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  • Susannah Money-Schenk

Love the Skin You're In

So for this blog i'm going to attempt to scrape the surface of all things skin! Following the comments on my 4:7:3 Challenge, some of my members are having issues with break-outs despite having changed their lifestyles for the better - eating healthy food, drinking more water and upping the phys!

So what causes breakouts? I have been blessed with lovely skin (thank you Mummy!) but even those of us who have lucky genes still suffer with the odd bad week when it comes to spots. Now my skin responds really well to drinking lots of water and eating well, avoiding the booze and getting lots of sleep. But its not as simple as that for everyone, especially women.

Acne and our Menstrual Cycle

Despite acne being related mainly to puberty, hormone surges aren't the only things responsible for spots! More than 15% of women suffer with breakouts regularly and interestingly not all of them had any acne as a teenager. Adult acne is usually on the lower half of the face and can often be deeper into the skin than teenage acne.

So hormones can still be causing a problem - especially in women experiencing premenstrual dips. The reason behind this still quite unclear to experts but it may have something to do with our Oestrogen levels. Oestrogen has a an impact on the sebaceous glands within our skin which produce the skins natural oils. Oestrogen actually reduces the amount of sebum, or oil, we produce. It is suggested that before our period there is not enough oestrogen available to promote its 'anti-sebum' effects. Androgens (male hormones found in all of us) promote Sebum production, and just before our period, without the counter effect of oestrogen, too much sebum is produced. This can cause pores to block as the excess sebum gets caught up in dead skin cells causing a blockage. These blocked pores are a breeding ground for bacteria such as P. acnes, which can worsen and inflame spots.

Other Surprising Causes of Acne

So hormones was almost too obvious an explanation for spots! But what else could be causing breakouts that we haven't thought of?

  • Hair products - Pomade Acne. For breakouts especially on the forehead, have a think about what hair products you are using. It may well be that they are leaching out on to your forehead and trapping bacteria into your pores. How you wear your hair may also have an affect. Having a fringe for example will drawer pore clogging products down to your face much quicker. To prevent any hair product induced spots, cleanse after using hair products and keep it off your face!

  • Using too many skin care products - I think it is natural that when we do break out we start to try everything to make it go away! This can include diving to the nearest Boots and grabbing all the lotions and potions we can find. But are we using too many in the first place? Are you constantly switching products without giving them a chance to work? By exposing your skin to multiple products before it gets a chance to adapt can be irritating and upset the skins oil balance which can lead to breakouts. Pick one or two products at a time and give them 4-6 weeks to work before changing again. Our skin can often 'purge' when we try new products. This can be scary and appear like a break out but is usually short-lived IF left alone to run their course!

  • Mobile Phones - We are constantly on our phones. Throughout the day our phones are exposed to all sorts of surface bacteria from our hands as well as the surfaces we place them on. We will casually then pick them up and hold them against our faces without even thinking about it! Give you phone a gentle clean with an alcohol wipe once in a while to help reduce the spread of bacteria on to your skin.

Water and our Skin

So those of you currently doing the 4:7:3 Challenge will have heard me bang on a lot about water but how does it help our skin?

Staying hydrated is really important for our overall health which in turn will have an effect on our skin. Your skin is the largest organ in the body and it is mostly made up of water! If it doesnt have enough water 2 things can happen. Firstly your skin may become dry and tight, flaky and also even more prone to ageing. On the other hand some of our bodies hoard water when its supply is getting low. This can lead to our skin looking puffy as our body is desperately trying to store what little we have.

So when we are getting enough water what are the benefits that we can see?

Firstly fewer wrinkles! Instead of being dry or puffy, hydrated skin is more elastic, firmer and has less wrinkles as a consequence!

Our complexion also improves. Drinking water helps to combat a variety of skin issues including eczema and psoriasis. It does this by helping your body to flush out toxins from the body. Drinking just two cups of water a day can lead to increased blood flow to the skin, improving complexion and skin tone!

With the warmer weather we are currently having water is even more important for our skin as it can really help heal sun burn! Aloe Vera is definitely very helpful too but make sure that that water intake is increased too.

Back to acne, water can help to flush toxins from our skin. It also helps to tighten pores preventing them from getting blocked. Our pores get blocked and enlarged as the day goes on and they are exposed to the elements. The more water you drink the better your oil balance on your skin will be decreasing breakouts and reducing blemishes. It also helps to balance the pH of your skin keep it clear and glowing!

Our Skin and the Food we Eat

Although research into food and our skin is unclear, it is strongly advised that we stay away from high sugar, high fat foods and drink. These foods may contribute to blemishes. However not all fats are bad for our skin! In fact Omega-3 fatty acids can greatly help the collagen production in our skin which can help prevent wrinkles. Omega-3 is found in Olive oil,fish and nuts, by eating these foods along side healthy protein you skin may appear smoother and more supple!

Fish can also be helpful in the fight against skin cancer. Melanoma can occur from over exposure to sunlight. Healthy foods such as fish and leafy green veg have been found to help protect your skin from melanoma.

So, in conclusion, what we put into our bodies can be just as important as what we put on them. Some things are also a little beyond our control like our hormones, but even these can be balanced by adapting a healthy, low stress life style. Remeber our bodies can take a while to adpat to change especially if its drastic, so bare with your body while it purges the toxins, think about what you are putting in your mouth, think before you change your skin care routine and always consult a professional dermatologist or your doctor if you have any concerns about your skins health.

And in the words of Baz Luhrmann - Always wear sunscreen!

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