In the second episode of this three-part series, I'm here to tell you all what's making your acne worse. There would often be days where I'd look in the mirror and think "okay, things are improving", then other times, "holy macaroni, grab the concealer girlfriend". It can be terribly distressing to see your acne get worse and worse and worse - especially if you don't know what you're doing wrong or what can help it.
What's making your acne worse?
- Over-exfoliating/ -cleansing/ -moisturising - This is definitely where I went wrong. I thought that by harsh exfoliating and cleansing it would get rid of all the dirt, makeup residue and bacteria that was on my face therefore preventing spots. However, this irritated my skin, spread the bacteria and made it entirely worse. Then, I would unnecessarily over-moisturise; I would plaster on layers of thick cream as my skin felt dry after all the cleansing. This actually made my skin dehydrated as the contrast of the two methods I used just stripped away the layers of my skin. So, stick to a simple, gentle routine.
- Under-exfoliating/ -cleansing/ -moisturizing - Yes, striking a balance between the two is hard. Its important to gently exfoliate (a chemical exfoliator is great for acne prone skin, I like this one) in order to gently buff of the dead skin cells and increase cell renewal, therefore decreasing your chances of getting post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation (phew, feel fee take a deep breath now). Cleansing is vital for removing oil, dirt and makeup. And of course, a light moisturiser to hydrate the skin.
- You're fussing too much - Honestly, don't fuss too much with products over your skin. Don't go and blow £50 on 'natural' products that claim to give you a whole new face, because ultimately, they won't. This, again, is something I've learnt the hard way. All you will need is a light cleanser, an exfoliator (to be used once a week) and a light moisturiser. You could also occasionally add in a mask/ serum/ night cream for a pamper. But can I please stress - do not use 'oily/ acne skin' based products. These are fueled with harsh chemicals that will rip your skin to shreds. Stick to products aimed at 'normal' skin.
- An unhealthy lifestyle - Ooh, none of us like to hear this one, do we? A healthy lifestyle is obvs crucial to the whole of your life, but lest we forget that those doughnuts you're eating right now will affect your skin [refer to part one]. Foods rich in all vitamins and minerals are incredibly beneficial for the skin, but especially look for Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and E. I actually have started taking Cod Liver Oil Capsules and they are amazing for the skin, but more on that on the next post. Finally, don't forget exercise and plenty of fresh air too.
- Touchy-touchy - Stop touching your face! I know it's hard not to rest your hand on your cheek while you daydream away your time, however, when the bacteria on your hand then transfers onto your skin, and mixes wit the oil or makeup on your face...hello acne. On a similar note, also beware of: mobile phones, dirty makeup brushes, dirty pillows etc.
- Picking - This is such a hard point to address because, fundamentally, you're still going to pick your spots now matter how many times someone says don't. Heck, I do. Picking spots will only spread the bacteria elsewhere around your face. So, consider this your new mantra: "Do I want a spot that will last for a couple of days, or a scar that will last for years?". I still have acne dark spots (or post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation) from previous spots that were on my skin years ago (how annoying is that!). A spot will only need a little bit of primer, a thin layer of foundation, several layers of concealer and a light dust of powder - that will definitely do the trick.
Thanks for reading! Don't forget you can tweet me with #acneparttwo and I'll respond with as much advice as I can to any of your questions!