It's been a while since my skin has decided to do a complete u-turn and spin out of control, but the sudden breakout that hit me a fortnight ago really did make up for lost time. Overnight my skin erupted into a showcase of sore, red spots that not only niggled under the skin but boldly rose to the surface and became a nightmare to conceal. Since struggling with fairly bad acne in my late teens I've made big changes in order to keep everything as stable as possible, although it does mean that I've picked up a few tips and tricks along the way. I'm no skincare expert and I'm fully aware that one method that works well for me may not work for you, but by following these five steps I seem to have successfully navigated my way through the worst of it.
- Fight the cause | unless you suffer with persistent acne it's unlikely that a sudden breakout occurs without there being at least one contributing factor. I've learnt that my sensitive skin is easily irritated by the products I use on it, so when a breakout does occur I'm always careful to remove new products from my routine one by one until I find the culprit. Changes in the skin can also often be the result of a change in diet, a lack of sleep or hormonal factors. Finding the supposed root of the problem and tackling it head on is a great place to start.
- Hydrate the area | contrary to the advice of many websites and books I scoured throughout my teens, I actually find that keeping the area of a breakout well hydrated helps to ease the problem faster than the harsher methods associated with drying out the area.
- Resist the temptation to touch | at least for as long as you can. Past experience has shown that constant reminders never, ever to pop a pimple under any circumstances are only helpful for as long as is practical. Poking and prodding the bugger is without doubt a last resort, but one that I'll admit turning to in certain cases - job interviews, nights out and first dates to name a few. If you do touch, do so using the help of a tissue and keep the area as clean as possible. That said, never, ever pick at a subsequent scab or you'll be straight back to square one. Nice.
- Apply treatment regularly | different things will no doubt work for different people, but I've always found La Roche Posay's Effaclar A.I. to be the best choice for my skin. Not only does it help to diffuse the spot in it's first instance, but it visibly reduces the length of time I'm left with niggly red marks after the main event. Whilst I know lots of people that swear by more natural methods such as Tea Tree, I find them to be far too heavy for my sensitive skin so it's worth trying a few options until you get it just right. I use the treatment twice daily and try to let it work its magic for as long as possible before adding anything on top.
- Tread lightly | after years of slathering bad skin in layers of concealer, foundation and powder I've found that treading carefully around the area is a far better solution in the long run. Pinpoint concealing is a god send, so apply as thin a layer of coverage as possible and just build it up in the areas it's needed. Stick to lighter formulas and keep any extra artistry around the area as light handed as possible. By using a sheerer base all over the skin you give the illusion of a healthier complexion in general and minimise the chances of the skin being further irritated by anything too heavy - in theory at least.