The question I set out to answer today is purely selfish — hey, it is my blog after all – but I have a feeling (OK, I know) that I’m not the only 30-something who’s still battling acne. I actually have more breakouts now than I did as a teen. Couldn’t I have just been blessed with acne when the rest of my peers were dealing with it? Obviously not. Anyway, the question I posed to Kate Somerville, celebrity skin expert and author of Complexion Perfection! Your Ultimate Guide to Beautiful Skin, is “What advice do you share with your clients who are suffering from stress-induced acne, and what’s the most effective treatment?” Here’s what she had to say …
Treat Skin From the Inside Out
The first step in the path to spot- and stress-free skin: “Remain in tune with your body – schedule time to stop and to detox,” she says, recommending that we “detoxify through exercise, nutrition, steaming and massage.” Her reasoning: “When you detoxify, your body rids itself of toxins and impurities, oftentimes through the skin.” Here’s how I plan to check these four items off my list:
Step 1: Add two additional days of cardio to my routine. Even if I only have time to run around the block, I’m making this a priority.
Step 2: Cut out the junk, which Somerville says “can give you more energy than you’ve ever had before, and it can leave your skin looking luminous.” I mostly eat healthy-for-me-foods, but I’m a sugar fiend, so I’m going to limit myself to two treats a week – instead of two a day.
Step 3: Steaming … this one is tricky. I don’t belong to a gym with a steam room. I will try steaming my face by sticking it into my sink with the hot water running and a towel placed over my head though. Can’t hurt, right? Takes less time for sure, which is key for me.
Step 4: I’m going to beg my lovely husband to give me two shoulder or foot rubs a week. Hey, he as to look at my pimply face, so I think he’ll go for it. I hope yours will do the same.
Though my plan isn’t likely as glamorous as Somerville had in mind, knowing her, she will give me the thumbs up on this strategy.
Treat Skin On the Outside
Step two on the path to clear skin is about treating acne in a few different ways based on the severity and characteristics of your spots. “Acne can be in the form of superficial whiteheads, blackheads and generalized congestion; or in the form of cysts that occur under the surface of the skin,” says Somerville, so the key is to treat according to these issues.
For deep, cystic, severe acne, “you can’t just dry the pimples out, that strategy won’t work – it will actually accelerate the signs of aging,” she says. OK, definitely not what we want. Instead she recommends “regular facials, every three to four weeks, and LED phototherapy (alternating blue and red light)” treatments.
For moderate to severe acne in any form, Somerville recommends “Topical Antibiotics, [which] kill acne-causing bacteria, and reduce infections in the pores; they are prescription topical medications that usually come in a solution, gel, ointment, or lotion.” A trip to a dermatologist might be more costly up front, but the money saved on all of the products that aren’t effective, might help balance the cost.
Though Somerville does warn that “before you get to that luminous point [after detoxing], you may first break out in pimples or rashes as toxins release through the skin,” I think I’ll take my chances on step one of the plan (if anything, I’m hoping it’ll help release some of the stress that’s causing my sudden outburst of acne), and then see derm for a prescription.
Do you have other advice on ditching stress-induced acne? Please share by commenting below. Or, let me know what your biggest skin issue is and I’ll have Somerville or another skin guru answer your question.