Acne is one of the most common skin conditions and its effects, both physical and emotional, can be significant and long-lasting.
Acne is caused by four factors, excess oil production, clogged hair follicles, bacteria and inflammation. This leads to blackheads, whiteheads and other pimples on the face, chest, shoulders and back. Read on to find out how to take the guesswork out of getting acneic skin under control, bringing you closer to calm, clear skin.
1. Commit to a customised skin routine
There is no one size fits all answer when it comes to fighting acne, since acne is not a skin type but a skin condition. But, it does need an approach that tackles all four contributing factors: oil production, blocked hair follicles, bacterial growth and inflammation. Finding a bespoke skincare routine, that is customised to your skin type and its concern, is the goal.
Your skincare routine should include a:
- treatment cream/serum
Persistence and commitment are key! Keep in mind, it takes about 4-6 weeks for our skin to go through a shed cycle. So, don’t ditch any routine after a day or two, a professionally devised skincare routine needs to be adhered to for 4-6 weeks...minimum. Just like you don’t go to the gym a few times to get results, your skin is the same.
Be warned, your skin may get worse before it gets better! This is because it will normally “purge” with an effective skincare routine for the first couple of weeks. This is where, in order to get the lovely fresh new skin to the top, the older, upper layers need to be pushed to the top. This makes you think you're breaking out from the products themselves! After the initial weeks, it will take another few to start seeing clear results. So, hold tight and look forward to the end goal of glowing, clear skin!
If figuring out which products to choose sounds overwhelming and a quick Google has left you baffled, we get it. We would recommend getting advice from a skin expert, either virtually or in-clinic.
2. Tackle breakouts
Acne flares up. Usually before you have an event! Typical! Having tried and tested spot treatments is an essential part of tackling acne at home. They help by killing the bacteria and minimising scarring- both which are high concerns for someone with acne.
Look for gels and creams which include salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or retinoids. The aim is to exfoliate, unblock pores and kill bacteria.
3. You are what you eat
The common misconception with acne is that a great skincare routine will solve all cases. This isn’t always so, as acne can be triggered by stress, hormonal changes, diet, and so many more possibilities that don’t stem from whether your makeup is removed or not (although, if you aren’t doing this, then have a word with yourself!).
Gut health is becoming an increasing focus when taking an holistic approach to tackling acne. When our gut is not happy it commonly shows on our face.
So what can you do? I'm not going to tell you much you don’t already know here…
- eat a diet rich in fresh fruit and veg(or supplements if you are unable to do this)
- drinking litres of water
- reduce sugar/refined carbohydrates
- eat more antioxidant/fibre-rich foods like blueberries, nuts, and green leaves
- add fish oil to your diet, this has anti-inflammatory properties
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Another misconception is that someone with acne does not need to moisturise. That they need to ‘dry the skin out’...THIS IS NOT TRUE! Acneic skin produces excess oil, but this has nothing to do with how hydrated the skin is. Hydration is all about water, not oil. Most skin is normally begging for hydration and many acne treatment products are dehydrating, so a great hydrating serum is a must. Not only that, but hydrating can also help with irritation, redness and inflammation of the skin.
So what makes a great hydrating product? Well, you’re looking for products with hyaluronic acid in them. Whether it’s a serum, moisturiser or mask, make sure hyaluronic acid is in there.
A weekly hydrating mask on top of a daily moisturiser can help replenish your skin’s moisture levels. Chill the mask for extra soothing benefits!
5. Be bacteria aware
One of the key acne causing factors is bacteria. Covid-19 has brought us a real awareness of how microbes are spread. Your everyday actions could be transferring bacteria to your skin and you don’t even realise. Here are some things to consider;
- sanitise your phone screen
- change your pillowcase weekly
- don’t touch your face...really, stop touching it!
- change your face cloth and face towel daily
- double cleanse your face each evening
- clean makeup brushes and sponges at least once a week
6. Incorporate LED light therapy treatments
The amazing thing about this LED treatment is that it works on the acne bacteria present on the skin. More specifically, red light is great for rejuvenating skin, blue light works well on acne-prone skin and helps reduce the inflammation that occurs with acne as well as minimising spots. It can be used on the face, neck and décolletage, as well as the hands.
The treatment takes just 20 minutes, and for best results, a course of treatments is generally recommended - that’s around 3 times a week over a two week period. But, of course, this can vary from person to person. Speaking to your practitioner will help you manage your expectations.
You may be wondering, “does LED red light therapy hurt?” But, actually, there is no pain with LED red light therapy, and no use of anaesthetic, which is, well, fabulous.
So, there you have it, some solid advice to try to tackle acne at home.