If I had to pick my beauty bête noir, it would be zits. I’ve had problems with my skin since I hit puberty (and, given that I hit it at 11 and am now nearly 25 that’s one hell of a long time to be spotty). In early adolescence, my zit-prone skin often made me really self-conscious. Probably my worst ever episode was when I was 14 years old and was hit by a horrible break out all over my cheeks, just in time for a family holiday to Venice. I purchased an expensive anti-acne cream which not only didn’t work, but made me break out in a horrible red rash too – there I was, in the middle of one of the world’s most beautify city, with my cheeks somehow managing to be red-raw, flaky, greasy and spotty all at once! Needless to say, I did not enjoy the holiday that much – perhaps that makes me vain and self-centred, but I guess that’s teenager’s for you. Now that I’m older and wiser (well, less hormonal) I don’t let bad skin ruin my day. But it still has a big impact on how I feel about my appearance. I have never, for example, let a boyfriend see me without make-up. I feel so frustrated that I still break-out regularly – surely that’s something that’s supposed to stop in adolescence? Sure, my break-outs aren’t as bad as they were in my teens, but they now come in tandem with other issues. I recently had a skin assessment at a skin clinic who told me I was beginning to show signs of early aging, including a few wrinkles and dark circles round my eyes. I also get dryness in some areas and oiliness others. Over the years, I’ve probably spent a small fortune on skin products, none of which have resulted in any long term change. But it’s only recently occurred to me that my diet could be contributing to the issue. So I asked the advice of Emily at anutritionisteats.com (check it out btw – its a great blog) . Here’s what she had to say:
There are many things that go into clear skin: rest, cleanliness and a varied and balanced diet. Then there are the things you can’t control like heredity, your body, etc. In terms of what goes into your body, there are a few things you can do to promote clear skin.
- Whole Grains – full of fiber, zinc and Vitamin B6
- Fruits & Veggies – full of antioxidants *focus on green, purple and deep red
- Fish – specifically for omega 3′s
- Green Tea
- Probiotics – all about balancing good bacteria
- Low Glycemic eating is thought to help – high glycemic foods increase insulin secretion which increases sebum production, which can then block pores
- Lay off the milk – many think that because milk is so full of hormones (even organic) that it is best to avoid
She also recommended a few products for damage control:
- Acne Face Wash: I use Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Purifying Gel Cleanser and various other Acne washes (currently Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Cream Cleanser)
- Acne Moisturizers: I use Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Daily Balancing Moisturizer and The Body Shop Blemish Fade Night Lotion at night
- Benzoyl Peroxide: Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment is what I use if I feel a breakout coming or from time to time on my chin (where most of my problems are)
Personally, I would add to this list:
- REN’s Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask – great if you want renewed, glowy skin and also helps stave off break outs. Pricey but sooo worth it (hey, it’s cheaper than a facial).
- Eve Lom Rescue Mask – if you need something to calm down your skin during a break out, then this is the thing.
- Simple’s SPF 15 Sunscreen – when I need a proper sunscreen that won’t make me break out, I rely on this. It has minimal chemicals and additives and is oil-free.
- Body Shop Vitamin E cream – moisturizes dry skin without causing breakouts or irritation.
And for when you need to bring out the big guns…….
- md Formulations Facials and Products – a series of md facials will set you back financially and take up a lot of your time, but when my acne’s been really bad (see Venice trauma above), I’ve found they’re the only thing that works.
I’d also recommend checking out Oh She Glows beauty routine for glowing skin. Let me know if you have any hints of your own!