I'm a beauty editor and this is the skincare I wish I'd tried sooner

collage of skincare
Emma has been wowed by Klira (Getty)

I've had troublesome skin my entire life. Congestion, pigmentation, oil, large pores and spots have bothered me since my teenage years but in my job as a beauty editor, I'm expected to know how to fix these issues and frankly, not have them.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I've tried every product under the sun to cure my skin concerns but it wasn't until I paid a visit to dermatologist Dr. Emma Craythorne that I actually understood why my skin was playing up and what it needed.

It turns out that while my skincare routine includes good quality ingredients such as BHA's and hyaluronic acid, it wasn't addressing the root cause of my skin problems. Dr. Emma's advice? Skip the noise and turn to prescription skincare. I embarked on a skincare journey with Klira, a prescription skincare brand that gives you exactly what you need in one handy pot.

How to figure out your skin type

To determine what your skin needs and how it operates, it's important to know what type of skin you have. Many people misdiagnose themselves when it comes to their skin and this can have pretty serious repercussions. Thankfully, Klira starts with an incredibly in-depth questionnaire that determines your 'SkinSize' - a much more detailed, thorough term that takes into account everything from your lifestyle, how your skin reacts to cleansing to what it looks and feels like.

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SkinSizes are numbered one to 12 and each requires a different prescription and routine. Once determined, your prescription comes in the Klira Special, a fresh, bespoke formula that's delivered to your door every month.

After filling out my questionnaire (which allows for a margin of error in case you're not quite sure about certain answers) my SkinSize was determined as one. The most notoriously difficult skin type to diagnose and treat. Basically, I have a plethora of problems all fighting to rear their ugly heads - increased sebum, sensitivity and pigmentation that comes readily.

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The details of my skin size were explained to me in detail over a video consultation with Dr. Emma and she was incredibly helpful in helping me understand why my skin was so problematic and why I hadn't been able to get a grip on concerns.

My personalised Klira Special
My personalised Klira Special

I was prescribed an all-in-one mix of tretinoin and azelaic acid with a light, hydrating aloe vera base to apply in the evening, and given recommendations for cleanser and moisturiser. Klira uses a range of ingredients from hydroquinone to shea butter and what you're prescribed will depend on your skin and in the perfect strength to make a difference.

"Klira delivers ingredients in increasing concentrations," says Dr. Emma. "And due to our unique base delivery system you will experience far less of the problems that are normally associated with starting powerful actives across every SkinSize, and every skin colour."

The before and after

Emma North Klira before and after
Before/after 6 months of using Klira

Not my most flattering shots but you can see the difference in my skin quality. My pores have shrunk, my pimples cleared, my pigmentation is far more even and my skin texture is a lot smoother. I didn't think my skin could ever be clear and quite honestly, I wish I had turned to Klira and Dr. Emma sooner rather than wasting money on products that didn't work for me and time spent hiding my skin away under layers of concealer and full coverage foundation.

It's pretty clear that I needed tretinoin but don't get me wrong. At the early stages of using it, I experienced flaking on a level I didn't know was possible but, after a quick check-up consultation, I was encouraged to push through and carry on. I did and my skin has never been better.

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I've noticed that my skin feels a little drier than it used to but this is perfectly normal with tretinoin. As a formerly excessively oily person, this is very much a perk for me though. I can use a sheer, dewy base and tend to opt for skin tints and tinted moisturisers and skip powder products altogether.

My full skincare routine

As a beauty editor by trade, I dabble in other skincare options but my staple routine has always included these three products. I opt for a bland cleanser and moisturiser to counteract the potent nature of Klira's ingredients and stop any irritation in its tracks.

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Here, I've listed my three non-negotiables when it comes to daily skincare in the hopes that someone struggling with skin issues like mine can get to a place where they feel confident in their skin.

Klira dr emma craythorne
Klira subscription
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser
Curél Intensive Moisture Facial Cream
Curél Intensive Moisture Facial Cream

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