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Dermala Blogs

We know how tough it can be to get accurate info on skincare. We cut the fluff and tell you what actually works, based on science and customer experience.

Skincare tips for allergy season

 

Ah, spring! The winter rains have turned into beautiful green hills, colorful blooming wildflowers....aaaand lots of allergies. And to make it even worse, the continuous coughing, itching, eye watering, and scratching (oh so much scratching...) comes with puffiness, dryness, and redness all over your skin.

So, what exactly are allergies? Allergies happen when your immune system has an adverse reaction to allergens like pet dander or pollen. Even though these allergens are harmless, our bodies mistake them as foreign and harmful and try to get rid of them, resulting in the symptoms we commonly experience with allergies. Here are some easy tips you can do at home to calm your skin this crazy allergy season. 

Soothe puffiness

Puffy eyes are an allergy symptom that everyone can relate to. Your body releases histamines when exposed to allergens, causing your blood vessels to dilate resulting in swelling. It’s an old trick, but applying chilled cucumbers to your eyes can help relieve swelling and inflammation. Cucumbers are full of antioxidants and flavonoids that can help reduce inflammation and chilling the cucumbers first provides the cooling effect of evaporation.  Apply for 4-5 minutes for the best results.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

As always, it’s important to drink lots of water while fighting allergies. Studies have shown histamine levels to increase when you’re dehydrated so make sure to guzzle up that H20. While you’re on the hydration train, make sure to keep your skin hydrated too. Look for moisturizers that contain hydrating and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, green tea extract, and colloidal oatmeal.

Shower often

During allergy season, it’s important to shower regularly to wash off the allergens that deposit on your skin, clothes, and hair throughout the day. Showering too much, however, can be drying for your skin so it’s important to switch to gentle soaps, cleansers, and shampoos. Another good tip is to add oils or colloidal oatmeal to your bath to soothe and protect your skin while washing the allergens away. 

We know allergies can be very annoying. They make a busy day about a million times more difficult and exhausting, but we hope these easy tips can alleviate some symptoms and stress for you this allergy season. Try them out, tell your friends, and Enjoy!

 

Let's talk BB and CC creams

BB creams and CC creams have become the foundation of choice for many people, and here at Dermala, we are loving it! BB and CC creams are the perfect medium between makeup and skin care, and that’s why we love them. Not to mention, BB and CC creams give you that all-natural glow and vibrancy that can turn a drab day into a fab day. So what’s the difference between CC and BB creams?

First, let’s break down BB creams. BB creams first became popular in South Korea before gaining popularity here in the United States. BB stands for “beauty balm” which totally makes sense because BB creams are light and creamy to the touch —they are your ideal “tinted moisturizer”. BB creams also blend effortlessly into your skin and are easy to apply for makeup beginners. Best of all BB creams are completely buildable for those days that you may want some extra coverage. Also, BB creams offer amazing moisturizing and SPF properties to protect and prevent your skin from wrinkles and signs of early aging.

BB cream suggestions for sensitive and acne-prone skin:
We love the BareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer-Hydrating Gel Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30. It retails for $32 for 1.18 fluid ounces of product and there are 20 shades to choose from. If you’re looking for something more wallet-friendly, the drugstore makeup brand Maybelline is killing the BB Cream game with their Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream which retails for about $7.39 for 1 fluid ounce. However, there are only 5 shades to choose from, which can make finding the right shade a challenge.

CC creams also moisturize the skin and include SPF. CC creams, on the other hand, provide a little bit more coverage as “CC” stands for “color correcting”. If you are looking for some extra coverage without having to worry about applying or using more product, we love CC creams. CC creams help cover wrinkles, redness, and acne, and they are easy to apply and blend with clean fingertips. CC creams are often packed with vitamins such as Vitamin C and E. Vitamin C promotes collagen synthesis, which is a protein that aids in skin production and healthy skin structure. Both Vitamin C and E are also antioxidants that protect the skin from harmful UV rays.

CC Cream Suggestions for sensitive and acne-prone skin:
We love It Cosmetics’s CC+ Cream with SPF 50, which retails for $39 for 1.08 fluid ounces, and there are 12 different shades to choose from. A slightly more affordable option, yet with a more constricted shade range, is the Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin CC Cream SPF 20. Sadly, there are only two shades: a light and a medium shade. It retails for about $15 for 1.2 fluid ounces of product.

Also, always make sure you are buying makeup and skin care products that are labeled as non-comedogenic, which means the product does not clog your pores. It is also important to consider which products are catered to your skin such as dry, oily, or combination skin types.

There’s nothing like looking fresh and rejuvenated AND taking preventative skin care measures at the same time. At Dermala we like to think of BB and CC Creams as a way to achieve a beautiful today and a beautiful tomorrow. Voila, there’s beauty within your beauty routine!

 

Hungry? Try these gut-friendly on-the-go snacks!

If you work, are a student, or are just trying to cross some tasks off that much too long to-do list, you probably find yourself leaving the house in a rush without time to prepare food for the long day ahead. And like any human, you probably get HUNGRY. It’s easy to ignore that hunger or quickly satisfy it with some fast food or cheap snack, but it’s so important to give our bodies enough energy to healthily and efficiently get through our busiest days.

The gut contains trillions of bacteria, both good and bad. The balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut dictates the overall health of the gut microbiome, which ultimately fuels the health of our body and brain function as a whole. Scientific research has proven that there are certain foods that promote healthy bacteria in the gut and increase the health of the gut microbiome. So stock up on these affordable, gut-friendly, and yummy grocery store items to get you through your long days (and fulfill those cravings).

  • Apples
    - “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” We have all heard that one before, but really, apples are amazing for gut health. Apples contain pectin which is a type of fiber that acts as a prebiotic meaning it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. If you’re craving a little something more, pair this sweet snack with some peanut butter, which is a great source of healthy fats and protein.
  • Almonds
     - Like apples, almonds are a great source of prebiotics, which fuels the probiotics, the good bacteria. Almonds are also a great source of protein for long-lasting energy. Also, almonds are low maintenance for a great on-the-go snack.
  • Yogurt
     - Now we’re talking about probiotics! Make sure the yogurt contains active, living bacteria. The National Yogurt Association has implemented the Life and Active Cultures (LAC) seal to help consumers identify yogurts with active bacteria, so when shopping, make sure to look for this seal. Also, for the healthiest option, look for a yogurt low in sugars. Jazzing up some plain yogurt with honey or dark chocolate is a great way to add great taste without all the added sugars.
  • Dark chocolate 
    - SAY WHAT? If you are a chocolate lover like myself, you would be surprised and pleased to know that dark chocolate has some health benefits. Beneficial bacteria toward the end of the digestive tract ferment the antioxidants and fiber found in the cocoa part of dark chocolate, which create anti-inflammatory compounds.
  • Celery 
    - Celery is an excellent source of prebiotics, is super refreshing and contains minimal calories. Top it with some delicious peanut butter to add some healthy fats and protein to your snack. You can also sprinkle some cinnamon on top for a kick of flavor, which helps regulate sugar levels in our blood.

So, make sure you always have some on- the-go snacking options that are good for your health, wallet, and satisfy your tastebuds!

Traveling this spring? Follow these simple skincare tips

When we go on vacation, our time schedules and routines get out of whack. Relaxing by the pool or exploring a new city is great for our mental health, but it’s not always great for our skin! Whether you’re traveling by car, by plane, or by train, follow these simple skin tips to avoid breakouts.

1. Hydrate with H20

During our travels, especially while on vacation, we tend to eat out, which often means ordering sugary foods/drinks (that includes alcohol, UGH). Foods and drinks with high glycemic indexes cause a spike of insulin levels, which trigger inflammation throughout the body. Bodily inflammation is correlated with skin inflammation, which can make acne worse. However, experts say we can minimize sugary effects by drinking water before or after we eat or drink something sugary. AND drinking water helps flush toxins out of the body while carrying nutrients to our skin cells. HELLO H20!

2. Moisturize

While it’s important to hydrate your skin from the inside, it’s important to hydrate it from the outside too. Topically hydrate your skin with a good moisturizer! We recommend moisturizing in the morning and at night. If you are about to hop on a plane, we suggest applying an intense moisturizer the night before to prepare your skin for the drying effects of flying high in the sky. Inside the cabin, the air is recirculated and can be extremely drying. Moist skin provides a strong barrier to keep harmful toxins and chemicals out.

3. Sunscreen

Whether you’re traveling to the warm and sunny tropics or to the cold and rainy mountains, always apply sunscreen. The sun is strong and its harmful UV light can penetrate clouds. Sunscreen helps keep our skin young and damage-free in all weather. Also, there are so many sunscreen varieties that have non-comedogenic properties which means they don’t clog pores. So, you have no excuse to skip on the sunscreen!

4. Control the oil

Traveling entails long hours on the go, so we recommend you bring some blotting sheets to control oil on your skin. Blotting sheets are affordable and can be bought at any beauty store and in skin care aisles in most grocery stores. Simply pull out a sheet and blot (gently tap) your T-zone or other oily areas for a quick skin refresher.

5. Prepare with TSA-friendly product sizes

As if the stress of traveling wasn’t enough, getting your beauty and skincare products taken away at airport security is the worst! Make sure your liquids, creams, aerosols, and gel products are in compliance with TSA guidelines, which means they must be in containers no larger than 3.4 ounces. Thankfully, the #FOBO Kit is all TSA and travel-friendly. The CLEANSE with Benefits AM/PM Cleanser is 3 fluid ounces, while the SCANTILY Pad AM/PM Acne Treatment, the SUPPLEMENT to Be Daily Pre + Probiotic Mix, and the PATCH Me (If You Can) Targeted Pimple Patches are all compact and perfect to take on the go.

So, as traveling can bring on the unexpected, expect great skin with these simple skin tips from Dermala!

 

 

 

Bedtime Buzz: Beat Breakouts

Use a gentle washcloth

If you wear makeup throughout the day, it is important to use a gentle washcloth or makeup remover to thoroughly remove any potential pore clogging materials. Using rough and abrasive materials on your skin can cause micro-tears to the skin’s surface, which are tiny tears in the skin. Micro-tears make the skin more vulnerable to its environment including bacteria, dirt, and pollution.

Cleanse

Before you get cozy in bed, make sure to cleanse your face (we suggest our amazing CLEANSE with Benefits AM/PM Cleanser). Benefits of cleansing your face before bed include:

  • Getting rid of dirt, oil, and bacteria that have built-up over the course of the day.
  • Allowing you to apply acne and skincare products to a clean base, making the treatments more effective.
  • Helping you wake up looking and feeling refreshed.
Keep a consistent treatment routine, if needed

Did you know it can take 6-8 weeks of consistent use of an acne treatment before signs of improvement are seen on the skin? This is why it’s important to include an acne treatment into your skincare routine if you commonly experience breakouts. With that being said, we recommend using Dermala’s personalized SCANTILY Pad AM/PM Acne Treatment! This product has Dermala’s SE Microbiome Complex, salicylic acid, and Aloe vera - Acne’s triple threat, which work together to unclog pores, kill acne-causing bacteria, and hydrate the skin! Together these ingredients not only fight current breakouts, but also prevent future breakouts. After cleansing, simply rub one pad all over your face in circular motions, followed by your favorite non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Moisturize

Lastly, don’t skip the moisturizer! Never forget to apply a moisturizer after cleansing your face and applying treatments, even if you have oily or acne-prone skin. Many people believe drying the skin will help their acne, but drying the skin can actually signal your body to produce more oil. Dry skin makes your skin appear dull, and leads to irritation. Moisturizers lock in moisture to keep skin hydrated and maintain proper barrier function, which are important factors for treating acne. The stronger the skin barrier is, the better the skin is able to tolerate treatments.

Change your pillowcase

Our skin already faces enough scary pollutants throughout the day, but don’t let it be introduced to even more bacteria at night! We suggest switching out your pillow case at least once a week. Pillow cases can hold bacteria, dirt, and oil which pose a threat to the skin, especially those with acne-prone skin. Also, we suggest using a silk pillow case because it is more gentle on the skin and hair than cotton. People even believe sleeping on silk pillowcases reduce wrinkles and helps the skin retain moisture! *GASPS*

Beauty sleep

Doctors suggest that young adults should sleep at least 7.5 to 8 hours a night. Our bodies, including our skin, rejuvenate and repair themselves in our sleep. In fact, sleep deprivation causes our bodies to release more of the stress hormone called cortisol, which is linked to inflammation in the body, including the skin. UGH!



Tired of spending money on face masks? DITTO

Buying face masks is like buying coffee in the mornings; it starts to add up! Thankfully, coffee and face masks can be made at home, which helps us save our hard earned coin. I’m sure most of us have spent money on all kinds of face masks (I know I have). Sheet masks can cost anywhere between two and ten dollars… and for only a one time use?! OUCH. That hurts the wallet (and the soul). Clay masks can have lots of added ingredients, which don’t always have the longest shelf life. That’s why we love these go-to DIY face masks; they are so simple, convenient, and affordable!

Oatmeal Mask: Best for all skin types

You’ll need:

  • 2 Tablespoons ground Oatmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • ½ Banana

Oatmeal is a natural exfoliator and works best when paired with honey, which has antibacterial properties that help reduce inflammation. Mix two tablespoons of ground oatmeal (we recommend grinding oatmeal in a food processor) with one tablespoon of honey. Lastly, add in half a banana to create a pasty texture. Leave on your face for 10-15 minutes.

Baking Soda Mask: Best for acne-prone skin (especially blackheads)

You’ll need:

  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Warm Water

Baking soda is a physical exfoliant, and it can help fade acne scars and pigmentation. Additionally, baking soda helps absorb oil from the skin and dries out blemishes. Mix one tablespoon of water and one teaspoon of baking soda until you get a pasty consistency. Gently rub the mixture onto your skin, avoiding your eyes and mouth. Leave on your face for 10 minutes then gently remove using lukewarm water. It’s best to follow this mask with a hydrating, non-comedogenic moisturizer.

Avocado Mask: Best for dry, flaky skin

You’ll need:

  • ½ Avocado
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey

Avocados are full of biotin and Vitamin A, which are crucial nutrients for healthy skin, while honey helps to moisturize and brighten. Mash half an avocado with two tablespoons of honey until you achieve a pasty consistency. Leave mask on skin for 15 minutes or until hardened then gently remove with lukewarm water or a damp washcloth.

Egg White Mask: Best for oily skin

You’ll need:

  • 1 Egg White
  • ½ of a Lemon

Egg whites contain lots of protein that aid in tightening the skin and absorbing excess oils. The lemon juice has antibacterial properties and contains Vitamin C, which helps to brighten skin. Mix together one egg white and the juice from half a lemon. Gently apply a thin layer to your skin, avoiding your eyes and mouth. Leave on your face for 10 minutes, then gently wash it off with lukewarm water and pat your face dry.

If you have acne or acne-prone skin, it’s best to combine these DIY masks with a gentle cleanser, a daily acne treatment that unclogs pores and keeps your bacteria in check, and a daily moisturizer with SPF! If you’re wondering where to start, check out Dermala’s #FOBO Acne Treatment Kit that fights all causes of acne, without those unwanted side-effects.

Note: Before applying face masks make sure your face is clean and dry. For best results, apply a mask after washing your face with warm water or after taking a warm shower to open up your pores. Also, we recommend testing the face mask on a small test patch before applying to entire face.

Happier You, Happier Skin

It is way too easy to get caught up in our boring, daily routines. Sadly, due to our daily grinds of work or school most of us are relatively sedentary throughout the day and spend most of our time indoors. UGH, this is not fun or ideal. Science has proven that spending time outdoors and in nature is extremely beneficial for our overall health and well-being. Check out these scientifically proven reasons to make some HAPPY lifestyle changes:

First, spending time in nature improves cognitive (thinking and learning) functions! Studies have shown that walking outside improves short-term memory and spending time in nature improves attention span. Also, spending time outdoors can improve the ability to succeed in creative problem-solving tasks.

Second, immersing ourselves in nature can improve our mental health. According to several studies, a green environment improves self-esteem and mood. People suffering from anxiety and depression benefit greatly from natural environments, such as green forests. In fact, spending time in nature is a form of therapy that is often termed “green exercise”.

Third, physical activity, such as walking, is often a part of being outdoors, and, for this reason, blood pressure is often decreased. Healthy blood pressure reduces the risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and kidney failure.

Lastly, natural sunshine increases VITAMIN D levels! Our skin absorbs sunlight, which produces Vitamin D. Vitamin D is necessary in promoting strong bone growth, while Vitamin D deficiency is linked to diseases such as colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Additionally, Vitamin D also contributes to skin cell growth, repair and metabolism, which keeps our skin’s immune system in check!

Remember, though that excessive sun exposure is not good, so every time you head outdoors protect your skin with a good sunscreen. For your face, we recommend a sunscreen that is labeled as non-comedogenic, which means it doesn’t clog your pores.

If you're having trouble maintaining a clear complexion make sure to check out Dermala's #FOBO Kit on our website. We are always here to help you live your best skin, blemish free.

So, spend some time outdoors and get in touch with nature because happy skin starts with a happier you!  



Is exercise good for your skin?

Some research suggests it only takes 21 days to form a habit. Imagine implementing healthy exercise habits in your everyday routine. Okay NGL, it sounds daunting and pretty terrible. But, imagine setting aside at least thirty extra minutes a day to focus on YOU and your well being. Exercise could even improve your skin. The benefits are endless, but here are just a few:

1. Improvement of Gut Health...SAY WHAT?!

The human gastrointestinal tract contains a wide variety of bacteria and microorganisms, some good and some bad. The human microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes, including bacteria (both the good and the bad), that live in and on the human body. So, it makes sense that a healthy microbiome is key for immunity and the body’s overall health status. Recent studies suggest that exercise can increase the number of beneficial bacterial species in our gut. More good bacteria = less toxins from the bad bacteria = less inflammation throughout the body = happier skin = happier YOU.

2. Blood Flow Cleanse

Exercise induces blood flow… to the skin! More blood flow to skin cells means an increase in oxygen and nutrients to the cells. As skin cells become revitalized, cellular debris is flushed away. Talk about a simple skin hack, and this time from the inside out.

3. Sweat It Out!

If you’re working up a sweat during your workout, your skin can thank you. Let’s be real, sweating isn't always our idea of a good time, but there are benefits to sweating. Sweating on the face unclogs pores of dirt and debris. Just make sure to wash your face afterwards with a gentle cleanser so you don’t leave unwanted bacteria, and pore-clogging dirt and sweat hanging around. BUHHHBYEE clogged pores.

4. Reduces Stress Levels

Stress is the worst. As if having a million errands to run and responsibilities wasn’t bad enough, the harm stress causes to your body is just the cherry on top. Several studies have proven that acne severity is correlated with increasing stress levels. However, exercise is a great way to combat stress levels. Exercise increases the production of endorphins in the brain, which are chemical signals that are responsible for making us “feel good.” Basically, high endorphin levels are the key to feeling amazing! Who knew chemistry could actually be so cool? 

5. Increases Energy

Exercising regularly improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular system. As your cardiovascular system improves, tissues in your body have more oxygen and nutrients. More oxygen and nutrients increases muscle strength and endurance. Since your body won’t have to work as hard to carry out simple bodily functions, you will have more energy throughout the day to do everything you WANT to do.

6. AND…. It can be FUN?!

Do something that’s down your alley. There are so many different ways to exercise. Maybe you love to dance on the weeknds for a girls night out, so try taking a dance class. Or maybe you need some Zen in your life...or some more Zen people in your life (we could all benefit from some more positive and chill vibes) so try yoga. The options really are endless, and how cool would it be to take up a hobby and actually get good at it. Imagine that...






 

Busy? Try to slip these clear skin tips into your schedule

Let’s face it. Life can be incredibly crazy and stressful sometimes. With balancing school, internships, work, family and friends, finding time to properly care for your skin and health can seem impossible, but it’s important to remember that self-care should be made a priority in your everyday life. Putting your health first ensures that you have the energy, mindset and confidence to give your best at everything you do. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping your skin healthy and clear during these hectic times.

Remove your makeup and wash your face

After a long, busy day, nothing sounds better than some Netflix and chill followed by immediately passing out on your bed. However, taking the extra five minutes to remove your makeup and wash your face before bed is so important for your skin. Removing the dirt, oil, and environmental toxins that accumulate on your face throughout the day will help to keep your pores unclogged, which is an important step for preventing breakouts. Not all cleansers are made the same, though. Harsh cleansers can actually lead to an increase in oil production, disruption of the skin barrier, irritation and breakouts, so look for a cleanser that will clean the skin without stripping it dry. And, if you’re feeling extra energetic, follow cleansing with a treatment or toner and some moisturizer!

 Get enough sleep

Sleep is not only essential for proper health and development, but studies also suggest that a lack of sleep can affect skin health as well. When your body is stressed, such as from a lack of sleep, it produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol. Increased cortisol levels cause an increase in inflammation, and interfere with DNA repair, which can worsen your acne and disrupt skin barrier function. Not getting enough shut eye can also affect your mood, make it hard to concentrate, and increase moodiness and psychological distress. Even though everyone knows sleep is important, one third of young adults are not getting the hours of zzz’s they need every night. So, no matter how tempting it is to cram in that last-minute studying or scroll through those last few posts on Instagram, make it a priority to get enough shut eye each night.

Try to keep a (mostly) healthy diet

When you’re busy and stressed, junk food tends to look even more appetizing than usual. However, foods high in sugars, unhealthy oils and fats lead to feelings of sluggishness, mental fatigue and increased inflammation, and this unbalance tends to show itself on the skin. So, while it’s tempting to eat easily-available, processed foods during those busy weeks, remember to try and make it a priority to include some wholesome grains, fresh vegetables and lean proteins into your diet that will energize and fuel your body to help you tackle that to-do list.

A gut-healthy recipe to start your day

Kefir-Berry Smoothie Recipe

What’s a great and easy way to start your day? With a healthy, microbiome-friendly (and very delicious) morning smoothie! A smoothie filled with prebiotics and probiotics is an excellent way to have a filling and fast breakfast that nourishes your microbiome and promotes radiant, clear skin.

First, let’s clarify how prebiotics and probiotics differ and why they are both important for your health. Probiotics are bacteria that are similar to the "good" bacteria that live inside your gut. These micro-organisms, though tiny, play an incredibly important role in our health. An imbalance of the "good" and the "bad" bacteria in the gut can lead to improper digestion, weight gain, and skin conditions. The good news is that we can rebalance our Microbiome by supplementing our diet with probiotics in any form. Probiotics can be taken as a supplement or through foods like yogurt, kefir and Kimchi. Prebiotics, on the other hand, are foods rich in fermentable fibers that feed the good bacteria in your body. In other words, prebiotics are the food for the probiotics. Like probiotics, prebiotics can be taken as supplements or found in foods like asparagus, bananas, and whole grains.

This Kefir-Berry smoothie recipe is a delicious and easy way to get a daily dose of prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins and nutrients to keep your skin healthy from the inside out. Just say ahh!

Recipe

¼ cup old-fashioned oats

¼ cup Blueberries

4 Strawberries

½ a Banana

¼ cup plain Kefir

1 Tbs ground flaxseed meal

½ cup almond milk

A large handful of kale or spinach leaves

Optional: Ice (if not using frozen fruits)

Blend everything together and enjoy!! You can also add less milk to enjoy this smoothie as a bowl and top it with your favorite toppings :)



Skincare tips for those cold weather months

Stay hydrated

Cold weather zaps away moisture and this is not good for our skin. Sometimes it’s easy to confuse oily skin with moisturized skin, but they shouldn’t be considered the same. Colder months can really dry out the skin, but this doesn’t necessarily apply to a decrease in skin oiliness. Skin can still be oily but low in hydration. In fact, dry, irritated skin can lead to an increase in oil production leading to clogged pores and breakouts. This is why it’s so important to keep your skin moisturized during the colder fall months. It’s best to apply moisturizer right after washing your face and applying your acne treatment to lock in hydration. Depending on the dryness of your skin, it also might be a good idea to switch from a moisturizer to a cream to provide a stronger barrier for increased skin hydration. This will also help improve your skin barrier function to make your skin more tolerable for acne treatment products. And, we can’t stress enough that the best way to hydrate your skin is to hydrate your body. Drink up that water!

Exfoliate

No matter what time of the year it is, if you have acne-prone skin, you need to exfoliate! Clogged pores lead to acne and daily, gentle exfoliation works to remove dead skin cells and keep those pores unclogged. Again, gentle exfoliation is key since too harsh of an exfoliant can irritate the skin and cause redness, dryness and worsen acne. Chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid and glycolic acid at lower concentrations work the best for daily use, but of course, always follow with a hydrating moisturizer. As an added plus, daily exfoliation will help brighten your skin and reduce dark spots and acne scars over time if used consistently. Just don’t overdo it. Gentle is key!

Switch to a gentle cleanser and acne treatment

Dry skin can lead to a weakened skin barrier and, therefore, make your skin more sensitive to topical acne treatments and increase redness and dryness. Many commonly used acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide and sulfur can really dry out your skin, which can lead to more redness and irritation than when used in the summer months with higher humidity. This is why, especially for fall and winter months, you want to use a gentle cleanser with a lower pH and an acne treatment product that is gentle and hydrating. 

Eat well

Cold weather and thick sweaters can make that second helping of pie much more enticing during the fall and winter months.  Sweets high in sugar and fats, and delicious salty soups and breads are all fall favorites but remember to have everything in moderation! Foods high in sodium and sugars can contribute to breakouts so if that extra piece of pumpkin bread is just too irresistible, remember to drink lots of water and fill the rest of your meals with wholesome nutritious foods.

Keeping it clean

Developing a clean skin routine is an essential part of any acne treatment and prevention method. Nevertheless, figuring out a routine can often be more challenging than people think. Here, we will explain the essentials of such a routine and point out common mistakes to avoid. 

Wash it off!

Throughout the day, your skin secretes oils that may promote breakouts when left unchecked. This issue is particularly common on your face, which has about twice as many oil glands compared to the rest of your body. Dust particles, smog, sweat and makeup, further exacerbate the skin’s proneness to acne breakouts. As a result, it is important that you wash your face regularly to make sure your pores remain clean and unblocked. Too much washing or using harsh cleansers, on the other hand, may cause problems like over-drying the skin and weakening your skin microbiome, the collection of friendly, supportive bacteria on your skin that can help you fight acne. A good rule of thumb is to use a gentle, non-comedogenic cleanser to wash your face twice a day - once after you wake up and once before you go to bed. In addition to that, you should wash off sweat after you exercise. Harsh cleansers can be irritating and strip the skin of both the bad and the good bacteria, leaving your skin more prone to acne. A gentle cleanser with microbiome-rebalancing components and calming plant extracts will, on the other hand, target the bad bacteria without over drying and help make your skin happier in the long run.

Your skin’s unlikely foes

Although washing your face regularly is essential, there are additional steps you can take to ensure your skin remains healthy by reducing its exposure to harmful elements in the first place. For instance, you should wash your pillow covers, makeup brushes, hats (pimples on your forehead, anybody?) and towels frequently to shield your face from bad bacteria that live on them. For similar reasons, you should also pay closer attention the cleanliness of your phone. It may even be smarter to start using headphones when making calls to limit your contact with the bacteria-ridden phone screen.

One more piece of the jigsaw

Making sure you wash your skin regularly is a vital step towards long lasting results. However, it should not be the only thing on your mind. Rather, you need to adopt a holistic acne plan that goes far beyond your skin. Treating and preventing acne essentially means striking a body-wide balance by combining good skin hygiene with an effective topical treatment and a healthy diet supplemented by probiotics, vitamins, anti-oxidants and other key nutrients. The whole-body approach is something you should bear in mind regardless of the specific treatment method you choose. So make your skin and gut happy and balanced. Your skin will thank you.

Could it be a gut problem?

Could your acne be a gut problem? It is well known that gut bacteria are important for your health. These bacteria digest your food, provide necessary nutrients and vitamins, train your immune system, and prevent bad bacteria from overgrowing and causing disease. What is less well-known, however, is that your gut health can also have an effect on your skin health!

 

Over 80 years ago, dermatologists, John H. Stokes and Donald M. Pillsbury, suggested a relationship between your gut bacteria, and your mental and skin health called the Gut-Brain-Skin axis. The Gut-Brain-Skin axis suggests stress and low fiber diets can lead to an imbalance in your microbiome allowing bad bacteria to outgrow the good bacteria in your gut. This leads to the release of toxins, which cause inflammation throughout the body. For people who are more susceptible to inflammatory skin diseases like acne, this release of toxins can cause worsen your acne.

 

Since the time of Stokes and Pillsbury, many scientists have further studied the proposed Gut-Brain-Skin axis. Trials have also shown that supplementing topical acne treatments with oral probiotics resulted in a greater reduction of acne lesions than when topical treatments were used alone. These findings support the hypothesis of Stokes and Pillsbury and suggests nutritional supplements and a healthy diet can be used to support skin health for acne sufferers. 

 

Foods that could cause breakouts

Acne and breakouts can be associated with many different factors like sleep, stress, hormones, and diet. Generally, it is believed that dairy and foods with high glycemic indexes like white bread, rice, soda and added sugars can contribute to breakouts and worsen acne.

 

Acne Fighting Foods

There is less direct evidence as to what foods help prevent breakouts, however, foods high in vitamins and minerals, lean proteins, fiber, probiotics and healthy fats are all believed to aid in maintaining clear skin by reducing inflammation throughout the body. For vitamins and minerals, look for foods high in selenium, zinc, and vitamins like nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, meats and beans, which together supports immune system health, reduce inflammation, and provide antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and other inflammatory causing agents. Probiotic supplements containing gut-healthy strains like lactobacillus and bfidiobacteria directly add healthy bacteria back to your gut and foods high in fermentable fibers like whole grains and vegetables feed the good bacteria in your gut to make sure they thrive and stick around. These good gut microbes break down the fibers into nutrients and vitamins necessary for our health. Foods high in omega 3 fatty acids like fatty fishes, flaxseed, walnuts and avocados can also help lower the occurrence of acne by decreasing inflammation throughout the body.

 

If you have been struggling with inflammatory acne, taking probiotics and changing up your diet could be a helpful change to get one step closer to getting rid of your acne.

The importance of skin hydration when fighting acne

One commonly forgot about aspect when fighting acne is the importance of skin hydration. It’s important to note that oily skin does not mean your skin is hydrated. Skin can be oily and still be low in water content. In fact, dry skin can induce the production of more oil leading to clogged pores and breakouts. This occurs because dry skin compromises the skin barrier leading to irritation, which then induces hormones to activate sebaceous glands to secrete more oil and repair the irritation.

Many commonly used acne medications can also dry or irritate the skin, especially during dry winter months. One way to keep your skin hydrated is through your diet by drinking lots of water and eating lots of water rich foods like fruits and vegetables. It’s also helpful to use a daily moisturizer to hydrate your skin and reduce irritation. Moisturizers work by both drawing water to your skin and by holding the water in the outermost layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. Since moisturizers are effective at holding water in your skin, it’s best to moisturize your skin after washing your face to help trap the water in for optimal hydration.

With so many moisturizer options out there though, how do you choose the right one? Many moisturizers contain both water and oils. If you have oily skin, you don’t necessarily need to avoid putting oil-based moisturizers on your face, but you might want to look for a moisturizer that is more water-based than oil-based. For acne sufferers and those with acne prone skin, it’s best to find moisturizers labeled as non-comedogenic, non-acnegenic or won’t clog pores. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid are great for skin hydration and do not clog pores. What’s your favorite moisturizer to pair with your daily acne treatments?