By Raquel Azoulay

Our co-founders skincare journey (and the birth of Azul.)

Let me take you on a journey, specifically, my skincare journey.
After years of seeking advice in Facebook forums (because apparently all dermatologists are booked out a year in advance) the lack of results left me, and my bank account, frustrated.
While I’m grateful for the internet heroes that offered me their tried and tested skincare routines, the comments were often overwhelming both in number and variation of advice - I was spending too much money, seeing no results, and getting nowhere.
(spoiler alert, I'll drop my current skincare routine at the end of this post)

A picture of raquels skin with an acne breakout on her chin. The picture is part of a post in a facebook forum, and has 33 comments.

To provide some background, I was never the pimply kid at school, in fact, I rather relished in the fact that unlike some of my peers, I had seemed to be blessed by the skincare gods. Of course, I had the rogue spot here and there, but who didn’t. I never thought that once I hit the ripe age of 25, my skin would take a dive, headfirst into the pool of breakouts.

Images of Raquel when she was younger (aged 13-18), she has clear skin in all of them.

Now, what caused the onset of my breakouts, I can't be too sure - was it coming off birth control, a change in diet, a change in lifestyle? I adjusted it all and there was still no change in my skin. (Please seek medical advice first if you're thinking of changing your birth control.) 

Then the world was blessed with covid and lockdowns (and my sarcasm ensued). “Great” I thought, I now have even more time to obsess over my skin, and to make matters worse, ‘maskne’ arrived at the party. Now, I appreciate the fact that my breakouts were still considered mild, and things could always be worse, but nonetheless, I was still feeling an increased sense of frustration - why wasn’t anything working!  

I decided I would keep a skin journal, and note down anytime I had a flare-up, and what I was doing when it happened - after a month, I had my eureka moment! 

Gif that says Problem Solved

Day after day, I would come home from a gym session, and my face would be so red, and almost immediately any hidden spots would come to the surface and sit there on my face. I decided to do some more research on sweat induced breakouts, and there you have it. As it turns out, sweat is great for your skin. It pulls out all of the dirt, toxins and grime that sit in our pores all day, but if you let the sweat dry on your skin, it sucks it all back in. To make matters worse, I realised that I, and a lot of my fellow gym-goers, were using the same towel they put on the floor and the machines, to wipe the sweat off their faces mid-workout. Gross. 
Okay, I thought, post-workout skincare, let's buy some. Turns out, I couldn’t really find anything out there that fit what I was looking for. After a workout, your skin becomes sensitive and the idea of putting chemicals directly into my pores just didn’t sit right with me.
 
I decided that I would truly take matters into my own hands, and make my own post-workout skincare - if it works for me, it will work for others. I took all the knowledge I had learned over the years, from my fellow skincare junkies, from the numerous academic studies I had read, and took to sourcing a manufacturer that I could trust. Now, I’m no scientist (and my previous high school teachers will well and truly attest to that) but it didn’t matter, because I was paired with one throughout the entire process, Tim the scientist. 
 
Together, Tim and I developed a formula for a cleanser that was gentle enough to use directly after a workout and made from all-natural, vegan ingredients. The ingredient list was kept short, and all ingredients were included out of necessity, ensuring they were all included with a direct benefit in mind. We included ingredients such as aloe vera, as a way of calming skin irritation, lactic acid, to work as a gentle exfoliant to remove dirt and grime, white willow extract, as a natural alternative to salicylic acid, which works to excess oil and targets acne directly. 
bottles of Azul. Athletica samples

August 2021. The samples arrived, and I got to testing. The process was slow, and it took around 4 months to really see results, but slowly and surely, my skin was clearing up! 


I stripped back my entire skincare routine to only the Azul. Athletica cleanser, a non-comedogenic moisturiser and an SPF. 


Looking back at the photo diary I kept, I realised that the secret was to keep it simple. I didn’t need all the fancy skin care products that had been recommended to me and I didn’t need a 12 step skincare routine morning and night. 


I simply needed a routine that focused on addressing post-workout skincare, and in formulating all my regular active ingredients into one product, I was able to achieve the results I had dreamed of with minimal products. 

Now, I have a ways to go in terms of addressing acne scarring and texture, but at the moment it’s one step at a time. Azul. Athletica is now available for everyone experiencing post-workout breakouts, and if like me, you have a rollercoaster of a journey with no real answers, I encourage you to take a step back, strip down your skincare routine, and focus on the basics first. Once you have your breakouts handled, then you can move onto addressing conerns such as scaring and discolouration. There's little point in doing both at the same time, because you may be healing the scars from past breakouts, but if you're breaking out on top of / near those scars, then you're creating double work for yourself. 

Having been burned before by purchasing products that worked for others and not for me, I wanted to put a safeguard for anyone using Azul. for the first time. So, Azul. Athletica comes with a 90-day money-back guarantee.
If you use Azul. Athletica for 3 months and see no improvement, you are eligible for a full refund!
(Details in our T&C's)
 
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My Skincare Routine During This Process: 
AM: 
Azul. Athletica Cleanser + manual exfoliation using Micro-Fibre Cleansing Pads. 
Benzoyl Peroxide gel (2.5%)
Non-Comodogenic Moisturiser. 
SPF. 
PM:
Azul. Athletica Cleanser + manual exfoliation using Micro-Fibre Cleansing Pads. 
Benzoyl Peroxide gel (2.5%)
Non-Comodogenic Moisturiser. 

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