The Beauty Beat: What to do when your skin is freaking out

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The motto for The Beauty Beat has always been ‘the everyday girl’s guide to beauty, skincare and loving yourself’. But sometimes, that last bit is hard to do when your skin is behaving badly and making you not want to leave the house. Alas, we have to take our pimply faces outside no matter how ghastly we think we look. When the going gets tough, it’s time to go into damage control mode. Here are some tips to calm down and treat skin that’s having a bit of a meltdown.

1. Don’t plaster on make-up: A monster of a pimple recently took residence on the left side of my face. It was a three-headed beast that was burrowed deep under the skin, and was a vicious red/purple shade that a less patient me would throw concealer at. When dealing with problem skin, adding a layer of make-up on top of it can not only aggravate the situation and prevent it from healing, but it really doesn’t look very good. Whether it’s acne, eczema or dry patches … make-up only draws attention to what you’re trying to hide. If make-up is an absolute necessary, keep it as light as possible and make sure your brushes and sponges are clean.

2. Cleanse like you mean it: When in doubt about how to approach skincare when your face is a mess, there’s one thing you can be sure about — you need to clean your skin. But I don’t mean go at it with a walnut scrub or a soapy face wash. Pick a cleanser that won’t strip the skin of all its protective oils, but will still clear out grime and grit. Whether you pick a gentle gel cleanser or an oil/balm, take the time to work the product into the skin using gentle massaging motions for at least 60 seconds.

3. Keep it simple: Now is not the time to bring out the whole skincare artillery and attack your zits. Apart from a dedicated spot treatment if needed, the rest of your routine should include just one or two soothing products that will moisturise and calm the skin, with the ultimate goal to heal. Think unfragranced light creams and/or simple oils. Definitely avoid essential oils or overly heavy skincare. To avoid scarring, don’t pick or squeeze at the skin. One thing that also helps me is using gentle patting motions when applying my products, instead of rubbing or swiping that can be irritating.

4. Watch what you eat: Ugh, such boring advice, right? But I definitely notice a change in my skin when I’m eating badly and not taking care of myself. So when things are taking a turn for the worse on my face, I try to take the wheel where my eating is concerned. It can be as simple as limiting your sugar intake, avoiding greasy food and drinking more water.

5. Don’t compare your skin to others’: Having bad skin is hard. Like, really hard. You’re constantly looking at it, running your hand over it (another thing not to do), over-analysing every little bump and scar. It’s all too easy to beat yourself up for not having better skin, and even easier to compare yourself to others. But the honest truth is that good skin is an incomprehensible combination of genetics, internal biology, food habits, stress, pollution, hormones and other factors. There’s nothing wrong with having imperfect skin — it’s all part of being human at the end of the day.

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