I am frequently asked questions about the face – wrinkles, pimples and all, it comes with the territory of being a beauty blogger. I’m not a beautician or skin specialist so many of the questions I’m asked I’m not personally able to answer, but it is my job to investigate and find someone who can. I collected a number of the most frequently asked skin questions and took them to skin expert Emma Hobson.
Emma is the Education Manager (Asia, Australia and New Zealand) at International Dermal Institute. The International Dermal Institute trains over 75,000 Professional Skin Therapists every year and is at the forefront of research and development of skin treatments and techniques worldwide.
Emma has been in the professional skin and spa industry for over 28 years. Her diversified experience ranges from business owner to spa director, college principle to corporate manager. She has worked in several countries across the globe. Emma’s current role involves overseeing the five education locations in Australia as well as supporting distributor educational needs across the Asia-Pacific region.
Here’s my interview with Emma where we chat all things skin.
If you have a white head is it best to leave it or pop it?
Definitely leave it. The only person that should look at ‘lancing’ a white head/milia is a Dr or a trained Skin Therapist. The best way to treat them is through regular exfoliation. Applying a hydroxy acid booster each day would be an ideal treatment product.
If you are referring to popping a spot my answer is absolutely NEVER squeeze a spot. This is an inflamed lesion filled with bacteria and if you squeeze you can spread the infection, cause damage to the very delicate skin and end up having not only more spots but a scar as a result.
What is a milia, why does it appear and how do I get rid of it?
A milia or white head (known as a closed comedone) is where a plug of congestion (sebum and dead skin) has hardened in a follicle and a cap of dead skin cells has grown over the opening/surface of the follicle or the follicle opening is very small trapping the congestion inside the skin. Hence the top does not turn black like a black head. White head’s are commonly found where the skin is finer e.g. around the eyes and tops of the cheeks. They are a non-inflamed lesion.
What are black heads and how do I get rid of them?
A black head (comedone) is an over active oil gland (sebaceous follicle) that is clogged with oil (sebum), dead skin cells, tiny hairs, and sometimes bacteria that combine to make a plug. The surface of the plug being in contact with the air at the opening of the follicle oxidizes and turns black. That’s why when you remove a black head the top is back but the rest is a whitish colour. They occur due to dirt, oil debris accumulating in the follicle often from poor skin cleansing and exfoliation and incorrect product use, especially when using comedogenic ingredients in makeup, hair care and skin care.
Removal of blackheads: You can with caution extract blackheads. However I recommend you leave it to the professionals and take a visit to a skin care therapist as they can remove them quickly and effectively without causing any trauma or damage to the skin. Since a black head is the precursor to a spot they are better out than in! Instead look for treatment products that clear and decongest the skin such as overnight clearing gels, antibacterial skin wipes, and oil absorbing mattifiers that can be used throughout the day. Look for products that contain Salicylic acid, this is the only exfoliating ingredient that can work on the ‘inside’ of the follicle losing the impaction so the black head is released.
What products are best to zap pimples?
There are some fantastic products that you can put directly on a spot to help heal it quickly and effectively. Some are used at night and some throughout the day. A great daily treatment is an active spot recovery treatment that also contains a mineral/natural conceal make-up so it hides the spot but is not commedogenic as the majority of concealers are in make-up ranges.
They normally contain the following types of active ingredients:
- Alginated Zinc Triplex A combination of hydrolysed Algin (from brown seaweed) and zinc sulphate that has proved to show terrific antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action and reduces sebum by approximately 26%.
- Salicylic Acid A Beta-Hydroxy Acid that gently exfoliates the impaction that’s being retained within the follicle. A great ingredient to help loosen the black head without causing dehydration and tightness.
- Tea Tree and Cyclodextrin complex Tea Tree is an extremely effective anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial essential oil. At high percentages, it is necessary to protect the Tea Tree in a Cyclodextrin armour for maximum effective delivery. The delivery system breaks down when gently massaged in to the skin, releasing the essential oil in concentrated form. Studies on acneic patients show a 35% average reduction in breakouts when a 10% solution of this Tea Tree polysaccharide complex was used.
- Benzoyl Peroxide Benxoyl Peroxide is a chemical that introduces oxygen into the follicle thereby killing the bacteria. It also has the added benefit of causing a drying and peeling to pustules and papules. This treatment may be used at the 5% concentration (max concentration for and OTC cosmeceutical) directly over the affected at 8 hourly intervals.
Does eating too much chocolate really give you pimples?
No not really, for most people they can eat mounds of chocolate and not get a spot. That said, there is a possible link to it being a possible trigger for some, due to the stimulating effect on acne prone skin from the high content of processed sugars and the stimulants in chocolate.
Caroline Caperton, MD, MSPH, senior clinical research fellow in dermatology at the University of Miami states “Some of the ingredients in pure chocolate that might exacerbate acne are caffeine and its cousin theobromine, which is known to have pore-clogging properties”
Can stress really affect your skin?
Yes absolutely. Clinical studies indicate that between 40 and 55 percent of the adult population in the 20-40 age group are diagnosed with a low-grade, persistent acne and oily skin, so you are NOT on your own. The primary aggravating factor leading is stress and hormonal fluctuations. Stress acne is common on the neck and under the jaw as well as the forehead and more randomly dispersed over the face. Stress acne does not generally have the same severity as acne vulgaris (at puberty).
Name your top 5 beauty products for summer:
1.Tinted moisturiser with sun screen SPF 30+
2.Hydroxy acid exfoliant
3.Hydrating spritz toner
How often do you recommend Lipstick & Cake readers visit a professional for a facial treatment?
At least once every 4- 6 weeks. For the ‘budget’ consider mixing your treatments up by including some microZone treatments. This intensive skin focused treatment which is performed in 20 to 30 minutes, is great value, quick and easy with amazing results !
How often should we exfoliate?
It is dependent on your skin type, that said on average for a healthy skin, two to three times per week.
How do I get rid of frown lines without resorting to Botox?
1.You can take the long-term approach and use ingredients that work on correcting the signs of ageing, these tend to be the ‘active’ style treatment products that contain ingredients such as peptides.
2.You can use the ‘temporary’ fast acting products that work like an invisible layer of ‘elastic’ on the skin surface. These work for an hour or two.
3.You can consider a course of laser treatments.
4.You can have a course of micro current to help stimulate the muscle underneath to become stronger
For more information about the International Dermal Institute and your skin, head to www.dermalinstitute.com/au
Photo source: International Dermal Institute
So lovely reader, do you have any other questions for Emma?