The odd spot on the chin, angry red lumps and bumps, under the skin cystic mounds or scarring that won’t budge, the harsh reality of any form of acne is that it’s not just a physical disorder, it’s a huge factor in mental health too. Whether it’s teenage or adult acne, they’re both equally damaging.
You can feel physically impaired, it’s hard to hide with makeup, it’s a confidence killer and affects over 60 million people in the US alone. Add to that, a huge 96% of sufferers have reported feeling depressed over the condition. That’s staggering to me, and is a figure I’d love to see dramatically drop.
Suffering with acne over the years – at it’s worst around my teenage years and having now transitioned into rosacea acne, (read my post on rosacea here) it’s something I want to be able to shed a little light on. I would never have been in a place where I could openly chat about this (and put myself out there on YouTube) without the knowledge and help I’ve had over the years from experts – be it doctors, dermatologists, alternative therapists or even other journalists or bloggers. Even today, I’m still self conscious of my skin at times, and it’s infinitely better than my spottier days.
Having been diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) a few years back, it was almost a blessing in disguise. At the time, my skin was at it’s worst, and for no good reason. Suddenly, post diagnosis, there WAS a reason for it, as well as a reason too, for the hairy stragglers I’d noticed appearing on my chin and neck (watch my PCOS video chat here). Whilst the majority of people suffer with acne totally separately to PCOS, I would suggest being checked for it, if you notice some of the other symptoms too.
Acne comes in so many different forms, and whilst I no longer have a whole face of angry red marks, I am susceptible to outbreaks at any given time. For this reason, I have to be careful with the products I put on my face, the nutritional produce I’m putting in my body and steer away from going out on a booze-filled bender and sleeping in my makeup (nope, not me. Never. Maybe).
THE SOD-OFF GUIDE TO SPOTS:
- Lets start with food. Red meat is known to cause inflammation in the body, as well as being linked to heart disease and inflammatory diseases. I’m not saying cut it out, but I have it very, very rarely and I make sure it’s bloody good quality if I do.
- Dairy. Cut it out if you can. Almond milk, oat milk and other cheese and yoghurt alternatives are just as good if not better and it makes a HUGE different to your skin.
- Sugar. Basically the devil in foodie form. If I have a sugar laden evening, I can guarantee 100% by the following morning I’ll have the mountainous evidence to prove it on my chin. Again, it’s about moderation but this is the big one for noticing a major overhaul to your skin.
- Your GP or dermatologist can help. If you’re suffering with cystic or very aggressive acne, then you may be prescribed Roaccutane, Benzoyl Peroxide or a salicylic avid treatment, all of which can really transform your skin but come with side effects.
- Avoid harsh, alcohol based products. They’ll strip your skin of moisture, natural oils and ultimately provide a breeding ground for more blemishes. I remember when I first had acne, I used the 3-step regime from Clinique – which at the time was a bar of soap, a very astringent toner and a very oily moisturiser. Huge mistake. Fail. Just no.
- Oils. Now this is a somewhat controversial topic, as some people hugely advocate the use of oils but for me, I avoid them for the most part. Especially mineral oils and plant based oils. I just find they antagonise spots, irritate sensitivity and leave my skin feeling greasy. If you do like oils though, then click here and give this feature by Allure a read.
- Acid. I love me a good exfoliating peel instead of a gritty scrub, because they encourage skin renewal, slough off spots, smooth the surface complexion and even out skin-tone. And all without antagonising sensitivity. It’s about finding the right one though – not too harsh and not too often wins the game here. I use them 3 times a week but start off with twice weekly. Find some of my favourites linked below.
- Double cleanse. But simplicity is key. You actually want to be using a very simple cleansing gel or cream, rather than a foaming wash (which dries the skin) and then cleanse again, followed by a toner for clarifying. I love Cetaphil or La Roche Posay for troublesome skin.
- Opt for mineral bases if you can. BareMinerals or Oxygenetix are fantastic, give you flawless skin and don’t worsen or cause blemishes. They’re non-comedogenic too (meaning they don’t block pores) and can still offer a fuller coverage if that’s what you prefer.
- GET IT OFF. Don’t sleep in your makeup. Ever. It’s basically inviting a pizza party all over your face and it ain’t going to look pretty.
- You don’t need to spend a fortune either. If you invest in only one item, make it foundation. Skincare is what’s worth investing in, in my opinion, as good makeup starts with good skin.
And finally, remember supermodel skin is not going to appear overnight. It’s a long process and one you need to stick at, but knowing there are plenty of options out there, and understanding that not one treatment or product works for everyone, will speed up the process. If you have any question relating to acne at all, please do email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org :)