The Diary of a Hermit: Adult Acne

Posted: Updated: 
 As I write this it’s 7am and I already know I’m going to have a bad day.

Aside from checking my phone for notifications, and slamming the snooze button, the first part of my morning routine is looking in the mirror – one that I keep right by the bed or even under my pillow. This one look will be influential enough to encourage or hinder my getting out of bed and facing the day.

This morning I’m greeted with large swollen lumps on my cheek, pustules dotted across my jawline, and a painful third eye bulging out from my uni-brow – after surveying today’s canvas I slumped back into the pillow.

I’m nearing the end of my twenties, this was meant to end a decade ago!

The physical and mental scarring began when I was twelve, a horrendously insecure age for anyone, but also the year some little oik publicly used my spots as a reason not to go out with me on a first generation social media site. But however distressed I got, I was always comforted by the fact, or myth, that as soon I turned twenty, and my teen years were behind me, that my skin would be clear like the actresses in the glossy fashion magazines and my enviably zit-less friends.

Thanks in part to my body’s intolerance to all foods I choose to consume, my face is always etched with some visual evidence of my allergies. On particularly angry days I want to stay inside – out of sight of all humans and their possible judgements. I make sure the curtains are drawn, as if I’m in the full glare of daylight (reality) I tend to repeatedly mentally ridicule my face in all reflective surfaces.

Unfortunately, a dodgy skin day is not a legitimate excuse to abandon work duties, despite its capability to drastically affect performance. I regularly curse the career path that’s landed me as a video-blogger. As a female interviewer, particularly one that talks to a lot of male musicians, I suppose I’m exposed to more criticism than if I had a more ‘normal’ job. Every time I post a new interview I fear/expect a scathing or cruel response from the notoriously uninhibited YouTube comment makers. I feel for celebrities and the level of scrutiny their looks and skin are under. I’ve always thought ‘The Circle of Truth’ type articles highlighting their supposed flaws (Cameran Diaz’ acne problem for example) were a grossly unfair part of their chosen career. On a positive note though, I found it hugely comforting that these renowned beauties weren’t perfect – they too suffered with this unsexy problem.

As well as affecting my confidence when interviewing – less eye contact, bad posture, barely looking at the camera – acne has affected other areas of my life…

My hair has always been long – apart from a failed attempt at the Meg Ryan choppy bob (City of Angels era) which turned my barnet into some sort of mushroom. Yes, it’s feminine and versatile, but the main reason behind my hairstyle is its usefulness as a natural veil. On really bad days it’s draped lankly over my face like one of those crystal beaded curtains found in launderettes. Beanie hats are also a vital apparatus used to help disguise the outbreaks on my cheeks, helpfully clamping my hair over my the problem areas – wholly necessary for blustery days. If only Balaclavas were on trend this A/W!

But acne doesn’t just affect those inflicted. Over the years my poor boyfriends have had the impossible task of minimising my anguish, when sunscreen has turned my face into something resembling lasagne for example. They’ve also had to put up with me ducking under the duvet to hide my blotchy, make-up free face every morning. Making excuses not to attend social events because I don’t want to be photographed next to the beautiful people blessed with minute pores is also common place. The prospect of having to abandon my skincare regime and reveal my bare face to others at festivals or sleepovers has always caused extreme anxiety too. It really is endless..

Of course there are many parts of me that I’d like to change, but most can be enhanced/minimised with the use of clever dressing, working the right angles…or exercising (never going to happen). Make-up can cover up redness and scar discolouration pretty well, but it can’t hide undulation or valleys, and you can’t predict when those pesky white heads will show up!

Hopefully one day I’ll won’t feel the need to sharply change route if I see someone I know on the horizon, or keep moving my face frantically when conversing to give the illusion of pixelation or airbrushing…..In the meantime, just a few things. When you say how you prefer natural girls please remember that some of us would love to go bare faced, we just can’t. When a professional explains that men naturally want to mate with women who have good skin…that really hurts. And If you tell us it doesn’t look that bad, we won’t believe you.

It’s not JUST spots… to us it’s a nightmare.

Doctors: Please, No More Antibiotics for Acne

Adult acne is a crippling condition, and one that, as Brits particularly, we often fail to address directly.

One in five 25 – 40 year old women will suffer from bad skin at some point in their lives, but common misconception suggests that acne – painful pustles and pus-filled mounds that appear on the face, chest, shoulders and upper back – is somehow the fault of the sufferer. We suspect uncleanliness or dirt is the cause, making the condition isolating and upsetting. And so, when medical professionals subscribe pills and not much else, it’s accepted as common wisdom that this must be the correct answer.

But a new proposal on a popular web resource for physicians and other health professionals has called for the discontinuation of antibiotics to treat acne and, although controversial, is exactly right.

It’s also great news for encouraging an overall general conversation about adult acne.

Muneeza Muhammad, B.A., and Ted Rosen, M.D. have proposed via Medscape.com that dermatologists should severely curtail or outright discontinue the routine and regular use of antibiotics for the skin condition.

The call to arms centers around the argument that the prevalence and worsening of P. acne resistance – the bacteria that causes acne – worldwide means doctors must think more carefully about their prescribing habits.

Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a global problem, and a cause for serious concern. The emergence of “superbugs” which are resistant to most antibiotics and therefore difficult to treat is a major threat to health. In many areas of the world more than 50% of acne bacteria are resistant to the antibiotics used to treat acne, with rates continuing to rise.

Doctors normally recommend a four- to six-month course of antibiotic treatment, but once spots have cleared, acne commonly flares up again when treatment has stopped. Because of resistance fears, advice is commonly to switch to a topical cream such as benzoyl peroxide- which come with their own side effects, such as dry and tense skin, redness and peeling, or burning, itching and stinging.

It’s all confusing and upsetting news for acne sufferers, who typically don’t find a sympathetic audience to their blemish plight. Doctors seem unemotional and pill-happy, dermatologists pricey and directorial, and magazine articles that focus on less spot worry, more body confidence are obviously written by journalists who don’t know the true pain bad skin can cause.

So what’s the answer for treating adult acne?

Laura Jane Williams, author of  ACNE: a comprehensive guide to identifying, treating and generally showing spots who the boss is wrote in an online column, “why is it we can talk about in-growing pubic hairs, fanny farts, thrush and scaly dandruff, but acne is off limits?

“The thing I wanted most during my six-month pizza-face ordeal was, aside from a solution, an honest conversation about it. But I was far too embarrassed.”

The internet has done much to encourage (albeit anonymous) conversation about acne. One such example, The Lustre Clinic, acts as a social forum for suffers to discuss their problems and get confidence boosting advice from health and beauty professionals. Lustre promote the use of blue light therapy as a clinically-proven and effective solution to acne, with none of the risks associated with antibiotics or topical creams.

Scientists have found that visible blue light is one of the best solutions for acne management, and much safer to health than the alternatives. Photodynamic light therapy uses visible blue light at a wavelength of 415nm and so blasts the bacteria that cause acne without causing any harm to the skin. Spot-causing bacteria produces porphyrin, which under blue light becomes excited and destroys the p. acnes, ultimately leaving users with reduced symptoms.

There’s little general awareness of the use of light to effectively treat inflammatory acne. Traditionally, too, there has been limited accessibility to it. However, companies like Lustre are championing discreet, community-led solutions that could revolutionise acne skincare in an at-home setting.

Blue light has been used by leading dermatologists for years. Trials suggest that blue light therapy devices users can expect a 60% improvement in inflammatory acne.

In my own clinic we offer blue and red light therapy to effectively treat inflammatory acne, and suggest that any blue light therapy can be complimented with skin peels and microdermabrasion- with impressive results.

All accumulating evidence suggests with growing urgency that traditional response to acne management is no longer working. Dermatologists and doctors must be encouraged to experiment with totally safe antibiotic alternatives, and blue light therapy

At Shine we offer LED light therapy. Call us today to talk about how we can help.

could be just the trick.

Winter is here and that means our skin is getting a little drier thanks to heaters and going from hot rooms to cold outside all the time.

Need a quick and powerful fix? A sleeping mask.

The ultimate in lazy skin care: masks that work overnight while you get you sleep.

Whilst asleep, your skin is at its peak in terms of renewal and restoration, so it makes sense to have a highly penetrating mask on while you sleep. Your complexion works overtime at night to repair itself by increasing cell turnover and soaking in any nurtients you out on: the perfect time to slather on a mask. Gone are the days of putting on a mask and waiting 15mins for it to work, now just cleanse, put it on, go to bed and wake up with amazing glowing skin skin. Don’t worry; your pillow won’t be covered in product. Overnight masks just feel like a slightly thicker moisturizer.

They help with dehydration, dryness, fine lines, and dullness. Get one now to look amazing all winter long.

At the salon we have 2.

Hydrating mask- a water based mask that won’t add oil to your skin, so great for people that need just some hydration, help with those fine lines, but not too heavy that it will cause breakouts. $62.50

Nutri mask- A heavier mask for those that need more serious help. It will soak straight in and you won’t believe how your skin will look the next morning. $64.50

Come in and have a chat about how they can best work for you.

I will start off with the most important thing with sunscreen. All the statistic’s that follow will not be true if you don’t use the right amount of sunscreen. The correct amounts are for the average-sized adult:

  • apply more than half a teaspoon of sunscreen (about 3 ml) to Face/neck (including ears) and to each arm
  • Just over one teaspoon (6 ml) to each leg, the front of the body and the back of the body.

That is, approximately 35 ml of sunscreen for one full body application. This is a lot so i recommend buy an excellent quality for face and neck that won’t clog your skin and a slightly cheaper one for the rest of your body.

 

Sunscreen protects against ultraviolet radiation. This is broken into three types of wavelengths:

  • UV-A: (Ageing) This is the longest wavelength and penetrates both the ozone layer and glass as well as penetrating deeper into the skin than UV-B. It causes cancer, premature ageing, age spots and wrinkling
  • UV-B: (Burning) Responsible for tanning and sunburns. It is partially blocked by the ozone layer cannot travel as easily through glass.
  • UV-C: This is totally absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere; we encounter it only from artificial radiation sources- i.e tanning beds.

 

There are 2 types of sunscreens- physical and chemical. Both have their pro’s and con’s.

Chemical– absorb uv and stop it from reaching your skin. Chemical filters offer more coverage against UVA and UVB rays than physical sunscreens. It is colourless, odorless, has a runny texture, and doesn’t clog the skin. They can be more irritating to skin if you are highly sensitive, it can make your eyes sting and water. It is normally chemical sunscreens if it doubles as another product ie- makeup primer, moisturiser, foundation.

Physical-The main ingredients are both or either- zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They reflect and scatter UV. They are better for sensitive skin but Titanium dioxide can be problematic for some people. (it can clog the skin and cause breakouts and blackheads) Titanium dioxide protects against UVB rays, but not the full spectrum of UVA rays. Zinc oxide protects against the entire spectrum of UVB and UVA rays. It can be thick and opaque, and may be hard to apply, leaving a white cast to the skin. It rubs off more easily and must be frequently reapplied.

A couple of little tips.

  • No sunscreen provides full protection so never rely on sunscreen alone for sun protection. Combine sunscreen with sun-protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat that protects the face, head, neck and ears, shade and sunglasses.
  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and again every two hours (whether or not the label tells you to do this).
  • Use a generous amount of sunscreen.
  • The weather makes little difference. Overcast conditions block as little as 20% of radiation. So you should apply sunscreen every day
  • You can get sun damage by just driving to work- so even if you are in an office all day remember UVA (responsible for age spots, premature ageing and cancer) can travel through glass. (see picture of man who was a truck driver for 25years, you can see the side where the sun penetrated through the window)
  • o-BILL-MCELLIGOTT-SUN-DAMAGE-570

Many people think that using moisturizer or foundation with SPF is enough protection from the sun. However, this is incorrect. SPF included in these products is usually not very stable and does not provide adequate protection on its own. You also wouldn’t use enough -1/2 teaspoon and because that is mixed in a base with primer/moist/found you would need even more to get sufficient sun protection. Therefore, it’s best to use a moisturizer without SPF and a separate sunscreen afterwards. Saying that- for people who just won’t use a seperate sunscreen- having it in another product is better than not having it at all.

At Shine we sell a mixture of all the above

Aspect sunblock – physical sunblock 

Payot spf 50- chemical sunblock 

Kryolan primer- spf 20

Payot bb light- moisturiser/tint/spf 15.

I have had a lot of phone calls lately asking for a facial with extractions. It seems to be a really missing element out there with so many therapists not doing them.

Extractions are the part of the facial where your beauty therapist removes blackheads, whiteheads, milia and pimples. Extractions take place after the skin has been thoroughly cleansed, exfoliated and steamed, which helps soften uthe pore where the blackheads are.

Different types of congestion:

Blackheads- harden oil in the pore. Being exposed to oxygen turns it black.
Whiteheads- the same as blackheads except there is a thin layer of skin on top. As it is not exposed to oxygen it stays white.
Milia- Hardened lumps under the surface. look like little balls can be pearly in appearance. Normally found around eyes.
Pimples- have a head on them and infection/bacteria inside pore.
Sebacteous acne- like a pimple but with no head. The infection is beside the pore therefore can not be extracted, but we can help kill the bacteria still.

I do extractions in most of my facials if you need/want them. I will offer them if I think you need them or can do on request.

I have a facial which concentrates solely on extractions, or I also offer it in my other facials if you just have a few you want to get out but also have other concerns such as hydration or ageing you wish to address as well. (They range from $95-$120 in price)

If you have acne or a lot of congestion (little bumps) under the skin I recommend a AHA/BHA peel. The peel will give you a fantastic exfoliation and really loosen up all the dead skin on the top layers allowing the blackheads to come out more easily.

A lot of people ask if I do microdermabrasion- I don’t. I have used it in the past but believe that peels work much better. Micro will take off the top layer of your skin, but not penetrate into the pores to clean deeper/remove oil/work deeper. Peels being a gel penetrate through the top layers breaking down the bonds that hold the top layers together giving you a more through result. BHA’s (salyclic) are oil loving so if you have oil they will go searching for it and eat it all up hence reducing future breakouts.

AHA peels have no downtime. BHA peels can sometimes involve some peeling. But as I said before extractions can be done very successfully in a normal facial as well. You just get added benefits with a peel.

And last but not least is High Frequency. This is a glass electrode that buzzers. It uses ozone to kill bacteria in the skin, speed up the healing process and is fantastic for reducing post extraction breakouts. A must after an extraction facial.

I will do a few more posts on this as it seems to be a concern to a lot of people so stay tuned.

We all wear make-up and wish we knew how to do it properly, but have never been taught how to do it. Well below are some tips that will help you get started…..

make up trick 1

Good Skin= Good make-up. I think about it this way, if your skin looks good, any makeup will look great,

When applying concealer to pimples and other imperfections it is recommended that you use a brush – not your fingers! The tapered bristles can get into the crevices of a blemish better than your fingers can.The best thing a girl can do is to hydrate the skin and put on a primer.

The placement of highlights for the eyes  is very important when trying to create naturally beautiful eye makeup. Your lighter colours should be applied in the inner corners, the middle of the eye, and just under your brow bone. Apply your lightest colours first. (see picture)

To keep your undereye liner in place, sweep loose or pressed powder right under the eye liner on your bottom lid. It creates somewhat of a barrier, preventing your eyeliner from traveling downward.

This quick and easy illusion will give you an instant eye lift. Draw an arch directly above your eyebrow with your favourite highlighter, and blend with your finger. This makes your arch look raised, making the whole eye area look like it’s been lifted. (see picture)make-up trick 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blush, blush, blush! It wakes up the skin and perks you up.

Cosmetic Brushes-If you don’t have the right application tools, even the most expensive products won’t go on properly

What’s the trick to applying blusher? Always allow about two fingers from your nose to where the blush starts.

It’s best not to use a similarly coloured lip-liner when wearing a bright shade of lipstick. Instead, line your lips with a shade slightly darker than your own lip colour.

You can attract light to your lips and make them look fuller simply by applying a shimmery gloss to the centre of your top and bottom lip.

Suffering from bloodshot eyes? White eyeliner or shadow in the corners of your eyes will counteract the redness and awaken your eyes again.

 

AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acid) is a natural exfoliating ingredient that is found in fruit and milk. This is the lightest form of a chemical peel. Peels dissolve intercellular glue within the skin, encouraging dead cells to shed and fresh skin to come to the surface, revealing fresher more vibrant skin. They retexture, smooth and brighten the skin. Rough or dry patches can be resurfaced, uneven pigmentation spots can be reduced and the look of fine lines and wrinkles can be improved as cell turnover is increased and damaged skin cells are shed. There is no downtime and no redness afterwards.

In regards to acne we can use AHA or BHA peels. BHA peels have the ability to get deeper into the pore than AHA as they are smaller molecules. BHA are oil loving peels so seek out oil helping to control oil, acne as well as remove dead skin cells to a certain extent better than AHAs, but they can be more irritating and the skin needs to be prepared before starting.

After this there are more intensive peels you can do. They can target pigmentation or acne or total resurfacing. You need to be careful; peels can get very powerful and have a lot of downtime associated with them. The cause quite a lot of trauma to the skin. These are for people with quite a serious problem and are prepared for the downtime associated with them (peeling, redness, sensitivity) Before starting strong peels you skin should be prepped with lighter peels first, sometimes lighter peels are all that is needed. it is best to get a recommendation off someone if you are going to do a strong peel.

At Shine Skin and Body we work with Aspect peels ranging from 20-40% there is no downtime afterwards but they show great results when done in a series.