THE IN-TRAY

We’re breaking down your break out: how to identify your type of acne and how to treat it

Acne. It happens to the best of us. There’s the type that literally pops up the night before an event, to those painful types that sit under your skin and those pesky little spots that never seem to budge. You may have been struggling with it for years or have unthankfully discovered what it’s like to have adult acne, even after experiencing clear skin in your awkward teenage years. Whatever acne is for you, it shouldn’t be something you can’t manage. We’re here to help you breakdown your break outs, no matter what your skin is doing.

DEALING WITH: BLACK HEADS

Symptoms:

These are the little black dots that seem to appear through your T-zone and are often rough in texture. A black head is a build-up of oil and dead skin cells inside an open pore. The oxygen gets into the pore and causes the blockage to darken creating what looks like a black spot or ‘black head’.

Suggested routine:

With black heads, exfoliate the target area with a salicylic acid which will help to dissolve the blockage inside the pore as well as the dead skin collecting around the pore. Sunday Riley UFO is an oil-based treatment that combines salicylic acid to help keep pores clear and absorb deeply into skin. You could also try Drunk Elephant T.L.C Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, which is a chemical exfoliator containing 2 percent salicylic acid in a lightweight formulation—the reviews on this one are well worth a read if you’ve been eyeing it off. If you’d prefer a physical exfoliant, Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub uses super fine granules to gently buff skin. The difference between these two types of exfoliating? Physical exfoliants (scrubs) remove dead cells through friction. Chemical exfoliants (like salicylic acid) remove dead skin cells by dissolving the "glue" that binds them to other cells.

As a preventative measure, start with a double cleanse, to ensure that you get right into the pores. Try Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Cleansing Oil, a light formula which is made of sunflower seed oil which leaves the skin’s PH levels balanced. Another cleanser that doesn’t strip the skin but gives a through clean is Go-To’s Properly Clean.

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DEALING WITH: WHITE HEADS

Your symptoms include:

Annoying little white bumps that appear near or on the surface of the skin. They feel firm and textured and are the result of oil getting built up within the pore and then getting stuck due to dead skin cells sitting over the pore opening and creating a blockage.

A suggested routine:

Approach these the same way you would black heads–double cleanse inside the pore and exfoliate. Exfoliating will help remove any dead skin that’s covering the pore and preventing oil from flowing out onto the skin creating a bump. Try a chemical exfoliant like the Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Peel Pads and pop some time aside to apply a detoxifying mask after you’ve exfoliated, which will help to draw the oil and dead skin cells out. GlamGlow Super Mud Clearing Treatment effectively dries out the blemish and draws out impurities, you can use it all over or just on areas of concern.

Prevention is just as important as treatment. If you can anticipate where they might pop up based on previous breakouts then apply something like the Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Booster. It’s lightweight enough to sit under moisturiser or makeup to prevent further breakouts in problem areas.

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DEALING WITH: PIMPLES

Your symptoms include:

A pimple is a blockage that progresses further—it develops a head on it and becomes a little red and inflamed, this is the body trying to fight the infection. It will feel a little tender and might have some redness surrounding it. If you squeeze it, you can risk spreading it or worse, scarring.

A suggested routine:

You guessed it, make sure you’re giving your skin a thorough cleanse—and don’t even think about going to sleep with your makeup on. Makeup that’s left on the skin can clog up the pores while you sleep, it’s what nightmares (and acne) are made of.

Ensure that you’re exfoliating gently to prevent further breakouts or blockages. An exfoliating toner can be a good option as this won’t inflame the skin any further.

Up next, try using a targeted treatment on the affected areas, Kate Somerville EradiKate Acne Treatment is a fast-acting, on-the-spot treatment that helps to clear up pimples and significantly reduce associated redness. Long after the pimple disappears, you may have a scar left behind, use a vitamin C or retinol product to help fade the mark left behind. A product made exactly for this is Verso Dark Spot Fix which is gentle on skin and suitable for daytime use, too.

It’s really important to look after your microbiome when it comes to pimples (also referred to as pustules), because the good bacteria on the skin will help to fight the bad bacteria that finds its way into the pore. Gallinee Hydrating Face Cream uses a mixture of pre-biotics, post-biotics and pro-biotics to feed and protect your skin’s fragile microbiome, plus prevents and heals breakouts and balances sebum production.

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DEALING WITH: CYSTS

Your symptoms include:

Experiencing really sore, tender and inflamed pustule(s). They’ll most often be raised or swollen and sore to touch. A cyst is almost like an iceberg—it can often be a lot larger under the surface than what you can see on top. They can take a long time to heal, squeezing one will usually not help ‘bring it out’ (a common misconception) and can often lead to a rupture of your sebaceous gland, resulting in a scar.

A suggested routine:

Avoid abrasive or harsh exfoliants; something like Go-To Exfoliating Swipeys or Skyn Iceland Nordic Skin Peel are super effective without being harsh as they use lactic acid to stimulate skin cell renewal and heal the skin as gently as possible. Try to reduce inflammation where possible since this will help the skin heal quicker. Apply a calming moisturiser like REN Evercalm Protection Day Cream, which contains soothing ingredients and antioxidants to calm skin and protect it. When using and applying products, try to avoid rubbing the area as much as possible to avoid creating more irritation.

To prevent any further cysts from forming apply 111Skin Anti-blemish Booster, this looks after the skin’s microbiome and immunity therefore strengthening it long term and preventing further cysts. When you’re hit with a cyst whether it’s before a big event or you just want to manage it as soon as it appears, try Skyn Iceland Blemish Dots, an effective overnight treatment. Just stick a patch (two sizes available) over the blemish and overnight a combination of salicylic acid and bakuchiol will help to dry out and heal the blemish, plus the patch will stop you from touching the area. They must be used on clean dry skin so apply first before your usual skincare, after cleansing.

Words by Emily Deacon
July 2019

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