Since I started this blog almost a year ago I have been inundated with many emails requesting answers to people's beauty questions. I realise that as I blog about me, my skin and what I like sometimes this isn't very helpful as what can work for me may not work for you especially as I have a certain skin type and yours may be completely different.
I thought it would be helpful to more people if now and again I reply to the most asked questions on here and hopefully give some useful advice. Please do still feel free to email me with your questions, I am still here to help!
Question Numero Uno
I have lots of spots and/or acne but the doctor won't prescribe me anything. Help!
People with acne have more bacteria in their hair follicles than people without acne. The presence of bacteria attracts white blood cells to the follicle. These white blood cells produce an enzyme that damages the wall of the follicle, allowing the contents of the follicle (the bacteria) to enter the dermis of your skin. This process causes an inflammatory response seen as red spots, spots with puss or just hard lumps. The bacteria also causes the formation of free fatty acids, which are irritants, which cause the inflammation and the 'tender to the touch' feeling of the spots.
You need to make sure you keep your skin clean and hydrated without using any harsh products. Harsh chemicals will strip the skin of oil, but then the skin will just product more oil to compensate so you are not doing yourself any favours!
You need to go back to basics and just use a product to clean your skin like a cleanser and a moisturiser as if you don't moisturise your skin it will just be dry and flaky in the areas where there aren't spots, even less sexy than just the spots alone!
Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser and moisturiser. If you live in other countries than the UK they have an acne version so I would try that if you can, but I don't think it's available here. These products are nourishing and won't block pores. You need to make sure to wash your face once in the morning to remove oil from overnight and once at night to take off your makeup and remove the pollution and grime. Do not over wash your face and do it too many times a day as this will irritate your skin.
You will also want to gently exfoliate your skin without any aggressive scrubs or rubbing. One of the best gentle ways to gently exfoliate your skin and make sure that your pores don't build up with sebum and bacteria is to use a product with a beta hydroxy acid. The most common one and the cheapest to buy in a drugstore is salicylic acid. The main benefits of using a product with salicylic acid are that it helps in opening clogged pores and neutralizing bacteria within, preventing pores from clogging up again by constricting the pores.
A fantastic product I was recently sent is from Clean Start and is called 'all over clear' you apply it as a toner, you spray it on your face after it is cleansed and it contains the salicylic acid along with sesame seed extract which helps control surface oil and shine. You can use this every morning and night as it is gentle and it costs £12.30 which I think is reasonable for a Dermalogica product, the regular range has a lot more pricey products.
You could also use Clean and Clear's Dual- Action Moisturiser which I have long been a fan of, instead of the Cetaphil moisturiser and the toner. It's the best low priced moisturiser that I have ever found as it doesn't clog pores but it also moisturising and contains 0.5% salicylic acid and is oil free.
Now that your face is clean (but still spotty) you might want to use concealer to cover it up. But then some concealer ingredients are the cause of breakouts! Avoid heavy oil-based concealers especially those that contain lanolin, artificial color and fragrance. Stick to something natural and without too many chemicals and fragrances or you will just make things worse.
Almay Clear Complexion Concealer you can buy this on drugstore.com even if you aren't in the USA now or obviously on ebay. The reason this is a good concealer is that it contains 1% salicylic acid which is much higher than most other concealers. Do NOT use the sponge applicator directly on your spot though, as that is just a bit stupid of Almay and will cause re-infection of bacteria. Just use the wand to put some on the back of your hand and then use that with a brush or your clean fingers.
Obviously if your spots are really awful then the doctor can prescribe you things like Accutane, Retin-A or antibiotics but you will need to go and check with them and see what they can prescribe you. Remember if you are not happy with their diagnosis you can just make an appointment with a dermatologist who will be able to prescribe you the same products if you need them but obviously you will have to pay for the appointment. I would recommend using the British Association of Dermatologists website to search for someone so that you are sure that they are properly qualified and aren't going to rip you off!
Love Sarah x
ps. I bet you thought my most asked question was 'how do I get free stuff?' didn't you? :P