Your Guide to Acne: What helps and what hinders.
What can I do if I have acne?
Adult acne is a common concern for many these days, caused by stress, hormones and overall lifestyle factors.
In general, my best tip for healthy skin is to eat well, to exercise regularly, limit alcohol and caffeine, avoid too much sun exposure and don’t smoke. Changing your lifestyle and diet will have a major impact on your skin.
Drinking plenty of water and avoiding dehydration is important for our physical well-being. Water also hydrates our skin, improves its elasticity, reduces wrinkles and gives us a glowing complexion, so try to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
Generally I advise Acne sufferers to reduce their consumption of dairy products and high glycaemic index foods such as white bread and sugary snacks. These have been shown in studies to make acne worse. Try to increase your fruit and vegetable intake to ensure that you are getting plenty of skin nourishing Vitamin C and Vitamin E antioxidants. These keep the skin healthy and strong, protect against free radical damage and also brighten your skin tone.
Omega fatty acids found in Nuts, Avocados and oily fish and great for healthy skin, ensuring strong lipid barriers and maintaining its strength and elasticity,
It’s also important to develop and follow a good skincare routine to help prevent future outbreaks.
Keeping your skin clean is important, but will not prevent new spots developing. Wash the affected area twice a day with a gentle non –comodogenic cleanser. Two-three times a week use an exfoliating cleanser, to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells. Do not scrub the skin too hard to avoid irritating it.
If your skin is dry, use a moisturiser (emollient). Most of these are now tested so they don’t cause spots (look for non-comedogenic on the label).
Flares of acne often come and go. When times are bad your acne can usually be controlled with over the counter treatments. Several creams, lotions and gels for treating spots are available at pharmacies.
I often recommend products containing a low concentration of benzoyl peroxide may be recommended to banish those blemishes but be careful as this can bleach clothing. Studies have shown that 2.5% strength Benzyl Peroxide is just as effective as the higher strengths. So be kind to your skin and use the lower dose, which has less of an irritant effect.
Also Look for products that contain Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAS ) which come from salicyclic acid. BHAs are lipid soluble which means they can dissolve in oil (or fat), which makes them able to penetrate the skin deeper than Alpha Hydroxy Acids AHAS (which are water soluble) where they can get to work to unblock clogged pores. It is ideal for oil control, acne and open pores.
There are a whole host of over the counter remedies and in-clinic treatments available to address all types of adult acne, but if the problem is persistent and causing real distress then speak to your GP who may recommend a prescription. Medications such as oral antibiotics, the contraceptive pill or Roaccutane (a Vitamin A derivative) may be prescribed for your Acne in more severe cases. More about these in my Acne Guide -part 2 (coming soon)
More advanced acne treatments can be found at specialist clinics. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion and Acne Clear Laser treatments can all improve the appearance of your skin and help to clear the Acne spots. It is important to get the acne under control first before tackling the scarring to get the best results.
Acne Blue light laser therapy programmes can help to get your Acne under control. This laser treatment uses intense blue wavelengths of light to destroy p acnes bacteria, the bacteria known to be linked to acne.
Most people require 6-8 treatments over a four- eight week period
As with any skin concern, if you are worried and want advice about your skin please see a Doctor. You don’t have to suffer in silence with your skin
For more information about Acne and other skin treatments visit www.nuriss.co.uk