Dynamic Andrea treats acne the natural way with homemade skin creams
Acne is one of the hardest skin conditions to control and regular outbreaks can leave people socially embarrassed. Joanne Sweeney hears how one woman ‘cured' hers and is now helping others with her natural skincare range
SUFFERING with acne at any stage of your life is embarrassing but when you are an adult in your late 30s, it can feel as if you will never be free of it.
According to the NHS, there is no 'cure', as such, for acne – sufferers need to learn how to control and help prevent new outbreaks. The term acne covers a range of troublesome skins conditions such as blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, nodules and the more serious cysts, which can lead to long-term scarring.
However, north Belfast woman Andrea Morrow believes that she has developed a range of creams and serums which can either eradicate or greatly improve acne for users.
Called Fresh To Face, the creams are all homemade and contain only fresh and natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, geranium and jasmine.
Morrow claims that by using her creams on her own skin, she has enjoyed near-miraculous control of her acne. Now, as word spreads among friends, family and colleagues, her products are becoming one of Belfast's best-kept beauty secrets among women with problem skin.
Better known as Irish News journalist and former North Belfast News editor Andrea McKernon, like many of us, Morrow – her married name – spent many years and a considerable amount of money using high-end products to try and clear up her skin.
"I would always have had a bit of acne when I was younger, particularly on my back and chin but I would have described it as normal acne. However, I had a really bad breakout in my late 30s and early 40s," she says.
"It mainly affected me on my neck and I would have these large spots around my collar line which I seemed never to get rid of. I don't know why this happened but maybe I was oilier around my neck.
"It was really embarrassing to have these big spots when I was in my 40s and I sometimes felt I looked like a man with shaving nicks. It used to really get me down and some of them were really sore and very angry. It felt like my skin had really turned against me.
The journo-turned-skincare entrepreneur admits she "must have spent hundreds of pounds on creams and treatments and sought specialist help from facialists and beauty therapists" over the years.
She adds: "I tried nearly every cream there was on the market. They did the best they could but nothing seemed to clear it up."
Frustrated, she thought the condition was something she would just have to live with. That was until she spotted a book in the library about making homemade cosmetics.
"The book brought face creams down to the basics. I found out that jojoba oil was very light oil which sinks into the skin very quickly and doesn't clog pores. It's perfect for combination skin as it tricks the skin into thinking it has produced enough sebum – oil produced by the sebaceous glands – and replenishes the dry areas only," Morrow explains.
"Using oil on oily skin? I thought that was completely mad as I was always using oil-free skin cream. It also recommended geranium for rebalancing the skin."
Together with her journalistic know-how and her love of nature and plant-life – ever dynamic, she also runs the Belfast Dynamos hillwalking group – Morrow began to develop a cream for herself in her own kitchen, learning how to combine jojoba oil with essential oils and a binding emollient.
Her skin began to improve over a period of weeks and now she says she only gets an occasional spot on her neck.
Morrow began to give little pots of cream to her friends as gifts and developed a night cream with jasmine.
"A colleague who I gave some to accosted me in the office. She nearly pinned me against the wall in her eagerness to tell me she had been stressed the previous six weeks, hadn't slept a wink, but had slept soundly every night since using my cream.
"She said, 'Andrea, you need to sell this stuff. I have insomniac friends who would kill for this cream.'" That was when the idea of turning her passion into a business took root.
Now Morrow is working to develop her fully tested new range, which includes day creams with humorous names such as Sensitive Sue, and Hot Flashy, a cream with rosehip designed for menopausal women. Her two main products, Sleep With Me Night Cream and Sleepy Serum, sell for £35 and £30 a pot.
"The way I see my skin creams and serums is the difference between a home-cooked meal and a supermarket processed meal," she says. "I want to create fresh, natural creams for the face that the user can have complete faith in and hopefully one day to franchise it out to other women as a home-based business."
:: For further information see freshfacebeaut.com or call Andrea Morrow on 0791 0281 747.