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What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead More
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What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead 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
Because one small change to your skincare routine = a giant step for the look and feel of your skin…
It’s easy to get into a rut with your skincare routine. We get that. After all, when things are ticking along nicely and your skin seems to be behaving well enough, why put a cat amongst the pigeons?
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about consistency here at TruSkin. Finding your routine mojo – and sticking with it – is worth its weight in gold. But, unless you’re some kind of inch-perfect superhero who never puts a foot wrong (does that person even exist?), improvements to your skincare routine can always be made. This could be adding an extra treatment serum to your bedtime regimen to help resist the signs of aging now you’ve hit 30, or it might be something as simple as washing your bedsheets more often (*note to self, right there!). Whatever your routine looks like, we know that you (and us included) can always do better.
Read on for some simple tweaks to help upgrade your skincare jam. And excellent news: not only are they super speedy and completely effortless, but they won’t cost you a dime.
First, Detox Your Beauty Cabinet
When was the last time you looked at your product arsenal to figure out which products you actually use and see visibly results from? If the answer is anywhere between six months ago and never, then now’s the time to change that.
Products have a shelf-life and, unless otherwise stated on the packaging, should generally be used within a year of opening. And if you're not sure how long that dusty serum has been hanging around at the back of your cabinet? Then apply a little to the back of your hand. If it smells funny, has changed color or looks separated – toss it. Using ‘off’ products on your face can cause all manner of unwanted issues so avoid even the slimmest chance of that happening by ditching anything old and unused.
Not only can you do without all those 'passed their best' products, but neither do you need 20+ skincare products that overload your skin and cause potential irritation. Instead, basic is best. Of course, by basic we don’t mean sticking with a cruddy soap and bog-standard moisturizer. But cleanser, eye treatment, serum (or two), moisturizer, night cream and sunscreen are perfectly adequate. In fact, this combination is the perfect sweet spot in our humble opinion.
Read Your Labels
You might think you know how to cleanse and moisturize your skin because you’ve been doing it for years. So why read the labels? What could possibly go wrong? Similarly, your skin is super strong and has never reacted to a product in the past, so why should you bother familiarizing yourself with a new product’s ingredients and instructions? Well, the most important thing to remember is that every skincare formulation is different. Sure, washing your face is essentially washing your face, but maybe your new cleanser contains super-strong active ingredients that might irritate your skin if you go in all guns blazing. Or perhaps it's best applied to dry skin first, then rinsed off with water. Who knows if you don’t check first?
Take a minute or so (because honestly, that’s all it will take) to read any new skincare labels before using products for the first time. And while you’re at it, go back and read your existing ones to check you’re applying those correctly, too. You never know, you may just learn something new. And your skin will thank you for it.
Cleanse For An Extra Minute
Rushing through your skincare regimen is a real shame. Not only because applying products should be enjoyable, rather than a chore, but also because taking your time will reap countless rewards.
Cleansing, for example, is often looked over as something to be swiftly checked off your list before getting to the main event of applying treatment serums and moisturizers. Huge mistake. Cleansing is the absolute foundation of great skin, removing potentially pore-clogging debris from the surface while preparing your skin to absorb and maximize the benefits of the rest of your routine. Do it badly, or too quickly and you won’t do a great job. That’s the truth.
So word to the wise: Take. Your. Time. Just a couple of minutes is all it takes to get rid of all that built-up grime, oil, sweat and makeup. Grab your favorite formulation – we have three awesome ones to choose from – and apply it to damp skin, then use your hands and pads of your fingers to gently work it all over your face and neck. Sweep it all over using stroking, lifting motions then massage it in circular motions to help boost blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Honestly, there is no easier way to improve the radiance of your skin.
Swerve The Hand Towel
Being aware of the quality and cleanliness of your face towel is a great way to level up your skincare. How so? Because old or dirty towels can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. And this is far from ideal for your skin – especially if you’re prone to breakouts.
This means it’s super important to set aside a specific towel for drying your face. Communal bath or hand towels? Unacceptable. Choose cotton or cotton blend towels as these combine the ideal blend of softness and absorbency alongside a little gentle exfoliation. Wash yours after every other use (yes, that means every day!) and replace them every few years.
Skincare layering is an incredible way to supercharge your routine by injecting (not literally, of course!) extra hydration, antioxidant protection, strengthening or acne-fighting ingredients into your skin without too much hassle.
But if you’re going to do it, you need to get your order right.
The general rule is that your thinnest products should be applied first, with the thickest, most dense-feeling products going last. This means the order goes as follows: cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, facial oil and sunscreen.
Another important thing to remember is not to bombard your skin with every AHA, BHA, retinol and vitamin C product you can get your hands on. These are all potent ingredients that can quickly overload your skin, resulting in redness, dryness, excess oils and/or irritation. Take it easy and apply just one serum at a time. Of course, you might want to invest in two or three to tackle different concerns and that’s fine. In fact we love the combination of Vitamin C Facial Serum and Retinol Facial Serum. But we never use them both at once. Instead, apply them on alternate days, or try one in the morning and one at night.
Wear Sunglasses Every Day
OK, so this isn't strictly a skincare tweak, but sunglasses are an awesome way to protect the skin around your eyes from aging up lightning fast, so we’re going with it. Plus it’s easy, stylish and chances are you have a few pairs of sunnies anyway – so why not make the most of them by wearing them even on cloudy days?
The skin around your eyes is thinner and more fragile than the rest of your face which means it’s less able to protect itself from the damaging rays from the sun. And the sun is always there – rain or shine – so protection shouldn't be kept aside for sunny days only.
Shield your eyes every time you go outside with sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection. Go for plastic instead of metal frames to avoid reflecting damaging sunlight onto your cheeks, and choose mirrored over tinted lenses as these are more effective at blocking out those nasty rays.
Trust us, this is an awesome way to help ward off the visible signs of aging around your eyes. Plus, if you combine it with a daily eye treatment like Peptide Eye Gel you’ll be laughing.
Tiny Skincare Tweaks For Insanely Better Skinread more
Eating chocolate and greasy fries won’t necessarily give you pimples, and a week in the sun won’t make them vanish, either. But there are certain things that really can help prevent and treat acne breakouts. Here, we’ve rounded up ten of the best…
Acne is the most common skin woe in the whole of the United States. Not dark under eye circles, not sun spots, not even wrinkles, but acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), it affects up to 50 million Americans every year, and around 15 percent of women are plagued by some form of acne during their adult lives.
If you’ve had acne on and off for most of your teenage and adult life, you’ll have heard every last trick about how to avoid breakouts. Most of which were probably complete BS. So, we’re here to set the record straight once for all with our guide to the most tried and trusted ways to keep acne under control.
1. Don’t Pick
The world’s fascination with popping pimples shows no signs of going away (thanks mainly to dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee, aka Dr. Pimple Popper!), but attempting this at home is rarely a good idea. Sure, squeezing that white top might be hard to resist, but it can trigger inflammatory responses in your skin which can delay healing and potentially make your pimples worse.
Picking and prodding zits also introduces a bunch of new bacteria to your skin and quite frankly, it has enough to deal with already. Finally, if all that wasn’t enough, popping pimples creates trauma to your skin which can lead to scabbing, infections, pigmentation and scarring. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
2. Keep Your Skin Clean
A primary cause of acne is blocked pores that get clogged up with oil, dirt and dead skin cells, and then become inflamed or infected with bacteria. This makes cleansing your skin twice daily extremely important – especially at night after sweat, sebum, makeup and sunscreen have built up on the surface of your skin.
Try our new Tea Tree Super Cleanser + which is ultralight, super refreshing and mega calming. It also douses your skin with a powerful blend of nature’s blemish-controlling superstar, tea tree oil, and our ultimate secret weapon for breakouts, MSM.
3. Wash Your Hands
While we’re on the subject of cleanliness, don’t underestimate the power of clean hands. Of course, you’re far too disciplined to pick at your pimples (see above), but even touching your face or leaning on your hands spreads unnecessary dirt, oil and bacteria all over your skin. It’s a tricky habit to kick because it’s usually an unconscious move, but the least you can do is wash your hands regularly to minimize the after-effects.
4. Keep Everything Clean
Not to keep banging on about cleanliness, but there’s more… Towels and pillowcases can also harbor bacteria if they’re not laundered regularly, so make sure you change these out on a weekly basis. And perhaps consider using a fragrance-free detergent if your skin tends to be reactive.
Also, wash your makeup brushes twice a week (especially if you wear makeup daily); shampoo your hair often to avoid oils from your hair transferring to your face, and wipe down your smartphone with a hand sanitizing wipe as often as you remember.
5. Use Retinol
Retinol is an anti-aging given, but it’s also a powerful tool for acne-prone skin. How so? Well, retinol helps unclog your pores by stimulating collagen production and encouraging cell turnover. It also promotes healing and, by keeping your pores clear, can help other skincare or topical acne medication penetrate more effectively.
Introduce Retinol Serum into your evening routine a few times a week and apply it to cleansed skin before moisturizing – you won’t regret it.
6. Wear Sunscreen
This might not be one of the most well-known anti-acne tricks, but it’s important, so hear us out.
In addition to the obvious protection from UV damage, sunscreen reduces redness and can help skin avert post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (those dark spots that pimples often leave behind). It also reduces the likelihood of your skin becoming dry in the sun which keeps sebum balanced and under control.
So there you go, sunscreen for acne – surprisingly important. Just remember to avoid heavy, pore-clogging sunscreens that can cause breakouts or make the pimples you have even worse. Instead, try our new SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen which is sheer, lightweight and oil-free.
7. Moisturize… But Do It With Care
Acne often goes hand-in-hand with oily skin which can get forgotten about when it comes to moisturizing. It’s a huge mistake to skip this vital step, however, no matter how oily or pimply your skin may be. If you fail to moisturize your skin, the surface will become dry and your sebaceous glands will overproduce oil to compensate. Cue excess oil which can block your pores and make acne worse.
Your best bet is to hydrate with a light serum like Hyaluronic Acid Serum, then follow with a non-comedogenic moisturizer that’s less likely to block your pores. Oh, and make sure you do this day AND night, especially if you use harsh acne treatments that dry out your skin.
8. Avoid Over Exfoliation
Scrubbing your face feels great, but it’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make, particularly if you’re prone to breakouts.
Exfoliation is great for boosting cell turnover and keeping your pores clean and clear, but too much can cause redness and inflammation – something you definitely don’t want to encourage if acne is already making your skin both of these things. Stick to once a week max, or better yet, allow chemical exfoliating ingredients like salicylic acid to gradually do the job for you.
9. Manage Your Stress
As with seemingly everything, when it comes to acne, stress only makes matters worse. Research has pointed to a direct link between stress and acne, thanks to stress-related hormones like cortisol encouraging your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. Cortisol also reduces your skin’s natural levels of hyaluronic acid which makes your skin more dehydrated and further triggers sebum production. All this excess oil is a veritable playground for bacteria to breed and acne to worsen.
Of course, keeping stress under control is no mean feat, but breathing exercises, yoga, or taking a short walk each day may help clear your mind. Go for whatever form of relaxation suits you and helps take the pressure off, even if only for a few minutes. And remember to get your seven or eight hours of quality sleep while you’re at it. Sleep is SO important.
10. Strike Down Inflammation, Inside and Out
As helpful as skincare tips may be, acne is often an inside job rooted in internal factors influenced by diet and hormones. While addressing these triggers is an important part of getting chronic acne under control, it’s also key to hit back at topical inflammation. This beauty baddie not only exacerbates breakouts, it can increase the likelihood of hyperpigmentation and scarring, so it’s especially critical to diminish it as much as possible.
To help do this on the daily, look for skin saviors with anti-inflammatory clout like vitamin C in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate, as well as MSM and aloe, all of which have a reputation for mitigating inflammation and blemishes alike. You can find them teamed up in our Vitamin C Serum, as well as across several other TruSkin formulas—because we know how invaluable these good guys can be for all skin types.
10 Skincare Habits Guaranteed To Help Treat Acneread more
Skin in total freak-out mode right now? Then it’s time to de-stress and give your poor complexion a break.
Stressed skin is one of life’s vicious circles. First, emotional stress sends your hormones out of whack, making your skin dry, oily, itchy or break out. Sad times, indeed. Then, to add insult to injury, you get the 'pleasure' of having to deal with cruddy skin and, heck, that just ruins your self-esteem and makes you feel even more stressed. As we said, a vicious circle.
It’s true, emotional anxiety has a massive impact on the look, feel and health of your skin. This is because when you feel stressed, your brain stimulates the release of various hormones (cortisol, to name just one) which upset the equilibrium of your body, disrupting your immune system, wreaking havoc on your skin’s barrier function, interfering with the healing process and triggering all sorts of problems, mainly irritation and inflammation.
If this is ringing too many bells in your head right now, chances are your skin and, more importantly, your emotional wellbeing are crying out for some much-needed TLC. Not sure where to start? No problem, we’re on it…
1. First, Try To De-Stress Your Mind
Chilling the heck out is easier said than done, but reducing (or at least attempting to reduce) your levels of emotional stress is a major step to mirroring the same effects for your skin. If things are all too much at work, for example, speak out, delegate tasks or learn how to say no. According to the Mayo Clinic, asserting yourself in the workplace – or, in fact, any situation – is one of the best ways to de-stress because it reduces internal conflict and helps you more successfully manage everyday life.
You could also keep a journal. It’s amazing how much of a relief it is to write stuff down and get things off your chest. And if you’re worried someone might get hold of your pent-up thoughts? Easy, write them down on a scrap of paper instead of a proper journal, then when you’re done, you can toss it in the trash.
Of course, these are just a couple of the many ways to help manage stress. There are many tricks for calming your mind and improving your emotional wellness, so if life is kind of overwhelming right now, please make sure you seek professional advice to identify its causes and help you learn to cope.
2. Practice Some True Self-Care
Can you honestly say you’ve been looking after yourself recently? Maaaybe… but probably not. The thing is, exercise and a healthy, balanced diet are awesome stress relievers.
Exercise stimulates endorphins which are known as ‘feel-good’ chemicals for good reason. Hint: they make you feel good! Try to up your levels of daily physical activity as much as possible. You might not be up for a 10-mile run at 6 a.m. every morning, but small things like a brisk walk, gardening, swimming, cycling or even doing some household chores will get those endorphins pumping and help lift your mood.
Yoga and pilates are also awesome stress relievers because they help dial back your sympathetic nervous system. This is your body’s ‘quick response’ system which produces that pesky stress hormone, cortisol. If you can, try to combine a mixture of heart-pumping exercise with more relaxing, muscle-strengthening activities for a complete, all-round regimen.
When it comes to your diet, too much sugar, salt, processed carbs and fried foods are absolute devils on your skin, causing harmful free radicals that break down collagen and accelerate inflammation. Instead, feed your skin with stuff it loves – namely antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies, oily fish, nuts and lean protein. Oh, and as tempting as it may be to deal with stressful situations with coffee and doughnuts, try not to make this a habit.
3. Give Your Barrier Function A Break
Your skin’s barrier function is its uppermost layer – the very top of your epidermis, which acts like a security guard to protect you from the outside world. It works super hard to stop moisture from getting out and nasty irritants from getting in.
When your skin is suffering, this is a sure-fire indication that your barrier function has been compromised. Many things contribute to this, not least of all stress itself, which depletes your skin’s natural production of healthy oils and alters its pH level.
Your skincare routine also has a vital role to play here.
Harsh cleansing with chemical-fueled products can completely strip your protective barrier of important proteins and lipids, so this is a massive no-no, for starters. Cleanse gently with mild, sulfate-free formulations like our Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser and only ever use lukewarm, never hot, water to wash your face.
Another thing: don't forget to moisturize after cleansing, which is VITAL for healthy, stress-free barrier function. Dryness is seriously damaging to your skin’s barrier, leaving it vulnerable to transepidermal water loss (TEWL) as well as external aggressors like pollution, UV radiation and the like. Choose smart, all-round moisturizers that combine ingredients to not only help draw water into your skin (eg. aloe, glycerin and hyaluronic acid) but also lock moisture in (eg. shea butter and stearic acid). Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer is always a great shout.
4. Think About Everything You Put On Your Skin
Bombarding your skin with active ingredients like retinoids and glycolic acid can be way too much for some skin types to cope with. Sure, these ingredients are awesome for tackling lines, wrinkles, dark spots and acne, but you can most definitely have too much of a good thing.
If your complexion is feeling totally out of whack, it’s worth looking at your routine to see if it contains too many active ingredients that are potentially fighting against each other or are simply proving too potent for your complexion. Pare back on treatment serums (you really only need one in the morning and one at night, anyway) and consider dropping down your usage to two or three times a week. You never know, this could easily de-stress your skin with very little effort.
On the flipside, ingredients to include in your routine are those crammed with calming, hydrating or soothing benefits. Aloe, vitamin E and niacinamide are three that immediately come to mind and – bonus – you’ll find all of these ingredients in our Niacinamide Facial Serum. Just saying.
5. Optimize Bedtime
Getting your beauty sleep is essential for the health of your skin because overnight is when it repairs and heals itself from the slings and arrows of the day. Skip too many zzzs and your skin misses out on all that vital time in which collagen production ramps up to boost regeneration and antioxidants kick in to reduce damage and revitalize your skin.
As you know, eight hours of sleep is the recommended amount (or somewhere between seven and nine hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation) but it’s not all about quantity. In fact, the quality of your sleep is just as important.
To totally boss your best night’s sleep, ensure you nail this checklist:
- Go to bed at roughly the same time each night.
- Don’t go to bed hungry, full or having just drank a ton of caffeine or alcohol.
- Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet and at a comfortable, slightly cool temperature.
- Avoid using your phone, laptop or tablet for at least an hour before bedtime.
- Take a few deep breaths as soon as you get into bed to lower your heart rate and make you feel relaxed.
- Gently cleanse, tone, treat and then moisturize your skin with Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream to give your skin the best chance to rejuvenate itself.
Finally, remind yourself how well you’re doing at life – every single day. And when you look in the mirror, try to see the good stuff. A positive outlook on life is absolutely priceless for stress-free skin.
5 Awesome Ways To Give Stressed Skin A Breakread more
Inflammation and facial redness? Good. Bye.
Whether your inflamed skin is self-inflicted (here’s looking at you, sunshine) or down to more underlying concerns such as rosacea, eczema or acne, there’s no denying the frustration of having to deal with red, angry skin. We’re talking mild annoyance at best, true discomfort at worst.
What’s more, inflammation can occur at any time, often with zero warning. So, if you’re noticing unusual changes in your skin right now, including things like redness, itching, chapping and/or stinging, your skin is clearly crying out for help.
Thankfully, we’ve got your back because here’s a deep dive into skin inflammation, including what to look out for, plus how to treat upset skin with some simple lifestyle choices and anti-inflammatory skincare.
What Is Skin Inflammation?
Inflammation (of any type) is your body’s way of reacting to some kind of unwanted disruption. It’s basically an immune response that occurs when your body is subjected to an injury, infection, allergen or existing disease or internal condition.
When it comes to your skin, inflammation causes blood vessels beneath the surface to dilate. This allows your immune system to be able to reach, and therefore deal with, the affected area quicker and more easily. Pretty smart, granted, but not a nice experience because skin inflammation often manifests itself as some kind of rash that goes hand in hand with redness, itching, flaking or burning.
What Causes Skin Inflammation?
Skin inflammation comes in two guises: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the quick-fire (no pun intended) version that develops quickly and is your body’s response to a certain trigger. These triggers can be anything from overexposure to the sun to an ill-advised skincare ingredient. And good news: this kind of inflammation is usually short-term.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a more long-term kind of inflammation that builds up over time and hangs around longer than it really should. It often occurs as an autoimmune response to stress or something in your diet but can also be genetic, manifesting as chronic skin conditions like rosacea, eczema or psoriasis.
Chronic inflammation can last months or even years, so if your skin inflammation isn’t going away, see your doctor or a dermatologist to try to get to the root of the problem. Diagnosing chronic inflammation? Priceless.
Acute inflammation, on the other hand, typically goes away after a few days or weeks. You just need to make a few smart tweaks to your lifestyle like avoiding overexposure to the sun, sleeping well, simplifying your skincare routine and eating an antioxidant-rich diet. And it’s imperative to include some gentle, anti-inflammatory ingredients in your skincare routine.
Let’s look at some of the best, shall we?
6 Anti-Inflammatory Ingredients Your Skin Will Love
Used for centuries to soothe and calm the skin, aloe is one of our all-time favorites – in fact we love it so much, we pack it into almost all of our products. The good stuff comes from its leaves, which contain a water-rich, medicinal gel that’s packed with skin-loving enzymes, minerals, amino acids, vitamins and a whole bunch of anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. Together, these are known for helping to reduce swelling, minimize itching, accelerate healing and even fight breakouts.
Aloe also contains phytosterols – cholesterol-like molecules that reinforce the structure of cell membranes by increasing collagen and hyaluronic acid production. This strengthens the skin’s barrier function and helps reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL), making it an ideal way to hydrate and moisturize your skin.
2. Green Tea
Not only is it great as your morning brew, but green tea (aka camellia sinensis) also makes for an awesome skincare ingredient thanks to its high concentration of polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants that work to protect plants from UV damage. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which make them a shoo-in when it comes to soothing and protecting your skin from unwanted redness and irritation.
Otherwise known as dimethyl sulfone or methylsulfonylmethane which, granted, are both a bit of a mouthful, MSM is a naturally-occurring sulfur compound. Sulfur is often called ‘nature’s beauty mineral’ because it’s somewhat of an overachiever when applied to your skin. How so? Well, it’s been shown to boost circulation, fight inflammation and accelerate collagen and keratin production. Its anti-inflammatory qualities, in particular, are great for reducing puffiness and swelling and it’s often used to help conditions like acne, eczema and rosacea.
Here we have another fabulous anti-inflammatory vitamin (B3, to be exact). Studies show that niacinamide is super effective for treating inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and acne. It happens to be very well tolerated by most skin types and works hard to reduce redness, dryness and itching.
Research also shows that applying topical niacinamide may help increase the production of ceramides in the top layers of your skin. What are ceramides? Well, they’re waxy lipids that are an essential part of your skin’s barrier function, holding it together to help retain moisture, reduce irritation and protect your skin from external nasties. Of course, like all good things in your skin, ceramides deplete with age, so anything you can do to improve levels is a win-win. Hello niacinamide!
5. Vitamin E
Every anti-inflammatory skincare routine must contain antioxidants to help skin fight inflammation caused by free radicals. And vitamin E is up there as one of the best. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that supports cellular function and improves the health of your skin. Thanks to its awesome emollient and humectant properties, it’s also naturally moisturizing and super healing. Very important qualities in any skincare ingredient, we think you’ll agree.
But that’s not all. Studies suggest that vitamin E helps shield your skin from UV damage. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are partly to thank for this, but experts agree that vitamin E has the innate ability to physically absorb some of the energy from UV radiation itself. This means there’s less of it available to do its dirty work on your skin. You've got to love that.
6. Witch Hazel
A natural astringent, witch hazel is harvested from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel plant, a small tree that grows wild in Asia and the east coast of North America. Witch hazel extract is full of anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant compounds, including tannins (a type of polyphenol). It can be used topically to treat anything from hemorrhoids and dandruff to bug bites and acne. It’s also wonderfully healing and great for oily skin, as its astringent properties have been shown to reduce sebum and minimize enlarged pores.
How To Nail An Effective Anti-Inflammatory Skincare Routineread more