05 October, 2015 Out, Damned Spot: Dealing With Breakouts
Breakouts are the worst. From blackheads to under-the-skin lurkers, they can create serious havoc when you’re prepping for a night out, or going in for your first day at work. Whilst I don’t help myself by wearing a full face of makeup every day and occasionally snacking on a emergency bar of Dairy Milk, I do have a skincare stash that can always be relied on to banish a pesky spot that doesn’t feel like budging.
Hormones, pollution and your hydration levels all play a part in acne breakouts, and although it’s easier said than done, it’s crucial that you stop touching your face, and drink more water! My new office offers complimentary infused water (nice to meet you lemon and mint), and I can feel the difference already from just drinking more water on a daily basis.
The first product I always reach for when I notice a blemish, is the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser (£19 here). This creamy, cooling cleanser is infused with kaolin clay and zinc gluconate, both known for their sebum-reducing and anti-bacterial properties. I’ll rub two pumps in between my hands to warm it up, and then apply to damp skin in light, upward strokes. It feels incredibly soothing on skin that is sore and tender, and if you suffer from cystic acne or breakouts specifically when you’re hormonal, this is a great product to keep in your skincare arsenal. Zinc is one of my favourite ingredients to use on a breakout (La Roche Posay’s Serozinc has a high concentration), as it reduces redness immediately, and visibly brings down swelling.
Another cleanser that’s great for breakouts is the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel (£11.95 here). This is completely non-foaming so it won’t dry out my skin, and it contains a potent combination of pineapple and papaya enzymes that exfoliate and slough off dull, flaky patches. It’s a great one to use after a holiday as I typically don’t exfoliate on an everyday basis when I’m abroad, and when I come home, my skin can get horribly clogged. It’s brilliant on blackheads and does a good job of sweeping away dirt – just remember to keep it away from your eyes, this stuff stings!
Exfoliating is the key to breakout control, and if I’m not using a preventative cleanser (like the Mario Badescu one), I’ll whack on a chemical toner most mornings and evenings to keep skin looking bright and clear. The Pixi Skin Treats Glow Tonic (£18 here) is a cult classic, and I’ve gone through at least three bottles in the last year. It’s nourishing, gets rid of all the gunk that gets embedded in my pores, and speeds up the recovery time on spotty areas. Pour three drops onto a cotton pad, wipe across the face, flip and go again. You’ll immediately notice how your complexion looks healthier, rosier, and perky. A true skincare staple.
I considered for a good day or two the category of breakout-clearing face mask, and I had quite a few favourites on the list. After a lot of thought, I finally chose the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque (£27 here). This mask contains a host of breakout-fighting ingredients, such as kaolin clay, parsley seed oil, evening primrose oil and lavender oil. The texture is slightly grainy and very cooling, and doesn’t strip my skin or leave it feeling tight after I apply it. When massaged off with warm water, my skin feels incredibly clean, and I can see a visible difference in the number of blackheads on my nose, cheeks and forehead, and the size of blemishes too. A reviewer called this treatment her Jesus mask (because it brings her skin back from the dead), and I pretty much agree!
Last up will be of no surprise to anyone – my ultimate, holy grail, ’til death do us part breakout-busting cream, is La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo+ (£15.50 here). Countless editors and bloggers have raved about this incredible treatment, and I have whole-heartedly joined the bandwagon. Overnight, this cream can diminish the size and colour of cystic acne, reduce the size of blackheads, bring down breakout scars, and prevent new spots from forming. It’s incredibly versatile (I’ve used it at various times as a serum, moisturizer, primer and mask), and one tube lasts a seriously long time. It comes with me whenever I travel, and is the skincare equivalent of your favourite pair of jeans – goes with anything, and compliments any look.
Which products do you reach for when you notice a breakout? Let me know in the comments below, along with your thoughts on my picks!
Have a great week!