Common Breakout Myths Busted
When you think about breakouts you automatically picture a teenager with a few spots. But while there is still a stigma attached to the age we experience them, it is becoming more and more apparent that breakouts do not discriminate against age.
Coming from a place of ‘been there, done that, got the t-shirt’ many individuals can be spot-free all the way through their teen years only to experience breakouts in their mid-to-late twenties or even during menopause.
Following this confusion comes so much more, specifically how to help with breakouts once they do pop up… and let me start by saying, step away from the sudocrem and the toothpaste! As the Queen says herself ‘sudocrem is for your bum and toothpaste is for your teeth’. It’s tempting to want to try the quick fixes, follow the latest trends or even buy into the latest celebrity-endorsed products but believe me, there is no magic cream that works miracles overnight (despite what TikTok might say *rolls eyes*).
#1 The cure for spots is to cleanse, cleanse, and cleanse again
One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to wanting to improve breakouts is to strip the skin, feeling an urgency to want to clean or scrub your face because breakouts are due to being dirty and unhygienic, right? Wrong! Using overly harsh products to do your utmost to help, can actually have the opposite effect. Over-cleansing the skin can weaken the skin’s barrier and potentially cause breakouts to worsen or even cause them, period. Instead, opt for a gentle formula that will cleanse the skin without compromising your skin's barrier. Cleansing once in the morning and twice in the evening if you are wearing makeup and SPF.
#2 The cause of breakouts is always skincare
I have to defend my love for the industry because sometimes breakouts aren’t down to what you are or are not applying to your skin and it’s important to understand the bigger picture. Our skin is our largest organ and isn’t detached from the rest of the body. Breakouts can arise from food sensitivities, hormonal changes and even stress. This means you could be doing your best to follow the textbook steps but if you aren’t considering your lifestyle and the other factors just listed then you may not be seeing any improvements.
#3 You can’t use facial oils if you have spots
To this day, I still hear of many people being fearful of using facial oils when they are prone to breakouts. I fully understand the logic too - "applying oil will surely clog my pores and make my skin break out more?" My reply is always "it depends". Some oils can be really beneficial and should not be feared. One of my favourites is rosehip; a natural regenerative oil, rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants helping to reduce inflammation. Squalane is another great choice as it is both lightweight and nourishing.
What to do:
Before you start putting tonnes of products into your basket, understand that less is always more.
A gentle cleanse, hydrate & protect (yes, I’m talking about SPF here) routine is key with typically 1 or 2 products that will help to target breakouts. These treatment steps should include ingredients such as retinoids, salicylic acid and/or azelaic acid. That way you can tailor your cleanser and hydration products towards your skin type because contrary to popular belief, not everyone who experiences breakouts has oily skin.
If you do experience oily skin, don’t skip moisturising. Simply opt for a lightweight gel-based formula. Far too often do I see people skipping this step out of fear that moisturisers ‘clog pores’. However, oily skin still needs moisturiser to help balance oil production.
Keeping your skincare routine simple but effective is so much more sustainable than a cupboard full of a variety of concoctions that you use only once because you have been sold a dream. Now, that may sound boring but skincare shouldn’t be like a fast-fashion brand, you have to stick to what works and be consistent to see results.