If the term breakout sends you into a blind panic, I’ve got some skincare advice that might help you. Before we start discussing the colossal topic that is acne and all that wonderful stuff, let me just say that you are not defined by your appearance and true beauty has nothing to do with how clear your skin is. Yet, there is no denying that any type of acne can cause immense stress and self-esteem issues. I have struggled with skin breakouts for almost ten years – I’ve seen several different dermatologists and spent hours of my life researching everything to do with skin.
So, let’s get scientific (or rather let’s share what I have learnt from frantic internet searching); breakouts occur when certain hormones in your body cause your skin to produce larger amounts of oil, this then causes skin bacteria called P. acnes to become more aggressive causing inflammation. If you have moderate to severe acne, it’s best to go and talk to your doctor. They will most likely give you antibiotics and a topical cream called benzoyl peroxide, or they will refer you to a dermatologist.[pullquote]The most important step in my skincare regime is to exfoliate.[/pullquote]
But there are steps you can take to help yourself, removing your makeup and cleansing your face at the end of the day is vital. My favorite method is to use an oil based, gentle cleanser with a muslin cloth. My go-to luxury cleanser is Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (£30) or Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm (£47 – this literally smells amazing). For those of you who aren’t like me and don’t spend your monthly allowance on skincare you could try Lush Ultrabland Cleanser (£8.25) or Liz Earl Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (£15).
The most important step in my skincare regime is to exfoliate. This helps breakouts by increasing skin-cell turnover and preventing pores from getting blocked. In my opinion, using exfoliating scrubs can irritate and damage sensitive or sore skin. I like to use an acid exfoliant such as salicylic acid (BHA) or glycolic acid (AHA) a few times a week. I reach to Paula’s Choice Skincare for exfoliants, her Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid exfoliant (£26) made the Glamour Beauty Power list last year. More affordable buys include La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ (£16) and Aldi’s Healthy Glow Tonic with glycolic acid (£3.99).
Lastly, it’s so important to moisturise! I know you’re probably thinking why would I moisturise my skin, it’s so oily? But, by using exfoliants and topical treatments like benzoyl peroxide on the skin it can become dehydrated. My favourite moisturiser is Antipodes Organic Rejoice Light Facial Day Cream (£28.99). For a cheaper alternative, you could try Sukin Facial Moisturiser (currently £5.30 on the Boots website) which is full of skin-loving ingredients. They sell the full Sukin range in Holland and Barrett – an affordable, vegan and gentle skin-care brand. For a spot-on treatment, give Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (£16) a try, it contains salicylic acid and calamine to clear spots.
Overall, it is important to remember that acne is complex; from years of charting my skin journey I think stress, diet and fluctuating hormone levels are the main contributing factors to my breakouts. I’ve tried to combat this by eating healthy, drinking lots of water and spending time every day to pamper myself and de-stress. One thing I’m sure of: acne is not skin deep, and it can have a massive impact on the way we look at ourselves. But don’t despair, so many of us go through it and there are steps you can take to help yourself and your skin!