If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that recently I have been struggling with bad skin. I have never really struggled with spots, even as a teenager, and so this breakout of spots, pimples and black heads has been very unusual for me. I have not changed anything about my skin care or make up routine and I always make sure my pillows and towels are clean and fresh. I have, however, narrowed it down to two culprits – sweat and stress. I thought I would share with you guys to science behind sweat, stress and spots and some of the products I have been loving and have really helped me with my breakout.
Before we begin, I thought I would share some pictures of my skin during the breakout and after two weeks of doing this research and making little changes to my skin care and lifestyle. Here we go…
2 weeks ago
Two weeks later
2 weeks on my skin isn’t quite back to normal but I think it is looking at lot better. I still have some spots but they are a lot less red and swollen. My skin does not feel half as sore as it did 2 weeks ago!
So let’s get down to business. Here is the science behind what I think may have been causing my spots.
One of the reasons I may not have suffered with spots during my teenage years if because I never ever broke into a sweat. The closest thing I exercise I got was walking to the fridge and surprisingly this rarely caused much of a sweat. Don’t get me wrong, I was a sweaty child. When I did do sports (reluctantly, of course) you would be forgiven for assuming I had just stepped out of the shower. I have always been quite sweaty (grim) so I just avoided all forms of physical activity at all cost. Unhealthy, overweight but my skin was a smooth as a baby’s bum.
Now, however, it is a very different story. I train a lot and I have yet to grow out of my excessive sweating when I do so. The sweat itself isn’t really the problem according to science. Sweating helps to regulates your body temperature and signals your body’s ability to hydrate. It is full of water hydrates, minerals and salt, which naturally exfoliate the skin whilst the urea and uric acid can help with dry skin and dermatitis.It also helps to flush out any impurities and does wonders for your skins pH level.
However, (DISCLAIMER: this is about the get gross, please do not judge me) it is when the sweat is left on the skin for a prolonged period of time the problems can start. Yes, I know I should jump straight in the show after my gym class but sometimes (okay most of the time) this doesn’t happen. I either run to my next class or do not have time to shower and then redo my makeup and hair before my important date with a coffee shop and revision. Basically, this means all the grime and make up and gross stuff is left just sitting on my skin. It then settles back into the skin causing spots, black heads and increasing the size of your pores.
Most concealers and foundations products are designed to be noncomedogenic (this is fancy talk for ‘they don’t clog pores’) but when the sweat combined with these products your face becomes air-tight, preventing your pores from breathing. On top of all that, you will probably (definitely) touch your face at some point during your workout, or even wipe your sweat with a towel, which can both introduce dirt and bacteria. According to science, we should be washing our face fully both before and after a workout. This means people are going to see me without make up on… doesn’t it?
It is not that any of this was shocking or revolutionary information but I never leave the house without make up on. This is not because I particularly enjoy caking my face in foundations and concealer every single day but I simply do not have the confidence to do any other. It resulted in a vicious cycle of wanting to hide my skin, which caused more spots and then wanting to hide my skin even more. Anyway, I have been braving it. I have gone bare face to the gym (or just used a super light powder) and made sure I carry make up remover to clean my face with after the workout. It is a lot of messing around, I’ll be honest, and it does mean having to give myself a bit more time before heading off to get a coffee but if it is going to help my skin I guess it’s worth it…
It is probably going to come as no surprise that stress can cause spots. Stress presents itself differently for different people. I can’t say as I particularly felt stressed during at all during my exam period, however, that does not mean that it was not manifesting itself as spots. So how does stress lead to spots? Well, stress-related hormones for example cortisol leads your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. More oil results in your skin being more prone to acne and generally more sensitive to the outside world. On top of all the sebum (lovely image…) the sebaceous glands are also immune organs, which pretty much means they can lead to unwanted swelling and redness.
All in all, stress is not great for your skin. This was not quite as simple to deal with as ‘stop being gross and wash your face’. Unfortunately I could not pull out of my exams due to a couple of spots. I just made sure I was getting as much rest as possible during periods of high stress and stayed hydrated. Wasn’t going to secure me a first but I definitely think taking more care of myself on the inside helped with how I looked on the outside.
Products I have been loving
During the last 2 weeks I have tried to keep any face products to a minimum and have kept make up off of my face as much as possible. However, I do have a few of product recommendations that have been my go-to’s over the last 2 weeks.
This product has been an absolute god send! This one product both cleans, cleanses and moisturises my skin. I find that this product removes my make up better than anything else and I have also been using it after my work outs just to freshen up my skin and wipe off any sweat and grime. It’s super affordable, fragrance free and dermatologically tested so is great if you have sensitive skin. I genuinely believe I have this product to thank for the improvements I have seen in my skin over the last 2 weeks.
If you have been following my blog for a while then this will come as no surprise to you. I absolutely love these products and everything the company stands for. I have been raving about them for weeks and weeks and they have really helped to clear up my sweat damaged skin! I know they are a little pricey but I really think they’re worth it and I don’t mind investing in good quality skincare if it does the job and these products certainly do! After trying (and loving) the products I was offered to join their ambassador programme (eek!). I am super happy to say that I am now able to offer you guys 15% off using the code JJ so go and take a look. I do earn a little bit of money if people use my code so I would really appreciate it!
I promised myself that I wouldn’t wear any make up at all in the day but as it turns out… I am weak. I found that going bare left me feeling really rubbish about myself and I spent the whole day self conscious. I decided that as much as I didn’t want to be caking on my liquid foundation, I was going to need something to help with my confidence whilst still allowing my skin to breathe. I picked up the Bourjois Health Mix press powered in shade 01. The coverage is subtle and matte, whilst still giving your skin a radiance without being shiny. It helped smooth out the appearance of my skin and yet I didn’t feel as though I was clogging up my pores. This powder feels super light on the skin but has pretty good staying power. It’s still of vitamins and although I’m not exactly sure what they do it sounds pretty good, right? This product is £9.99 and comes with a mirror and little applicator (although I use a powder brush most of the time) so you can just chuck it in your bag. It also makes a great setting powder for if you are going for a liquid foundation base. I love this product and I will definitely not be going back to a liquid foundation as my daily go-to.
I adore LUSH products so when this was recommended to me I had to try it. I was a little worried about it making my skin worse but I did a tester and had no reaction so went for it. I’ve only used it once and so I definitely want to continue trailing this product before giving a definitive opinion, however, so far I really do like it. It helped to clear my skin and brighten up my dull and tired complexion. As with all LUSH products, it smells delicious! It is infused with peppermint oil as well are marigold oil, chlorophyllin, primrose seeds, aduki beans, honey and other delicious and natural ingredients. You have two options to choose from. I went for the self preserving form (this basically means it keeps itself clean without synthetic preservatives) because I prefer a wetter texture rather than the kind of face masks that dry when applied. Apparently apart from the texture the results are the same so it just depends on your personal preference. It comes in at £12.50 for 315g, which is the medium sized tub and I would seriously recommend it if you are having troubles with your skin.
So there you have it, some of the lessons I have learnt and the products I have been using to help with my skin over the last few weeks. The fitness world often ignores the not so pretty side of training and, for me anyway, spots have definitely been a main one. I guess this is partly my fault but I just never really thought about it. I was complacent that I had made it through my teenage years without spots so I was going to be in the clear. Turns out I was anything but in the clear.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and maybe even found it useful. I’ll be back the same time next week so stay tuned and in the mean time head over to my Instagram and give me a follow for daily updates.