About Shonagh Walker
Beauty Expert Shonagh Walker is one of Australia's leading beauty editors. Her work has been published in most major magazines, newspapers and websites both in Australia and around the world. She is currently relishing her freelance life, contributing to quality publications like The Sunday Telegraph's Body and Soul.
Now that I’ve well and truly settled into the year, after a hectic holiday season, I’ve noticed my skin is a little worse for wear. Read: blemished.
Blemishes and acne are directly related to hormonal imbalance and triggers include poor diet, stress, illness, puberty, pregnancy or menopause, and more (like late nights and lots of imbibing). The unbalanced hormones creep into the sebum, enlarging the sebaceous glands, and allowing bacteria to infect the follicle. Blemishes result.
Then, there is habitual acne. Pimples can’t exist without bacteria and simple things contribute, like resting your face in your hands, using a phone with a dirty mouthpiece, rubbing your forehead when you’re stressed and even massaging your nose where your glasses rest. Exercising while you’re wearing make-up can cause blemishes too, as can using dirty make-up brushes or make-up past its use-by date. Sleeping in make-up is also a huge contributor.
Prevention is always better than cure. Cleanse your skin before any workout and if you use a towel to wipe sweat, ensure it’s clean. Clean your make-up brushes at least once a week, and consider swapping to mineral foundation or one that has been specifically formulated for troubled skin.
Hint: Never apply new foundation over old foundation when touching up make-up. You’re simply pushing old make-up and bacteria into your skin.
There are also many other skin sins that contribute. Here’s my hit list, below:
1. Over Cleansing
It’s about consistency. Not cleansing is bad, but over-cleansing is as much of a no-no. It’s natural to want to wash away blemishes, but you’ll only trigger more oil and exacerbate the problem. Use a gentle rebalancing cleanser morning and night, like Pevonia Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, $67, which has citric acid to help refine pores and clear away congestion.
Exfoliating three times weekly will allow your skin to purge toxins, sebum and bacteria, but avoid harsh scrubs, as you’ll remove the protective layer of skin and trigger more blemishes. Choose a gentle, natural formula and apply using a slow, gentle, circular motion. Try Pevonia Clarigel Exfoliating Cleanser, $68.50.
Initially, a weekly cleansing mask might seem to intensify acne, but like a salon-facial, it’s drawing impurities from the skin, helping clear blemishes faster.
Try Pevonia Purifying Skin Mask, $74, which has zinc oxide to heal and draw out impurities, glycolic and salicylic acids to slough congestion and dead cells and chamomile and camphor to soothe and repair.
4. To Moisturise or not to Moisturise?
People with acne tend to skip moisturiser, which is the worst thing they could do. Skin needs hydrating. Choose a product that’s non-comedogenic, without heavy oils, like Pevonia Problematic Skin Care Cream, $74, Problematic Skin Lotion, $68.25 or Mattifying Oily Skin Cream, $82, depending on the extent of your problem.
Be patient and diligent with skin care. It takes up to four weeks to deliver noticeable results (in tune with skin’s natural renewal).
Watch your diet, too! There’s a link between dairy and acne. Dairy is mucous producing. Mucous can block pores and slow lymph drainage, which means toxins are building in the skin.
Vitamin deficiency contributes also. Skin is healthy when intake of Vitamins A, C and E are adequate and zinc levels are maintained. Ensure you’re getting enough essential fatty acids too, which help normalise oil.
Avoid icy-cold drinks. Our internal body temperature is 37.5 degrees. Drinking cold liquids restricts nerves, which in turn can slow digestion and circulation. Keep drinks at room temperature or above.
Stress triggers oil-producing hormones, too. Regular exercise and quality-plus-quantity sleep are obvious solutions. Team them with breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation.
Check your shampoo too. Healthy skin has a pH level of 5.5. When this increases, it’s open to infection. If shampoo pH is too strong, it can create an environment for acne around your hairline.
Use spot treatments products with bacteria busting glycolic or salicylic acid, like Pevonia Clarifyl Spot Treatment, $91, which also uses aloe to soothe and horse chestnut to diffuse redness.
Finally, don’t squeeze! Medium to dark complexions risk triggering melanocytes, and you’ll be left with a big, brown, pigmented scar. Pale skins can burst blood vessels, leaving a red star-like cluster on the skin, while all skin tones risk crater like pockmarks when squeezing cystic pimples.
Until next time.
Love and light (and clear skin wishes),