How to Deal with Breakouts and Stress on your Skin at this Time
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Written by Oonagh O’Hagan of Meaghers
There is no question that the impact of COVID-19 is certainly playing out in our health and well-being but also on our skin. From talking to many customers who still visit our pharmacies and also online and through our social channels I know that there are a number of reasons that this is happening.
Firstly people are worried… worried about their health or the health of their loved ones and that stress and worry is causing their skin to break out. Secondly there is no question in my mind that our sugar intake has certainly increased and you only have to look at the supermarket shelves to see the empty shelves in the baking aisles to see we are all baking so much more at home. This and reaching for that extra bar of chocolate as a comfort is also causing our skin to break out more.
Those who suffer from breakouts might notice the following:
- Greasy and shiny with enlarged pores
- Inflammation in and around sebaceous glands (redness and swelling)
- Comedones (Blackheads)
- Papules (hardended pimples under or raised from the skin that do not develop a white head)
- Pustules (Pus filled pimples that may be angry and sore to touch)
- Cysts and nodules (commonly on the back of the neck and be very slow to heal)
‘Imagine a kind of roadblock ahead on an extra busy road, the block is caused by dead skin cells that the skin sheds every 21-28 days.’
What Causes Breakouts?
Breakouts usually begin to develop when there is an increase in hormone production that stimulates the sebaceous glands. So all those lovely hormones affect the glands that produce the oil in your skin. It puts those glands on overdrive so they are working really hard pumping out oil, but often this overproduction in oil doesn’t have a clear exit route.
Imagine a kind of roadblock ahead on an extra busy road, the block is caused by dead skin cells that the skin sheds every 21-28 days.
A blackhead forms in the sebaceous duct, the main road way, caused by this increase of sebum and when the mouth of the follicle is blocked there is nowhere for the oil to go. Because the free flow of the oil is blocked by this plug of sebum and dead skin cells it becomes blocked and turns black when exposed to the air these are commonly known as blackheads. Alternatively the blockage could raise above the skin surface and develop into a whitehead.
Nodular acne is a little more serious as it involves bacteria. Although it’s normal to have bacteria on your skin, it can turn into an infection when it gets trapped in your pores alongside sebum and dead skin cells. The resulting infection can go deep underneath your skin, causing the affected pores to become red and swollen. It can be quite painful and can sometimes require an antibiotic.
Inflamed cysts are the cause of more severe cases of acne. Usually found on the back of the neck, they can also be slow to heal. The Cysts can look like large, red boils. Cysts reside deep underneath the skin’s surface. But because they’re filled with pus, cysts are softer than nodules. When the cysts burst open this can lead to infection. Acne cysts develop when the contents of blackheads and or whiteheads “spill” into surrounding areas of the skin. Then the body perceives an attack, and the immune system responds by producing pus.
Every three to four weeks the skin replenishes new cells, causing a layer of dead skin cells to form on the top of the skin. Once these cells mix with any excess oil they sink down into your pores and form blackheads or they can form bumps above the skin. This problem can also lead to the cycle of blockages detailed above becoming an issue.
My Top Tips
- Double cleanse twice daily – use an active cleanser once a day to help exfoliate the build-up of skin cells from the pore. One containing salicylic acid – the BHA that can travel through the oil is my preferred choice.
Kinvara Absolute Cleansing Oil
Kinvara Cleansing Oil is my absolute favourite. It is super gentle, smells divine and is a natural cleanser it contains no harsh chemicals only an innovative blend of plant oils to restore balance and cleanse your skin gently without stripping it. It is made from 100% plant oils and can be used on all skin types including oily, sensitive and dry skin.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Cleansing Gel
Use a facial wash for oily skin. Gently cleanses the skin thanks to its high tolerance foaming power. Helps to eliminate impurities and excess sebum, leaving the skin feeling clean and fresh. Contains La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water. Can also be used as a body wash.
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Clarifying Toning Lotion
Tone to keep the pore clear and minimise the appearance of the pore, use an active toner to help clear the dead skin cells that are leading to the blockages.
Wear SPF daily to ensure your skin is further protected from the harmful rays of the sun. my favourite sun cream range is La Roche Posay with this product perfect for those suffering from breakouts.
The skin Shied from Skingredients is also brilliant as an SPF and also a great protection from the blue light from your phones for those of us who find ourselves scrolling social media or on multiple Zoom calls since the restrictions were imposed.
Use AHA’s to clear dead skin cells and freshen the complexion. Try a Glycolic or lactic acid either in a serum, mask or wash to clear the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.
Use a makeup that will not clog the pore is La Roche Posay Toleraine fluid Teinte and has excellent coverage with a wide range of shades available.
Finally my TOP TIP is to actually Look at supplements to help especially Vitamin A, B and C as it is always best to treat the skin from within. I know we are all at home and we are certainly eating more and baking more and there is a tendency to reach for something sugary when we are worried or stressed about the current situation but if you can do try to limit the amount of sugar you are eating and increase your water intake as it will pay dividends to your skin and also to your mood and to how you feel about yourself.
B6 helps with balancing hormones. A B6 supplement will help with hormonal breakouts and stop the hormonal swing throughout your menstrual cycle to reduce the number of breakouts coming up to the time of your month. Revive active has a potent formulation of B vitamins which will help with this and it contains a fantastic ingredient Niacin – B3 which is a hydrating, Lightening and Brightening.
Reduces redness in the skin- helps with the health of the blood vessels and helps with inflammation and because of its fantastic antioxidant properties it is brilliant to add to your routine for anti-ageing.
The collagen day cream in the same range is also fabulous and contains an SPF so you have the targeted anti-ageing properties as well as SPF protection and the Vitamin C serum in La Roche Posay is another very potent serum that gives you that extra glow.
I am a firm believer in treating your body and your skin from the inside out so I would highly recommend the YourZooki Vitamin C supplement which will deliver vitamin C directly into your cells where it is needed to get to work and reduces the amount lost in the gastrointestinal tract.
Another fantastic internal supplement to try is the Accumax by Advanced Nutrition as it contains three powerful antioxidant Vitamins A, C and E together with plant nutrients to support healthy skin from the inside out.
It contains Vitamin A which increases the natural exfoliation process of the skin, it aids skin rejuvenation and healing and It helps with enlarged pores as it strengthens the skins elasticity
Vitamin A it is unfortunately not suitable in pregnancy but otherwise without question this product is my number one recommended supplement for controlling breakouts from the inside out and maintaining healthy skin.
Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Vitality is a broad spectrum supplement containing Biotin, Zinc and Selenium. These ingredients help to maintain visibly healthy skin, hair and nails while offering total body well-being. It is a brilliant product to keep your skin under control and add that extra vitality.
Beauty Complex from Revive is also a firm favourite of ours here in Meaghers containing 7g of Marine collagen in every sachet together with phytoceramides and hyaluronic acid specially formulated to nourish the skin, hair, nails teeth and gums whilst helping to fight the signs of ageing.
Whatever your skincare concern, we are here in Meaghers to help you through all of this.
If you would like to speak to any of our pharmacists or skincare experts simply call our HELPLINE number on 01-4853098 or email us and we can advice you on the best products to use to suit your skin at this time. we can also put together a beautiful care package for anyone who is wants to either treat themselves or a loved one at this time. We can put together something for every budget, pop in some additional free samples and a personalised note and deliver direct to their door.
So, if you want to treat or say thank you to someone, we have you covered and will gladly look after your individual needs.
Warmest regards and a big virtual hug
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