Nothing is ever as it seems.
With so much information at your fingertips, you’d think by now you’d have all the answers. Yet, despite being bombarded with a myriad of advice on some of the most common and often the most annoying skin conditions, you remain more confused than ever.
Everything changes, and yet, everything stays the same.
Back in 2013, when I first started this website, my goal was to dispel beauty and skincare myths. Demystify the skincare industry and bring to light a few facts. I’ve enjoyed it. But I’m struck by the knowledge that after so many years of sharing what I know to be true, most common skin conditions remain misunderstood.
And it’s not you, but those who dish out the advice. But this is the internet, and it can be challenging to sort out fact from fiction.
Often advice can go awry. With so many skincare brands available to you, it’s not so surprising. Who can blame you for struggling through the quagmire of information available?
So, I thought I’d proceed and tackle a few skin conditions that need some light shed upon them. There are many more, but here are seven commonly misunderstood skin conditions and what you can sensibly do about them.
Misunderstood skin condition #1 – The size of your pores.
When you see open pores? I see skin in need of a little refinement.
Very few of us are happy with the size of our pores. Can you do anything about it?
The answer is, sometimes. If you have an oily skin type, the skin is merely accommodating the free flow of oil. Balance your skins oil flow with gentle cleansing and resist the temptation to strip the skin with harsh foaming cleansers, and you’ll find your oil flow will reduce, and your pores will naturally reduce in size.
But it can be more than oily skin. Other times the skin around the opening of the follicle has lost its elasticity. The cause of this is usually too much sun exposure and eventual sun damage. So, the best solution for this is to stay out of the sun and seek out skincare and treatments that reverse sun damage.
Then there are the times when your skin feels or looks dry or dehydrated and to solve one problem you’ll find yourself choosing a moisturiser far too rich for your skin. So much so, you’ll over nourish your skin and end up with open and enlarged pores. If dehydration and finding the perfect moisturiser is your goal, you might like this article in search of the perfect moisturiser.
If you’ve got your cleansing habits right, and you’re not over nourishing your skin, then the next step in reducing the size of your pores is gentle exfoliation to minimise dehydration and clearing away dead cell build-up.
Solution: Environ’s gentle exfoliating products without abrasive particles.
Two products from Environ to refine the skin without the need for skin aggravating particles.
Skin EssentiA Exfoliating Clay Masque A clay (kaolin) based mask that gently sweeps away the remnants of dead cells and surface oil to keep the skin feeling fresh and clean. You can use this mask as part of your daily cleanse if you have oily and congested skin or if your very oily you can sleep with it on. This mask is the perfect solution when you’re switching from abrasive scrubs.
Focus Care Moisture+ Alpha Hydroxy Night Cream, contains a mild concentration of Lactic and Glycolic Acids. Using this mask regularly will gently persuade the removal of dead cell build-up, which will activate better cell turnover and improved hydration. You can use this night cream three times a week.
Want to know more about your pores and what you can do? You might also like my article: Making peace with your pores.
Misunderstood Skin Condition #2 – Hormonal acne.
When you see pimples and acne? I see hormones out of balance.
There are so many reasons why you may have breakouts, pimples or acne, and for some of us, they tend to come and go in varying degrees of severity our whole life.
It’s not because your skin is unclean, it’s not even because your skin is too oily, although that doesn’t help. Whether you’re 16, 26 or even 46, acne is a usually a hormonal issue.
Can skincare help? Yes, it can, as will regular chemical peels, and if you have scarring, certain types of laser can also help with the aftermath.
But, which way to turn when it comes to skincare? If you’re experiencing teenage acne, then it’s going to be essential to keep the skin balanced and calm while the skin readjusts to the activities of your reproductive hormones.
If your acne or blemishes located in specific areas of your face, like your chin? Topical skincare, especially vitamin A and AHA’s are going to be a big help, and you should also consider seeking advice from a medical professional who can look at your hormones. For many women, it may be Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and needs to be medically diagnosed.
Solution: Environ Focus Care Clarity+
A 3 step system for oily, acne and problematic skin conditions. Six products – 3 Steps.
A morning and night routine, to combat excess oil, dead cell congestion and controlling the bacteria and infection associated with acne.
If you have the occasional breakout, then I suggest just using a couple of the products such as the Sebu Clear Masque and Sebu-Spot Blemish Gel
However, you’ll do better if you seek out advice before you proceed with this range.
Want to know more? For those suffering from adult acne, you might like these articles: Adult Acne a few do’s and a couple of dont’s or this one, A spot of bother in your forties.
Misunderstood Skin Condition #3 – Compromised barrier function.
When you see signs of dehydration? I see a skin barrier struggling to cope with the stress caused by the environment.
We’re not born with dehydration, it’s acquired over the years, for some of us sooner than others, depending on how committed (or not) you’ve been to your skincare regimen.
You won’t solve this problem by drinking more water, but you can help your skin retain more moisture with better protection and ditching a few skincare habits that will never help like harsh cleansing and abrasive scrubs.
Dehydrated skin has lost its ability to retain adequate surface moisture and sometimes will need a temporary boost of hydration until the skin regains barrier strength.
Solution: Environ Moisture+ supports skin hydration.
Moisture+ Vita Complex Super Moisturiser supports the skin during times of dehydration while the skin is rebalancing its natural water content. Vita Complex Super Moisturiser will add hyaluronic acid to the surface of the skin and assists in providing emollient protection to repair the skins natural barrier function.
Moisture+ HA Intensive Hydrating Serum is a low molecular weight hyaluronic acid serum to give instant hydration when the skin is out of balance and struggling to retain its natural water balance.
You might also like my article uncovering 5 Beauty Myths of dehydrated skin.
Misunderstood Skin Condition #4 – Hyperpigmentation.
When you see blotchy age spots? I see a skin that’s losing the battle against free radical damage caused by the sun.
Oh, the joy of a little sunshine on the skin. It keeps us healthy well into our senior years with the hormone activated by the sun known as Vitamin D. Protecting our bone health and immunity. It’s an essential nutrient! But, year on year too much sun exposure will leave you with an uneven tan (blotchy pigmentation) and the risk of skin cancer.
Why? Free radicals will eventually overwhelm the mitochondria of your skin cells, and your melanin production will begin to malfunction, leaving you with blotchy pigmentation.
Protecting the skin from the sun is more than just a simple sunscreen. Modern skincare offers so much more.
It’s now well established, not only do you need to protect from UVB; which is a short ray that burns the skin during summer. And UVA; which is a longer ray that harms the skin at a deeper level. Most broadspectrum sunscreens will give you protection from UVB and UVA radiation.
If you suffer from blotchy pigmentation, then you know even just a minor amount of heat on the skin can activate your pigment. So if you’re to care for your skin correctly, you’ll need to protect the skin from visible light and the heat it generates.
Solution: Environ Focus Care Radiance+ Mela-Fade 3 Step System.
A combination of nutrients, alpha hydroxy acids and botanical ingredients can now go a long way in protecting your skin from the heat of the sun and inhibit the enzyme that makes pigment.
Focus Care Radiance+ Mela-Prep Lotion: A lightweight lotion combining the essential ingredient Niacinamide (vitamin B3) with the potent pigment inhibitor’s Alpha Arbutin (Bearberry Extract) and Undecylenoyl Phenylalanine (Sepi-White MSH) which immobilises the activation of pigment production known as melanogenesis.
Focus Care Radiance+ Mela-Fade Serum A & B: Provides you with a two serum system to add to your daily routine. With six botanicals to protect the skin from the heat of the sun, inhibit pigment and slow down the transfer of blotchy pigmentation throughout the upper layers of the skin.
Focus Care Radiance+ Intense C Boost Mela-Even Cream: Any time is a good time to include vitamin C in your skincare routine, and this is especially true if you suffer from sun damage and blotchy pigment. Amongst other things, vitamin C will protect your skin from the heat and visible light of the sun. Essential if you want to slow down and inhibit pigment production.
You can undo this. You might like my article: The curse of blotchy hyperpigmentation. Or, a few helpful tips can be found in this article: 30 ways to beautiful skin which will help you prevent blotchy pigmentation from making a comeback.
Misunderstood Skin Condition #5 – Sensitive Skin.
When you see red, irritated and sensitive skin? I see a skin defeated, hoping for change.
Some of us are born with allergic skin, but for some of us, the skin always seems sensitive. Often, sensitive skin can’t form an adequate protective lipid barrier which leads to irritation, sensitivity and even dermatitis.
For many of us, the problem of red and irritated skin is a symptom of a skin screaming out for a better cleansing routine, better moisture protection, and less environmental stress.
You don’t have to suffer, but you do have to commit.
Start with the basics and get your daily cleansing routine right. Double cleanse with a pre-cleansing oil and a cleansing lotion and regardless of your oil flow, stay away from foaming cleansers. You don’t need them. If you can relax about your oil flow, so will your skin.
Solution: Environ Skin EssentiA Double Cleanse.
Skin Essentia Dual-Action Pre-Cleansing Oil: Start every cleanse with a pre-cleanse to remove makeup, gathered pollutants, dirt and the grime of the day.
Skin EssentiA Mild Cleansing Lotion: Follow your pre-cleanse with this mild cleansing lotion. The perfect double cleansing is achieved effortlessly with this brilliant combination. Everything you want to remove will be gone while keeping your skins natural lipid protection balanced.
You might also like these articles: Cleanse your way to healthy skin Part 1. Cleanse your way to healthy skin Part 2. Or, for more on Sensitive Skin.
Misunderstood Skin Condition #6 – Premature ageing.
When you see wrinkles where once it was smooth? I see the expressions of laughter and a life lived.
Our laugh lines just keep getting longer, and it seems like every expression is eventually etched into our face. We can be proud of our wrinkles, but really? No need to wear them like a badge of honour when you can soften them. After all, this is the 21st century. Help is at hand if you want it.
There is, of course, a cautionary tale to tell, obsessing over how we age is not good for our mental health, but with the right attitude and a healthy perspective, you can win the war on ageing.
Good skincare is an excellent start as is a rock-solid commitment to wearing sun protection every day. Summer or winter you’ll need to wear sun protection if you’re to soften and minimise the signs of ageing that you’d like to slow down.
Solution: Environ Focus Care Youth+ Advanced Serums
Focus Care Youth+ Tri-Peptide Complex Avance Elixir: Supporting the skin with a triple peptide serum formula to protect the strength and resilience of the skin as well as a combination of three root extracts known as Meritage™ which protects and prevents the skin from sun damage and blotchy pigment activation.
Focus Care Youth+ Tri-Peptide Complex Avance Moisturiser: Also supporting the skin with its triple peptide formula to protect the skin from premature ageing plus the added surge of hyaluronic acid in a lightweight moisturiser. You can use this alone, but I suggest incorporating it with your usual moisturisers.
Focus Care Youth+ Retinol Serum #1 and 2: A concentrated serum providing you with a powerhouse of retinol to support the skin in every way. Retinol is your go-to vitamin A derivative which, when applied to the skin converts to retinoic acid where it’s accepted into the skin to repair the DNA of the skin cell and activates faster cell turnover which is essential for skin health and integrity.
You might like these articles to get you started: 5 Cosmeceutical skincare brands giving your skin a workout. Or, Niacinamide: 8 reasons why it’s a must-have in your beauty regimen. And, The Peel Series – A series of articles giving you the ins and outs of chemical peels.
Misunderstood Skin Condition #7 – Dermatitis and Eczema.
When you see dryness, roughness and flakiness? I see the masquerade of eczema.
You’re so frustrated, and you should be. The dryness never ends, the roughness and the flakiness, ever-present. The more you try to scrub it away, the worse it gets. Not your usual dry skin problem, you may have dermatitis or eczema.
You’ll never fix this until you stop scrubbing and find the best products for allergy-prone skin with a weakened lipid barrier. If you’ve been using harsh scrubs or foaming cleansers, it may take some time for your skin barrier to repair itself so patience will be required.
Your skin will also require essential nutrients, in particular, a low concentration of vitamin A, C & E as well as support for your lipid barrier with extra hydration.
Solution: Environ Focus Care Comfort+
Focus Care Comfort+ Vita Enriched Antioxidant Gel: A soothing gel, full of antioxidants for when the skin is hyper-sensitive and requires initial calming before the skin can normalise with the introduction of vitamin A.
Focus Care Comfort+ Vita Enriched Colostrum Gel: Made from the milk product colostrum to nourish and support the skin when it’s at its most vulnerable.
If you think you have eczema don’t go it alone. Get in touch for advice here or seek out the help from a trusted skincare professional.
You might also like my article: The truth about dry skin of the face – Part 1 and Part 2 The truth about dry skin of the body
And now you?
I’ve covered seven commonly misunderstood skin conditions, but there are more, and every skin is as unique as you are. Shoot me an email if you have a question you’d like answered. Or, you might want to jump on Zoom for one-on-one personalised advice from me.
If you found this article useful, I’d love you to share it with your friends.
See you next time,