When I was 25, I got acne.
Up until then, I hadn’t been troubled by spots, bar the odd monthly hormonal breakout. I thought I’d escaped the fate that had plagued so many of my friends. But I hadn’t. I’d merely delayed it.
And so began an obsession with skincare, a quest to ‘find a cure’ and ditch the zits. In short, I chucked everything at my face.
I used over-the-counter medical products, natural ones, so-called miracle ones, and super-expensive creams lotions and potions – you name it, my face has had it. Sometimes my skin behaved and looked clear-ish but, as I came to learn, it was always fleeting. My persistent spots would return like a rotten ex-boyfriend, and I’d be back to square one, trying out yet another new product, routine or foundation to cover it all up. It was endless. It was also humiliating.
Family members and colleagues would offer back-handed compliments when my skin was ok, saying things like “your skin looks good at the moment.” AT THE MOMENT. The clear implication – to my sensitive ears at least – was ‘because it usually looks dreadful, so, enjoy it while it lasts’.
Having troubled skin is an incredibly emotional issue. You feel grubby, a bit dirty even. Most of all, you feel shame, like it’s your fault. In the end, I got rid of the acne thanks to a sympathetic GP, who referred me to a dermatologist at the Lister Hospital in London.
Now, there is no-one – not a skin therapist, skin expert or skinfluencer – who knows skin and skincare better than a dermatologist. Dermatology is a highly specialised field of medicine. After five or six years in medical school, dermatology requires a further four years of training. That’s a lot, so perhaps it’s no surprise there are only 650-odd dermatologists in the UK. And with one in three of all GP appointments – seriously, one in three – being skin-related, there simply aren’t enough to go round.
So, when I was approached by a group of medical experts – two consultant dermatologists (the top dogs of dermatology), a dermatologist registrar and two pharmacist prescribers on a mission to democratise dermatology and make it accessible to all via their new skincare brand, I was intrigued. Could that possibly work?
The concept behind Skin+Me is simple – giving everyone access to evidence-based skincare, prescribed for the individual to treat their own, very personal issues and then help them maintain good skin. As a subscription business, everything happens online, which means the process is fast – and with NHS waiting lists topping 12 months in some regions of the UK, that’s no small selling point. My main question was, could the team really get a handle on someone’s skin woes through a screen?
After filling-out the online consultation, designed to mirror a face-to-face derm appointment, you submit three unfiltered, no make-up, close-up selfies – fun! Three days later your ‘daily doser’ skin treatment drops through your letterbox. The doser itself is a little bit of genius, using twist and click technology to ensure it distributes the exact dose of skincare you need – no more, no less, and no worrying about what-the-heck a pea-sized amount really looks like. All you need to add to your routine to support the magic of your treatment is a gentle cleanser and a moisturiser with SPF.
As acne is thankfully no longer a concern for me, my skin goal is focused on age-prevention – treating my fine lines and wrinkles, as well as some very stubborn pigmentation on my forehead. Four months in and my skin has never looked or felt better. My skin texture is improving, the pigmentation on my forehead is fading out and I have a noticeable glow. I even leave the house sometimes without wearing foundation – something I haven’t done since I was in single digits.
I eulogise about this brand to anyone who will listen, because I’ve seen first-hand how it transforms people’s skin. I’ve started working with the brand, simply because I believe in it so much, though perhaps a better indicator of my faith is that I also have my 66-year-old mum on it, and my twin 17-year old nieces, not to mention tonnes of my friends, and the team at The Flock. They’re all unanimous in their praise and say their skin is improved and improving. Oh, and after the first month, which is free, it’s only £20 a month. That’s 66p per day. How’s that for dermatological democracy?
For more information on Skin+Me’s process, visit the website here.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Jo Jones works with Skin+Me as a freelance brand consultant. Neither she nor The Flock have been paid to write this feature, no affiliate links have been used, and Jo is under no obligation by the brand to promote them in her column or on her social channels.