let me astray so far. So off I went with my next product –Age-Balancing Moisture with SPF30.

Over the next four-six weeks my skin improved; I still had breakouts but they were smaller, more contained to one area, only one painful cystic pimple rather than five.   After six months (and having received six facials in that time) I stopped carrying makeup in my handbag.  I didn’t need to use concealer at all.

Even now months after my last facial, I no longer break out – not even before or during my period.  Not even a normal pimple and certainly not the cystic acne I was suffering from.  I often go without foundation at all, I don’t feel that it’s necessary to cover up my skin… something I never thought I would feel ok doing.

Makeup free and hair on fleek thanks to @sarahmck_theavenue_hairstudio

A post shared by Rachel (@rachelgeebee) on

I have also recommended Murad to anyone who will listen and have had friends fall in love with the range as well – I know Ella from Miss Victory Violet has been trying Murad products after my suggestion and is going to post an update in the coming weeks about her experience.

For my animal loving friends – Murad products are cruelty-free, do not sell in China and were developed by a Dermatologist (Dr Murad!).  Some Murad products do contain possible ingredients derived from animals so you may want to check if they are vegan.

Let me know what skincare you love and whether you’ve tried Caci or Murad before!


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