Here at Space NK we’re lucky enough to work with some of the world’s leading skincare experts and have access to their high-performance, results-driven cosmetics collections. This week we picked the brains of the founders behind some of our bestselling brands and asked them for solutions to three common skin complaints, hormonal acne, dark circles and pigmentation. Find out what the experts had to say and their suggestions for happier, healthier skin.
Symptom: Cystic breakouts – specifically around the chin and jaw area.
Source: Recognised in the industry as hormonal acne, these cyclical blemishes are caused by fluctuations in your hormonal cycle, specifically an increase in the male hormone testosterone, and tend to appear once a month.
Solution: Dr Dennis Gross suggests that an ‘always on’ prevention strategy is most effective when it comes to beating blemishes and promotes the three-step approach below.
- Thorough cleanse: all acne starts with clogged pores. It is imperative to remove all traces of makeup and surface debris, especially before going to bed.
- Peel: incorporate an at-home chemical peel into your regime to remove dead skin and debris and to decongest pores to remove oil gland blockage.
- LED treatments: blue LED kills acne-causing bacteria below the skin’s surface. As soon as you start to feel a blemish, treat it with Dr Dennis Gross SpotLite Blemish Reducer, which will immediately reduce inflammation and decrease the lifespan of the pimple.
However when blemishes do pop up, tackle things head on with a targeted treatment high in salicylic acid – a beta hydroxy acid that can penetrate deep into the pores and dissolve the skin’s glue that causes blockages. Arabella Preston, founder of Votary suggests using salicylic acid delivered in a 100% natural plant oil as this allows the salicylic acid to penetrate and dissolve dead skin cells but without drying the skin out, which can often lead to further irritation and peeling.
“A 100% natural plant oil base helps to soothe the sore skin surrounding the blemish,” she explains “and not only is healing time drastically sped up, but the chance of scarring is reduced. Plus, bacteria are unable to breed in oil so that makes a 100% natural oil a sensible choice for blemish sufferers.”
Symptom: Dark circles
Source: “Dark circles can be hereditary and certain skin types are more susceptible to them,” explains Dr Gary Goldfaden. The darkness under the skin is caused by inadequate blood drainage from the superficial vessels under the eyes. Blood backs up into the lymphatic system, releases enzymes into the skin, and starts breaking down the tissue. Lifestyle can also contribute to dark circles, “exhaustion, seasonal allergies and substances like alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and red wine can all cause the veins under the eyes to dilate,” says Dr Dennis Gross, “when the veins dilate, they become bigger and darker and this is the darkness that you see under the eyes.”
Solution: Dr Dennis Gross suggests using topical eye creams containing vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, “both ingredients help to brighten the skin and impart radiance. Vitamin C helps build collagen so there’s a thicker barrier between the vein and skin and hyaluronic acid plumps the skin to decrease transparency.” Dr Gary Goldfaden recommends a combination of soy and rice bran peptides to help reduce venous blood clotting and increase blood supply to superficial tissues, increasing the natural firmness of the skin.
When it comes to lifestyle choices, try to cut back on caffeine, nicotine and red wine.
Source: The skin on the face is very delicate and therefore extremely prone to hyperpigmentation, which can take the form of dark discolouration, brown sun spots, and even scars from an old blemish. These patches occur when too much melanin, the pigment in cells designed to protect skin, has been produced. Melanin production is mainly triggered by over exposure to UVA rays, but also a change in hormones (from either pregnancy, the menopause or birth control pills), and also contact with environmental elements, such as pollution. More recently, over-exposure to Blue Light from phones and computers is also a factor that encourages the development of pigmentation.
Solution: While professional microdermabrasion, peels and lasers are the most effective way to reduce signs of pigmentation, there are also some at-home solutions you can try to help fade dark spots. The easiest way to protect skin is to stay out of the sun as much as possible and always apply a high factor, broad spectrum SPF. Dr Dennis Gross describes how regular exfoliation can help to reduce the appearance of pigmentation as it removes dead, dry, dark skin cells from the surface of the skin.
Try to incorporate anti-oxidants, such as vitamin C into your routine, as this will help to neautralise free radical damage and brighten up the complexion. Retinol is also key for targeting pigmentation as it helps to boost skin’s healing properties and encourages repair in damaged areas. Although it’s easier said than done in today’s busy working world, try to limit your time with technology as much as possible, switching laptops and computers off to give your skin a break.