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An Essex woman who suffered with severe acne is now running a thriving business after finding the “holy grail” treatment.

Throughout her teens and early adulthood, Phoebe Carter, 25, has suffered with acne – including on holiday in Bali in 2019, when her fiancé proposed.

While Phoebe was delighted, her inflamed skin quickly left her feeling stressed and anxious after moving into a flat in Loughton with Ali, 25.

Read more: News and features from in and around Loughton

Spending up to £100-a-month on different products in a desperate attempt to ease her angry skin, Phoebe only ended up aggravating her skin more due to the hormonal condition polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

In a sense of lockdown despair, the 25-year-old resolved to starting an acne positivity page on Instagram, when she discovered a “miracle” product.

‘I felt like a fraud’



Phoebe Carter, 25

Phoebe said: “For a long while, I felt like a fraud, as I was recommending treatments to clients, yet I had such bad skin.

“I worried that they would think, ‘Why should I listen to her, when she clearly doesn’t know how to manage her own complexion?’”

She added: “Strangely, however, when I was working at a spa in Mayfair in London, a lot of customers asked for me. They found me very relatable, as I would happily talk about my own skin and the problems I had.

“Then lockdown came in March 2020. I wasn’t seeing customers every day, I didn’t feel very useful and with all the stress and the fact I’d had quite a lot of antibiotics for a really bad flare-up, I was feeling really low.

“That was when I started an Instagram page about my acne and everything changed.”

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Phoebe also believes her flare-ups were triggered by coming off the contraceptive pill.

She said: “My skin really affected my confidence.

“I had a huge break-out in the build-up to my engagement party, which made me feel awful.

“I don’t like wearing a lot of make-up, but I really didn’t know how I was going to cover it.

“All I could do was be grateful that at least it was only my engagement party and not my wedding I’d be covered in acne for!”

Phoebe added: “The pill can help to control acne, but it’s just a sticking plaster really. It’s often even worse when you come off it.”

‘I was really scared of oils’



Spending a fortune on skin products and trying different remedies every week, Phoebe now realises this probably did more harm than good – as it is usually advisable to stick with a treatment for six to eight weeks to give it a chance to be effective.

Instead, she was using such harsh remedies that she was stripping her skin of all its goodness and was reluctant to replenish it with oils, for fear of it becoming oilier and spottier than normal.

She said: “I was really scared of oils.

“If you have acne, you think, ‘No way will I put oil on my face.’

“At beauty college, we did facials for each other every day and I remember this horrible, cheap, sticky oil being used on my skin that made it all horrible and congested.”

She added: “The smell and everything was horrible, so I always said to myself I would never use oil in my routine.”

Despite not expecting to work in skincare after college, where she was more interested in eyebrows and semi-permanent make-up, she was surprised to discover that her own skin problems helped her to bond with clients.

She said: “I think they related to me and I found being able to help them very rewarding.”

But when Covid struck, lockdown was a very difficult time for Phoebe and her skin.



Phoebe has completely changed her attitude to her skin thanks to her lockdown journey (Collect/PA Real Life).

Fed up, she started an Instagram blog called Bare Faced Fi aimed at the acne community, opening up about her skin routine and expertise.

She added: “I also found a lot of helpful anti-inflammatory stuff, like Chinese herbs, which were really helping me.

“And it was while I was exploring the anti-inflammatory approach that I discovered the Monday’s Child skincare page and found this skin perfecting oil for £36.

“After reading a lot of success stories, I realised that while I had become so interested in Chinese herbs and healing my body, I was still using really harsh skin products that were stripping my face.”

She added: “Reading the ingredients on this oil, they were anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, so I ordered a bottle.”

Still nervous about applying it, after her beauty school nightmare, at first she tried a few drops at a time.

She said: “I used it over a couple of evenings and the soreness and scabs on my face were really repaired.”

She added: “A lot of people with acne need repairing, as their skin has been really under duress.

“After starting with a few drops, by the end of the week I was squeezing it over my face.

“I decided, ‘This is my holy grail product. I’m going to always have it in my routine.’”

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Using it ever since, in September 2020 Phoebe started her own business, Face Glow By Fi and uses it for customers, as well as in her own beauty routine.

“My routine is very heavily oil based, I do use a lot of botanicals, plants and anti-inflammatory things, too,” she said.

“I am also really into face massage and face yoga. I learned through my Instagram page how important this is for removing toxins from your skin.”

She added: “But you need to use oil and Monday’s Child means I can do this now.”

Phoebe accepts that her PCOS means she will always have flare-ups but says that, as long as her skin looks healthy, she can accept them.

She said: “This oil is like a magic product and knowing that I can use it, particularly when I have a flare-up, is really reassuring.”

Phoebe now feels confident that she will have clear skin for her wedding, Covid concerns aside.

  • To find out more about Monday’s child go to mondayschildskincare.com or go to Face Glow by Fi’s Instagram @faceglowbyfi

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