As a skincare specialist, I am often asked about different skin conditions and how to deal with them, so I thought it could be a great idea to create a series of blogs talking about anything and everything that can affect the skin! To kick things off - lets talk about Acne....
There are many factors that can spark and irritate acne, but the underlying issue is almost always hormones. So many people are shocked to know that acne actually affects both adults and teens alike, and sometimes you can go your whole life acne free then boom... suddenly you are 35 and you get your first outbreak! Originally a condition that plagued teens, there's definitely something of an adult epidemic spreading right now with people in their twenties, thirties and forties suffering from it. It might surprise you to know that up to 80% of the population suffers from it at some point. But Why?
The sebaceous (spot causing) glands are incredibly sensitive to hormonal fluctuations and easily become inflamed and the result is acne on the face, upper arms, back and chest. For most people it begins in puberty when the body starts to produce hormones called androgens that stimulate the sebaceous glands. The link between acne and hormones means that women often suffer from re-occurrences during pregnancy, the menopause or when taking hormonal contraceptives.
THE LIFECYCLE OF A SPOT
We have around five million hair follicles in our bodies, which is where spots start. Each tiny hole contains cells and glands that product oil to help keep the skin plump and conditioned. But when there are too many cells or they become sticky as a result of hormones kicking in, they form a blockage. As more and more cells and sebum get trapped the follicle starts to swell. The oxygen supply to the follicle becomes reduced, producing the ideal environment for bacteria to thrive. Soon a spot is formed and the opening of a the hole becomes blocked.
THE FOOD-ACNE LINK
By making subtle changes to your diet and taking certain supplements, you can do a huge amount to manage acne.
SUGAR - There is medical evidence to suggest that ingesting just 100g of sugar can reduce your immune system' ability to function by as much as 50 percent for up to five hours. Sugary foods reduce your body's ability to fight infection, thereby increasing its risk of inflammation and acne.
REFINED CARBOHYDRATES - These cause a surge in the production of insulin in the body. This can lead to an excess of male hormones, which stimulate the sebaceous glands. So try to limit your intake of sweet and starchy foods such as rice, pasta, bread, cereals - yep, all the good stuff!
MEAT - Meat contains hormones and hormone-like substances which can affect our body's balance internally. Alarmingly dermatologists have reported that women who regularly eat red meat are more likely to suffer from acne and hirsutism.
FOODS THAT CAN HELP
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) These bad boys help regulate the hormonal inbalances in the body that lead to acne. People with acne have been show to have deficiencies in EFA's. Good sources include Flaxseed, hempseed, walnuts, dark green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies and Tuna.
ZINC - Shellfish, Turkey, Eggs, Chickpeas, Lentils, Oats, Parsley, Carrots.
VITAMIN A - Chili peppers, Parsley, Magoes, Kale, Apricots, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli
SOLUBLE FIBRE - Nuts, Oats, Fruits, Beans, Pulses and Apples.
INSOLUBLE FIBRE - Green leafy Veg, Brown Rice, Garlic, Chia Seeds.
VITAMIN C - Bell Peppers, Watercress, Broccoli
VITAMIN E - Avocado, Wheatgerm, Oily Fish, Pumpkin Seeds.
TOP TIPS TO HELP CLEAR ACNE
1. CLEVER CLEANSING - If you suffer from acne, it's common to feel that your skin is dirty, but actually, acne isnt caused by dirt. Rather, the walls of a pore stuck together deep in the skin. Choose a cleanser containing a combination of anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxident and hydrating ingredients. Salicyclic acid (my saviour!!) Green tea, Tea Tree, Retinoids (Check out my previous blog about this), Azelaic Acid, Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and Beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) will also exfoliate the skin and prevent sebum building up. I say this all the time, but cleanse twice at night if you wear makeup!!
2. TRY NATURAL - Your skincare may be your condition, so try a product detox or a natural approach if nothing else is working.
3. PUT AWAY THE MAGNIFIER - It only makes the problem look worse than it is - and please don't pick!
4. MAKE-UP - Look for mineral makeup if you can. ALWAYS clean makeup brushes after each use.
5. PILLOW CASES - If you can, use a silk pillowcase and wash regularly.
Quick Fact - Did you know that stress reduces our skins ability to heal wounds by around 40%, so any spots you develop will take longer to recover.
PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND
1. My ULTIMATE ALL-TIME FAV - Sunday Riley Luna Night Oil
2. THE ORDINARY Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
3. THE ORDINARYSalicylic Acid 2% Solution
4. TATA HARPER Purifying Cleanser
5. Super Facialist Salicylic Acid Purifying Cleansing Wash
MY PROFESSIONAL TREATMENTS AVAILABLE IN SALON
Advanced Acne Facial - Targeted specifically for acne prone skin, this facial is every bit indulgent as it is results driven.
High Frequency - The highly coveted High frequency facial is a bespoke treatment which helps to treat & prevent acne - perfect as a stand alone facial, add on or lunchtime drop in!
LED Light Therapy - LED therapy uses specific colour wavelengths of light that penetrate the skin at varying depths.This helps to normalise cellular imbalance and improves skin tone and clarity.
Microneedling - Perfect Non-Surgical treatment for those with acne scarring and damage.
Chemical Peels - There are light, superficial peels, medium peels and deep peels. Removes Scarring and Pitted Acne Scars and perfect for breakouts.