So many customers write to me frustrated with their adult acne and it seems to be hugely on the increase. One in five women are afflicted and I personally battled breakouts in my late 20s.
Hormone imbalance tends to be the most common cause of acne amongst adults, but stress, poor diet and unsuitable beauty products can also be contributing factors.
Hormonal acne is characterised by the large, painful spots that appear along the jawline and chin. It can be hard to treat and I often recommend customers visit a naturopath for advice on rebalancing their hormones naturally.
Here are my lifestyle tips for detoxing the skin and putting an end to your adult acne woes.
1. Less is more. When you have a break-out it’s tempting to throw everything and the kitchen sink at it. Scale back on the number of topical products you use as overloading the skin can result in even more spots as it struggles to adjust to different moisture levels and ingredients.
2. Increase your intake of Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3, 6 and 9). These are powerful natural anti-inflammatories that calm the digestive tract and help to clear the skin from the inside. Oily fish, seeds and nuts are good sources but you can buy natural supplements in good health food stores.
3. Avoid foaming face washes. These contain chemical detergents (e.g. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine) which strip away your natural oils and result in an over-production of sebum. This excess oil clogs pores which, in turn, causes acne. Opt for a detergent-free cleansing cream instead. They are best used with a muslin face cloth as this gently exfoliates the skin and removes dead cell build-up.
4. If a spot rears its ugly head try dabbing Lavender oil on it twice a day (best applied with a cotton bud). Lavender has great anti-bacterial properties and is kinder and less drying on the skin than Tea Tree oil or over-the-counter spot treatments.
5. Resist the urge to pick! Your Mother was right – squeezing spots spreads the bacteria to surrounding pores, drives the infection deeper into the skin and can lead to scarring.
6. Clean food = clear complexion. Refined sugars and animal fats are bad adult acne-inducers, so try to cut back on junk food and drink plenty of water. Hot water and a slice of lemon is great for decongesting the complexion. Dandelion tea is also a great skin purifier and is thought to improve acne scars.
7. Catch-up on your Zzzz’s. Sleep boosts the immune system and is the time when your skin does all its healing and regenerating. Feeling rested and refreshed also makes you better able to manage stress which can be a bad trigger of skin flare-ups.
Remember though, it can take four weeks for your acne to clear and for new skin cells to rise to the surface.
Make sure you stick with these simple steps even if you don’t see the effects straight away!