Breakouts, Acne and Congestion - Oh my!

With the launch of the new Concentrated Spot Destroyer we’ve had an outpouring of positive feedback and questions around the best approach for treating breakouts - from moderate congestion, whiteheads and blackheads through to more complex cystic acne. The skincare industry is full of psuedo-scientific explanations and remedies so we wanted to set the record straight, to take the angst out of the breakout journey.

Understanding acne:

Acne can be caused from a range of issues including fluctuations or irregularities in hormones (like during pregnancy/puberty) through to general congestion, and even using the wrong products on your skin. At the root of the issue you always have the same culprit – increased congestion in the follicle leading to blackheads and whiteheads then ultimately the dreaded breakout. Hormones add to the mix increasing sebum production.

Now, diagnosing the cause of serious acne is best left to a specialist dermatologist, however the principle of treating acne is found in the regularity and consistency of your management as well as using skincare with the correct concentrations and combinations of active ingredients. As we like to say acne is largely a disease of prevention!

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Alright I get it - “understand your actives”... but where do I start?

It’s something I repeat to my patients and customers over and over, but understand your active ingredients and concentrations and you will get the results you want. The skincare industry is rife with products that are ‘marketed’ to treat specific conditions, but fall short of delivering the correct ingredients in the correct concentrations to be efficacious and worthwhile.

All the products in our range are designed to treat the six key skin concerns simultaneously (Ageing, acne, sensitive/rosacea, dehydration, pigmentation, sun damage), but we definitely have some favorites when it comes to treating, preventing, and maintaining pimple free skin.

Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids: These naturally occurring actives are powerful anti-inflammatory ingredients that will speed the healing of existing breakouts, while decongesting and preventing further problems. For targeted relief and the treatment of problem areas use our Concentrated Spot Destroyer. Once the inflammation has calmed and to maintain results our Concentrated Micropeel delivers a weekly treatment to keep things under control.

Vitamin B3: The wonder ingredient, it’s benefits are not just limited to acne but include DNA repair; reversing UV damage and the list goes on. In a recent study it was found that subjects using a cream with 5% vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) saw reductions in breakouts compared to a control. We’ve included this fantastic anti-inflammatory and regenerative active in our Concentrated Cleanser, Concentrated Illuminator and our Concentrated Hydration (Night and eye cream).

What should I avoid?

Knowing what to avoid is as important as the correct treatment, and in many cases the wrong cleanser or moisturiser can wreak havoc on your skin. Here are a few tips to ensure you don’t aggravate the situation while your trying to solve it.

Avoid detergents, foam and micro-beads: Now this is really important. using the wrong cleanser (either containing detergent, foam or beads) can aggravate already sensitive skin, stripping the epidermal barrier and increasing inflammation and sensitivity. More importantly it can leave your skin dry, tight and in desperate need of hydration.

many people think the best way to fight breakouts is by drying them out - however this can come at a cost. Our body and skin knows what we need before we need it and goes into autopilot. When it is dried out, our sebaceous glands go into overdrive to produce sebum, to rehydrate our skin. Unfortunately this is the same gland that is the root cause of acne, especially when overactive. Ensure your cleanser and products leave your skin feeling soft, moist and ready for your routine. As we like to say cleanse without stripping.

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Avoid greasy/oily moisturisers: Once we’ve unintentionally stripped our skin of it’s protective barrier, we then overcompensate with greasy, or oily moisturisers to fight the dehydration. You may feel relief as you apply it, however if the moisturiser doesn’t bind with your skin, it simply adds a new layer to cause congestion, or sweats straight back out.

Ideally your moisturiser should integrate seamlessly with your epidermal barrier, reinforcing it for greater protection, whilst carrying a vitamin boost to nourish your skin. Look for powerful humectants (moisture binding ingredients) to ensure your skin remains hydrated. The right moisturiser will calm down the oil glands, allowing your skin to rebalance.

This is the opposite to what is largely sold to you on the mainstream market. That is over cleasning and not using moisturiser that ultimately leaves your skin dried out. Your own natural exfoliating enzymes cannot work in this environment leading to worsening of breakouts.

These are just a few simple tips to integrate into your skincare routine to manage and maintain pimple free skin. For more complex or serious conditions, the best action is to seek the advice of a medical professional, or specialist.