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Zap that zit!

Words: Katie Mason

Late nights, haphazard makeup removal and greasy sun cream application can all contribute to problematic skin. Yet with daily work stress and hormone changes also putting pressure on the body, many women in their 20s and 30s are experiencing ‘adult acne’, a late onset condition that tends to affect skin around the mouth area and along the jaw line.

Why do I get it?

Have you considered the days of Clearasil and Oxy10 long behind you, only to encounter a random flair up? Outbreaks of unsightly pimples are proving increasingly common for women in their post teenage years, leading to the hasty application of concealer before a work presentation or to avoid embarrassment mid date. It’s no longer simply a case of blaming a weekend wine binge or last night’s chocolate bar. In addition to following a healthy, balanced diet, a stress-relieving exercise regime – which helps to boost blood flow and oxygen to the face – and a suitable concraception, it’s worth investing in a beauty routine that addresses acne, blackheads and cysts head on.

 
Where does it usually flare up?

Adult acne typically appears on the neck and lower face and is usually driven by hormones (androgens) or a genetic predisposition. Pores become clogged with oil that has failed to travel out onto the surface to moisturise the skin. Sometimes the condition is cystic, meaning the skin texture becomes lumpy and susceptible to scarring. It is our hormones that make these deep-rooted pimples feel sore to the touch and harder to treat than the smaller spots on the skin surface with shorter life spans.

 
What should I do?

At the sight of a breakout, the impulse reaction is to reach for the soap, but this will only remove surface oil and irritate sensitive skin. Instead, follow a gentle cleansing regime during these breakouts, in addition to GP recommended over-the-counter-treatments. Ingredients to look for to include in your anti-acne arsenal are: salicylic acid (an anti-inflammatory chemical), benzoyal peroxide (a beta-hydroxy acid that penetrates the skin’s oil layer to clear blockage and kill bacteria), tretinoin (a cream derivative of vitamin A that clears pores) and isotretinoin (vitamin A derivative known by brand Roaccutane taken internally), as well as natural oils.

 
Do I need an anti-bacterial cleanser?

When choosing a cleanser, be careful to avoid heavily fragranced products that foam and lather up, as these will leave skin tight, dry and stripped of the natural oils that help to keep skin moisturised. We love Savlon Hygiene Wash (R29.95). Use as a twice-daily wash or leave on as a 3-minute mask to effectively cleanse and maintain clear skin.

How can I hide them?

To blast troublesome one-off pimples (those that emerge as if from nowhere and blink brightly like tractor beams!) try zapping them with a medicated product. Alternatively, Skin Doctors Cosmecuticals Zit Zapper (R99.50) is a high performance option from Australia that offers impressive results. This miracle formula contains witch hazel and tea tree leaf oils and other naturally derived ingredients that work to exfoliate and unclog the infected pore, drying out and cleansing the affected area and reducing inflammation. Shake the pen to infuse the spongy end with product and dab carefully onto the pimple before bedtime. A squeezable white head emerges as if by magic the next morning!

 

 

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