Category Archives: Acne

Is Benzoyl Peroxide Is The Answer To Your Pimple Problem?

acnefree_sensitive_skinBreakouts suck. There is no way around it. But lucky for us, an old stand-by Benzoyl peroxide has been improved upon lately. This go-to zit fighter works so well because it kills acne-causing bacteria by bombarding the pores with oxygen (these bacteria can’t survive in oxygen-rich environments). But scientists have figure out how to create micro-sized benzoyl peroxide particles that are 60 times smaller than conventional benzoyl peroxide. This means that it gets into the skin much easier to work on those stubborn zits, you see results faster and it’s less irritating all around. Try AcneFree Sensitive Skin 24 Hour Skin Clearing System, $18 which includes a cleanser, toner and hydrating acne repair lotion/spot treatment. Benzoyl peroxide, even when micronized, is still very strong and can irritate skin, so dermatologist Hilary Baldwin, MD, recommends starting your treatment every other day and working your way up to every day. She also advises you to use just a pea size amount of treatment cream — too much can be irritating on skin. Her tip to get it evenly distributed: Place a dot between two fingers, then dab that gently on each side of your forehead, cheeks and chin. Then rub in each section individually to make a small amount go a long way.

What do you do for breakouts?

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Have an Underground Pimple? Try This Nifty Trick

When emailing with my friend Breean yesterday (she’s the makeup artist featured in this smoky eye tutorial video) we got to talking about cystic pimples and how best to hide them when you have a special event or important occasion coming up. She shared a pretty handy trick that I thought I’d pass along to you.

If she gets a deep, underground pimple days before an important engagement, here’s what she does: “I take a heavy amount of omega fish oil pills, which are natural anti-inflammatories. If I saturate my body with omegas for a few days, the swelling goes down quickly! It works really well for cysts and [the oils are] good for your complexion in general,” she says.

I haven’t tried this myself, but I do get deep undergrounders like Breean does, so I think I’ll give it a try.

What natural beauty tricks do you employ to solve important skin issues? Tell me about them and I might just add them to my routine, too.

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“In What Order Should These Products Be Applied?”

Reader Jacalyn recently changed up her skin care regimen and says, “I was using a daytime moisturizer that contained SPF. I’m now using (and loving) Kate Somerville’s Deep Tissue Repair and Quench Hydrating Serum. I will need to add sunscreen to this routine, so in what order should these products be applied?”

I’m sure this is a question we’ve all asked ourselves a thousand times. With the layers upon layers of products we slather on daily — from moisturizers, serums and spot treatments to sunscreen and prescription products, it’s hard to know what goes first, third and last.

Here’s the order I follow based on the info I’ve picked up from skin gurus over the years: First, apply any prescription or treatment products (like retinoids or acne spot treatments). They should be the items closest to your skin so they don’t get diluted by other products, and can work as efficiently as possible.

Next, apply serum-type products. These are lightweight and meant to be absorbed by skin, so they should go on early in the process as well. They also often contain potent active ingredients, and in order to reap the benefits they offer, you’ll want them close to your skin as possible. Follow serum with moisturizer, which is thicker and often contains more oil. It will actually help seal in the products you previously applied while protecting your skin from the elements.

Finally, finish with SPF. You want your SPF to be the last thing that you apply so it protects your skin to the best of its ability. And, if you’ve applied any products that are easily broken down by UV rays, it will help those products remain more stable and active, too.

Oh, and Jacalyn, if you’re in the market for a great SPF product to layer on top of your Kate Somerville products, I recommend these two: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 55, $6.24  Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50, $52. Both are ultra lightweight (almost watery) and never greasy.

Do YOU have a beauty question? Ask it by commenting on this post.

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Alternatives to Traditional Acne-Fighting Ingredients

Reader Question: “What products can people with acne prone, sensitive skin use if they are allergic to salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide?” — Amber

Answer: Amber, you’re a girl with problems that I can so relate to, and thankfully there are hard-working acne solutions out there that don’t contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. The key ingredients you should look for are sulfur and alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acid. Sulfur “removes dead skin cells that clog pores and helps remove excess oil,” according to the Mayo Clinic, and the AHAs work in a similar way while also helping to reduce inflammation and “stimulate the growth of new, smoother skin, which helps reduce the appearance of acne scars.” The AHAs may still cause some irritation if you are very sensitive, but the sulfur is quite gentle albeit somewhat drying. I personally have had lots of success with both lactic acid and sulfur though. A few of my go-to acne zappers are: Continue reading

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