Breakouts, we’ve all had them and we all hate them. Breakouts can mean different things to different people, for some it is having 3 or 4 spots, for others it’s an aggressive acne flare up. But one thing is for sure, they knock our self-confidence. And when it comes to treating them, it seems no one can agree on the best course of action. Our simple guide will help you understand what might lead to breakouts, how to prevent them, and what to do should one strike.
Whether you’re prone to acne breakouts, or just have a few pesky pimples, the most common cause is usually clogged pores. A build-up of oil on the skin mixing with dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria to create a plug that ultimately causes a spot. You might be over producing oil because of a change in hormones – menstruating, pregnancy or puberty are all prime times for pimples. And whilst these things are inevitable, there are a few things you can do to help prevent an outbreak.
Stop touching your face
Ok, so you know by now that picking at a pimple will only make it angry and potentially lead to scarring, but it’s time to stop touching your face all together. Our hands are magnets for germs, bacteria and especially oils. All of that bad stuff is transferred to our face every time we touch it. If you have acne, touching your face probably isn’t the route cause, but it can certainly trigger or worsen flare ups. But look, we aren’t saying you should be sitting on your hands all day but do suggest being conscious of how much your touching your face and investing in some antibacterial hand wash so that your hands stay clean.
Stop washing your face
Well, don’t stop washing it entirely obviously. But if your conscious of breakouts or acne, you might have upped your skin care routine a little too much. There can be a nasty side effects of this. Over washing your face can actually make your skin worse. Over cleansing will dry out your skin, prompting it to produce more even more oil to compensate. Grainy or gritty cleaners that claim to deep clean your pores, can actually aggravate your sensitive skin even more if over used.
Knowing your skin type and choosing products that work for you it a key part of a successful skin care routine. If you have sensitive skin, you should stay away from harsh, acidic cleansers. Avoid products that contain salicylic acid as it can irritate acne prone skin. If you’re prone to breakouts, find a gentle cleanser with skin calming ingredients such as chamomile and marigold. The Sönd Clean Slate Cream Cleanser, for example, uses these ingredients and well as shea and cocoa butter for an ultra-soothing experience.
A good option for breakout prone skin is a foaming face wash. They remove dirt and other impurities without over drying the skin or stripping it of its natural protection. Find a face wash that is alkaline based, rather than one that is high in acids. Look out for products with a pH level that is higher than seven – representing high alkaline.
Clean bedsheets can improve your skin
Every night we produce sweat and oil, all stuff that acne prone skin hates. It’s all absorbed by our bedding – especially our pillows. Machine washing your bedding and changing it out with fresh sheets once a week means you are laying your head down on old oil and dead skin cells. It’s worth investing in a couple of pillow cases and bedspreads – so you don’t spend all your time washing sheets!
Don’t rush to change your change your diet
All of us who are prone to breakouts or acne have read the plethora of contradictory dietary advice that is all over the internet. You can’t move for articles and blog posts about miracle skin diets, acne curing foods and of course, all the delicious food that we absolutely have to avoid (why is it all the good stuff like pizza, chocolate and coffee!?). But don’t stress about it. The evidence is all super shaky and there is no real evidence that these foods actually affect your skin. There’s actually more evidence to support stress leading to break out than there is about food, so don’t get too worked up about what you're putting into your body. However, we would always recommend a healthy balanced diet and lots of the magic stuff, water!
Our Ultimate Blemish and Acne Skin Care Routine
Here's our tried and tested acne skincare regime.
1.Wake up, wash, cleanse.
Start every day buy washing away the oil that’s been produced in your sleep. Use a gentle foaming cleanser and wash away all those dead skin cells that could clog up your pores. Don’t forget your neck, and when you rinse, do so with warm water.2. Then, moisturise.
Get a good day cream that can be applied throughout the day to help with any dry skin and give your face and extra layer of defence. Look out for shea butter or chamomile as they have skin soothing properties.
Moisturise from the inside out. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and make sure you drink every hour.
Have an emergency plan.
Having some Tea-Tree Oil to hand is great for when a particularly nasty spot strikes and for many, it's the best spot cream. But use it sparingly, too much Tea-Tree can dry out your skin.
Finish the day as you started.
Before bed, wash off the day. Cleanse and moisturize just as you did in the morning.
When it comes to treating breakouts and acne prone skin, a good defence really is the best offense. Having a regular skin routine, using products that suit your skin type, and keeping an eye out for your breakout triggers is the best way to prevent pimples.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.