This is a line worth repeating, especially in particularly tense times when your skin starts acting up for seemingly no apparent reason. Breakouts are your skin’s cry for help and picking at it or abusing it with harsh, drying products is the last thing you should do. After all, fighting fire with fire never did anyone any good.
Certain ingredients found in skincare and cosmetic products are comedogenic which means they clog your pores, triggering breakouts. Common triggers include ingredients like lauric acid and myristic acid.
It takes just one acne triggering ingredient in the formula for the entire product to break you out, so it’s important to always read the fine print.
If you suspect something on your vanity shelf is breaking you out, websites like CosDNA take the hassle out of sleuthing. Simply copy and paste the ingredients list of the offending product and receive a full breakdown of what ingredient/s might be breaking you out.
So the next time you’re about to test out something new, just remember, running the ingredients list through analysers like CosDNA could save your skin, literally.
Be gone, alcohol-heavy toners and foaming face washes. Too often foaming cleansers and alcohol-laden toners are pushed upon oily, acne-prone skins as the answer to our prayers. And we must confess – that’s a major skincare sin.
These products strip your skin, destroying your skin’s naturally acidic mantle, turning your skin into an alkaline breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.
So while a little spirit can help in lifting the spirits, when it comes to alcohol, you’re much better off drinking it than applying it on your face.
Mineral oil is a bad oil. Often found lurking in the ingredients list of many popular skincare and cosmetic products, this oil can clog pores and break you out. Which is why you should always read labels carefully.
Plant-based oils however, are good oils which help to nourish your skin. Oils higher in linoleic acid like hemp seed oil tend to work more magic for acne-prone skin. We also love Argan oil (found in our 1A™ Overnight Mask) and Acai oil (found in our 1A™ All-Day Mask). Both oils are rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids that help to hydrate and protect your skin.
Truer words have never been spoken. When what’s inside can make, or break out your skin, it’s worth taking note of the foods you should and should not avoid.
Sugar and carbohydrate rich foods – Along with the usual suspects like carbonated drinks, cakes, and cookies, fructose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, and golden syrup all count as sugar. Consuming excess amounts of sugar and grain products can feed yeast and candida in the body worsening acne.
Gluten and wheat – These foods can cause gut inflammation which upsets the skin if you are allergic to them.
Chocolate – High in compounds that can trigger acne, the next time you need your chocolate fix, we suggest you reach for pure dark chocolate instead.
Fried and processed foods – These foods contain high amounts of hydrogenated oils, sodium, chemicals, flavorings and sugar, all of which cause inflammation.
Hydrogenated oils – Hydrogenated oils can be found in foods like pizza and in packaged foods that contain soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and vegetable oil.
Conventional dairy – Dairy products like cheese and milk can cause inflammation of the gut and skin. Most of us are lactose intolerant to a certain degree so if you suspect dairy products are triggering your acne, try cutting dairy and you might observe an improvement in your skin.
These foods reduce inflammation and increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut which is essential in healing acne.
Probiotic rich foods – Kefir, yoghurt and cultured vegetables are foods that help expel yeast and bad bacteria which cause acne.
Handy tip: Have your probiotics, and eat it too. Probiotics do wonders when eaten in yoghurt and when applied topically – in the form of probiotic toners like Allies of Skin’s Molecular Saviour™ Toner Mist. Spritzing this day and night reduces acne-causing bacteria, soothes inflammation and helps reset skin pH and maintain moisture levels.
Zinc rich foods – Pumpkin seeds, kidney beans and chia seeds are abundant in zinc which improves immunity and heals gut issues.
Vitamin A rich foods – Spinach, carrots and beef liver are high in vitamin A which supports the functioning of healthy skin.
Fibre rich foods – The fibre in vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds support cleansing of the colon and good bacteria growth in the gut which can help eliminate acne.
Clean lean protein – Organic chicken, grass-fed beef, free-range eggs and wild caught fish (e.g. wild salmon) balance blood sugar, which is essential in fighting acne.
Applied topically, AHAs (e.g. glycolic acid), BHAs (e.g. salicylic acid) and retinoids clear your skin of dead skin cells and trapped hair follicles, purging the blockages inside of your pores. They also reduce your skin pH to the more acidic end of the scale - as your skin functions optimally at an acidic pH of 4.5-5.5, this actually helps to strengthen your skin’s defenses against acne.
Handy tip: First time users of retinol may experience skin irritation in the initial stages so we always recommend starting with a lower-strength retinol product to acclimatise your skin’s tolerance. If you’re new to retinol or looking for an effective yet gentle formula, try using Allies of Skin 1A™ Overnight Mask. It contains 0.5% Ally-R, a patented form of retinol that treats without any of the traditional irritation. Safe to use on skin every night, this product is clinically shown to reduce acne by 67.2% in 28 days.
Whether you’re doing the rinse and repeat with your cleanser, or using a cleansing oil/balm or makeup remover first and then a cleanser, thorough cleansing is half the battle won when it comes to combatting acne. After all, what is acne but aggravated clogged pores?
If you thought starving your oily skin of moisture was the way to go in quelling your breakouts, you’d be sorely mistaken. A common misconception for those of us with oily skin is thinking that our skin doesn’t lack hydration.
Fact check: Skin dehydration is a universal concern, one that also affects oily skin types.
Depriving your skin of moisture only forces your sebaceous glands into overdrive as they produce even more oil to compensate, making your acne worse.
The best moisturisers for oily skin typically contain two types of ingredients, which fall into the categories of astringents and humectants.
Astringents tighten the pores and curb excess sebum production. Examples include witch hazel and apple cider vinegar.
Humectants bind moisture to the skin by drawing water from the deeper layers of the skin to the surface. They form a film of moisture on the skin, leaving it soft and hydrated. Examples include ingredients like honey, aloe vera and glycerin which can be found in our 1A™ All-Day Mask.
Bottom line is: Do not deprive your skin of moisture. Quench your thirsty skin now.
Oral supplements like fish oil, probiotics and zinc start to make a lot of sense when you really start to think about it. Picture your skin as a topographical map charting the internal health of your gut. If you’re ticking all the right boxes on the topical skincare front but still find yourself plagued by angry breakouts, chances are you have an upset stomach.
A daily intake of supplements such as these can help to calm gut inflammation and promote the growth of healthy bacteria, all of which are crucial in healing acne.
Oral supplements like fish oil capsules can help improve acne
Overusing over-the-counter topical treatments that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or sulphur can actually do your skin more harm than good. Not only does overdosing on spot treatments dry out your skin, the active ingredients they contain can slightly burn the top layer of your skin, worsening the appearance of acne.
So apply sparingly, with a light hand. The point is to solve the problem, not make it worse.