It’s National Spa Week (3rd until 7th Nov 2014) and the perfect time to find out what spa and salon treatments work best for acne prone skin.
Today we speak to beauty therapist and natural beauty expert Esther Cooney from www.thebardsmistress.co.uk who knows a thing or two about treatments to reduce the appearance of acne and to help balance the skin.
Would you recommend a facial for acne treatment? If so, what kind?
It is important to choose a facial that is suitable for your skin type. If you suffer from acne, opt for a calming, gentle facial that doesn’t incorporate too much facial massage as this encourages the skin to be active, including the oil glands. Ideally, your therapist will understand your skin type and wouldn’t introduce facial massage if your skin doesn’t require it.
If you can afford it, it is worth seeing a beauty therapist you trust on a weekly basis until your skin has balanced itself. However, this is of course costly and time consuming, so alternatively, I advise my clients to come every two or three weeks and have a more in-depth cleansing routine at home.
Which other salon treatments are beneficial for acne skin?
Be gentle on the skin and don’t go for treatments that are quite harsh such a microdermabrasion. Also, although you may feel more confident with a tan, just be aware that too much sun exposure will aggravate the problem. However, it is good to just get out in the open air to boost your Vitamin D (or take a Vit D supplement) as it can really improve your skin health. It is so important to find a beauty therapist who is knowledgeable. Try and get a recommendation from a friend or family member as that is always a good start.
Alternatively, find someone locally and when you meet your beauty therapist, make sure you feel she is actually listening to you when you’re talking her through your skin problems. A good beauty therapist will understand the importance of an in-depth consultation and will provide you with great advice, even before the treatment takes place.
What common mistakes do people with acne prone skin make when it comes to their skincare routine?
Those who suffer from acne prone skin often over-cleanse as they want to get rid of that greasy, oily feeling. They will wash their skin too often or use wipes that contain alcohol, which strips the skin from its essential oils. This is all counter-productive as over-cleansing actually simulates the oil production.
My mantra is ‘less is more’; wash your face with a gel cleanser that is SLS free and hasn’t go much alcohol in it. In addition, it is so common to see spot prone skin being covered with heavy make-up that doesn’t let the pores breathe, which can aggravate acne as well.
Another issue is false advertising. You will see adverts on the television for ‘natural’ products that are gentle on the skin, but if you would look at the ingredient list you will find that they only contain a few natural components whilst the majority of the product is made up from chemical ingredients. If you have unbalanced, acne prone skin, it is worth doing your research and opting for truly natural skincare brands that work in harmony with the skin.
Why do you feel natural products are a better option when trying to reduce acne?
Natural products are more gentle on the skin and are free from stripping agents, which are known to stimulate oil production. The reason natural products are just that little bit more expensive is because the formulations are often more complicated, containing a much higher ratio of active ingredients compared to ‘normal’ products. Also, all natural ingredients – such as grapeseed oil and evening primrose oil – have been thoughtfully put together to work in synergy to help balance the skin, which is key to getting acne skin under control.
What should you do when you feel a pimple under the skin? Are there any tricks of the trade you can share?
You should always make sure to drink enough water during the day. The more water you take in, the more active your lymphatic system is, which will help to flush out toxins, including those that cause pimples. Don’t touch a pimple, but instead put an anti-blemish treatment on it. Also, taking extra Magnesium, Vitamin D, Omega 6 and 3 and flax seed can be beneficial as well.
If you suffer from acne, what skincare regime would you recommend?
You can have the same cleansing routine in the morning and the evening when you have acne prone skin. I would advise using a gel cleanser that helps balance the skin, followed by a toner and then a product that contains oil to hydrate the skin. To avoid shiny, oily skin during the day, apply an oil control lotion. You can exfoliate every other week, when the skin requires it, and apply a tailored clay masque made of green clay mixed with white tea once a week as well. It is always worth asking advice from a qualified beauty therapist if you want to know which products to use as it is important to purchase the right brands and products for your skin.
Which skin care products are best for acne prone skin?
I recommend using natural products with balancing properties. When using clay, make sure that you don’t leave it on the skin until it dries as it draws too much moisture from the skin. Keep the clay wet as that’s when it is active and beneficial to the skin.
When visiting a spa, should you go into a sauna or steam room when you have acne or should you avoid it?
Both a sauna and a steam room stimulate the skin, which is not great for those who suffer from acne. You can have a sauna or steam treatment, but make sure not to stay in there too long. Around 5 minutes is long enough so make it short and sweet!