Did you know that STRESS can play a huge role in the health of your skin. This is especially true in relation to the onset of acne.
Stress causes your body to release a chemical called cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol in the body triggers the production of more sebum (the skins natural oil). Increased oil production can clog pores leading to inflammation and breakouts.
So if you are wanting to control breakouts it is important that you get your stress levels under control.
what are some effective strategies for managing stress?
I'm glad you asked. There are many great strategies for managing stress and I have outlined some below. This list is by no means exhaustive.
1. Get regular exercise.
Fitting in some daily exercise, even if it is only a short walk, helps to lower cortisol levels and helps you sleep better. It also releases endorphins into your body which improve your mood.
2. Cut down on caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant so it makes sense to cut down your intake so that your body can relax.
3. Eat a well balanced diet.
Make sure your body has the nutrients it needs to function effectively. Skipping meals, and eating foods high in sugar can make you feel low and increase your stress.
4. Do some breathing exercises.
When you're feeling stressed simply stopping, closing your eyes and taking some deep breaths in and out can help you feel more relaxed.
5. Take a warm bath or shower to relax your muscles.
When you are under stress your muscles tend to tense up. A warm bath or shower can help to relieve tight muscles.
6. Have some down time.
Find some time to relax and calm your mind. You don't need to be busy all the time. Give yourself permission to stop, put your feet up and listen to some relaxing music or read a book, or get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature.
7. Find time for a hobby you love.
Spending time doing a hobby that you love can help lower your stress levels. Play an instrument, take a cooking class, go fishing, paint - whatever it is make time to do something that you love on a regular basis.
8. Book in for a facial.
I won't lie - this is one of my absolute favourite ways to de-stress. An hour away from the family to fully relax whilst listening to quiet music and having someone else take care of your skin. Bliss! And lets not mention the beautiful fragrances filling the air and warm towels caressing your skin.
Do you know that the first thing you put in your mouth in the morning determines how oily you are going to be for the entire day?
Have you ever noticed that some days you feel really oily and then others not so much? This is because most acne sufferers don't realize that diet is WITHOUT A DOUBT linked to acne.
Acne is an insulin driven disease and the more sugar you have (including fruit) the more congestion and oil you will get.
Breakfast is the MOST IMPORTANT meal of the day particular if you have acne. And the reason is because it determines your insulin levels for the entire day. If you eat a high sugar breakfast or high glycaemic index cereal as the first thing, then your sugar levels stay high for the entire day. Glycaemic Index is a system that analyses what food does once we consume it. It looks at how fast it releases sugar into your blood stream.
So how does this affect your skin?
Insulin causes you to produce more skin cells which block your pores. It also puts your oil glands on overdrive excreting much more oil than it would normally.
Fruits are one of the culprits that increase sugar levels rapidly. Berries have been shown to be low GI and actually help your acne.
Chemical peels are performed by many Beauty Therapists and Doctors. At Bushland Beauty, I don’t believe in them. To me they are treating a symptom and not a cause. Therefore, in my eyes they are not holistic, and therefore don’t fit with my philosophy on skin.
The idea that removing skin cells fixes a problem is to me faulty thinking. The keratinocytes are the king of cellular communication. This little cell decides whether to mount an immune response, whether to dilate your capillaries and whether to generate repair.
Rather than removing them I believe your keratinocyte should remain until it naturally falls off. There isn’t any really any good reason to peel.
The reasons usually used are:
1) Acne is inflammatory. Originally it was thought to be from hyper-proliferation of cells (which it has that feature), however newer research shows it actually begins with inflammation and that is the trigger for the overproduction of cells. You extinguish the inflammation you get rid of the over production of cells. The bonus is that it doesn’t create sun sensitivity or increased sensitivity which tends to happen with the use of acids.
2) Pigmentation occurs because the pigment is transferred to the keratinocytes, so the idea is to remove them which removes the pigment. Instead if you stop the transfer of pigment you eliminate the pigmentation. There are also ways of stopping the pigment being deposited in the first place.
3) Ageing isn’t from dead skin cells and whilst it may stimulate the production of collagen by peeling it also creates inflammation. My philosophy is why peel when you can generate quicker and faster results without peeling and the process is holistic.
If you look at number 2 and 3 you will see it breaches the basal cell. Whilst your skin may look good at the time you will look worse in about 10-15 years time. The entire epidermis has been destroyed and will struggle to renew itself. This means your skin will start sagging.
It is for this reason that I am against peeling the skin. We treat acne from the first step. Peeling only treats from the second step.
When you have something wrong with your skin it is frustrating and overwhelming at times.
There is a lot of conflicting information out there that can cause you even more confusion. As one Aesthetician put it, all anyone needs is a mobile phone and a YouTube channel and they call themselves an expert.
One of my missions is to stop the confusion. To provide a harbour of safety where you know you will get honest advice from a professional.
What separates me apart from other salons is my care in looking after you. I want to ensure you achieve the skin of your dreams.
It is my mission is to show you step by step how to get there and to be there with you along the way in your skin journey. To encourage you when it is hard, and to celebrate with you when you get the results you have been looking for.
For all of you who share your struggles and success stories, I thank you. It is difficult for me to articulate how much joy and inspiration it fills me with.
If you're feeling hopeless and lost with your skin please let me know. I would truly love to help you.
Exfoliating our skin can become an addiction. Your skin feels so much smoother and softer after you exfoliate, because of this many people think that if a little is good then a lot of exfoliation must be better. Over exfoliation however can cause some serious damage to your skin and can predispose you to premature aging and also to developing an overly sensitive and reactive skin.
The signs that you are giving your skin too much exfoliation:
- areas of patchiness and dryness
- redness and itchiness
- increased sensitivity
- inflammatory acne
- burning sensation
Acne skins are one of the skins that definitely need exfoliation more often. It does however need to be gentle. The worst thing you can do for an acne skin is dry it out and dehydrate it. Dehydration will make lesions hang around for longer and delay healing.
Enzymes don’t harm the skin and will not eat living cells. Chemical Peels on the other hand can damage your skin barrier. Peels over 8% will actually disrupt your skin barrier making it more sensitive and heal less effectively. The exception to this is Salicylic Acid Peels which are safe.
Peels also create inflammation in the skin which we want to avoid. Inflammation in an acneic skin makes it worse and in older skin creates a condition called “Inflamm-ageing”. It is aging of the skin due to inflammation and the effects it has on collagen and elastin. Facial cleansing brushes can damage the skin as well due to manual exfoliation which can harm living cells.
We recommend using our Papaya Radiance Peel and Sulfur Mask for exfoliating. These both contain enzymes which will not harm your skin.
Breaking out isn't something you should always experience but in some instances you will. Often with breakouts acne sufferers don't realise that lesions under the skin are pre existing. All acne starts with what is called a "micro-comedone" and they are invisible to the naked eye.
We are often asked why Skin Detox causes purging. I want you to think of it like constipation, as gross as it may sound. There is only one way for it to come out, it won't just disappear. We consider Skin Detox a laxative for the skin. The breakout doesn't usually last more than 4 weeks.
Vitamin A and Botanical Vitamin A alternatives cause an increase in exfoliation in the skin. Now if you have dead skin cells at the top of the pore and you suddenly increase exfoliation what happens is a breakout.
Some skins take time to adapt to the introduction of Vitamin A. The reaction you have is called a Retinoid reaction which may appear as:
- pink skin and slight flaking
- mild breakouts
- small red pimples that are itchy (worst case scenario)
Comedogenic products take time to cause breakouts. This is not purging, if you are using something comedogenic then the breakouts will continue. It can take 6 months after discontinuing a comedogenic product for the breakouts to clear.
It has been known anecdotally for a long time that the B Vitamins cause acne eruptions. Until recently the understanding of why this occurs has eluded many. Recent research however has revealed that the acne bacteria, Vitamin B12 and skin microbiome have a intertwined relationship.
Research has identified that there is a difference between gene expression of skin bacteria in acne patients, compared to healthy individuals with clear skin. They found that the B12 synthesis pathway of Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes) in acne patients was low compared to healthy individuals, which led them to study the relationship between B12 and acne. Many bacteria need B12 for metabolic activity and they have the ability to synthesise their own.
What the research found is that when B12 is supplemented that the bacteria stopped producing their own supplies and instead begin producing porphyrins molecules. Porphyrins can generate inflammation and acne is triggered by inflammation initially.
Vitamin B12 actually altered the normal metabolic pathway and activity of the skin bacteria. B12 supplementation can make clear skin become prone to acne skin, which has been evidenced by the increase in breakouts post vitamin B12 supplementation.
Researchers also observed that another pathway, the porphyrins biosynthesis, is linked to the B12 biosynthesis pathway. They hypothesize that when there is an elevated B12 level, it leads to an overproduction of porphyrins by P.acnes. Previous studies have shown that porphyrins can induce inflammation and acne.
So what can you do?
Avoid supplements that have high doses of vitamin B12 in them. Be aware of foods high in vitamin B12. Milk, Cheese, Liver, Kidney, Pate, Clams, Crab, Oysters and Mussels all contain high levels of vitamin B12. For those of you in Australia the beloved Vegemite is another source of B vitamins. You may want to limit some of these food choices if your skin is currently experiencing breakouts and flare ups.
There are many oils that contain over 25% oleic acid. These oils disrupt the skin barrier by causing moisture loss which results in flaking, an overproduction of skin cells. This may not be seen to the naked eye.
The moisture loss causes a temporary swelling of the surface which makes you feel like you are hydrated. Continued use will degrade the skin barrier. If you were to be measured with a technical device accurately measuring hydration, it would show the skin is losing moisture and the feeling is only superficial.
In an acne skin these oils will result in breakouts. If there are too many skin cells it will clog the follicle. Acne skin cells are different to a normal skin. Their skin comes off in sheets rather than grains of sand which blocks the follicles.
Common oils that contain over 25% oleic acid are Olive Oil, Macadamia Oil, Almond Oil, Apricot Oil, Avocado Oil, Marula Oil and Argan Oil.
Did you know that the pimples popping up on your skin today actually began to form approximately 90 days ago?
It takes about 90 days for a pimple to form. It starts as a microcomedones in the pore and can take 3 different paths: a whitehead, a blackhead or a pustule, depending upon the presence of bacteria and inflammation.
There are 300 000 pores on the face. During childhood the pores are nearly invisible because the sebaceous glands aren't active.
Oilier skins will naturally have lager pores due to the output of sebum. But the main cause is the cutaneous sagging with age (loss of firmness and elasticity). The diameter of pores is multiplied by 2 between the age of 25 and 50. Visible pores first appear in the T-zone and then on the sides of the nose and cheeks.
Milk Repair and Reactive Skin Cream are our best products to target pore sagging related to ageing. For oily skins we recommend Plant Harmonising Serum and Reactive Skin Serum.
Katie Tilson is a fully qualified Beauty Therapist passionate about skin health and dedicated to ongoing training and education to ensure you receive superior skin treatments.