Since I have lived in 2 extreme climates, I am able to write about my opinion of the different acne triggers in both countries and recommend effective acne skin care brands according to 2 very different climates. A very dry, low humidity and seasonal country such as Munich VS a hot, humid as hell and perpetually sunny country such as Singapore.
1) Hard Water
Those who have lived in European Countries all their lives are pretty much used to hard water but my skin really hated it when I moved to Munich. I remembered breaking out immediately after washing my face with my normal facial wash during my first 3 nights in Munich.
Hard water has a heavy chalk content and it was something that I had never experienced before. The water content in Singapore does not have white chalk particles floating around and is much “ lighter” compared to Water found in Europe.
As soon as I switched to using only Evian or Avene Thermal Spring Water to wash my face twice a day, the breakouts lessened and this step is really crucial because it allows you to be gentle and helps soothe the skin.
2) Spicy /Heaty/ Junk Food
I bet there are some people who will argue that a large % of our physical health stems from our diet. I always hear people saying:
“Eat less Heaty Foods'”
“ Eat less Spicy Stuff” “Eat Less Junk!”
“ Eat less Spicy Stuff” “Eat Less Junk!”
It’s pretty true if you are going to fill your body up with all sorts of unhealthy and “Heaty” foods, that you should try to drink as much water to flush it out.
A trick I used to effectively cleanse my system was to drink LEMON WATER!
Lemon water is truly beneficial in any beauty care regimen. Lemon and water both have clarifying actions in your body. Both lemon and water help flush out toxins in your system. Although lemons are acidic, they are alkalizing in your body.
Lemon water helped worked well for me and my skin was more radiant and healthy looking after 2 months…After every chili filled or sinful-licious meal, I would drink a cup of lemon water and it helped to wash out toxins and cleanse my system.
To have mental and physical health with as little toxins polluting our system as possible, will definitely show on our skin :)
**Do avoid drinking lemon water on an empty stomach.
3) Food Allergies
I’ve never liked milk. I found in recent years that drinking pure milk would usually result in a few pimples and an upset tummy. I can drink lattes ( in moderation) and take beverages which have milk mixed in them but not pure milk. Are there certain substances that always seem to bring on the acne? Are there certain food you consume that seem to irritate your bowels? These might be pointing towards a possible food allergy. Keep a food diary to assess what foods might be triggering your acne. There are plenty of websites teaching people how to determine their food allergies.
Here are a common list of food allergies: Wheat, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, citrus, nuts and fish
A great article on food allergies and yes they can cause the minor zit to severe breakouts.
4a) Skin Picking
Skin Picking is a physical symptom of deeper emotional issues.
For me it was the desire to have perfect clear skin all the time and the feeling that a pimple would “destroy my complexion and personality. ”
When I look back at my skin picking addiction, I really feel like knocking myself in the head. I took being a perfectionist to such extremes and it was ruining my complexion in ways I didn’t even know.In time, I have come to accept that no one is perfect and decided that I would try to start loving myself more. I’m still not confident enough to say that I love or accept myself 100% of the time but I do find it easier to accept my imperfections and it has been much much easier for me to leave my skin alone.
Skin picking is nothing to be ashamed of as it’s usually linked to people with an OCD tendency(high 5 peeps!). Fran from High on Health has written amazing articles with helpful links on this topic and it was thanks to her that I’ve managed to acknowledge and confront my skin picking issue.
I wish I had out about this when I was in my teens. Why?
* When you stop picking your pimples and zits, you reduce further inflammation & scarring. Remember pimples can be removed but scars are for life.
4b) Stress or Unresolved Emotions and a lack of self love
Poorly Managed Stress =Negative Emotions = Toxins = Acne
This is a the link or a very general equation that I’ve gathered from reading a number of resources especially from High On Health & reading through all your comments in my first skincare post has cemented this equation.
Alot of you left comments saying that you noticed more pimples popping up during times of stress.
For me, I’ve always been a homebody. I love being around my family and everything familiar and moving to Munich for a year was something I didn’t know how to prepare for or what to expect. Back than, I was newly married and I was still growing up and figuring out pretty much WHO I WAS. My acne outbreak in Munich took a total of 6-9 months to settle down and it was also at that point in time, that I was becoming more comfortable with myself and settled in my environment.I did not seem to notice, but going to MUNICH for a year was a real turning point and highly stressful time in my life.
Another lesson acne has taught me is that, beauty is only skin deep. To be truly beautiful comes from within and that is something no one can give or take away from you.
5)Not wearing Sunblock
Whether you are using retina A, Salicylic Acid, BP or using an AHA based product, it is crucial to use a sun block.
Acne fighting ingredients are usually a bit harsher and sometimes the skin may dry up or peel. The skin is in a delicate state when it is being slathered with acne fighting products and is already working hard to repair itself . Applying a protective layer of sunblock will aid the healing process. Also, wearing sunblock prevents further darkening of the affected areas. Have you noticed sometimes that a spot becomes more red or darker when you go under the sun. The same logic applies.
Read the following to know the importance of SUNBLOCK:
“First, it is confirmed and evident that ultraviolet rays affect acne, now we learn how?
Our skin has millions of sebaceous glands that produce sebum for hair oiling and protection. Ultraviolet rays directly stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum; meanwhile, hair follicles also get narrowed restricting the sebum to pop out. When sebum is unable to pop out the hair follicle and epidermis, it accumulates in hair follicles and ruptures their walls. If the sebum still stays inside the epidermis, the bump is called whitehead.
Most people consider laying in sunshine is beneficial and helpful as they are with the view that sunshine kills the bacteria causing acne. But doctors and dermatologists do not recommend it and strictly criticize direct exposure to sunlight.”
taken from http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Sunlight-Good-or-Bad-for-Acne?&id=571226
6)Sleeping on Dirty bed sheets or pillow case & having dirty hair in the face
As a teen I had acne on my forehead and at the side of my temples. It was for a short peirod of time and the reason why it went away relatively quickly was because I kept my hair away from my forehead and changed my bedsheets and pillow cases on a frequent basis. Keeping clean helped to reduce the acne outbreak.
5) Using harsh
or inappropriate skin
I’ve tried so many products. I know what works for my skin and what doesn’t and what I’ve decided to do is to recommend the brands I feel are most beneficially for acne prone or acne skin.
Also, please be aware that your skin changes with time. As we grow older, our sebum level drops. If you’ve been using a skincare regime successfully for 3-6 years and get an acne attack, you might need to look at the products you are using. They could drying up your skin excessively. Adjust your products to fit your current skin condition.
I will not list the exact stuff I used cause everyone has their own skin care system. Also, I believe strongly in using a Cleanser, Toner, Moisturiser and Sunblock. Extra stuff I use are mask every now and again and the one I’m loving now is My Beauty Diary.s
Firstly I will list the brands that worked for me in a colder, very dry and seasonal climate:
Exceptional Products: Lush Tea Tree Toners
2) Dr HAUSCHKA
Exceptional Products: Dr.Hauschka Rose Day Cream
Exceptional Products: Cetaphil Face Wash and Moisturiser for sensitive skin ( pink bottle)
They do not clog my skin at all. I only hope for cetaphil to come out with a sunblock one day.
Exceptional Products: Weleda Sunblock
(I used to buy this at any drugstore in Munich, it’s a yellow tube that seems to last forever and has a whitish cast to it. It’s an excellent sunblock which I can’t seem to find in Singapore)
Exceptional Products: Darphin Chamomile Aromatic Care
(all their stuff is so gentle and good but the Darphin Chamomile Aromtic Care is so good for redness and irritated skin )
Normaderm Night ( great for tightening pores and lightening speeding up post acne marks)
Brands that worked for me in a Hot, Humid and Very Sunny Climate:
The normal 3 step skin care products. Usually the SA asks you several question to assess your skin type and recommend a 3 step regime for either oily, combination or dry skin
2) Dr Secrets
Dr Secrets’ T or Acne Series
3) Yamano Skin CareYamano Moisturiser & Glycolic are my favourite
4) Clinique 3 Step
My sisters skin cleared up big time with this and I could use with relatively ease. No reactions at all. However, this series alone will not eradicate or lessen post acne marks. People either love Clinique’s 3 step or hate it.
DHC sunblocks work nicely on me. I would like to try the DHC olive soap one day too.
* I intend to test Sana Nameraka Honpo skincare range because I love their cleansing oil so so much. Their products are light and I like the texture and there is no funny smell( lack of fragrances is always a good sign). I hope to come back with positive reviews in terms of no reaction and suitability for acne skin types, like mine.
There are so many drugstore and high end brands that do not suit my skin. I’ve tried stuff from Sisley only to wake up wtih clogged pores and broken out with Loreal and Johnson & Johnson’s facial wash. As such, I hope this article will help with your selection of suitable acne skincare products and will help you identify and control common acne triggers. A few other skincare articles I intending to write about in the future are:
1) Skin Brightening Products( for Dee)
2) Cleansing Oils
3) Basic Skin Care Regiment
Right now, work is keeping me pretty busy and there’s just so much I want to blog about but I’ll always make time to read ur comments. Great Weekend Sweeties :)