Skin Lockdown Questions Answered

When it comes to skincare, I am often asked a range of questions – one of the good things about lockdown, is that I have had time to summarise a few below – I hope they will be of some use to you and as always if you have any questions please DM me.

Your skincare questions answered. 

What causes a blackhead?

Blackheads, and all forms of acne for that matter, can be caused and exacerbated by several factors, including hormones, genetics, and stress. Dead skin cells and oils collect in the pore. And if the pore isn’t covered by skin, exposure to air causes it to turn black as it oxidizes.

What is the difference between a whitehead and a blackhead? 

The difference is that in the case of whiteheads, the pore remains closed; whereas with blackheads, the pore is stretched open. Both occur when a pore gets blocked with dead skin cells and oils

Should I extract blackheads myself?

If extractions aren’t done properly, you could definitely make things worse. For instance, you can be left with scarring or end up pushing the bacteria further into the skin, which may lead to more breakouts. At home I would recommend using a good AHA cleanser, exfoliating regularly and do not pick. In salon microdermabrasion or peels are a good go to. 

What is milia?

Milia are small white bumps that appear on the skin. They form when skin flakes or keratin, a protein, become trapped under the skin. Milia most often appear on the face, commonly around the eyelids and cheeks, though they can occur anywhere.

How can I prevent milia?

Seeing as milia are a result of trapped skin cells, exfoliation is brilliant at keeping them from springing up. If you’re prone to developing milia, and some people just are, I would recommend you use a topical retinol but you must be careful around the eye

Should I remove milia myself?

Don’t ever try popping or squeezing. The contents of milia are not fluid, the little white lump is very hard. You should go to a professional who is trained to remove it.

What causes dry patches on my skin?

In most cases it’s caused by environmental factors like hot or cold weather, low moisture in the air, and soaking in hot water. The weather is the most common factor, especially in the winter your skin tends to be driest. Central heating, heaters etc all reduce humidity and dry your skin. Taking long, hot showers or baths can dry your skin. So can frequent swimming, particularly in heavily chlorinated pools. Finally harsh soaps and detergents. Many popular soaps, detergents and shampoos strip moisture from your skin as they are formulated to remove oil.

Why is my T-zone oily?

The T-zone is a hot spot for excess shine, clogged pores and blackheads, as it has a higher content of oil glands producing more oil and sebum, leading to a higher probability of breakouts and clogged pores. 

How often should exfoliate?

There are two types of exfoliators: physical and chemical. Ie scrubs or AHA/BHA. Both do the same thing but I would recommend daily face washes with AHA/BHA as chemical exfoliators tend to be less intense and also more evenly applied. With physical exfoliation people can go a bit OOT on the application. s a result, going overboard on exfoliation can leave you with dry skin and cause more issues

What does exfoliating do?

Your skin has five layers to it, and the newest skin cells are at the base of that, as the cells mature, they travel from the base layer of the epidermis to the outermost layer. Once they make it to that outer layer, those skin cells are dead, exfoliation simply helps that natural process along which leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth and looking a little brighter.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a long, fibrous, structural protein which gives the skin strength and elasticity. Collagen is not just essential for the skin, but a vital component of the entire body. Your skin makes fresh collagen all the time and then as it gets damaged. Collagen product starts to diminish around our mid 20’s and is impacted by free radicals and lifestyle choices, such as smoking  

How can I avoid wrinkles?

Prevention is key, start looking after your skin from a young age and protecting it with a good skin care routine including a daily SPF. Wear SPF 365 days a year – no matter the weather or whether you are in doors. It’s one of the best habits to get into. There are some many basic rules we can follow too; drinking plenty of water. Water is essential to keeping the skin soft and smooth. Antioxidants can be found in both food and skincare, they are great at fighting free radicals. Finally Invest in advanced skin treatment such as peels, microdermabrasion and as you get older wrinkle reduction injectables which are one of the most effective treatments on the market. 

What should I do about dark spots?

Dark spots or hyperpigmentation are due to the overproduction of melanin in the skin, it can be caused by hormones and/or the sun. When it comes to dark spot treatments there are so many options out there that it can be hard to know where to start. First and foremost you should wear a high spectrum SPF. Two key products are vitamin C & A which will help from a skincare level, then looking at lasers, peel etc from a treatment point of view. There are prescription level products such as Hydroquinone or tretinoin which are very effective but must be administered by a medical professional. 

Why is my skin always oily?

Oily skin happens when the sebaceous glands in the skin make too much sebum. The causes of oily skin include genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. The oil glands are activated by hormones, including stress hormones, which are all triggered by not sleeping enough, overworking, and general stress. With environmental factors such as weather and pollution effecting your skin you should adjust your skincare, especially in the summer months. In hot and humid climates with foam or gel cleansers and lightweight moisturizers or serums. The good news is oily skin tends to have fewer wrinkles form as they age, IT is more moist, so it appears plumper and keeps the appearance of wrinkles at bay. 

Why do I have dark under-eyes?

There are a number of things that cause dark circles under the eye, the first foremost is genetics, which unfortunately is out of people’s control. Other contributing factors are sleep deprivation  and dehydration can cause your skin to become dull and pale, allowing for dark tissues and blood vessels beneath your skin to show. The undereye area is one of the thinner areas and is easily neglected in basic skin care but you have to be careful what products you use and build them up gradually. 

Are makeup wipes bad for the skin?

In a word, YES. Makeup wipes don’t really clean your skin. Mostly, they smear around whatever makeup, dirt, and dead skin is hanging out on your face therefore causing irritation. This is due to the need to apply concentrated surfactants, emulsifiers and high level of preservatives, therefore they can be drying and irritating. 

Can I reverse sun damage?

Prevention is easier than reversal when it comes to sun damage. There are options to treat visible aging from sun damage through skincare and treatments but you must commit to high-SPF broad-spectrum sunscreen on a daily basis. There are a long list of skincare products such as Niacinamide, Azelaic acid, AHA’s, retinols and vitamin C etc but I would recommend seeking a professional’s advice first. While the sun can also cause hyperpigmentation on its own, additional sun exposure can further darken spots. Always check ingredients of new products to see if there are any ingredients that may cause photosensitivity.

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