Like many others, Queensland-based teacher Jess Buntrock, 33, suffered acne throughout her teen years.
But instead of it clearing up with time, Jess’ acne only became worse as she entered into adulthood.
While most young women would shy away and try to hide their hormonal acne from the world, Miss Buntrock decided to use her experience to educate others and form a YouTube channel – Jess Bunty – focusing on make up and skincare.
Now with a loyal following of 91,000 and more than 20 million views, the beauty YouTuber has spoken to FEMAIL about her battle with adult acne and how she’s managed to clear up her complexion over the past five months.
Jess Buntrock – aka Jess Bunty – runs a successful beauty and skincare YouTube channel with more than 91,000 subscribers
She has been documenting her experience with adult acne which she has suffered for 15 years
‘My teenage years were rough, as they are for most people, and I went through some pretty horrific episodes with my skin that took me out of school for weeks at a time,’ Miss Buntrock said.
‘Then I hit adulthood and the acne decided to tag along. I kind of accepted it as being my fate. I didn’t know anything else but a spotty face! No matter what I tried to stop it, I couldn’t. So my daily routine become more about management, not removal, of my acne.’
Miss Buntrock decided to start her YouTube channel while studying to become a teacher.
‘I became semi-obsessed with watching YouTube beauty videos and figured I’d give it a shot,’ Jess, who graduated with a Bachelor of Primary Education in 2012, said.
While Miss Buntrock was confident enough to share her challenges in such a public forum, she still went through the emotions and confidence issues all other women experience
‘It’s embarrassing to be an adult woman with obviously bad skin and my acne was hardly ever just a rogue spot here or there cropping up around that time of the month,’ Miss Buntrock said
‘To set myself apart, I spoke about acne, a topic I knew about far too well.’
While Miss Buntrock was confident enough to share her challenges in such a public forum, she still went through the emotions and confidence issues all other women experience.
‘It’s embarrassing to be an adult woman with obviously bad skin and my acne was hardly ever just a rogue spot here or there cropping up around that time of the month,’ she said.
‘My acne was cystic, weeping, bulbous and plentiful. You can cover that with foundation as much as you like, but the texture remains.
‘Having to face the public, or students, with make up caked on over lumps and bumps and being excruciatingly conscious of it has always been a massive challenge.’
Miss Buntrock is pictured in September, 2017, before she started taking Accutane for the second time
Miss Buntrock said when she does videos it is a different experience altogether and she credits YouTube for contributing to her confidence and thick skin
Despite this, Miss Buntrock said when she does videos it is a different experience altogether and she credits YouTube for contributing to her confidence and thick skin.
‘It’s a weird thing, YouTube. You don’t realise how strange it is until you make videos yourself,’ Miss Buntrock said.
‘To me, I’m sitting in the safe space of my bedroom, talking to myself for half an hour. When I started, I wasn’t even particularly conscious of anyone possibly watching me.
‘I started because it looked like fun, and over time it’s become a kind of shrink. I can spill my guts about anything on my mind, and someone will watch it and say “Me too!” So while the process of creating videos can be very isolating, the end result is somehow global.’
What make up should women with acne wear?
I 100 per cent agree that being told they can’t wear make up is the last thing women want to hear, yet I keep being told this even today.
It’s obviously frustrating but also perpetrates a long-standing myth about the effect of make up on the skin.
My tips are:
* Pick the correct foundation for your skin – oil-free, non-comedogenic and buildable. Get samples first so you avoid getting stuck with a giant $30 bottle of regret.
* Wear your make up how you want to wear your make up but don’t feel like you need full coverage to be beautiful.
* If you love highlighting and contouring to within an inch of Kim Kardashian’s life, then stick with matte and glitter-free formulations to avoid highlighting any dips and bumps you’re prefer to hide.
Miss Buntrock, who is now vegan, has tried countless treatments and diets over the years to try and clear her acne, but nothing worked.
‘Treatment-wise you name it, and I’ve tried it – The Pill, Benzoyl Peroxide, Blue Light Therapy, IPL, Microdermabrasion, Tea Tree oil, steaming, Accutane… it’s been a time,’ she said.
‘Diet-wise, I’ve always been relatively “good”. I used to be one of those “I’m a vegetarian but I eat chicken and fish occasionally” types and I used to go through rounds of elimination with my diet – remove the sugar, the oil, the soy, the dairy.
‘I’ve been vegan now for two years and it hasn’t done squat but I love being vegan and it was never for my skin anyway.’
Miss Buntrock is pictured right this month – five months into taking Accutane – which she says has been a positive experience this time around, despite experiencing very bad side effects in her teens
‘I’ve been vegan now for two years and it hasn’t done squat but I love being vegan and it was never for my skin anyway,’ she said
What is Accutane?
Accutane is a form of vitamin A. It reduces the amount of oil released by oil glands in your skin, and helps your skin renew itself more quickly.
Side effects are common and range from joint pain and dryness of the lips and mouth to depression and dizziness.
Miss Buntrock said if there’s one thing she has learned over the years is that there is ‘no one size fits all solution to acne’.
‘Anyone who has suffered from acne has probably heard “Why don’t you try…?” from countless people over countless years, and the fact is that just because The Pill worked for your Aunt Beryl, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you,’ she said.
‘And just because your fave on YouTube is shilling a product, doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you.
‘It’s definitely a trial-and-error situation for each individual, and you need to be able to draw on great personal strength to pull yourself through that process.
‘It’s definitely a trial-and-error situation for each individual, and you need to be able to draw on great personal strength to pull yourself through that process,’ she said
Miss Buntrock is pictured right four months into taking Accutane
‘Avoid doing what I’ve done. Don’t wait until you’re in your 30s to get to the end of the line. If you’re in your mid 20s and you’ve had enough, then go hard and get medication. Acne is not worth suffering for.’
Miss Buntrock has recently seen a major improvement in her acne after deciding to try Accutane again in September, 2017 – despite experiencing shocking side effects on it in her teens.
‘This time around has been incredible. I don’t know if it’s my age, or the very low dosage, or just my body being able to accept it better this time, but the side effects I suffered last time I took it in my teens are now either minimal or non-existent,’ she said.
What are Jess Bunty’s top five products?
1. Trilogy Rosehip oil
2. Davroe shampoo (and conditioner, but let’s count that as one)
3. Garnier 3-in-1 cleanser & mask (I’d love to find a vegan dupe for this!)
4. Ecosoothe Calendula Cream (incredible night-time moisturiser for anyone with dry skin)
5. My favourite make up product of all time – Australis Fresh & Flawless Pressed Powder
‘I still have dry skin and dry lips, my eyes are sensitive to light, and my hair’s just started falling out in amounts I’m not really on board with – but my skin is unbelievably clear and I love it.
‘I am on a low dose for a longer time, only 20mg until further notice, and I feel like that is making a major difference in how my body is able to handle the medication.
‘But as a long-time acne sufferer, I’ll never mentally shake how the sight of a single pimple makes me break inside. The invisible toll of acne will be with me for life.’
Miss Buntrock said Accutane is an ‘absolute last resort medication’.
‘If you love highlighting and contouring to within an inch of Kim Kardashian’s life, then stick with matte and glitter-free formulations to avoid highlighting any dips and bumps,’ she said
‘I didn’t take this decision lightly but I had to take the risk. I was at the end of my rope, and felt like I had exhausted all other options,’ Miss Buntrock said of Accutane
‘I didn’t take this decision lightly but I had to take the risk. I was at the end of my rope, and felt like I had exhausted all other options.’
Miss Buntrock said for those who do suffer acne, it’s important to not let it define them.
‘Whether you have the odd spots or a chronic condition, you are strong, you are beautiful, you are valuable, you are an incredible human being and you will find your solution to your problem,’ she said.
‘This is one of many challenges in your life, but it does not define you, and it is temporary.
‘You are not weak for asking for help. You are, and always will be, loved.’
Miss Buntrock shares videos on acne fighting tips, homemade recipes, skincare tricks and more on her YouTube channel, Jess Bunty.