Problem Skin: My Best Tips for Beauty Week on Modeltypeface!

I see myself as very lucky these days to have (on the whole) soft, blemish-free skin. Make up artists always comment on it, and generally guess my age at younger than it is (they’re the ones who are hardest to fleece!)

Why do I feel lucky? Well, I’ve been through the gamut of bad skin. Acne and eczema have plagued me, as has overly oily yet tight and dry combination skin. I’ve had skin that was so dry from acne medication that it was flaking off on shoots – not exactly gonna make you feel beautiful in real life – never mind a commercial – is it?!

This is, of course, advice from my own experience. Everyone is totally different, but it’s definitely worth hearing my tips to see if anything chimes with you. Having problem skin is really distressing, and, if you’re a model, it will directly affect your work. It’s worth reading this if only avoiding weird forums that will tell you that your head’s about to fall off.

I think there are three areas to combat with problem skin: your mental state, what you’re putting in your insides and what you’re putting on your outsides.

Mental Wellbeing:

When I had acne, I stressed. The stress affected my sleep and my eating patterns. It made me pick at my skin and then coat it in make-up every day, wear my hair over my face like Cousin It and buy every product going that promised me a blemish-free complexion.

Though none of these were direct causes, they were stressors. I’m not going to say ‘stop stressing out’. I know you can’t. But do try and relax, meditate, breathe. I can promise you that no one is looking at your skin in the same way you are.

Next, check out Pai Skincare.

paiI’ve met the founder of Pai, Sarah Brown, and I’m happy to report that she cares. She’s suffered with severe hives in the past and knows how debilitating bad skin can be to your confidence.

They take pride in a holistic approach to caring for skin, and their blog offers tonnes of advice. You can send an email to and get a mega speedy response from the team, and soon they’ll be launching a live chat feature to speak to the team.

Look at their site for a wonderfully inclusive, always updated bounty of information, no matter what problems you suffer with your skin.

And don’t be afraid to seek medical advice. Doctors generally take skin problems seriously, understanding how much effect it can have on one’s quality of life. But be warned – a lot of treatments are incredibly harsh, drying and have long-lasting effects om your skin (mine, for example, was red, flaky and sun sensitive after acne creams and anti-biotics).

Your Insides

Nothing has been conclusively proved as to whether diet affects skin, but I think that, if skin is causing you unhappiness and stress, it can’t hurt to take away junk.

If I were to now suffer with a particular skin problem, there are certain foods and drinks I’d cut out, and others I’d add.

I’d take away anything processed – junk food, ready meals, cereal bars, crisps, brownies, fizzy drinks, alcohol. Frankly, this will be beneficial to health, anyway.

If that didn’t work, I’d then look at cutting out dairy (especially milk) and sugar. I’m not saying that these cause spots in everyone, but they can be aggressors for some. It’s worth a try.

But it’s not just about what you take out! It’s time to up the water, the good fats and the omegas.

Avocados with their healing Vitamin E, Coconut oil with it’s anti-bacterial properties, eggs for their selenium…not to mention 2 litres of water a day to flush your system.

Lastly, I do take supplements. There’s loads of hoo-hah about them – are they a load of balls? But I notice the difference when I don’t take my Sea Kelp, which helps my hair and nails grow fast and strong, and Colladeen Visage. colladeenThis stuff is my secret weapon, rich in collagen boosting and sun damage-fighting green tea extract. Remember you have to take supplements for a few months to really see the effect. I definitely do see the benefits with these two.

I’d just like to end on a final note: I try to eat by this principle: “If you can kill it, pick it or grow it, eat it.” I’m not remotely ‘Paleo’ (you can’t eat peanut butter, FFS!) but the saying is meant to be a caveman sort of thing, and helps weed out the crap food choices.

However, if Green & Blacks had been around when Cavemen had walked the Earth, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have said no. A treat is not a sin, but it’s a treat because it’s an occasional indulgence rather than part of your daily diet.

Your Outsides:

A big mistake many of us make is to overload our skin with products, which makes it worse. I remember, when I had acne, I’d use a pre-cleanse, cleanser, exfoliator, toner, oil, serum, moisturiser, ‘on the spot’ treatment…it was ridiculous!

Strip it all away. Go with the bare minimum, and find out what works from there. Here are some things I’ve learnt along the way…

Avoiding water can help: As soon as my skin gets dry and aggravated, I stop rinsing with water. It can actually dry it out more. I switch to a cream cleanser, such as this one by Trilogy, and remove with a gentle spritz of Avéne Thermal Spray.
– Avoid harsh spot products: Your skin feels clogged and oily, and all you want to do is exfoliate and strip it away and combat that grease. NO! I’ve trialled this Avéne Cleanace Expert (btw, I promise they’re not paying me – they’re just really good!) on my boyfriend and it really worked.
– Serums: A serum is like a mega boost for your skin. When my skin is stressed, clogged or irritated, I prefer to use a nice, light serum and cut out the moisturiser. For spots I really recommend Pai’s Copaiba & Zinc Perfect Balance Blemish Serum.

This is so light and effective on the skin and is the holy grail of effective spot treatments: regulating oil balance whilst maintaining hydration and fighting infection.

In this article, I wanted to give everyone an overview of problem skin and how many ways there are of fighting it. Of course I’ll do future posts on specific areas – please do comment below if there’s anything you want me to explore in detail.

The most important thing about problem skin is not feeling alone. There are so many people out there who can help you, as well as tonnes of others suffering the same. If I made it through problem skin to the other side, you definitely can!

Rebecca x

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