"I overloaded on skincare actives and gave myself a chemical burn. Here's the products that fixed it."

Safe to say I got a little overexcited last weekend. For the first time in forever I had two entire days of back to back "gatherings".

I put this unusual occurrence - as I do every year - down to the fact that it’s September and literally everyone’s birthday. All y’all parents playing contact sports at Christmas!

So being a keen bean, I started my beauty routine several days in advance with what can only be described as a customised rendition of ‘Old McDonald had a farm’ which pretty much goes like this:

“There’s a retinol here, salicylic acid there, glycolic... peptides... masks and serums everywhere...”  

And the music video for it is me exuberantly whipping bottles and jars out of my bathroom cabinet and pipetting them directly onto my face like I’m teaching some sort of bloody potions class at Hogwarts.

Now... I’d like to preface what I’m going to tell you next by saying that none of the aforementioned vitamins or acids are harmful when used wisely or MODERATELY. Hell, let’s even throw a “separately” in there too.  But the way I applied them... gleefully, cockily, abundantly... 


Well. I pretty much burnt my face off.

And this was BAD. For two reasons. 

  1. I ended up spending my much anticipated weekend of jollies looking like I had a hectic, peeling pash rash that I couldn’t even cover with foundation as it just sat in the cracks of my skin making my face look like a slab of scorched clay. 

  1. In DAYS TIME I had an important appointment at the modelling agency I was signed to when I was but a mere child to see if they would take me back. It was damaging enough to my chances that I’m all up my thirties with saggy tits, multiple kids and an arse that’s seen more Big Macs than yoga mats... AND NOW THIS. I was basically twins with ‘The Thing’ from Fantastic Four. FML.

I needed a fix, and I needed it expeditiously. But it was Saturday at this point, and I didn’t ditch my kids at their daycare again until Monday. This meant that wherever I went up until then I had to take them with me and I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to get a huge-ass double pram into chemist warehouse before BUT IT DOESN’T FIT. 


So I had to muddle along with what I had on hand. Which was... 

1. Invite E Vitamin E Cream 100g, $10.49

Image: Supplied. 

I bought this after a couple of the gals over on the You Beauty Facebook group said that this was their daily moisturiser and they had “the best skin of their life”. I was sceptical, but intrigued.

I was yet to try it but given that my face felt like it had been ironed and the tube said it “reduces dryness” and “supports skin healing” I had no hesitation in slathering it all over my face with the same gusto with which I spread butter.


My skin drank this up like it was a cold beer at 4pm on a Friday and required three middle of the night reapplications. What can I say? She was thirsty.

2. Kenkay Pure Sorbolene Cream 500g, $5.99

Image: supplied. 

This was a relic from my eczema baby days - our GP suggested I wash my daughter with this after she broke out in flaky rashes soon after starting solids. I’m not going to lie - it smells like a tub of chalky old paint but it felt like heaven! 


This was by far the most blissful thing I put on my skin during this turd of a time. I used it like a cleanser - wet my face with lukewarm water, gently massaged it in, then carefully rinsed it off and pat dry. 

I think I’m going to keep this one... I just ran out of my usual cleansing butter and as far as I’m concerned it can “sashay away”. There’s a new girl in town, and at less than ten bucks a tub maybe now I can afford some common sense.

 3. Weleda Skin Food for face and body 75ml, $25.95

Image: Supplied. 


So this is quite the cult beauty item right now and being a bit of a slut to (reasonably priced) heavily hyped products, I already had it in my weapons cupboard.

I wasn’t initially going to use it for this sorry little experiment since it’s very thick and very scented, but - once again - the You Beauty group (where I desperately asked for advice) told me to do it, so I did it. I slept in a pretty liberal layer and the next day marked the first signs of noticeable improvement. 

Touché ladies.  

Finally free of my crotch goblins (three cheers for daycare!) I was able to saunter into the chemist, unburdened, and purchase something fit for purpose. Presenting... 

4. Avène Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream 40ml, $15.99

Image: Supplied. 


This one contains copper and zinc sulfates and thermal spring water, and the Priceline website touts it as forming “a protective layer with proteins in damaged skin, allowing new skin to grow behind a soothing protective barrier”. 

‘Soothing’ you say? ‘New skin’ did I hear? B*tch, sign me up! 

The first squeeze of the tube yielded a little oily wee, so it probably separates a bit on standing and might need smushing back together. But this was nice! Felt good! Starting to think there may be hope for me yet. 

5. LA ROCHE-POSAY Toleriane Sensitive Riche 40ml, $25.59

Image: Supplied. 


This one claims it’s for “intolerant skin” so it may as well have my name on it. According to the LRP website, during clinical trials 68% of women said it reduced ‘stinging’, 76% ‘tightness’ and 89% ‘prickling’. “Hello? Is that Westpac? I need to increase my daily limit”. 

Seriously though - I loved this moisturiser and I feel like in less shitty circumstances it would make a great base. You know, when I can finally show my face in public again without making babies cry.  

So to summarise, I would recommend all of these products but hopefully shouldn’t have to. Keep your head screwed on and use your actives with a bit of restraint.

I compare my bathroom cabinet binge to acting like a human waste disposal at a hotel buffet. You can’t be sure exactly which one of the dishes gave you diarrhoea, but realistically it was probably not ‘what’ you had but ‘how much’. So yes. All 93 of them.

Over and out my friends x

See more from Carly on her Instagram.

Feature image: Supplied.