So, as you may have read, over the last week or so I've been suffering with my skin. It's been really hot and humid making my skin oily. The heat has also disrupted my sleeping and lack of sleep always breaks me out, especially when my skin is already oily.
A couple of days into the random heatwave, my face exploded. My cheeks, chin, nose and forehead erupted into pimples of varying size and redness. I couldn't wear makeup for two reasons; my face was too oily and the heat and humidity would just melt it off anyway.
Since then I've been hiding myself away, catching up on sleep and trying to treat my problematic skin.
In the rare event of my skin breaking out, I have developed a few steps to control and eventually heal the pimples. I'm going to share my routine with you, but I'm going to warn you before I start - it may not work for everyone. Everyone's skin is different, and so you will have to find out by yourself how your skin works and what helps for you.
With that said, I'll start.
The first thing I do when I notice pimples appearing is dig out the green tea. I don't actually like green tea on it's own, but jasmine green tea is a sweeter alternative (it tastes like summer). If you've ever had elderflower champagne, I would compare the flowery taste of the tea to that.
Green tea is undoubtedly very good for you. It is full of powerful antioxidants such as epigallocatechin gallate. Antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of molecules in the body. Oxidising molecules can produce free radicals, which are molecules with an unpaired electron. As electrons prefer to be in pairs, the free radicals steal electrons from other molecules, ultimately resulting in damage to cells (including skin cells) and the creation of more free radicals. This is a normal process known as ageing, but antioxidants can safely end the chain reaction, slowing the process of ageing and cell damage.
The antibacterial properties of green tea are known fight acne-causing bacteria. Combined with the anti-inflammatory effects, it can help to reduce the appearance of pimples and also kill the bacteria causing them. Over time, this will help to clear your acne and leave you with smoother, plumper and healthier looking skin.
It has been suggested that green tea could also be a useful tool in the fight with cancer and atherosclerosis, which can eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke, but it has not been proven. However, there has been a lot of research into these treatments.
Moving away from my tendency to go all science-geek on you, my next step is to make sure I drink at least four pints (two litres) of clear water (that's water without tea, juice or anything else in it) a day. You should be doing this every day anyway, but I know water is a bit bland and some people don't like it. I'm one of those people, but I still force myself because I know it is very good for me. I found that taking a 75cl bottle of water with me where ever I go helps, because I drink it when I'm bored and before I realise it, I've drank the whole bottle. Drinking ice cold water also helps with the bland taste as the cooling sensation is pleasant.
Our body is approximately 60% water and it is necessary for every day processes. We usually consume more water than we realise just from our food. However, I like to drink four pints to make sure that I'm getting more than I need. Water is a transport medium and helps to dilute substances in the body, flushing toxins away from the skin. It also helps to prevent skin from drying out, which in turn reduces the production of sebum, leading to less oily skin. With less oil on the skin, pores are not as easily clogged.
As well as helping with acne, water also has other health benefits. It aids in maintaining the skin's elasticity, reducing the signs of ageing, lubricates our joints, lowering the risk of arthritis, regulates body temperature and supports metabolism.
Next is watching my diet. I stay well away from fatty foods and try to eat lots of fruit and vegetables. I'm vegetarian, so I can't advise meat eaters on the right meats to eat. All I can say is try to cut down on fatty and salty foods. The fat, as well as being bad for your arteries, can contribute to oily skin and clogged pores.
Vegetables only contain trace amounts of fat, so they won't add to the oil on the skin. They are full of water, vitamins and antioxidants. There are so many vitamins with so many different benefits that it would be impossible to list them all, so I'm not going to. I will say that the highest concentration of vitamins is found just under the skin of the fruit of vegetables, so, if possible leave the skin on. If you're a fussy eater like I am, soups are a really good idea. I hate the texture of cooked vegetables (but LOVE raw vegetables), so blending them in a soup is ideal for me. It can also dilute the taste of less desirable vegetables.
Leaving the subject of food and drink, I'll move on to actual skincare. As tempting as it is to wash your face often when it is feeling oily, don't. Drying your skin out by over-washing will only trigger the production of more sebum, clogging pores even more. Even when your skin is at it's worst, stick to washing it twice a day. Try not to exfoliate too much as this could have the same drying effect.
When my skin is misbehaving, I like to use natural products to clean it. LUSH is one of my go-to brands when I'm in trouble. Their ingredients are all natural with no nasty chemicals. Sometimes I find they can be a bit drying, but I combat this with a collection of other skin products. I use the rubber scrub that came with my L'Oreal face wash with the LUSH Coalface soap. This is exfoliating and allows me to cleanse into my pores without being too abrasive.
Once a week, I use a clay mask to draw impurities out of my pores. If you have sensitive skin, once a week is enough. If not, you could probably get away with using it twice a week. Clays masks are very good for cleansing and exfoliating the skin, but are also very drying. Be careful with them and make sure you moisturise as soon as you can afterwards.
Finally, I've been banging on about moisture through this whole post, but it is vitally important that you don't allow your skin to dry out. For that reason, twice a day during my breakouts, I use a moisturising toner and then apply moisturiser before the skin dries. This makes my face plumper and, believe it or not, less oily. Do not skip out on your moisturising step; your skin will only take longer to heal.
A few more tips before I leave: try to keep your hair out of your face, try not to touch your face, don't plaster acne treatments all over your skin, try not to squeeze your pimples and try not to stress out too much - it'll only make it worse.
Phew, I'm finally done. I think I got a little sciencey in there somewhere, but it helps to have background knowledge. Yaaay for geekiness!
I'm going to leave you there as this is a monster of a post. Hope you found it helpful and if you have any tips or questions, just post below.
Bye guys! ;)