Skincare solutions

Our natural beauty experts solve your skincare problems

Spotty outbreaks

“It’s important to understand that there are different types of spots and many underlying causes,” explains Louise Thomas-Minns, celebrity skin health therapist (www.louisethomasskincare.co.uk). “Firstly, keep your expectations realistic. I am all for positive thinking but if you have had an issue with spots for years then you can’t expect it to be resolved after one treatment or a month of using a topical application.

That said, change your mindset. Stop giving your energy to the outbreaks and instead focus on the good aspects of your skin. Salicylic acid is a really useful ingredient when it comes to healing spots. There are natural forms as it’s derived from the birch tree. It will work like a whirlpool, allowing oxygen in and destroying the bacteria. Remember that what your body absorbs is really important. Increasing good fats such as oily fish, walnuts, chia and flax seeds will help to reduce inflammation and increase the skin’s natural defence. Lastly, watch your dairy intake. I’m not into the extremes of elimination diets but there is some good evidence around the effect of eating too much cows’ dairy and spots, especially along the jawline.”

Skin affected by pollution

“Signs of polluted skin are mostly visible when we wash our face,” explains make-up artist Jenny Buckland (www.jennybuckland.com). “We see the remnants on our wash cloth in the form of dirt. There are also various forms of gases that collect in the air and congest the skin, especially in built-up areas. This leaves a barrier on the skin and signs of pollution can be excessive dryness, congested pores, dullness, inflammation and premature ageing.

Ditch the wipes as these do not effectively cleanse the skin and can add to skin irritation due to their ingredients. Switch to double cleansing instead. The first cleanse will remove the dirt and the pollution barrier; the second will cleanse your skin and be more effective after breaking down any pollutants. Exfoliate once a week with a gentle scrub as this will help to deep clean congested pores and remove built-up pollutants that leave the appearance of the skin dull. Do this after cleansing and use small, light, circular moves with your fingertips, avoiding the eye area and rinse off. Adding a serum in the evening will help restore moisture and balance the skin which can help combat any irritation.”

“Adult acne can strike anyone, even if you had clear skin in your teens,” explains Julia Vearncombe, co-founder of SkinGenius (skin-genius.co.uk). “A key cause of acne is fluctuating hormones, which is why pregnancy and the menopause are key trigger times for it to occur. Another cause of spots and breakouts is over-production of sebum, which is exacerbated by raised levels of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’) when we are under pressure or sleep deprived.

The important thing with adult acne – as with teenage acne – is to work with your skin naturally to address the causes as well as the symptoms. Don’t throw chemical-laden products at your face, resist the urge to ‘scrub away’ the spots or strip the skin of its natural oils with harsh, astringent so-called ‘cleansers’. Instead choose tried and trusted natural ingredients that are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and calming, including witch hazel, mallow, nettle, calendula, Oregon grape, macadamia and yarrow. Make homemade treatments adding these to jojoba or almond oil or seek natural products that include them. Eating a healthy diet packed with fresh fruit and veg and daily exercise – ideally outdoors – will boost your spirits and complexion.”

Dry skin

“Dry skin is a common problem, which can be a nuisance, but it is important to remember that nutrition can be helpful,” says Egzona Mak (BSc Hons. MSc ANutr), a nutritionist working with Kinetic Natural Products distributor (www.kinetic4health.co.uk). “Always seek medical advice if it is an ongoing problem. Firstly, it’s essential that enough water is consumed throughout the day as this can prevent skin from drying out. It is recommended for the average individual to drink around 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day. Also eating high water-content foods such as cucumbers, oranges and lettuce will improve the skin’s appearance through adequate hydration. Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which are important in skin health and help in skin hydration; vegan sources can be found in linseeds and walnuts. Ensure you consume healthy fats such as avocados, which are rich in vitamin E and antioxidants and can help keep the skin moist. Include plenty of colourful vegetables, especially orange and yellow vegetables, which are rich in vitamin A, an essential vitamin which helps repair skin damage. Also try to include a handful of nuts a day which are rich in vitamin E. Brazil nuts contain selenium which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to overcome dry skin.”

Ageing/mature skin

“As our skin ages it undergoes a number of changes that result in the characteristic signs associated with mature skin types,” says Charlotte Vohtz, founder of Green People and pioneer of organic beauty (www.greenpeople.co.uk). “Key amongst these changes is a slowing down of the rate at which cell renewal takes place. This results in a thickening of the outermost layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, which increases wrinkle formation, reduces hydration and gives skin a tired, dull appearance. Regular, deep, but gentle exfoliation is essential for mature skin. It stimulates circulation, promotes cell renewal and refines, revealing soft, smooth and radiant skin. Well exfoliated skin also allows moisturisers, serums and oils to penetrate the skin more efficiently.

Aggressive exfoliation and chemical peels should be avoided as these treatments can often cause redness and irritation by triggering an inflammatory response, which can accelerate premature ageing. Intensely hydrating organic serums optimise moisturisation and are vital to accelerate the skin’s natural renewal process. Apply your moisturiser using light tapping movements over your face, neck and décolletage to stimulate blood circulation and allow the actives to absorb more effectively into your skin.”

Eczema-prone skin

“Eczema is primarily a problem with the skin barrier function: a dry, damaged or faulty barrier allows irritants through the skin to set off an inflammatory response,” explains Lucy Gulland, research and development at Purepotions (www.purepotions.co.uk). “This leads to the redness, soreness, itching and scratching that eczema sufferers know all too well. Finding an effective emollient is crucial to managing the condition. Emollients lock in water and also provide a physical layer to keep irritants out, so the skin can work as a strong, healthy and effective barrier to the outside world.

Natural ointments can really beat conventional, paraffin-based emollients because not only do they provide moisture and protection, but, if made with nourishing plant-based oils, can supply the nutritional building blocks the skin needs to repair itself. It’s been found that topical application of essential fatty acid-rich natural oils works even more effectively than dietary supplementation for eczema. Natural salves are also much less likely to contain the fragrances, parabens and other synthetic ingredients that can end up causing irritation themselves. So look for natural emollients that cut the synthetics and load up on oils such as hemp, rosehip or olive, to give eczema-prone skin a nutritional boost as well as effective hydration.”

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