beauty

How to completely reset your skin after it freaks TF out.

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You know the times when your skin just decides to *freak* TF out? Like, it suddenly has a full on tanty for absolutely no reason and starts flaring up with cystic pimples, getting irritated as hell, or just flaking right off your face? 

How annoying. 

Dermatologists explain how to treat cystic acne.

The worst part? You don't really know how to fix it. So, you wildly start slapping on everything from acids to clay masks in hope of making it all better. But then you make it worse. Much, much worse.

And omg... isn't it Rachel's birthday next Saturday? And you now look like Two-Face? Sheesh.

Watch: Here are seven ways to improve your skin while sleeping. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

What you need friend, is to reset your skin.

The key here is to take it all the way down from meltdown mode by starting from scratch and using the right product and ingredient combo. And there's no quick fix - it can take some time to settle down.

The skincare ingredients people with sensitive skin should avoid.

To figure out where to start, we asked dermatologist Dr Katherine Armour from Bespoke Skin Technologies to give us her best advice on how to handle different skin issues.

So, here's everything you need to know to start fresh.

1. A massive breakout.

A breakout! How fun! And we're not just talking about the cute here-and-there pimpies that show up around your period. 

We're talking about those deep, throbbing, size-of-a-two-dollar-coin pimples that feel like you're growing a twin. 

Listen to Mamamia's podcast for your face, You Beauty, where we find out exactly how to get rid of blackheads. Post continues below.

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While it can be hard to know exactly what's causing your skin to flare-up, Dr Armour said it's worth trying to figure out what might be messing with your skin. 

"As a first port of call, try looking at lifestyle factors which may be contributing," advises Dr Armour. 

"Stress and inadequate sleep can both lead to elevated blood cortisol levels, which can trigger breakouts. Whilst dealing with stress can be tricky in today’s fast-paced world, prioritising your sleep can do wonders for your skin."

However, stress is not the only thing you have to worry about. (Yay!). Your diet might also be wreaking havoc on your skin.

"It's clear that high glycaemic index foods can contribute to breakouts in some individuals. Chocolate is a biggie in some people (sorry team!). If you’ve been out of sleep and binging of chocolate and coffee at 11am and 3pm to keep going, it’s going to show on your skin."

How to reset your routine:

Well, first off - don't go too crazy on the ol' actives. They'll end up doing more harm to your skin than good.

"In terms of skincare, it’s best to avoid the tendency to overdo the actives. We often reach for the deep pore cleansing foaming cleansers, and super-drying spot treatments to give us some relief. However, these harsher products often just make things worse in an already angry complexion," explains Dr Armour.

Instead, think of soothing, gentle ingredients that will nourish your skin, instead of stripping it.

"Acne is an inflammatory skin condition. So, your reset approach should involve soothing and anti-inflammatory products. Step away from physical scrubs!" said Dr Armour.

Scrubbing will do s**t all for your acne. Do not scrub your face.

In terms of cleansers, Dr Armour said to opt for those that are gentle and soothing. "There’s no need to use harsh foaming cleansers, as they’ll just irritate the skin between your pimples."

"In this situation, try Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, $11.99, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, $14.99 or La Roche-Posay Effaclar H Soothing and Hydrating Cream Cleanser, $19.39. If your skin tends to be quite oily, Bioderma Sebium Gel Moussant Cleanser, $27.99, is another great option."

When it comes to moisturisers or serums, Dr Armour said to look for those products with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as niacinamide, or green tea.

"Try Propaira Skin Defence Serum, $34.95, which is quite hydrating and contains 10 per cent niacinamide. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo Anti-Acne Moistursiser, $31.99, combines niacinamide with gentle ingredients which helps to deal with blocked pores. 

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If over-the-counter skincare doesn’t seem like it's doing enough to settle your breakouts after a month, it might be time to see a GP or dermatologist to discuss prescription retinoids.

"Breakouts make us feel bad, so on goes the full coverage makeup – especially if your days are spent in Zoom meetings! So, leave the makeup off whenever you can, and use non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic (AKA non-pore clogging) makeup when you do need to glam up."

2. Red and irritated skin.

Whether you've pulled a number on your skin barrier by using too many actives, have had a reaction to a specific product or struggling with rosacea, this is one skin issue that's hard to miss - because your face literally feels like it's BURNING.

"In this context, less is best while you repair your skin barrier. Avoid any fragranced skincare products, including those fragranced with essential oils. Essential oils and other fragrances are common causes of skin irritation and allergy," said Dr Armour.

Also, send ingredients such as AHAs, BHAs, retinoids, and vitamin C straight to the beauty bench. They'll do no favours for you if you have sensitive skin or an impaired skin barrier (no matter what the cause).   

How to reset your routine:

"Soothing and repairing your skin barrier is a priority in this situation," said Dr Armour. "Start with nourishing moisturisers containing ingredients such as ceramides."

Ceramides are basically fat molecules (lipids) that help the skin stay hydrated.

Wanna know which ones are best? Course you do.

"Simple, effective moisturisers which will calm down even the angriest skin include CeraVe Facial Moisturising lotion, Avene Cicalfate Restorative Cream, $17.39 (if you’re super dry), or Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream, $34.69. Bioderma Sensibio Anti Redness, $34.99, or Bioderma Atoderm Crème, $37.49, are also perfect when everything that touches your skin tends to sting.   

In terms of cleansers, you're going to want to look for those that are gentle, milky and non-foaming - so Dr Armour said to check out the above ranges - as these will remove makeup, sunscreen and debris from the day whilst soothing your skin and preventing it from feeling all tight and irritated.

Also! Don't forget sunscreen. Yep - still.

"If your usual sunscreen stings, switch to a physical sunscreen containing zinc and/or titanium dioxide as their active ingredients, as these should feel more comfortable," said Dr Armour.

"Great options are Invisible Zinc SPF 50+ Face and Body, $17.99, Ultra Violette Lean Screen SPF 50, $45, The Active Combat Stick by Bespoke Skin Technology, $65 and Dr Natasha Cook Cosmeceuticals Concentrated CC+, $75."

You'll need to do this for at least a month or so, so don't expect to see changes overnight. These things can take time - so be patient!

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"Once your skin has calmed down, you can try reintroducing your previous active skincare one product at a time," said Dr Armour.

Of course, if you think a specific product caused your flare-up, it's best to head to a dermatologist or skin health practitioner about suitable alternatives. 

3. Dry and scaly skin.

When you feel like a walking reptile, you know something's up. And it's usually a sign that you need to stop your current skincare routine. Like, now.

If your skin feels itchy, tight and ultra-dry, you need to switch things up and focus on using a super minimal, pared-back routine that uses gentle and soothing products to help relieve that itchy, tight feeling.

And while it's easier said than done, you should also try to avoid scrubbing the flakiness off. WE know it's hard. But you'll only injure your nice new baby skin that's sitting underneath! Ow.

"Avoid the temptation to try to strip off the scales as you’ll likely injure the delicate new skin beneath. The scales will slough away on their own as the skin heals," explains Dr Armour.

Instead, you need to be slow and patient with healing your skin.

How to reset your routine:

Chemical or physical exfoliants are a big no. HUGE. So steer clear of these. 

The name of the Dry & Scaly Skin Game is to soothe and repair your skin, so be on the lookout for those do-good products that contain ingredients like niacinamide, ceramides, colloidal oatmeal and green tea. These are your friend.

Your main goal, however? Moisturise. "More than anything, pour moisture onto your skin," said Dr Armour.

"My favourite super-soothing moisturisers are: Avene XeraCalm AD Lipid-Replenishing Cream, $27.69 or Avene Trixera Nutrition Nutri-fluid Balm, $22.99 for when you’re super dry (this can be used on face or body). You can then step down to Avene Tolerance Extreme Cream, $34.69, as things improve. 

"Cetaphil Face Rich Night Cream with Hyaluronic Acid, $13.99, will also help get the moisture where it needs to be.

"For an overnight moisture boost, I’m rather partial to Aspect Dr Probiotic Mask, $62. This can be left on overnight if needed."

Are you struggling with any of the above skin issues? Got any tricks you'd like to share? Tell us in the comment section below! Go on...

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Feature image: Getty