So you’ve been to the dermatologist and found out what kind of skin complaint you have. But how do you actually get rid of acne? Before you start trying to fix it with products, it’s worth putting some thought into environmental issues that may have been aggravating your acne. By environmental I don’t mean the climate, I mean your closer environment – your bathroom.
Firstly turn your attention to your make-up tools. Recent research from Superdrug beauty line B. revealed that in a poll of 2,000 women, 38% had never ever washed their make-up brushes! Just 4% of those questioned cleaned their brushes daily – meaning that the rest were blissfully unaware that bacteria from dirty make-up brushes are a common cause of acne. Washing your brushes every day sounds like a hassle but B. have launched a Spray on Brush Cleaner (£4.99) – which takes just seconds to use.
If you prefer to wash your brushes with shampoo, pro make-up artist and Facebar London founder Nicola Fiveash recommends mixing in a bacteria fighting ingredient: “I like to use a few drops of tea tree oil when cleaning my foundation and concealer brushes to give them added antibacterial quality.” Make-up brand Cover FX also sell a Blemish Primer Brush (£16). The bristles are treated with an antimicrobial formula for a hygienic concealer application and to prevent unwanted bacteria from touching your acne.
Next try to streamline your bathroom shelf. “A major contributing factor for breakout involves the products you use on your skin and hair. Many cosmetic products – shampoo, conditioner, soap, makeup – are comedogenic, meaning they are acne causing” explains dermatologist Dr Lancer. Too many comedogenic products will cause you skin extra stress so stick to as few as possible.
"Chuck out harsh, drying toners - there is no place for these in anyone's skincare routine, let alone if you have acne. They are inherently irritating and will make using therapeutically active acne treatments an uphill struggle in terms of tolerability" advises dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting.
Also chuck out any bars of soap and replace them with a pump liquid soap like Green People Anti-bacterial Hand Wash, £10.99.
You bathroom linen needs to be a priority too. Wash your face cloths, muslins and flannels after every use. To save you on loading a wash into the machine every night buy a pack of seven super soft bamboo muslins from Aurelia’s Probiotic Skincare (£18). Dr Lancer also recommends changing your pillow case every few nights to avoid trapped bacteria. “Avoid the use of fabric softeners too”, he warns. “On your towels and sheets they can clog pores and cause irritation.”
One last piece of advice from Dr Bunting: Put your magnifying mirror in the bin "no one needs one. And they're downright terrible for morale."