This is hard for me to write about, because I don’t want to be the cliche blogger who just writes about spots/acne and how they are going to give you a “miracle cure”. Because I’m not. As I have said many times before I will be honest with you and the cold hard truth about acne is … there is no cure. I’m sorry to be the barer of bad news, but even Roaccutane (a very strong drug you can be prescribe to treat acne) does not cure acne because acne can be triggered by such a vast amount of things, therefore it is nearly impossible to pin point the reason for everyone.
Too many of you are quick to decide that you have acne, and that you do not like your skin and that you want a solution right now. So off you pop to the doctors and get prescribed a random drug by the doctor because they have been told that it treats acne, even though they don’t actually know anything about how the skin works, because unfortunately they don’t actually care and they don’t have time too. Wanting a solution right now is completely fair enough! I wouldn’t want to have acne either and I would never blame someone for wanting a quick option, because I know I would too. However, some of you just don’t try to do anything to help your skin you just rely on prescriptions and clearasil. So this blog is dedicated to helping you help your skin.
Okay, now I’ve gone in a bit more harsh and doom and gloom than usual, I’m gonna try lighten the mood a little. I am going to be recommend products, treatments and life style changes in this blog. Very exciting I know. Out there in the world of aesthetics and beauty there are a lot of different things you can be recommended, and by lots I mean hundreds, so don’t get disheartened if I don’t mention your favourite treatment because this is a massive industry and writing about every unproven theory would make me a novelist not a blogger!
There’s so many treatments and products that claim to help reduce and control your acne, so why not try some? Because they are expensive right? Yeah I hear ya, lots of treatments/products are expensive and some don’t even do anything. So how do you avoid being sold a dream? Go for a skin consultation somewhere find out what they offer and what they recommend. If a therapist is knowledgeable and not just trying to sell you stuff they will take into consideration your concerns and your feelings, they should actually want to help you, you should get that vibe from them. Always remember you do not have to buy or agree to anything on the day if you want to take time to research then do your research. I google everything, although sometimes google can convince you you’ve got 6 toes, three eyes, a rare skin disease and might not live to see 2018, so maybe take something’s with a pinch of salt.
Acne is always going to be a problem and it’s affecting people now, more than ever, because of the modern day diet and life style. I’m going to start with some life style changes as they are the easiest to make. So Let’s start with something taking the beauty industry by storm in the last few years – this make up craze. The amount of boys, girls, women and men I see on Instagram covering up cystic acne with layers and layers of foundation is actually shocking. It is not being a good role model to show people they need to cover up their skin and not treat the problem. No it isn’t very nice having spots. Yes it does effect your self confidence, but scars are going to affect your self confidence more in the long run. Also, your makeup may have made your spots and skin all one colour but you can still see the uneven texture … I’m just saying. But that’s why I am here, to rectify some of the problems people don’t realise they are creating. So what can you makeup lovers do to help their skin? Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you to wear no makeup all the time, because I enjoy watching your makeup tutorials and I wish I was as talented as some of you with makeup!
1. regularly wash your makeup brushes – once a week minimum!
2. Double cleanse your face or until all of your makeup is completely off.
3. NO MAKEUP OR BABY WIPES!!!!
4. wear mineral makeup that is lighter on the skin and allows it to breath whilst providing a good coverage.
5. Make a good base for your makeup to sit on before apply by using good skin care.
6. Try giving your skin breathing time, you don’t need to have your highlight on point when you’re chillin at home.
7. When your at the gym, try going with no makeup on so you don’t sweat makeup into your pores.
Those are the main makeup peeves I have but some do apply to general life as well so even if you don’t wear makeup or a lot of makeup please still take note! General life style improvements include, but are not limited too:
1. Regularly changing your pillow cases (every two – three nights)
2. Cleaning your face twice a day with a good decent cleanser
3. Changing your diet if you eat a lot of dairy/sugary/fatty foods. Sometimes it could be beneficial to have a food intolerance test done to see if you are intolerant to a certain type of food, as your body could be rejecting the food and the reaction is coming out via your skin.
4. Drinking 3lt plus if water a day! Has so many health benefits as well not just beneficial for your skin.
5. Doing a self assessment on your stress levels. Stress can show its self in many different ways and what we do know is it releases extra hormones in the body and sometimes these hormones can cause breakouts, stress is something you have to control and it’s not something that can be monitored.
6. Sleeping 6-8 hours a night can help your skin as you are not putting your body into a stressed out sleepless state on a regular basis.
7. No squeezing – the number one recommendation, because you don’t know how to squeeze a spot properly. When you do pop a spot the skin rips every time, hence why the spot bursts and this causes tears in the site of the spot. Once your skin has been torn your skins risk of scaring increases, and scaring us quite difficult to get rid off.
8. Try not to touch your face without washing your hands before and after to avoid spreading bacteria.
These are just some of the many things that you can do to help your skin out without products or treatments, but sadly none of these things will have drastic improvements, they are more for good hygiene and getting you into a good routine, but every little helps, especially when you have problematic skin.
Product time! Put down the clearasil and proactive, these products just aren’t going to work quick enough or be strong enough to really improve your skin. Time to up your game and invest in your skin. Now there’s hundred of products out there and I have already, mentioned your basics in back to basics, good night mr skin and good things come to those who exfoliate, so I’m not going to go over that again. This is all about your extras in your home care routine because this is your back bone, this is what you need to be doing to support and control your skin as well as your basics. But build it slowly you don’t need to go out and buy four different masks, acid wipes and peeling solutions all in one hit, you’ll end up red raw. For you the most important thing is oil control, may seem a little obvious but hey ho! How do you control the oil though? Salicylic acid. This is the most used acid in acne skin care, why? Because it kinda acts like a mini tornadeo that penetrates into the pore and chucks out all of the dirt. You can get salicylic acid in cleansers, serums, masks and so on the possibility with acne products are endless. I personally find wipes are perfected for controlling oil, you take one pad in the morning and one at night and wiper over your face after cleansing to reduce the amount of oil on the skin and clear out any blocked pores. I use ZO Skin Health TE pads which are little wipes and although I don’t have acne, I also don’t get spots very often and probably have the smoothest nose in all of Kent due to regular use of these wipes. You can also get stronger wipes from ZO called cebetrol pads, which have 2% salicylic acid (the strongest amount allowed in home care) combined with mandalic acid to really break down the bacteria, oil and soften the skin in order for your products to penetrate deeper. Don’t get carried away with these though, they are to be used twice a day, maximum! The next thing I want to talk about are spot treatment sticks. Dermaquest actually do a really really good spot treatment stick that you can put onto your pustular spots to help reduce bacteria and inflammation, but they have recently changed the formula to not contain any benzoyl peroxide as it became illegal in the U.K. and that was the real deal. Dermaquest as a whole do a brilliant acne range called the dermaclear range and they combine the use of salicylic acid, glycolic acid and citric acid into their skin care to help fight and reduce inflammation and bacteria. ZO skin health do some other brilliant products like a sulphur mask that smells absolutely amazing and will make you look like a smurf whilst it’s on sulphur is anti bacteria and helps to draw out impurities from the skin. The also do aknebright spot treatment sticks that will also help to reduce the production of hyperpigmenation for those of you who are prone to pigmentation. They also have a medical range that has to prescribe to you by a doctor or skin care specialist, these products include vitascrub, glycogent and aknetrol that will all help to reduce acne. There are hundreds more you can use but in conjunction with normal skin care a mask, some wipes and/or a spot treatment stick will really help to improve the look of your skin. You must remember to be patient though, products can cause dermal outbreaks at first and can actually take up to three skin cycles (12 weeks) to notice the full effects. I recommend before and after photos to help you keep track.
I’ve left treatments until last, because why not save the best till last? These are my favourite kind of treatments, I love a good treatment and I love doing them to people who are hopeful and appreciative of the work you have put in to help see a difference in their skin.
Now there are literally 100s of treatments out there that help acne and Im going to mention a few of my favourite ones:
– Chemical peels. You don’t have to be walking round like a lizard person to have a decent result from a chemical peel. There are different strengths of peels from ones that won’t leaving you peeling or red to ones only doctors can perform that will leave you in hospital for a week because you have no skin left. I recommend trying a superficial peel at first, one that might make you a little red and your skin go a little dry so you can experience the sensation and the heat of a chemical peel. Then move onto something stronger, a TCA, salicylic peel, something that’s going to make your skin dry out and peel away over about a week. These treatments vary in strength so the waiting time Gary’s between treatments, some are once a mont some you can have weekly.
– IPL skin rejuvenation. The light emitted from the hand piece can be filtered into blue light. Blue light is anti bacterial, so works by penetrating into the skin down to were the sebaceous glands and wiping out the bacteria in the gland and drying out the spot. You can have these treatments once a month.
– LED light therapy is much like IPL but not quite as strong due to a light just being held to the skin or above it. I also think these treatments are not quite effective enough by themselves much better to be used after a peel or in a deep cleansing facial. You can have these as much as you want, but I’d recommend once a week.
– Hydrafacial is really good for a deep cleaning facial, it has 6 steps involved to resurface, clean and hydrate. You start with lymphatic drainage to detoxify the skin, you then exfoliate and resurface using a serum with lactic acid, the third step is a mini glycolic peel, after this you have the extractions which vacuum suck out debris from the skin whilst infusing salicylic acid to help control the breakout, finally you finish off with LED lights to try and calm the skin and reduce any redness whilst boasting collagen or for extra antibacterial properties. All in all a great treatment. Can have once a week or once a month.
– Facials but not your standard spa facials going to a skin clinic they will use the good stuff. Try sticking to a good routine of 1 every two weeks or once a month
– Microdermabrasion. Okay I debated writing this one because I don’t rate microdermabrasion at all, it just scratches up your skin and ends up leaving you a bit dry, so as a compromise to make it better for all of you who just love having their microdermabrasion and won’t ever stop them, you can use them in facial as long as you are using other products either before or after to reduce the bacteria and then rehydrate and protect the skin.
With all treatments when you start having them they can seem to make your skin worse, this is because your skin often ‘has to get worse before it can get better’. What this means is you can experience a dermal outbreak, all of the … (for lack of a better word) crap under the skin is being drawn out a lot quicker. So yes, your skin may look worse. Also, find out what products they are using during your treatments because if it is demalogica, geno, elemis or other spa brands they just aren’t strong enough to make a difference, but they will smell nice. You need stronger aesthetic brands like ZO Skin Health, Image, Neostrata, Skinceuticals, environ and so on. All treatments are build up treatments they will not stop your acne after one visit and all treatments complimented by home care, you can’t expect your treatments to last very if you just go straight back onto using clearasil or simple on your skin. Your skin needs constant care and to be controlled in between treatments.
Okay, so this is the last thing I’m going to mention because it’s less of recommendation more of a warning. Prescriptions are easy to get and they can literally prescribe a long list of different antibiotics, steroids and other drugs. I only want to mention one because I don’t really need to mention them, as once you are on them you are out of my control. Roaccutane is the drug I mentioned earlier on and it is used quite widely to cure acne, but more often than not it prevents acne whilst your on it and as soon as you come off the skin issues begin again. This a new study mind you, they have always claimed that it was the cure but so many people’s problems were coming back after a few years off the drug that they no longer can prescribe it as a acne cure. This is also a very drastic measure to take and should be taken as the last resort, I would always advice you to try other things first because it has been known to affect more than just your skin. Roaccutane often can cause depression and it thins and sensitises the skin so much so that as a therapist I can not touch your skin with any treatments for a minimum of 6 months but potentially up to 2 years after finishing the course of prescriptive drugs. It is something you should really take your time to consider if Roaccutane is ever offered to you. Once again it is something you can turn down. But if you have tried everything else then give it ago, just make sure you are monitoring your self and your mental well being and carry on helping your skin buy making small lifestyle changes and keeping up with your skin hygiene.
I’m not going to end this blog on a positive note, because it is a serious subject. There is no cure to acne and no one thing that is going to have the best result, and what works for you might not work for your bestie/cousin/brother etc etc. You can maintain and control it but it will need constant attention, you need to be dedicated to looking after your skin.
Good luck with your skin journey, yours is a special one that can leave a permanent mark, but sometimes you have to wear those scars proudly because you have fought a battle with yourself confidence and the mirror. Be proud of who you are, and how far you’ve come because no body is perfect, all the perfect people don’t even look like themselves. And for those of you who have already fought your battle I will be doing a blog on scaring soon and what treatments will help to reduce the look of them.
I hope this helps at least on of you to journey towards daring to bare your skin.
Much skin loving love
Your skin care Queen
Isabelle P x