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True Radical Honesty From Our Community

  • The Ultimate Skincare Routine For Adult Acne
    Adult acne might feel and look the same as teenage acne but when it comes to nailing an effective, breakout-busting skincare routine, it’s a whole different beast.

    As if fine lines, wrinkles and all the other signs of skin aging weren’t enough to contend with, there’s also that crazy little thing called adult acne. Acne ‘should’ be something that you say farewell to as you come to the end of your adolescent years and your hormones settle into adulthood. But that’s not always the case. In fact, adult acne is on the increase and it’s estimated to affect more and more adults as they hit their 50s and older.

    What Is Adult Acne?

    Acne vlugaris, the proper name for the type of acne we’re dealing with here, is exactly the same at any age. It rears its head when your hair follicles and pores become blocked with excess oil and dead skin cells. Unlike regular teenage acne, however, the adult kind can be split into two different types: persistent acne and late- or adult-onset acne. Persistent acne continues from adolescence, never really giving you a break, whereas late-onset acne is the stuff that appears for the first time later on in life. Just when you thought you’d gotten away with it. Dang!

    This all sounds pretty simple, but things get a little more complicated from here on in. How so? Because acne can take on many forms. If the plug bulges out above the surface of your skin it creates a whitehead, for example. If the plug opens up, it oxidizes with the air, turns dark and creates a blackhead. And if bacteria gets involved and infects the blockage? Then it becomes a full blown zit – a papule, pustule, nodule or cyst, if you will.

    So, Why Do Some People Get Adult Acne While Others Don’t?

    As a rule, acne is genetic, so if you’re predisposed, thanks to your parents, there’s not much you can do about that. What you can do, however, is to understand what’s triggering these breakouts later in life – hint: more often than not, it’s your hormones. During menopause, for example, your hormones are all over the place and if you’re sensitive to these triggers, this creates an imbalance that causes sebum production to go wild and your your skin to completely freak out.

    Emotional stress and certain medications can also overstimulate your sebaceous glands, as can pore-blocking or harsh ingredients in your skincare regime.

    On that note, here’s how to create a kick-ass skincare routine that cares for your adult skin (aka doesn’t dry it out!) and helps to balance oil production to keep breakouts to a minimum.

    The Best Morning Skincare Routine For Adult Acne

    1. Gently Cleanse Your Face

    For some, a morning cleanse can seem a little OTT when all you’ve done is sleep since your last cleanse. Not so for you. Because your skin is oilier than most you’re going to want to gently remove any sebum that may have built up overnight. Also, your night cream might feel kind of heavy for daywear, so it’s good to start with a clean slate in the AM.

    One word of warning: don’t fall into the trap of grabbing the most skin-stripping cleanser you can find. You can just about get away with that when you’re 13 – although it’s never ideal – but when your skin is more mature it’s going to need way more care. Choose something that will help replenish your barrier function, soothe and calm inflammation and cut out any risk of over-cleansing your skin. A product like our Soothing Cleansing Milk is great for morning use.

    2. Balance Your Skin With Tea Tree Oil

    As you know, we’re massive fans of face serums for targeting skin issues exactly where they’re needed, and when it comes to adult acne, our favorite topical ingredient is tea tree oil.

    Unlike other acne-busting favorites like benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil is less drying and irritating on the skin which makes it a great choice for mature skin. But don’t think that means it’s any less effective because its antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties combine to give it true superpowers in the fight against bacteria and acne breakouts.

    Try applying our Tea Tree Super Serum+  two or three times a week after cleansing and before moisturizing to help balance and calm your skin. We like to alternate it with Niacinamide (B3) Facial Serum which is another winner for regulating oil and reducing inflammation.

    3. Lightly Moisturize

    Moisturizing oily, acne-prone skin might seem counterintuitive but it’s actually crucial for keeping your barrier function healthy and keeping sebum under control. If you miss this step, your sebaceous glands will think your skin is dry and thus overcompensate with more oil.

    Avoid thick creams that are jam-packed with heavy occlusives like cocoa butter, however – these will block your pores and cause no end of problems. Instead, stick with light gel or lotion formulas that incorporate hydrating ingredients like glycerin, aloe and hyaluronic acid. Our Firming Collagen Day Lotion is great for oily skin, plus it helps tackle the visible signs of aging at the same time. Result.

    4. Apply Sunscreen

    UV radiation will make acne (and any potential scarring) worse. Not to mention all the other dastardly deeds it gets up to as the sun beats down on your skin on a daily basis.

    Wear sunscreen every day, without fail, and always choose a broad-spectrum formula with SPF 30 or above. And if you really can’t bear the thought of applying moisturizer AND sunscreen? Try our SPF 20 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C. It’s packed with hydrating and moisturizing ingredients which are probably just right for your oily skin.

    The Best Nighttime Skincare Routine For Adult Acne

    1. Remove Makeup & Cleanse Your Face

    Before bed is when a more thorough (but still not too full-on) cleanse comes into play. Your evening cleanse is way more important than the morning one because this is when your skin has been subjected to at least 15 hours worth of makeup, sunscreen, dirt, oil and pollution. And if you don’t whisk that away it can, and will, build up on your skin where it will combine with dead skin cells and sit in your pores waiting for the worst to happen.

    We recommend our Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser or Tea Tree Super Cleanser+ which both work hard to whisk away debris from the surface of your skin while balancing, detoxifying and refreshing your complexion.

    You should also exfoliate once or twice a week to gently boost cellular turnover and minimize any risk of dead skin cells hanging around for too long. Try our Vitamin C Gentle Face Scrub after cleansing.

    2. Treat Your Skin With Retinol

    Retinol might be the gold standard of aging treatments, but it’s also right up there in the fight against adult acne. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol helps to increase cell turnover. It’s a little bit like exfoliation, although it works in a very different way. Instead of removing dead skin cells at a surface level, retinol goes deeper into the skin and activates certain genes to accelerate cell turnover down below. It’s very clever and a great way to keep dead skin cells moving along so they don’t clog up your pores. This is music to the ears of mature, acne-prone skin – especially when you add in all the other age-defying benefits retinol brings to the table.

    Just remember, retinol is very powerful, so start slowly by applying Retinol Facial Serum just once or twice a week to clean, dry skin. Then, as you build tolerance, you can build up to every night.

    3. Hydrate & Moisturize

    Allow your serum to sink in for a minute or two, then finish with moisturizer. Of course, you can double up with the same product you used in the morning, but you might find your skin needs a little more moisturization at night.

    /Size-2 Fl Oz

    Our fabulous Retinol Moisturizer is a great product to apply before bed as it combines retinol with hydrating hyaluronic acid, soothing vitamin E and plumping panthenol. If the combination of this and the retinol serum is too much for your skin, however, try our Longevity duo: Rejuvenating Longevity Serum followed by Renewing Longevity Moisturizing Cream. Both of these formulations are incredible for aging skin that gets a little, shall we say, problematic. They harness the powers of bakuchiol, which is nature’s kinder alternative to retinol.

    Acne
    The Ultimate Skincare Routine For Adult Acne
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  • The Best Ways To Treat Whiteheads, Once And For All
    They might not be inflamed like pimples, or ‘dirty’ looking like their blackhead cousins, but nobody wants to deal with whiteheads.

    Whiteheads can plague pretty much any skin type and can strike at any time of your life. But, like any type of acne, all is not lost when you’re armed with intel (and intel is incoming, don’t you worry), patience (sorry, we can’t help with that one) and the right tools to help eliminate those pesky skin bumps. Those, we can also do.

    Here's everything you need to know about whiteheads, including what they are, what causes them and how to win the battle… as well as the war.

    What Exactly Are Whiteheads?

    Like pimples and blackheads, whiteheads are a form of acne most often found on the face, back or chest. According to the AAD, acne is the single most common skin condition in the country, affecting around 50 million people every year and often continuing from adolescence into adulthood. So, remember, if you’re suffering right now, you are not alone.

    Acne, in all its various shapes and sizes, occurs when sebum and dead skin cells collect at the surface of the skin, clogging up the pore and forming a kind of hard plug that makes said pore swell and become raised.

    What happens next determines the type of acne that rears its ugly head (or not, as the case may be!)… If the pore stays closed, it produces a white or pale yellowish bump called a whitehead. If it opens at the surface and becomes exposed to air it oxidizes, turns dark and becomes a blackhead. And if it becomes inflamed it becomes what we regularly refer to as a pimple. Pimples range in severity and can be pretty innocent (pink and tender) to extremely angry, painful and filled with pus.

    All fun stuff. Not!

    So, What Causes Whiteheads?

    Contrary to many ridiculous old wives’ tales, whiteheads are not caused by chocolate or poor cleansing habits. Same goes for any type of acne. Their cause is solely thanks to excess sebum combining with keratin and dead skin cells. This little cocktail of 'gunk' then gets stuck in your pores and results in all sorts of acne-related problems.

    However, there are many triggers and lifestyle factors that increase your risk of developing whiteheads. Your genes, for one thing (darn those parents of yours!). Then there are other factors like heavy, buttery moisturizers which can sit on the surface of your skin and block your pores; a diet that’s high in sugar and processed carbs, and wayward hormones – which is why puberty, menstruation and the menopause are such major times for breakouts.

    5 Of The Best Ways To Deal With Whiteheads

    So, what can you do to help prevent clogged pores and help stop whiteheads in their tracks? And what about when they still manage to break their way through your smooth complexion? What can be done then? Well, here are five of our favorite ways to cope with whiteheads.

    And PS: if blackheads and pimples are more your jam, these tips work across the entire acne board. You’re welcome.

    1. Never Squeeze Your Whiteheads

    Yes, it’s tempting and weirdly satisfying to prod, poke, pick and squeeze whiteheads. But don’t. This can spread bacteria which, in turn, makes matters far worse in the long run. It can also lead to scarring. Which is not cool.

    Whiteheads tend to disappear and heal much faster if you keep your fingers away. However, if it does look ready to pop, you can apply a warm flannel then gently press the surrounding skin away (not towards) the whitehead to help it drain. A gentle touch is the key here, however, and if it nothing shifts, leave well alone and let nature take its course.

    2. Know That Regular Cleansing Is Vital

    The best way to stop sebum (and other debris like makeup and sweat) from building up on the surface of your skin? Easy, a good cleansing routine. Of course, stripping your skin of every last drop of oil and moisture will make your skin flare-up even more, so don’t go down that road. It’s so 80s!

    Instead, choose finely balanced cleansing products like Tea Tree Super Cleanser + which contains purifying, acne-busting goodies like tea tree oil and witch hazel, combined with healing champs like MSM and chamomile, and hydrating wonderkids like aloe vera and botanical oils.

    Cleanse every morning, every night and again after working out (one word: sweat!), using warm, not hot water and concentrating on any problematic areas like around your nose and over your forehead. You won’t see results immediately, but trust us, make this cleansing routine a daily habit and your skin will soon thank you.

    3. Add A Little Retinol To Your Night Time Routine

    Retinol is the gold-standard of anti-aging skincare. But did you know it also makes for a pretty mean acne-fighting machine?

    Retinol is an over-the-counter derivative of vitamin A that increases cell turnover by attaching itself to nuclear receptors in the center of your cells. Without getting too technical, this is where genetic information is stored and where major cellular functions are processed. Once attached to these receptors, retinol activates certain genes to accelerate cell turnover and help encourage dead skin cells to shed more efficiently. This helps keep your pores from clogging up and breaking out. Pretty neat, huh? As you can probably guess, we’re big fans over here.

    Try our Retinol Facial Serum or Retinol Moisturizer if you want to get in on the action.

    Just remember, as great as retinol is, it’s very potent and extremely active, so always patch test any new product first, then start using it slowly by applying it just two or three evenings a week to clean, dry skin. As you build tolerance, you can then work up to nightly use.

    4. Avoid Abrasive Scrubs & Harsh Chemicals

    Like squeezing whiteheads, it’s tempting to want to throw all sorts of scrubs, astringent lotions and products that contain drying alcohols at them. Massive mistake. This can seriously compromise your skin’s barrier function which invites all manner of other issues to the party. Think irritation, redness, itching and all sorts. Remember, skin-friendly, plant-powered products are always best.

    5. Embrace The Powers Of Salicylic Acid

    Exfoliation is super important for ensuring those dead skin cells don’t get stuck at the surface of your skin. But you’ve got to be kind as you exfoliate because too much can over-stimulate your sebaceous glands and can make matter worse.

    Instead of harsh scrubs, we recommend sticking with exfoliating acids that work specifically on breaking down dead skin cells, without any need for unnecessary pressure or friction.

    Salicylic acid, for example, is a total shoo-in for oily, problematic skin as it not only dissolves the ‘glue’ that binds dead skin cells together, but it’s oil-soluble which means it’s able to penetrate into your sebaceous glands to loosen sebum and unblock pores. We combine this oily skin hero with all manner of balancing, brightening and soothing ingredients in our 6% AHA, BHA + PHA Liquid Exfoliant. We recommend you add to cart immediately.

    Still not able to get on top of your whitehead situation? Then check-in with a skincare professional for further advice and/or recommendations. There are plenty of options out there, from hormone therapy to laser treatments, so don't lose heart, you've got this.

    Acne
    The Best Ways To Treat Whiteheads, Once And For All
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  • How A Healthy Gut = Healthier Skin
    Been hearing a bit about the gut-skin axis recently and not sure what it’s all about? Then allow us to elaborate…

    When searching for the solution to monthly acne breakouts, eczema flare-ups or bouts of rosacea few people think about what’s going on inside their bodies. But rather than stock up on months of prescription medication to deal with your skin issues, word is that taking a look at your gut health could be far more beneficial.

    It’s all about the gut-skin axis, you see. The gut-skin, erm, what? Ha, don’t worry, the gut-skin axis is a relatively simple concept to grasp.

    Your gut is home to a complex microbiome in which gazillions of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses live. We know this doesn’t sound pleasant, but your microbiome plays an extremely important role in keeping bad bacteria at bay and therefore keeping your immune system in check. And all this is vital for helping to maintain balance and harmony throughout the entire body.

    If this microbiome becomes unbalanced due to things like a poor diet, emotional stress, or food sensitivities, however, this can cause major disruptions in your body. And we’re not just talking about digestive issues like bloating or gastrointestinal diseases, because wherever there is gut inflammation, skin inflammation often follows.

    Why is your skin affected by your gut, you might be wondering? Well, just like your gut, your skin has its own microbiome and the two are in constant communication with each other via a clever little pathway called the gut-skin axis. This means that when your gut is off kilter, your skin will, more often than not, reflect this, becoming inflamed, irritated or congested. Eating dairy, for example, is often linked to chronic skin issues like eczema. Wheat is another one that’s known to cause sensitivities and congestion, thereby triggering acne.

    Reckon your gut could do with a little self-refinement right now? Here’s how to help improve the health of your gut… and consequently, your skin.

    1. Get An Allergy Test

    The most effective way to figure out what’s upsetting your gut and skin is to get an allergy test. Sure, you can do this at home by keeping a food diary while eliminating some of the main offenders (here’s looking at you dairy, wheat, gluten and spicy foods), but, jeez, do you really have the time, energy and patience? Thought not.

    A better option is to visit a specialist to get a food allergy test. There are many ways to go about this but the most common are skin prick tests and blood tests. Both of these are very useful ways to pinpoint what’s causing you grief. Then you can avoid the culprits. Simple.

    2. Cut Down On Sugar

    While we would never suggest you remove things like dairy and wheat from your diet without consulting a doctor or allergist first, one thing you should be extremely wary of is sugar. With zero nutritional value, sugar is dastardly for your gut and even worse for your skin, triggering everything from acne and eczema to rosacea and psoriasis. In fact, sugar is probably the most inflammatory thing you could put into your body. Eek.

    Furthermore, studies show that overloading your body with sugar produces advanced glycation end products (AGEs) – harmful compounds that break down collagen and elastin and ruin your radiant, youthful complexion.

    Sugar is officially bad news, whichever way you look at it.

    3. Eat Plenty Of The Good Stuff

    A healthy diet is everything, so once you’ve eliminated anything that’s causing your gut grief, it’s time to indulge in all the good stuff. Fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, beans, healthy fats and lean protein are all awesome ways to support the wall of your gut.

    And then there are those extra special foods that help promote good bacteria in your gut, and of course your skin as a consequence. These are called biotics – namely prebiotics and probiotics.

    Biotics help balance your microbiome by literally flooding it with good bacteria. Prebiotics help encourage the growth of healthy bacteria that’s already present in your gut and can be found in things like asparagus, artichokes, garlic, leeks, bananas and oats. Meanwhile, probiotics are microorganisms in their own right and are found in cultured and fermented food like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, miso and live yogurt.

    Green vegetables including leeks, asparagus and artichokes

    4. Minimize Stress

    When you’re stressed out your brain goes into fight or flight mode and triggers your nervous system to release a whole bunch of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream. This causes your heart to pump faster, your breath to quicken and your muscles to tense and get ready for action.

    Of course, this is pretty useful when your body needs to react quickly to something, but the problems arise when stress hormones go into constant overdrive and your body gets no time to relax or go back to normal. This plays havoc with your gut (among other things!), compromising the balance of its microbiome, ‘feeding’ the bad bacteria and causing major problems with your digestion and immune system.

    All this will reflect very poorly on the look, feel and health of your skin so try to cut down on stress wherever you can. This may be easier said than done, but there are many ways to reduce or manage your levels of stress. Some people find that yoga or exercise works. Others keep a stress journal to figure out what’s causing their stress in order to avoid their triggers and help them work on controlling their reactions. The most important thing, according to HelpGuide, is to experiment with different stress management tips to find what works for you.

    Once your gut is in a more healthy working order, trust us, your skin will start to follow suit.

    And in the meantime, ensure you’re doing everything you can to keep it clean, strong, protected and moisturized with your TruSkin favorites! Here’s how to build a successful skincare regime, right here.

     

     

    Acne
    How A Healthy Gut = Healthier Skin
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  • The Most Effective Ways To Improve Uneven Skin Texture
    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

    UV radiation is a devil on the skin, screwing up your pores and totally messing with collagen production. Both of which are bad news if you want to get anywhere near the heady heights of smooth skin.

    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.

    Acne
    The Most Effective Ways To Improve Uneven Skin Texture
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  • Good News! Your Skincare Goals Just Got Closer
    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.

    Try applying our awesome Retinol Facial Serum nightly (after patch testing, of course) to improve the appearance of your fine lines and wrinkles – and to help stop new ones from forming!

    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.

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  • The Difference Between Inflammatory & NonInflammatory Acne
    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.

    Sigh.

    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…

    Noninflammatory Acne

    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.

    Inflammatory Acne

    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.

    Try our Vitamin C Super Serum+ which combines salicylic acid with hydrating hyaluronic acid and niacinamide to help tackle redness and irritation.

    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.

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