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What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead More
Advice for all of your skin care needs
What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead More
Want to better the texture of your skin and help transform the rough into the smooth? Done.
Skin concerns can vary greatly. Whether it’s hormonal breakouts that just won’t let up, puffy morning eyes after too much of a good time, or pesky dark spots that crop up on your cheeks every year – no matter how prudent you are with the sunscreen – there’s always something.
Take rough, uneven skin, for example. Poor texture might not be life threatening or even that noticeable to the untrained eye. But we get it, touching your skin and feeling bumps, flakes and rough patches instead of baby-smooth skin is as frustrating as hell.
So, why is uneven skin texture such a royal pain in the butt? Well, bumpy skin can be super persistent for starters. It's also impossible to cover up with makeup. In fact, makeup often makes it look ten times worse. And then there are the gazillion reasons why it’s there in the first place. OK, maybe there aren’t that many, but you get the picture.
If you’re fed up with bumpy skin simply not letting up, read on for some important intel that might just help you say ciao to the rough stuff…
First Up, What’s Causing Your Uneven Skin Texture?
Oh, if only we had a straight answer to this question. But alas, when it comes to the health of your skin, things are never quite that black and white.
Poor skin texture can be caused by any number of things which is pretty unhelpful, we know. Thankfully they can, at the very least, be put into four main camps: chronic skin disorders; sluggish cell turnover; an overly complicated skincare routine and surprise, surprise, the sun.
First up we have skin disorders like rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne. All of these can make your skin feel bumpy and rough to the touch – especially during flare-ups. And if you’re not careful, scarring from severe acne can also leave you with textural issues in the long-term. So, if you think you might be dealing with some kind of chronic skin complaint like the aforementioned, the only real way to get a handle on what’s going on is to get a professional diagnosis from a dermatologist. Trying to solve these on your own (particularly when you don’t know what you’re dealing with) can be a long, hard struggle and even then you might never achieve the best results.
Other textural issues are most commonly caused by sluggish cell turnover which allows dead skin cells to persistently stick around at the surface of your skin. This results in dullness, dehydration and rough, clogged pores. And then there’s an overly complicated skincare routine that’s packed to the brim with active ingredients. Active ingredients are great in moderation, but too much of a good thing can totally over-stimulate your skin, leaving it feeling bumpy and irritated.
Finally, the sun. This is the one thing you can blame for almost all of your skin woes. And it’s valid. UV radiation disrupts your collagen supplies and causes your cells to prematurely break down and die, leaving you with seriously uneven skin texture (and tone, for that matter!).
How To Boss Smoother Skin
As mentioned, for slightly complicated issues like rosacea and eczema, get thee to a derm. However, if you think your textural issues are more a case of poor cellular turnover, cruddy skincare and/or too much time in the sun, here are five fantastic ways to help smooth things over…
1. Exfoliate On The Reg
The best way to accelerate cell turnover and reduce build-up on the surface of your skin is to exfoliate more often. Don’t get us wrong, most people don’t need to exfoliate daily – that can exacerbate the problem – but two or three times a week with a physical scrub, or three to four times a week with a chemical exfoliant can do wonders for bumpy skin.
Our awesome NEW 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant is a great choice for textural issues because it’s formulated with a sweet blend of glycolic acid, salicylic acid and glucolactone which provide the ideal amount of deep exfoliation and oil control, without upsetting the balance of your skin.
2. Don’t Skip Your SPF
Protect your skin every day with a mineral sunscreen that has a minimum of SPF 30 and is also broad-spectrum. The latter is super important because it means it protects your skin not only from UVB radiation (which is what the SPF denotes) but UVA radiation as well. And that’s the stuff that gets right through those clouds on cold, wintry days, damaging your skin, rain or shine. Try our fabulous SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C as the last step in your morning routine.
3. Make Retinol A Bedtime Favorite
Of course, one of the best ingredients for uneven skin texture is retinol. As per! Although totally different to exfoliants, retinol also has a clever way of boosting turnover and accelerating collagen production to help improve texture, tone, acne, the works. Retinol is not always advisable for rosacea or eczema-prone skin because it’s a potent little beast, but as long as you introduce it slowly and carefully into your routine, it can have skin-transforming results for most skin types.
Give our Retinol Facial Serum a go in the evenings, two or three times a week, after cleansing and before moisturizing.
4. Dose Up On Vitamin C
When it comes to waging war on skin-roughening free radicals, vitamin C gets our vote every time. A major player in the world of antioxidants, vitamin C helps neutralize the many free radicals caused by sun damage, environmental pollution and the like. But that’s not enough for our vitamin C because it also works like a dog to inhibit melanin production, therefore keeping a beady eye on your skin tone as well as its texture.
Like retinol, however, vitamin C can be a pretty powerful addition to your skincare routine so we believe sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) should be your ultimate go-to. SAP is a salt form of pure vitamin C which makes it a) more stable and b) less irritating. It’s the only kind we use across all of our vitamin C products.
5. Never Underestimate The Power Of A Good Moisturizer
Dry and/or dehydrated skin is seriously bad news for the smoothness of your skin so moisturizing is totally non-negotiable. You should moisturize your skin after every cleanse, ideally following a treatment serum that addresses any other concerns you may have.
Look out for moisturizers that contain a good blend of humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin or aloe (these draw water to the surface of your skin) as well as ingredients like shea butter, jojoba oil or cocoa butter that help lock all that moisture in. And for an extra boost of free moisture? Apply your product while your skin is still slightly damp. Our current fave is our new Renewing Longevity Moisturizing Cream but we have a whole bunch of moisturizing whizz kids right here.
The Most Effective Ways To Improve Uneven Skin Textureread more
Realistic skincare goals are the bomb. Because there’s always room for improvement when it comes to the look and feel of your skin.
Let’s get one thing clear. Striving for skin perfection is not something we subscribe to here at TruSkin. Better skin? Sure. But perfect skin? Hell no. In fact, does that even exist outside Hollywood movies and retouched glossy magazine covers? Probably not.
That being said, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to improve what you’ve been blessed with. That’s just human nature. Whether you’re done with your dull, lackluster skin or totally over your monthly breakouts, these are the kind of skin issues we can get on board with. Because wanting better things for your skin is realistic. It’s also attainable – especially when you’re armed with the right tools and a side of skincare knowhow.
On that note, read on for five of the most common skin goals – plus how to flip them into reality…
Skincare Goal #1: Glowing Skin
Dull skin that lacks radiance hits us all at some point. And whether it’s a temporary, day-after-the-night-before blip or a more long-term grievance, dull skin is usually related to one big issue: dehydration.
Dehydration can be a problem for any skin type – dry or oily – and it happens when your skin isn’t retaining enough moisture. Not to be confused with dry skin, which lacks sebum, dehydration occurs thanks to things like cold weather, stress, a lack of sleep, poor skincare choices and surprise, surprise, sun damage. Basically anything that screws up your barrier function and compromises your skin's ability to hold onto water.
But dehydration isn’t the only reason your skin might look kind of sad. Poor cellular turnover can also be an issue. Healthy, adult skin has a turnover rate of around 28 days (give or take) but as you age, this gets longer as your skin cells become sluggish and dead ones hang around longer than necessary.
To help get your glow back, we recommend two important things. First, increase your skin’s moisture levels by applying a hydrating serum twice daily. Try one that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid or aloe vera. We love Hyaluronic Acid Serum when our skin is feeling thirsty.
Second up, add a little gentle exfoliation into your skincare routine. Our Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser is a great choice because it contains citric acid, a chemical exfoliator that helps dissolve the bonds that bind dead skin cells together.
Skincare Goal #2: Smaller-Looking Pores
Pores are kind of annoying, we agree. But they’re actually super important for your skin to function so don’t give them too much of a hard time, OK?
Your body has two types of pores: those that produce sebum (oil) and others than produce sweat. Oil-producing pores are tiny little openings found at the top of your hair follicles where they release sebum to moisturize and soften the skin.
This may sound innocent, but the problem starts when your sebaceous glands produce too much sebum than your skin really needs, causing your pores to stretch and become blocked. This is very common for oily and combination skin types, but here’s the thing – your pore size is determined by genetics which means that, no matter what you do, you can’t physically shrink them. However, there are many things you CAN do to help strengthen and firm your skin, and simultaneously help keep your pores in decent shape.
Keeping your skin clean and your pores clear of excess oils, makeup, sunscreen and the like is your most important play, but don't go too nuts. Gentle is the key. Try our new Tea Tree Super Cleanser+, followed by Ocean Minerals Super Toner for a pore-kicking cleansing routine that won’t strip your skin completely dry.
Skincare Goal #3: Less Visible Wrinkles
As the most common signs of aging, fine lines and wrinkles are a bugbear we all have to face at some point. And while it’s easy to say, ‘don’t worry about them,’ it’s much harder to actually put that into practice.
Lines and wrinkles usually appear on and around areas of the face that experience repeated muscle movement. This is because repetitive motions like laughing, frowning and smiling cause weaknesses and dips in the skin which, as your skin matures and it loses valuable proteins, don’t bounce back like they used to.
Once wrinkles start to set-in, they’re pretty tricky to eradicate with skincare products alone, but the best way to keep them at a minimum is to look after your collagen levels. And this is where the mighty retinol steps in.
Retinol is the gold-standard of skincare because it actually ‘communicates’ with your skin at a cellular level, encouraging it to rev up collagen and elastin production, accelerate cell turnover and neutralize skin-damaging free radicals. Pretty good stuff.
Skincare Goal #4: Fewer Breakouts
Pimples, spots, zits, breakouts, whatever you call them, welcome they are not. So annoying, then, that acne is the most common skin condition in the US and affects around 50 million of us every darn year!
Acne rears its ugly head (pun absolutely intended) when your pores get blocked up with an excess of sebum that mixes with dead skin cells and bacteria. Thanks to genetics, you’re either susceptible to acne, or you’re not. But plenty of other triggers can contribute to the frequency and severity of your breakouts. Hormones – yeah those again – are a major trigger, as is stress.
Obviously you can’t miraculously change your genetic makeup but there are plenty of skincare ingredients and helpful tricks for treating and controlling your breakouts. Our absolute go-to is Tea Tree Super Serum+ which combines tea tree oil with salicylic acid and niacinamide to create a powerful, yet gentle way to balance your skin and deal with unwanted pimples. Tea tree is one of the best ingredients for acne as its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial AND way less irritating than things like benzoyl peroxide. What’s more you only need to apply it two or three times a week to see experience visible results.
Skincare Goal #5: A More Even Skin Tone
Fed up with dark spots that are totally killing your skin’s mojo? Dark spots, aka hyperpigmentation, appear when your skin produces too much melanin which is the pigment that gives it its color. The three main triggers are your hormones; skin trauma like a bite, burn or pimple; or the sun.
We like to blame the sun for all manner of things where the skin is concerned. But this is totally legit for it really does have a lot to answer for. Dark spots included. Even if the sun wasn’t the original trigger, the sun makes any dark spot so much worse in the long run.
This is why protecting your skin from the sun’s evil rays is the single most important thing you can do for dark spots and patchy skin. Broad-spectrum sunscreen is a must (hi there SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C) but don’t dismiss antioxidants, either, which have a very clever way of neutralizing free radical damage and shielding your skin from cumulative photodamage. Our go-to is always vitamin C which not only protects your skin from damage but also helps to fade the appearance of uneven skin that’s already come and bitten you on the butt! Try our classic Vitamin C Facial Serum twice daily, swapping it out for Vitamin C Super Serum+ two or three times a week, to really hit dark spots where it hurts.
Good News! Your Skincare Goals Just Got Closerread more
Because acne comes in many shapes and sizes and it’s important you know what you’re dealing with…
As the most common and widespread skin condition in the world, acne sure is a pain in the butt. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it not only affects up to 50 million Americans every year but, as any woman going through menopausal acne right now, it can strike at any time.
The most problematic thing about acne is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all. There are all manner of medically termed types including acne mechanica, that pesky little business caused by friction and repeated pressure against the skin (hello ‘maskne’) and acne conglobata, a rare but very severe form that results in deep, interconnecting abscesses on the body.
However, the most common type that you know (and most definitely DO NOT love) is the mighty acne vulgaris.
But that’s not all, because acne vulgaris also comes in many different guises, each of which have their own ‘quirks’ shall we call them. They all fit into one of two camps, however – inflammatory and noninflammatory acne. And here’s what you need to know about dealing with both…
Undoubtedly the lesser of the two evils, noninflammatory acne encompasses all the stuff that’s, well, not inflamed. We're talking the non-red, hot or super painful acne spots – namely blackheads and whiteheads.
Most commonly found on oily parts of the face like your nose, chin and forehead, as well as the chest and back, blackheads and whiteheads are known medically as comedones. They occur when an excess of sebum and dead skin cells get trapped in tiny hair follicles just below the surface of your skin, clogging your pores and forming tiny bumps.
The difference between blackheads and whiteheads – other than their color (dur!) – is that whiteheads remain closed at the surface of your skin, whereas blackheads are open at the surface so all those dead skin cells and sebum get exposed to the air. So what? Well, when this happens, they oxidize and darken. Public service announcement: blackheads are not dark because they’re clogged with dirt, they’re just full of oxidized skin cells and sebum. Yeah, we know that doesn’t make them sound much better, but still, it’s worth knowing.
Why do some people get blackheads and whiteheads while others don’t? Well, contrary to popular belief, they’re not caused by poor hygiene but, like all types of acne vulgaris, are exclusively down to overactive sebaceous glands. Genetics plays a major role in how much sebum your skin produces, but things like your hormones, skincare and haircare regime, medications and stress all have their part to play.
Unlike blackheads and whiteheads that, granted, are frustrating and unsightly but are relatively painless, inflammatory acne is where the big guns, aka bacteria get involved.
Inflammatory acne includes those pimples that have become inflamed thanks to bacteria mixing with dead skin cells and sebum. See, it’s not that complicated really! And by ‘inflamed’ we mean any kind of pimple that looks red, feels hot or sensitive to the touch, or is downright painful.
This type of pimple can be split into four different types:
1. Papules: the smallest and least angry of the pimple gang.
2. Pustules: the gross-looking ones that are filled with pus.
3. Nodules: large, hard, tender bumps that hurt like hell.
4. Cysts: even larger bumps that are filled with pus and look like boils.
The specific bacteria involved in inflammatory acne is called cutibacterium acne or c.acnes which is actually a very important component in your skin’s microbiome – a balanced group of microorganisms that reside on your skin to keep it balanced, healthy and protected from the outside world.
What makes c.acnes go awry and hence contribute to inflammatory acne is very complex and still not entirely understood, but all you need to know is this – over-sanitizing with harsh cleansers upsets the balance of our microbiome so, while it might be tempting don’t go down that road. Also, a cruddy diet and sluggish lifestyle are all said to contribute to an unbalanced microbiome so look after yourself and your skin should thank you – as least in part, anyway!
It's also worth noting that noninflammatory acne can turn into inflammatory acne if it’s left untreated. So, on that note…
Your Best Line Of Defense Against Inflammatory & Noninflammatory Acne
Severe acne should always be left to the professionals so if you have issues with seriously inflamed cysts and nodules (aka nodulcystic acne), seek treatment from a dermatologist quick smart to avoid potential scarring.
If, however, your breakouts are mild to moderate, there are many things you can do at home to help improve your acne.
1. Remove Surface Debris With Regular Exfoliation
Encouraging cell turnover is super important to stop all those dead skin cells from getting ‘stuck’ in your pores, and the most recommended course of action is some kind of salicylic acid treatment. Unlike facial scrubs which are great but can be irritating for acne-prone skin, salicylic acid works by dissolving the bonds between skin cells which helps them slough away quicker and easier. Salicylic acid also cuts through sebum and has anti-bacterial properties, so it’s a great choice for oily, problematic skin.
2. Treat Breakouts With Tea Tree Oil
Hands down one of our favorite ingredients for acne-prone skin is tea tree oil. Sure benzoyl peroxide is great, but it can a) bleach your pillowcase and b) totally dry out your skin. Tea tree oil, on the other hand, is a natural, kinder alternative that’s anti-inflammatory and has antimicrobial properties to help kill unwanted bacteria. What’s not to love? Get your hands on our Tea Tree Super Cleanser+ to see for yourselves just what it can do.
3. Mix Up A Baking Soda Face Mask
Full disclosure: we’re not massive fans of using kitchen ingredients to treat your skin. Because there’s so much that can go wrong. However, a small teaspoon of baking soda, mixed with one or two tablespoons of warm water and applied to your skin for five to 10 minutes is a great way to help balance your skin’s pH levels and loosen blackheads and whiteheads.
Baking soda can be mildly irritating, however, so try this just once a month, never use more than a teaspoon and always follow with moisturizer like Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer.
4. Try Some Overnight Retinol
Retinol is a master at helping to keep acne of all shapes and sizes under control because it boosts cellular turnover to promote healthier pores and a smoother complexion. It also gets right under your skin, stimulating collagen and elastin production to help strengthen your pores and reduce your chances of scarring.
We love that for you.
Try our Retinol Facial Serum two or three times a week before bed, and on off nights, apply Retinol Moisturizer. You could even layer them both if your skin tolerates retinol well. Not sure about using retinol for the first time? Then we always recommend patch testing it first, then introducing it slowly into your nighttime skincare routine.
5. Avoid Pore-Clogging Skincare & Makeup
Finally, and super importantly, avoid using anything on your skin that will congregate in your pores and therefore add to any build-up. Heavy, occlusive ingredients like paraffin, mineral oils, cocoa butter, beeswax and coconut oil are all major no-nos, but when in doubt, look for the term ‘non-comedogenic’ on your product labels which means it’s less likely to block your pores.
Also, harsh sulphates, parabens and drying alcohols should be given a wide berth as they can irritate your skin. And, as we’re sure you’re aware, inflammation and irritation is a terrible combination.
The Difference Between Inflammatory & NonInflammatory Acneread more
Stress = irritation, which is one of the worst things for your skin. Let’s see what we can do to help turn stressed skin into your best skin ever.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so it’s no wonder what you see on the outside reflects exactly what’s going on inside. When you’re rested and bursting with energy, for example, your skin often reflects that. And, ps, can we have a group hug for those rare but joyous days, please?!
Similarly, when you’re super tired, anxious and emotionally drained, your skin is likely to react in the same way, looking dull, feeling rough and, frankly, being a bit of a stressed mess.
But why does stress and emotional anxiety affect the skin in such a major way? Well, when you feel stressed about something, your brain prepares your body to go into fight or flight mode. In doing so, your nervous system releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream which nudges your heart to beat faster, your breath to speed up and your muscles to tense up. All this is great in short-lived stressful situations like job interviews or when dealing with a threat or emergency. But when stress becomes more the norm than a rarity, these hormones go into constant overdrive and things start to go awry. Headaches and nausea can kick in, your digestive system becomes compromised and, in extremely chronic cases, you may even increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
And then there’s your skin.
Various studies show that both acute (temporary) and chronic (consistent) stress create negative effects on the health of your skin. For starters, spikes in cortisol increase inflammation and cause your sebaceous glands to go wild, encouraging them to produce way too much oil than your skin really needs (cue breakouts!). An overload of cortisol also breaks down vital collagen supplies, decreases hydrating hyaluronic acid, upsets the balance of your skin’s barrier function and messes up its pH levels. All of these things equal bad news for the health of your skin, resulting in any number of skin annoyances such as blocked pores, acne, dehydration, irritation and flare-ups in existing conditions like rosacea, psoriasis or eczema.
And the worst thing of all? Cruddy, stress-induced skin is, well, stressful in itself. Which doesn’t help your emotional well-being one tiny bit. Sigh.
The good news is there are many ways to improve our skin when stress is hitting you hard. To follow, seven of our tried and tested favorites…
1. De-Stress With A Journal
Before you start working on your skin, you need to concentrate on your entire health and well-being. And the best way to do this? Make a note of any habits or experiences that make you stressed or uneasy. Write down how they made you feel, how you reacted to them and what, if anything, you did to make yourself feel better. This allows you to notice themes or patterns in your stress levels, as well as ways to improve your mood and help you relax.
2. Sleep like A Queen
Like all skin experts, we’re big believers in the power of a great night’s sleep. In terms of stress, this is because cortisol levels dramatically drop when you’re asleep. So, if you deprive yourself of valuable zzzs your skin misses out on this important time of repair and rejuvenation during which collagen production accelerates, cell turnover speeds up, blood flow increases, muscles relax and antioxidants kick in to repair damage caused during the day.
The Mayo Clinic recommends at least seven hours of quality sleep every night but the most important thing is to go to bed and get up at roughly the same time to get into a good routine. Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, not too warm and limit caffeine, food and your smartphone for at least two hours before you hit the sack.
3. Dial Down Your Actives
Active ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and glycolic acid are all well and good when your skin’s barrier function is working like clockwork. But when stress upsets its delicate nature, your skin’s ability to heal and repair itself becomes compromised. This is when an overload of actives can be too much for your skin to deal with. Cut back for a while and allow your barrier function to rebuild itself. If you usually exfoliate every other day, for example, switch to once or twice a week. Love to apply your Retinol Facial Serum every night? Reduce this to every other night for a short period of time, or try alternating it with our soothing Niacinamide Facial Serum which is perfect for sensitized skin.
Trust us, giving your skin a break is super important during times of stress.
4. Avoid ‘Triggering’ Skincare Ingredients
We recommend avoiding the most common skincare nasties ALL of the time, but it’s even more important during times of emotional and mental stress when your barrier function might not be working to the best of its abilities.
Keep your routine straightforward, simple and steer clear of sulfates, in particular, which are excellent at cleansing, but can exacerbate dryness, itching, redness and breakouts – especially if your skin is feeling stressed out.
Gentle cleansers that contain non-drying surfactants like disodium lauryl sulfosuccinate and disodium 2-sulfolaurate are a far better choice and ideal for sensitized skin. Try our Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser which also contains nourishing rose hip oil to help reduce inflammation and redness.
5. Save New Skincare Products For Another Time
Sure, we all love to try out a brand new product every now and again but now’s not the time to introduce a newbie to your daily routine. Stressed skin is more reactive which means ingredients that usually feel great may bother you more than normal.
Stick to what you know for now and save the new stuff for later.
6. Enjoy A Cup Of Tea
Research shows that drinking black tea helps lower the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream, making you feel more relaxed and positive. It’s even been suggested that the simple act of making tea alone is enough to help soothe stress and anxiety.
The reason black (as well as green) tea is thought to be such a mood booster is mainly down to l-theanine, an amino acid that helps promotes relaxation, counteracts anxiety, reduces fatigue and supports thinking.
7. Finally, Give Yourself A Break
Everyone goes through stressful periods in their lives and it’s perfectly normal for things to get on top of you every now and again. But try not to allow your stress to get the better of you as this will result in a vicious circle for both your health and your skin – and that can be hard to shake off. Practice deep breathing throughout the day to center yourself, go for a quick walk to clear your head, or read a book for ten minutes in the afternoon to take your mind off things.
These healthy habits are awesome for lifting your emotional health and maintaining stronger, radiant skin. Period.
How To Turn Stressed Skin Into Your Best Skinread more
When it comes to your skin we can’t think of a more mind-numbingly frustrating phrase than – wait for it – hormonal acne. Are we right or are we right? Here’s what we know about dealing with these pesky, recurring breakouts…
Hormonal acne might sound like one of those distant horrors from your teenage years when angry pimples plagued your chin on a monthly basis. But sadly, filing this common skin condition away in the annals of pubescent history isn’t the case for everyone. In fact, hormonal breakouts can affect you at any age. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects more than 50 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 29, while just over 25 percent of those between 40 and 49 are also suffering. What’s more, studies show that acne hits adult women way more frequently than men.
Acne is caused by one thing and one thing alone – excess sebum that gets trapped in your pores and may or may not become inflamed. Nobody’s arguing this. But it’s the hows and whys your skin overproduces sebum that can change from person to person. Oh how simple it would be if you could point the finger at chocolate, poor cleansing or your parents (because, genes), right? Instead, a whole host of factors trigger acne. And one of the most common? Yup, hormones.
Read on for everything we know about how to deal with these pesky hormonal breakouts…
What Exactly Is Hormonal Acne?
While not strictly a term used in the medical profession, hormonal acne occurs when an imbalance in hormones stimulates the skin to produce excessive amounts of sebum and consequently (although not always) break out. These breakouts are cyclical and commonly coincide with periods in your life (no pun intended) when your body experiences major shifts in hormone levels. Think menstruation, pregnancy, child birth and the menopause.
The hormones in question here are estrogen and progesterone which fluctuate like crazy during these times, creating imbalances with your levels of testosterone.
However, not all hormonal acne is down to inherent hormonal fluctuations. That may sound like a contradiction in terms but all we mean is that certain medications can also throw your hormones out of whack, as can emotional stress which produces an excess of cortisol in your body. Cortisol is known as ‘the stress hormone,’ and it’s a major trigger of excess sebum production and inflammation. Say no more.
How To Tell If Your Breakouts Are Hormonal
If you’ve noticed your skin is breaking out monthly, around the time of your period, this is a tell-tale sign you have hormonal acne – especially if you’re experiencing red, inflamed pimples in the same places each time, and they’re mainly concentrated on your chin, around the jawline or across your back and chest. Even if you’re menopausal, hormonal fluctuations still occur on a regular basis as your reproductive hormones systematically decline.
Some hormone replacement therapies also use different hormones to replace those which your body is losing. And all this can cause a similar type of cyclical adult acne. So, there’s that.
During pregnancy, or postpartum is another common time as, again, your hormones are all over the place, sending your sebaceous glands into turmoil and creating excess oil at the surface of your skin. And if you’re super stressed? This won’t help one bit.
Of course, self-diagnosing hormonal acne is no mean feat so if you’re not sure whether your flare-ups are hormonal or thanks to some other trigger, it’s always wise to seek professional help from a board-certified dermatologist.
5 Ways To Help Treat Hormonal Acne
There are plenty of ways to help keep hormonal acne under control. At the doctor’s office, things like laser treatments, hormone-regulating meds and prescription topicals can reap awesome rewards for severe acne. However, if you’re dealing with mild to moderate breakouts these at-home acne treatments are also well worth it…
1. Keep Your Pores Clean
Dirty skin doesn’t cause acne, per se, but if you allow dirt and surface debris to build up in your pores, well, this won’t help at all. This means a great cleansing routine is imperative if you’re suffering right now. Don’t make the mistake of cleansing like your life depended on it, however, as harsh formulations and over-zealous scrubbing will completely strip your skin’s protective layer which accelerates oil production even further.
Instead, choose balancing products that, yes, whisk away dirt, oil and impurities but, no, don’t suck all the life out of your skin. Try Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser which contains activated coconut charcoal to decongest your pores, along with reishi mushrooms to hydrate and ylang ylang blossom to fight inflammation. Cleanse twice daily, using lukewarm rather than hot water, and always after exercising.
2. The Same Goes For The Rest Of Your Home
Keeping clean doesn’t begin and end with the skin on your face. If you’re a face-toucher, oil and dirt from your hands will constantly transfer itself straight to your face which is bad news for your pores. So a) wash your hands regularly and b) try to stop touching your face as much.
Also, wash your pillowcases, bed linens and makeup brushes at least once a week, and do your face towels and smartphone even more regularly – daily if you can.
3. Make Tea Tree Oil Your BFF
One of the most effective topical ingredients for targeting acne is tea tree oil. Naturally antifungal, anti-inflammatory AND antimicrobial, this incredibly therapeutic essential oil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries and is scientifically proven to treat and heal mild to moderate acne. It’s also less drying and irritating than other acne-busting favorites such as benzoyl peroxide which makes it awesome for sensitive or more mature skin types. It can still be pretty potent, however, so stick with diluted, carefully curated formulations that have been specifically created for safe use on your skin.
Try Tea Tree Super Serum+ which combines tea tree oil (well, dur!) with salicylic acid, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to create a purposeful, well-rounded treatment for clearer, healthier-looking skin. What’s more, it might be gentle, but it’s still mighty powerful so you only need to use it two or three times a week for awesome results. And remember, always do a patch test first.
4. Look After Yourself
Emotional anxiety and constant stress put your mental wellness on edge. They also encourage your body to produce excessive amounts of cortisol which upsets the balance of your hormones and triggers an inflammatory response in your skin. Now we’re well aware that being told to chill out and stress less rarely reaps the desired result, but if you can do a few things to improve your emotional wellbeing, this will really help the health of your skin.
Exercising regularly and making sleep a top priority are great ways to manage your levels of stress so try to go to bed at the same time each night, and do a fitness class or go for a brisk walk two or three times a week – or whatever your schedule allows. Just don’t stress about it. Because, well, you’re trying to reduce stress, not build on it!
It’s also worth taking a look at your diet as overdoing things like sugar, dairy and processed carbs are thought to increase inflammation in your body. And anything you can do to avoid inflammation is a very good thing.
5. Invest In Some Butt-Kickin' Retinol
Not only is it seen as the gold-standard in anti-aging, but retinol can have a huge impact on acne-prone skin. Retinoids have been proven to speed up cell turnover to help regulate sebum production and keep your pores clean and clear. They’re often the first port of call for the treatment of hormonal acne at the doctor’s office.
Prescription retinoids, however, can be pretty harsh on your skin – especially if it’s super sensitive – and some people simply don’t get on with them. Think redness, irritation, dryness and flaky skin which, when coupled with breakouts, is so not the desired effect. This is why many people turn to retinol, which is kinder to the skin and much more highly tolerated by the skin.
Try our powerful, but gentle Retinol Moisturizer or give Retinol Facial Serum a go which also contains vitamin E to aid healing. You could even layer them both, depending on your skin’s tolerance to retinol, of course. Just remember to patch test them first, then introduce them slowly into your routine – two or three times a week – building up to nightly use.
What’s The Deal With Hormonal Acne?read more
Today, we're celebrating Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day in honor of all the professionals who help us make better choices regarding our diets. After all, what you put INTO your body is just as important as what goes onto your skin.
Want to step up your skincare regimen from the inside out? Then take control of your diet and ensure your skin reflects what you eat by making these 10 skin-nourishing foods your new BFFs…
1. Oily Fish
Certain fats are super important for the health of your skin because they help balance your skin’s barrier function which helps keep your skin hydrated, plump, strong and moisturized. Studies also show they may have anti-inflammatory properties which is great news if you suffer from facial redness or monthly breakouts.
The key, however, is to make sure you choose the right kinds of fats – and no, chips, burgers, fried chicken and butter are not on that list. One of the best is omega-3 fatty acid, an essential fatty acid (EFA) that’s found mostly in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring.
More good news… These skin-loving types of fish not only contain omega-3s by the bucketload, but they’re high in protein, zinc and vitamin E which are all vital for the look and feel of your skin.
Fruit and veggies, as a rule, are winners when it comes to glowing, healthy skin. One word: antioxidants. Not sure why antioxidants are the basis of great skin? Well, in a nutshell, they counteract the damaging effects of free radicals which are produced by the skin when it’s exposed to things like the sun, pollution, stress and a lack of sleep. Free radicals are seriously bad news for your skin because they break down collagen, accelerating the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and sagging skin.
One of our favorite fruits is watermelon – and no, it’s not because it’s so Insta worthy (although it really is a pretty slice!). Watermelon is literally chock full of antioxidants like vitamins A, B, C and E. Furthermore, it’s packed with water which helps keep you hydrated without the hassle of having to down glasses upon glasses of water on the reg.
It also tastes awesome, so there’s that ;)
Speaking of fruit and veggies, one of the most skin-loving vegetables you can include in your diet plan is broccoli. Of course, it’s high in vitamins like A, C and K, but it also contains a beta carotene called lutein which skin loves. How so? Well, lutein is well known for protecting the eyes from light damage and macular degeneration, but it also has similar photo-protective benefits for the skin, helping to shield it from damaging UV radiation.
Broccoli also contains something called sulforaphane which works alongside lutein and other antioxidants to further support your skin’s natural protection from sun damage, spurring the skin’s natural healing process and helping to calm inflammation. Take that, sun.
Like oily fish, nuts are an awesome source of essential fatty acids which help maintain strong, supple and well-moisturized skin. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals like zinc, copper and vitamins A, C and E, and just a handful of almonds, cashews, walnuts and/or pistachios every day will work wonders for dry, dull or lackluster skin.
Walnuts, in particular, are high in protein, omega-3, omega-6 and selenium. Selenium is an important mineral which puts up a great fight against those dastardly free radicals. It also works hard to reduce inflammation and has been proven to help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.
If you ever needed a reason to eat avo toast every morning, here’s one for you. Just half an avocado a day provides 14 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin E, as well as 11 percent of your daily recommended dose of vitamin C. Vitamins C and E are proven antioxidants that, while great on their own, work much more effectively as a team. This makes avos pretty darn unbeatable in the fight against environment damage and oxidative stress.
But that’s not all. Avocados also contain various other vitamins, minerals, essential fats and skin-loving nutrients including plant sterols which contain UV protection and help prevent the breakdown of important proteins in your skin such as collagen and elastin.
While tomatoes are a fabulous source of vitamin C (great stuff) and potassium (ditto), their main draw is all the incredible lycopene and lutein they're packed with. Lycopene and lutein are carotenoids which work as powerful anti-aging antioxidants, offering your skin natural sun protection and free radical fighting powers.
Some studies show that higher amounts of lycopene are found in cooked tomato products than the raw stuff, so if you love to make stews, soups and sauces with tomatoes, go nuts!
7. Natural Yogurt
It’s a well-known fact that yogurt (not the sugar-laden, fruity stuff, of course) contains lots of calcium for strong bones and healthy skin. But that’s not the only thing yogurt has up its sleeve. Let’s talk about probiotics, shall we?
Probiotics are extremely important for keeping your skin’s microbiome in check. What’s that, you say? Well, the microbiome is an ecosystem of trillions of microorganisms that live on your skin. Sure, this sounds pretty gross but it’s actually a very smart system that’s evolved over centuries to help keep bad bacteria away. Your microbiome can go a bit squiffy, however, thanks to your environment, age, diet and skincare habits, so it’s important to conserve and support it through gentle skincare and a healthy diet that includes plenty of biotics. Probiotics, for example, are living microorganisms that help increase the population of good bacteria in your body. How to up your probiotics? Look no further than plain, live yogurt. Simple. Don’t worry if you’re lactose intolerant, though – miso, kombucha and kimchi are great alternatives.
8. Chia Seeds
Most seeds are bursting with awesome skin-boosting love thanks to vitamin E, selenium, essential fatty acids and protein, so sprinkling them on salads, cereals, smoothies and soups is never a bad idea. However, if you’re looking for the absolute queen of seeds, look no further than the mighty chia.
After oily fish, chia seeds are known to be one of the richest sources of collagen-boosting omega-3 fatty acids which makes them a great choice for vegans. They’re also full of manganese, magnesium, selenium and protein which work together to soothe, protect, hydrate and strengthen your skin.
9. Bell Peppers
When you think of fruit and veggies that are high in vitamin C you probably go straight to oranges and carrots, right? Well, little known fact: red and yellow bell peppers are also extremely rich in vit C. In fact, one cup of bell pepper provides a whopping 211 percent of your daily recommended dosage of vitamin C. This makes them a fabulous choice for significantly reducing oxidative stress and helping your skin get its glow on.
Bell peppers are also a great source of beta carotene which gets converted into vitamin A by your body. Vitamin A is mega important for boosting your skin’s natural healing process, boosting your immune system and increasing moisturization.
10. Leafy Greens
Leafy green veggies like kale, spinach and collard greens are brimming with zinc for helping to reduce inflammation and breakouts, plus vitamin K which has been proven to improve blood flow. Great circulation is important for ‘feeding’ your skin with nutrient-rich oxygen to help reduce dark spots and give you the radiant complexion you so rightly deserve.
Zeaxanthin is another asset leafy greens can lay claims to. It might be trickier to spell but, like lutein, zeaxanthin is a carotenoid which has powerful antioxidant properties and may help your skin stay more protected from the perils of UV radiation. Kale, in particular, is known to be a total powerhouse for your skin and health in general.
Bottom line is a balanced, healthy diet that’s high on fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, live yogurt and oily fish are exactly what the skin doctor ordered. Couple all this good stuff with a great skincare routine that mimics your eating habits with plenty of antioxidants (hi there Vitamin C Facial Serum) and moisture-boosting ingredients like hyaluronic acid and you’re well on the way to healthier-looking skin.
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day is celebrated by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Wednesday March 8, 2023.
10 Things To Eat For Fabulous, Healthy Skinread more