Friday, 18 April 2014

How To: Cure Acne

Rosy Cherrington Tom Barnes Girl Culture
Here at Girl Culture, I'm not gonna fob you off with the old "don’t drink, eat your 5 a day and get enough sleep" line. Of course it does all help, but I get that people have a life and besides, that won't fix your skin all on it's own... unless you have food allergies or sensitivities (apparently dairy is the biggest culprit)! The following info is what a lot of trial and error, wasted money and multiple break downs at the dermatologist have taught me. If you suffer from acne, or just want to stop breakouts, follow these 10 steps and count your way to awesome skin:
  1. Don’t touch your spots. Pretty much what it says on the tin.
  2. Avoid foaming cleansers and soap like the plague. Sure, they may temporarily dry out acne but they also dry out the rest of your skin, causing excess sebum production and an iffy PH balance which equals more spots and bacteria (ughh). Use an oil-free lotion cleanser instead such as Avène Extremely Gentle Cleanser which also whips off stubborn eye make-up! I also love Bioderma Sebium H2O for a quick morning cleanse.
  3. Using a weekly exfoliating scrub on clear skin to prevent blackheads is totally cool, but on infected skin it just spreads bacteria around. Instead, look for a toner containing glycolic or salyctic acid which will exfoliate gently by increasing skin cell turnover - unclogging pores and reducing fine lines in the process! For amazing results try Alpha-H Liquid Gold or Pixi Glow Tonic.
  4. Moisturiser is a vital step in the fight against acne, so don't skip it. It acts as a barrier for skin, protecting it against bacteria and environmental stressors. Replace your normal moisturiser with an oil free, non-comedogenic one (meaning it won't clog pores). My personal favourite is La Roche-Posay Hydreane Light which is perfect for all skin types! Their Effaclar Duo works wonders on oily skin, but may be too drying for some.
  5. Only use non-comedogenic makeup on skin too. Mineral powder is your best bet: MAC and Bare Minerals do great ranges that won't break you out.
  6. Wash makeup brushes in anti-bacterial solution such as MAC Brush Cleanser after each use. Yeah, it’s probably the most annoying thing ever but it seriously helps stop infection from spreading.
  7. For more severe infections, ask your doctor for a topical antibiotic lotion such as Dalacin. They might try and give you Duac, a cheap-to-prescribe, hydrogen peroxide based acne treatment (and yes, it does bleach your bedsheets), but proceed with caution as it's extremely harsh. If you have sensitive skin, or expensive bedsheets, politely decline the offer.
  8. TOP GP SECRET: did you know that you can actually ask your doctor to refer you to a dermatologist? For free? So great. You can also get Retinoids (aka the Rolls-Royce of acne treatments and the best skincare since sliced bread) prescribed on the NHS too - if you're familiar with vitamin A treatments, try asking your doctor for Differin 0.1% cream.
  9. If your acne's gone but you're left with scarring, see a good dermatologist for micro-dermabrasion or laser therapy. They may be pricey, but nothing works faster at clearing up those pesky red marks. For a cheaper at-home alternative, Indeed Labs pepta-bright works wonders.
  10. Remember that you won’t see results overnight, but with persistence and patience you CAN have the skin you've always wanted! Stay strong, clear skin warriors.
Photos - Tom Barnes
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