So, you got spots! I hear you! We were once promised spots were JUST for our teenage years. THEN. suddenly, somehow, they seem to have gotten attached to us and we (unknowingly) dragged them into adulthood. If this is YOU, then you’ll probably have already tried the GO-TO spot fighting cupboard of Salicylic acid, Tee-tree oil, Witch hazel, Benzyl peroxide and drying Alcohols. You probably saw some effect, maybe it was temporary? Maybe your skin rebounded?
This traditional cupboard of spot fighting ingredients says KILL, thing is this lil’ cupboard of ingredients don’t discriminate and they’ll KILL your good skin bacteria, your skin’s natural protection ‘n whack your skin pH outta the park. These guys are like storm troopers and because they are not skin identical, they are not a work-with your skin fix. Sure, they can do a ‘wham, bam, thankyou mam’, but long-term, skin will struggle. #Help
This is where the not so well known HERO’S of the spot fighting skincare world come out to play! These guys are Mr.Commitment, they are a long term fix that keeps skin healthy while they push those spots back to your teenage years, or if you are a teenager, back to being a distant memory!
These 5, not so well known, unusual spot fighting ingredients work, but they do require you to be Miss.Commitment back *wink wink*. Unlike the KILL cupboard of spot skincare, these guys are skin friendly lovers that will have a slower BUT long-term effect on your spots.
An unusual spot fighting ingredient, this trace metal gets your ‘skin healing’ gwanin on [sing it Bob!]. Zinc is a skin superhero. Zinc works in 2 ways to help wave the wiggly finger at spots.
First things first, Zinc fights spots by reducing your skin’s sebum production, oily skin types tend to be MORE prone to spots because skins natural moisturisation is TOO good and that means dead skin can hang around for too long. If dead skin is super moisturised, then it’s like having a glue-stick and your dead skin is the tissue paper making that ‘new art’ installation. Dead skin, means dinner for spot causing bacteria.. and when you feed ‘The beast’ it gets stronger!
Second thing, Zinc HEALS skin. Zinc gets skin on a ‘health kick’ and doing all those healthy things it forgot. Zinc is skin’s ‘Life Guru’ that sits down, hands you your the healthy eating plan, gets you practising some ‘ME’ time AND chats your butt off, until you put 110% into exercises! In science talk, zinc is a catalyst for skin healing. Sometimes skin has ALL the ingredients it needs to BE healthy, BUT it doesn’t have ‘The TOOLS’ it needs to use them. Zinc is that tool!
Find Zinc in your food; Kidney beans, Flax seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Egg yolks, peanuts (among a LOT of others, check out my ‘Eat well for good skin’ Pinterest board for MORE inspiration).
That stuff that jewellery is made from! This is a VERY unknown skincare ingredient to treat spots and acne. This little gem (!) has been researched in wound healing and passed with FLYING colours!
Have you heard of ‘maggot’ treatment for healing up wounds nice and fast? Sounds kinda gross ‘eh! But seriously these maggots know what they are doing, doctors will put ‘sterile’ maggots into an infected wound, bandage it up and let them do their magic wound healing work! See Maggots are picky about what they eat, and they will only EVER eat dead skin. That means they eat up anything that infectious bacteria could have started snacking on.
Maggots and Silver. They have this in common. Silver kills bad bacteria (like those spot causing Propionibacterium acnes bacteria), and leaves your skins natural, healthy ‘flora’ behind.
One study showed that just 0.4% of colloidal silver (that’s silver that’s ground up crazy small) was enough to kill off 99.9% of bacteria. Pretty darn hard-core!
3. OMEGA 3 & 6 HIGH OILS
Oils have a bad REP for problem skin types. The thought goes that spot prone skin is oily, so dry it out and you FIX spots. It kinda works, there is truth in this. Thing is drying skin out is NOT a long term solution. Dry skin is just as bigga skin issue as spot prone skin PLUS dry skin ages TOO quickly! PLUS, us oily skin types know that drying environments mean our oily skin gets its GROOVE on. Aeroplanes, car A/C, office ventilation. Whichever is your skin special, air blowing at you and drying environments are like Aladdin rubbing his lamp to oily skin types.
The no-oil for oily and spot prone skin mantra, is about staying AWAY from the RIGHT oils. See some oils are SUPER for oily skin and some oils are SUPER for dry skin. The ones that work BEST for oily and spot prone skin are HIGH in Omega 3 and 6 oils, non-comedogenic and LOW in Oleic fatty acid.
Research studies have shown that acne prone skin is deficient in these Omega 3 and 6 oils and that sticky sebum stuff that collects in spots is higher in those Oleic fatty acids.
Omega 3 and 6 oils are anti-inflammatory and some special lovelies even have skin-healing skills! Omega 3 and 6 oils are ‘thin’, easily absorbed, non-sticky oils that are PERFECT for spot prone skin.
Find Omega 3 and 6 oils PERFECT for spot prone skin: Grapeseed oil, Flaxssed oil, Borage oil, Hemp seed oil. Some skincare to get your started, Honesty For Your Skin – Repair facial concentrate,
Find Omega 3 and 6 oils in your food!; Nuts! (peanuts, walnuts, pistachios…), Edamame (green soy beans), Canola oil, Flax seed, Avocado.
4. VITAMIN A
Vitamin A is a spot fighting ingredient that not many people know by THAT name. Vitamin A. It’s not as if this spot fighting hero is clinically trial proven to work, and you know, you can get prescription strength, medical approved to fight spots grades?… Oh hang on.. wait, it is and you CAN!
You’re only likely to have heard of vitamin A as spot fighting IF you have EXTREME acne and you’ve visited your doctor. Even then, you might not know it is Vitamin A that is working the magic, you might know it as retinoic acid, or by its brand names, Isotretinoin, Renova, Retin-A (there are lots of others!).
Vitamin A multi-tasks acne and spots. Vitamin A, helps your skin ‘turnover’, think of it like an exfoliant. Vitamin A also decreases the oiliness of skin, so less oily sebum means less places for spot causing bacteria to thrive! BAMN, that is the double whammy of Vitamin A vs. Spots!
You don’t need a prescription to get the spot fighting benefits of Vitamin A, you’ll find it in lower doses in skincare you can grab without a prescription, and for most spot sufferers this is all you need!
Find Vitamin A in your skincare; It’ll be called Retinol, Retinyl palmitate, or Retin-something, check out this BareMinerals Blemish therapy, Oh! and here is a double treat, Vitamin A is a proven anti-aging ingredient, so when you look for it, you’ll likely find it mostly in anti-aging skincare (it’s more expensive, so spot solutions tend to go with the cheaper ingredients first!), check out this Retinol, super antioxidant cream from Paula’s choice.
Find Vitamin A in your food; Sweet potato (yum!), Carrots, Kale, Squash…
5. RED & BLUE LIGHT!
Not a skincare ingredient you might have thought of. ‘Oh I know instead of layering on my creams, I’m just going to sit by a lamp for a couple mins’. Sound crazy? Yup. But it works. That’s the kinda crazy to love!
Have you noticed when you’re all super relaxed on your holly-bobs, skin just goes back to being more of its awesome self. A lot of the time we put this down to a full on, decompression de-stress! But there are other things that give a helping hand. If it’s a summer holiday you’re on and you’ve spent your fair bit of time in the sunshine #SendUsSomeBack, then some of that sunshine is to thank for your skin deciding to be more of its awesome self.[But wait!] Don’t go rushing out into the sun for spot treatment, there is a waaaaay safer version, one that won’t cause your skin sun damage! See light is a HUGE mix of lots of different light, think of a rainbow, there is all those colours. Different types of light, make different types of colour! It’s red and blue light that help give spots their ‘eviction notice’!
Blue light kills spot causing bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) and the red light soothes, reduces inflammation and helps skin to heal. There is clinical proof of this stuff, so if you’re in a bit of a rut with spots, this is ABSOLUTELY a treatment to try – you can even do it at home!
Find red and blue light in your skincare (well kinda!): Lumie Clear blue + red light lamp for the skin.
Have you tried any of these ‘unusual’, not so well known spot fighting HEROS?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.