There’s nothing worse than battling acne in your teenage years, only to hit your 20s and 30s and suddenly be blessed with a whole slew of new skin concerns. Sigh.
From those tiny white spots to cystic pimples, red blotches and persistent dry patches – adult skin concerns can be the absolute pits. Not only can they affect you physically, but your self-esteem can take a real hit, too.
The good news? There are a lot of effective treatments on the market that can help treat and resolve these issues.
To find out where to start, we spoke to skin expert and founder of Skin Virtue Nina Gajic, who shared her tips for understanding, preventing and treating some of the most common skin concerns.
While those tine white bumps sitting underneath your skin can be easily mistaken for whiteheads, they’re actually called milia.
“Milia are small, white, dome-shaped superficial keratin cysts with no visible opening that commonly occur on the face, especially around the eye area,” explains Gajic.
Cute! So, how do you make this skin concern go away?
Well, if you’re lucky they’ll usually clear up by themselves. However! Milia in adults can be quite stubborn and you’ll often find that they hang for weeks or even months. Ugh.
“Milia have no opening on the surface and cannot be extracted like a blackhead - they are removed with a surgical blade or laser ablation. Milia should be treated by a professional only and never squeezed at home,” said Gajic.
Now, read that last line again. Mitts. Off.
Why can’t you squeeze milia? Well, squeezing these white spots not only creates inflammation (read: red marks and indents), but it can also lead to scarring. So, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Incorporating exfoliating actives into your skincare routine can also help. Products with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and vitamin A can assist in cell turnover and the removal of dead skin cells.
If you’re looking for something with these ingredients, try Skin Virtue Super Clear Essential Cream.
Hyperpigmentation is a common skin concern where patches of skin appear darker than the surrounding skin. These patches are caused by excess melanin production in the skin, usually as a result of UV exposure, ageing, or hormonal changes.
When it comes to prevention, Gajic said the best way to avoid hyperpigmentation is to use SPF every single day (which you should be doing anyway, right?). She also said it’s best to treat inflammatory skin concerns (such as acne) ASAP, in order to avoid developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or marks and scarring from breakouts.
As for treatment of existing hyperpigmentation, there’s a few key ingredients you should look out for.
“The best way to treat this skin concern is to incorporate brightening active ingredients such as diacetyl boldine.” According to Gajic, this specific ingredient works on “inhibiting and stabilizing tyrosinase activity within melanocytes, which leads to a reduction in melanin production and decreases cutaneous pigmentation.”
In non-sciencey terms, it basically lightens pigmentation and reduces melanin production.
Gajic said vitamin C is another great ingredient for tackling skin concerns like dark patches. “It neutralizes reactive oxygen species (or ROS) and protects skin cells from oxidative stress, that would otherwise trigger the tyrosinase enzyme,” explains Gajic.
Another powerhouse ingredient? Niacinamide. This guy is a fantastic ingredient that offers a whole heap of benefits when it comes to improving the tone and texture of the skin.
“Niacinamide works by inhibiting melanin transfer from melanocytes into the epidermis,” explains Gajic. “It also improves redness and has a brightening effect.”
What’s more, Gajic said niacinamide helps to reduce breakouts, meaning it will help reduce the chance of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Yep – a real overachiever.
“Paired together, vitamin C and niacinamide are a powerful combination. They have different mechanisms of action and work in different ways, but together they tackle pigmentation superbly.”
What a team!
“Finally, surface exfoliation with glycolic acid also helps with cell renewal, wrinkle filling, turnover and subsequently has a brightening effect.”
If you’re looking for where to start, we recommend trying Skin Virtue Future Advanced Brightening Perfecting + Anti Ageing Cream.
So, what does it mean if your skin looks constantly… flushed?
“You’re embarrassed! Jokes aside, red blotches and flushing is not fun,” said Gajic. “This skin concern can be caused by a range of conditions such a rosacea, sensitive skin, allergies or inflammation.”
We all know that the health of our skin is dependent on the health of our skin barrier and its ability to repair itself (right, you guys?). So, if you’re one of the poor lambs with an impaired skin barrier function, you may be more sensitive to irritation and prone to dryness.
“Our skin barrier is our first line of defense against irritants and if it is weakened our skin becomes more permeable allowing for easier access of irritants,” said Gajic. “This can lead to allergic, inflamed, sensitized, and irritated skin concerns that can make your skin red and blotchy,” she said.
So, what do you do? How do you fix it?
To start, you’re going to want to look for ingredients that are good for sensitive skin and will help soothe, nourish and protect your skin.
“It important to use products with ingredients that fortify the skin barrier function and optimize the skin’s ability to guard against irritants. If the red blotches and flushing last longer than six weeks or persistently recurring, then you need to see a dermatologist for an assessment.”
To boost the protective abilities of the skin barrier and help reduce redness and rosacea, we suggest reaching for ultra-moisturizing products that will help replenish the skin’s barrier, like Skin Virtue’s Pure Nourish Moisturising Cream.”.
Contrary to what you might think, it’s actually really common to suffer from some form of acne in your adult years – so if you’re battling this skin concern, don’t feel like you’re alone, okay? A whopping 80 percent of people will experience acne between the onset of puberty and 30 years of age.
Cystic inflammatory acne (the pimples that sit deep below your skin) is one of the more common types of adult acne, and it can be a fickle concern to treat.
While adult acne can be caused by several different factors, fluctuations in hormones are one of the main causes. These shifts in hormone levels – particularly when testosterone spikes - can stimulate the production of sebum and acne-causing bacteria, which can cause clogged pores and breakouts.
These hormonal-related breakouts usually pop up on the chin, jawline, and cheeks.
But it’s not just your hormones you have to worry about. Things like stress can also make acne worse. What fun!
Y’see, when you’re stressed, your body releases high levels of cortisol – a hormone that triggers your oil glands to produce more oil, which then results in acne flare-ups.
The good news is that treatment options for acne have come a long way, so there is a bunch of different at-home and in-clinic options that help you get your skin back on track.
Just on that note, it’s important to remember that acne is not a one-size-fits all kind of thing – so you’re always best checking in with a dermatologist or skin expert to find out the correct treatment program and skincare routine for your skin.
Alright, your options. In terms of skincare, it’s best to avoid going too hard on active ingredients - because you could end you doing your skin more harm than good. Seriously!
While we tend to reach for deep pore cleansing foaming cleaners, drying lotions, and spot treatments to calm down our breakouts, harsher products can often cause havoc on our skin, making things a lot worse on the acne front.
We recommend incorporating soothing and anti-inflammatory products into your routine – those that incorporate ingredients such as niacinamide, green tea, marine active laminaris saccharina or botanical edelweiss extract.
Ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids, (AHAs) beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and vitamin A are all great for reducing dead skin cell build-up and removing dead skin from your pores, but as we said before – these kinds of actives are powerful and can turn on you if you’re not careful.
If you’re looking for where to find products that will help decongest your skin without the irritation, check out Skin Virtue’s Super Clear Collection. The products in this range are safe for allergic, reactive and sensitive skin, and will help remove impurities and regulate oil production without stripping and upsetting the skin.
Finally, when it comes to in-clinic treatments, things like microdermabrasion, facial peels, and light therapy are some of the most popular treatments for tackling acne. As we mentioned before, if over-the-counter treatments don’t seem to be settling your breakouts, it’s best to check in with a dermatologist to discuss your options.
Oh, and one more thing – if you suffer from breakouts on the reg, you should always look for non-comedogenic formulations when it comes to skincare and makeup. This means the products won’t close your pores (important).
Whether it’s due to environmental conditions, allergies or sensitivity, skin can often become uncomfortable or itchy due to dehydration. And while it’s a very common skin concern, Gajic said it’s often not treated like one.
“Dehydration coincides with a compromised skin barrier. As a result, the skin is unable to hold on to moisture and experiences transepidermal water loss (TEWL).”
In case you need a bit of a refresher, TEWL is when your skin loses water that passes through the epidermis and evaporates into the air. While it’s a totally normal thing that happens to everyone, it can be exacerbated by environmental changes, damage to the skin, and harsh skincare products. Sad, we know.
To combat this, Gajic recommends incorporating a series of moisture-boosting skincare products into your daily routine.
“Moisture should be introduced into the skin with serums such as Future Advanced Radiance Serum or with Future Advanced Serumist ® and locked in with lipid-rich formulations such as Pure Nourish Moisturising Cream.”
*Do you suffer from any of the above skin concerns, if you do, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you?
By Gary Williams, Bio