By Jessica Berto, Director of Training for Western Canada
With this pandemic and lockdown, we sure are going through a stressful time. With stress often comes acne. This skin concern can be quite debilitating, especially when we have no one to see for proper care and treatments. Let’s talk about our skin and how to deal with stress and/or acne. I know a lot of us have been working out more, drinking more, eating more and stressing out more which can also be a slippery slope for skin health (and health in general for that matter!).
Something I often discuss with my patients is our cortisol levels. This is important right now because our bodies pump out excess cortisol when we are anxious or under intense stress. Stress has a direct impact on our skin. When our cortisol levels go up, it prompts our skin to produce excess sebum. This is when the oil clogs the pores and causes inflammation – something that leads to acne.
What can I do about this while at home?
First, as difficult as it may sound, you should try to destress as much as possible. Maybe you don’t need to have the news channel on all day long? Try to soak in some sun rays on your patio while taking this time to finally give meditation a try! Second, watch what you are eating and drinking. More importantly, limit sugar intake and very spicy food as they both are the prime culprits for breakouts. Drink lots and lots of water and keep an eye on the alcohol. Third, skincare! You need to address your acne with the right ingredients.
Let’s talk about the 3 main types of acne and what you can do about it at home.
- Pustules: These are small bumps on the skin that contain fluid or pus. You want to use products that contain Salicylic Acid, this helps control the oil and dries out these white pustules. Try the LHA Cleanser every night, the LHA Toner a couple times a week and the Blemish & Age Defense would be a must 3-4 times a week at night.
- Blackheads: Blackheads are dilated pores filled with keratin, or dead skin cells. When this “gunk” in your pores is exposed to the air, they oxidize and the surface turns black. A good way to keep these under control is to use Simply Clean cleanser morning and night, Retinol 2-3 times a week (depending on whether or not you are already conditioned to it), and Clarifying Clay Masque every second day in your T-zone area (leave on for 20 minutes). You can boost the strength of the mask by adding in a few drops of the Blemish & Age Defence.
- Cystic acne: This can result from a combination of bacteria, oil, and dry skin cells that get trapped in your pores. It is often painful to the touch and is very inflamed. This type of acne can also be hormonally driven. You want to be on Retinol for these (2-3 times per week at night, you can also use it as a spot treatment) and Blemish & Age Defense on your off nights.
As a rule, someone with an oilier complexion and the odd breakouts should consider the routine below for everyday use and to keep flare-ups at bay:
What about at-home extractions?
Now I know that you may have the odd pimple that you want to get rid of! Is there a way can we do this safely at home? Great question! Let’s do some basic steps to make sure we are being safe:
- Cleanse the area well with Simply Clean or LHA Cleanser.
- Do at-home extractions after a shower so that your pores are open (please make sure it wasn’t an hour long shower, the heat will create blood flow and we don’t want to break any capillaries).
- Wrap your fingers in Kleenex (double fold it).
- Use light pressure to wiggle the blackhead or pustule.
RULE: Once clear fluid or a little blood starts to come out, STOP. If you keep putting pressure on your skin, this is how you will bruise yourself.
- After the extraction, make sure to tone the area with an astringent. I would recommend the equalizing LHA Toner.
- Apply some Phyto Corrective Gel on the area to sanitize and reduce inflammation.
Now remember that the above is only if you must! Ideally you want to leave it for us at the end of all this! For now, I would recommend everyone to do the Clarifying Clay Masque mixed with Retexturing Activator or Blemish & Age Defense once a week right now as well. Keep things under wraps!
If you feel lost or would like to discuss any of these further, contact us to organize a free virtual consultation at email@example.com.