Like dodgy fringes and bad relationship choices, there are some things we thought we'd well and truly left behind as teens. Sadly, acne isn't one of them. While it's so frequently associated with puberty, acne is essentially just an inflammation of your skin's sebaceous glands (they're the ones that produce oil). This is often due to a hormonal imbalance, in particular a lack of oestrogen. When these glands produce excess sebum, it can get trapped within a pore resulting in what we see as a spot. This link with hormonal fluctuations is why we often encounter acne breakouts during our periods, after having a baby or even during the menopause – and there are a plethora of other causes for acne, too. In short? It's certainly not exclusive to our teenage years.
Here, I share the best treatment products for acne and the ingredients to make a beeline for...
Know the triggers for your acne-prone skin
Even the slightest hormonal imbalance can disrupt the levels of sebum production. For others, a high-sugar diet, too much alcohol, stress and not cleansing the face properly can kick off an acne breakout. To identify your personal triggers, I recommend keeping a diary of your skincare journey and experiences. Over time, you should be able to notice a pattern forming with lifestyle or environmental factors.
Avoid acne products that aggravate skin
You may think the best line of attack is to load up on an arsenal of hard-hitting blemish-blitzers but acne products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can actually worsen the problem. These can strip away your skin's important protective barrier allowing water out and irritants in. The effect? A dry, tight and sensitised complexion. Soaps and foaming face washes are a no-no, too, since they can make the skin more alkaline, allowing bacteria to thrive.
"This is my most favourite facial oil that I’ve ever tried! It’s so balancing and comforting and has made me fully transition to just facial oils, no creams. If you have sensitive, combination, break out/acne prone skin, like I do, you will love this oil!" - Rachael E., customer review
Choose plant-based acne products
When it comes to acne treatment, the gentle giants rule. Choose a plant-based daily cleanser that has exfoliating properties and an antimicrobial effect to prevent blemish-causing bacteria from multiplying. By Sarah London Green Clay Cleansing Balm whips off all traces of makeup, environmental pollutants and excess oil without disrupting that all-important protective barrier function. Simply massage a scoop into dry skin and remove with a warm, damp By Sarah London Organic Muslin Face Cloth (sold separately).
French green clay is the cleansing balm's hero. Famed for its turbo detoxifying skin benefits, it's brimming with a unique blend of nutrient-rich minerals including dolomite, manganese, silica and copper.
And for a natural alternative to harsh acids and peels? Choose the genius By Sarah London Hemp-Infused Blemish Recovery Oil that's lightweight and easily-absorbed. The star ingredient is upcycled hemp seed oil, grown in the UK and chosen for its superior level of antioxidants – 52 per cent more than standard hemp seed oil, to be precise.
Bursting with linoleic acid and natural CBD, our special hemp seed oil helps calm inflammation while strengthening and rebuilding the skin barrier, reducing bacterial infection and bringing your skin's microbiome back into balance. See? It really is a superstar.
By Sarah London Hemp-Infused Blemish Recovery Oil is also blended with papaya fruit enzymes that gently whisk away those dead skin cells that contribute to the build-up of bacteria and sebum. Think skin that's clearer, healthier and infinitely more radiant.
As one of our lovely customers, Iulia, put it: "This is the best product I have ever used for acne. It reduces redness overnight - I love it!" - 5 star Feefo review.
"The oil significantly reduces my break outs and when I do break out, I find that my skin clears up much faster than usual. It’s lovely because the oil doesn’t strip away anything from my skin and it leaves it looking so glowy and dewey, it’s a must have product." - Feefo customer review
Help fade acne scars
Aside from active acne, lingering post-blemish marks can be a bugbear, too. That's why keeping skin nourished with reparative plant-based oils is such an essential part of dealing with acne-prone skin.
To tackle persistent acne, I recommend applying a few drops of By Sarah London Blemish Recovery Oil onto clean damp skin both morning and night. Take the time to pat and press the oil into your face and neck, rather than applying to a single zit or cluster of spots.
For those occasional big blighters or hormonal breakouts? Use By Sarah London Blemish Recovery Oil as a hard-working targeted evening treatment and enjoy our original By Sarah London Organic Facial Oil in the morning. Once your skin has improved, you can return to using the latter each morning and night as normal.
Consider it super-charged spot-fighting... made simple.
Written by: Sarah, Co-Founder, BY SARAH
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