Spot clearing products and expert tips to beat adult acne - for good
Although it's still the subject of debate, industry leaders agree that stress can be a key culprit in 30-something spots. 'There is no doubt that stress is playing a major role in the increase in skin disorders,' says Sally Penfold, education manager at The International Dermal Institute. 'Our faster pace of life takes its toll on the body, and it's reflected externally in our skin.'
A Neutrogena survey revealed that 61% of women reported they suffered from more spots when they felt stressed - something that facialist Vaishaly Patel says is evident among her clients.
'I see more and more stressed-out clients with acne skin,' she says. 'The financial climate puts great pressure on people who then maybe drink more or don't eat as healthily as usual, and that combination is showing in their skin.'
Stress acts as a precursor to acne, starting a chain reaction that can end in a breakout. Essentially, it stimulates the adrenal glands, causing a surge in hormones, such as testosterone, that triggers an overproduction of sebum - the oil produced naturally in the skin.
How can you know your breakout's brought on by stress? 'When they're stress related, spots tend to crop up around the jaw, neck and temples,' says Sally.
If it's the occasional breakout that's worrying you, try applying an intensive spot treatment nightly to the affected area. Alpha-H pHase three clearing gel, £8, is packed with natural blemish-busting ingredients including salicylic acid, tea tree and eucalyptus. Add a twice-weekly, clay-based treatment mask to your regime, too: Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque, £25, is brilliant for removing dirt and debris from blocked pores in between breakouts.
Laser treatments aren't available on the NHS and can be expensive, but the results are often impressive. Studies have shown a 50% improvement in reducing breakouts after 12 weeks of using N-Lite, a laser that works by killing the P. acnes bacteria that lives on the skin and has the added benefit of boosting collagen production, too. At about £150 per treatment, it's not cheap, but you'll need just one treatment a month (for severe cases) to keep blemishes at bay.
Roaccutane, a retinoid derived from vitamin A that works by reducing sebum production and bacteria, is another popular option for clearing severe breakouts. But because of its side effects, which can include anything from skin flaking and nose bleeds to liver damage and depression, some doctors will often prescribe it only for more serious cases.
'As with any drugs, there are side effects but following the precautions - being extra careful about applying sunscreen (Roaccutane will make your skin much more sensitive to the sun) and using a good hydrating moisturiser will help counteract them,' says Sally. 'I've had really amazing results.'
Posted: 23/04/2012 at 17:42
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