Spots are mysterious they like to come and go as they please and visit when it’s most inconvenient #DeliveryNightmare. Really if they weren’t ON our bodies, you might be kinda impressed, vesuvious wasn’t made over night but my face can certainly build a mountain or 2 in those precious 8 hours!
Spot treatments follow in these footsteps, with lots of brands that you know SHOULD help fight spots its sometimes a mystery WHY your using it, what it’s doing for your skin and WHY it works, or the ultimate panic, why IS IT NOT WORKING? Really that’s the bit I want to chat with you about today, because it can feel like there is no solution for your skin when a raved about spot treatment doesn’t make a dent for you.
To understand how to treat spots, you need to ‘root out the weeds’, that is take a good look at WHY they are rearing.
FIRST CAUSE OF SPOTS. Is sebum, the stuff you’ll see if you get a white headed spot. It’s when sebum gets a bit stickier than normal. The reason spots and acne are linked (a lot) to puberty, is because hormonal changes have a HUGE impact on how ‘sticky’ this stuff gets. So if you’re going through puberty, you’re just pretty MEGA stressed or you have noticeable monthly cycles, this is the number 1 reason for a breakout.
SECOND CAUSE OF SPOTS. When your sebum gets sticky it likes to collect things like a Magpie! #PleasePutItBack. Dead skin is the main culprit here, instead of sheading it gets caught in the sticky sebum and gets its ‘COOK’ on in your pores. Which brings me to the…
THIRD CAUSE OF SPOTS. Having dead skin trapped in your pores is like leaving milk out of the fridge for a week. The longer it hangs around, the more ‘juicy’ it gets. Dead skin breeds bacteria’s and it starts to ‘rott’ away. #PutTheBinsOut. There is 1 bacteria which is most commonly associated with spots and I will name and shame it as Propionibacterium acnes, this guy is on our skin anyway, its only when there’s some dessert left in a pore that he gets to ‘grow’ and ‘move mountains’.
So let’s get onto ALL the different ways you can treat your spots and what to look out for…
CHOOSE YOUR ANTISEPTIC
One way to help prevent and end a spots life prematurely is to use an antiseptic. All that means is that the antiseptic and bacteria’s CANNOT live together harmoniously. It’s one or the other, an antiseptic makes it too hard for the bacteria’s to thrive, they go from a sunset beach with Pina Colada to Greenland, living in an igloo.
Some spot treatments use an antiseptic, there’s also LOTS of other prodcuts not sold as a ‘spot treatment’ that have an antiseptic in there.
Common antiseptic ingredients: Tea tree oil, Rosemary oil, Benzyl peroxide, Alcohol denat.
CHOOSE YOUR OILS WISELY
This could be oils that are already used in a spot treatment or in your moisturiser’s and foundations. Studies of ‘spot juices’ have shown that spot and acne prone skin is deficient in linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is a type of fatty acid (moisturising ingredient), and this one is called an ‘essential fatty acid’, as it cannot be MADE by the body, we need to feed it to ourselves. There are actually only TWO fatty acids that our bodies can’t make, damn we were almost there! #PerfectionIsInperfection
Most skincare oils, like almond, argan, hemp, have a balance of Oleic and Linoleic acid. If you were to look at an oil high in oleic acid, it would look pretty thick ‘n gloopy, if you looked at one high in linoleic acid, it would look clearer and more like water.
Spot prone skin should be ‘fed’ with oils high in linoleic acid, as this is all pretty techy sounding, but your awesome as you’ve followed this so far (!), I have made a pinnable reminder for which oils are linoleic and which are oleic high. Oh, and also what they will be called on an ingredient list, they all have a ‘covert’ name they like to sneak under.
CHOOSE SKIN REPAIRING INGREDIENTS
Spots put a lot of stress on the skin, there’s a lot of time ‘n energy that goes into those beauties. Like us when we go through a ‘busy’ life-just-happened patch, we need some R&R time to re-boot our systems. When we kick-back its likely there’s a lotta chocolate, gossiping and chick flick watching going on. They are our ‘tools’ back to fully-charged batteries. Our skin needs re-charging tools too.
Skin repairing ingredients supply ‘tools’ needed to help repair and make healthy skin. Your plain old trip to the mechanics. #PassMeTheWrench. Some spot treatments will have these in, but you might need to look for a specific added product for these guys. Spot treatments are all about the instant gratification, and sometimes lack in long term healing and skin support! #SkinTherapy
Most common skin repairing ingredients: Zinc, Vitamin A (retinol, retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde), Vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
Related: “Magic spot solution”
CHOOSE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY INGREDIENTS
Spots are scientifically called an ‘inflammatory disorder’, which basically means they get BIG pretty quick. Taking the Ying with the Yang, another way to treat spots is to use an anti-inflammatory. #Bingo.
Anti-inflammatory ingredients basically ‘shrink’ skin to stop it from slouching around and being able to collect dead skin and all the other sizzle going on deep in your pores. They close shop to nasties that make a spot ‘erupt’.
Most common anti-inflammatory ingredients: Nicotinamide, Witch hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana), Oats (Avena Sativa), Allantoin, Phytosphingosine.
DECIDE WHERE YOU STAND ON DRYING THE B-JE**S OUTTA THE PIMPLE
Spots are juicy. Fact. One way to prevent and stop spots from forming is to dry them out. It’s a bit like us being trapped in the dessert without a water bottle, we aren’t going to last long.
Drying spots out can be a quick fix, you need to be a little wary in the long run, as dry and irritated skin can be just as problematic as spot prone skin. If you do go down the route of drying out spots, use the pimple like a target and spot on some solution with a cotton bud ONLY to the target area.
Most common drying ingredients: Alcohol denat., Benxyl peroxide.
CHOOSE YOUR SKIN SLOUGHER-OFFERS
Dead skin being trapped is all part of the life-cycle of spots. So, to boot those guys off, of you BEFORE they have a chance to ‘mate’ with bacteria on your skin, turn to ingredients that make your skin ‘shed’ a bit faster than it usually does. Exfoliating is the key to shredding and there’s 2 ways to do this, either with scrubs or with skin acids. #GoneBabyGone
Skin acids, loosen up skin and get it moving onto its next life, which we want to start down the plug hole and not trapped in our pores. They help to dissolve what holds our skin together so it can #BeFree to wander on down the drain.
Most common skins-shedding ingredients: Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid, Allantoin, Lactic acid, Urea.
DIET, SLEEP AND EXERCISE
Being good to yourself is also a VERY effective spot treatment. It’s all about getting your natural hormones and the building blocks that your body needs in order. #StockTake. Thinking back to WHY spots are caused, a lot has to do with our hormone levels (which are impacted by things like stress and monthly cycles), exercise is a great stress reliever, because it releases GOOD hormones (endorphins) that make us feel calm and our bodies feel good. Hormones give us spots, so if we change hormone levels by exercising, that can have a positive effect on our skin! AND getting your sweat-on, will help to flush out dead skin and oils form your pores! #2Birds1Stone.