Spot Treatment Guide
Spot Prone Skin - treat spots with care to quickly eradicate them.
Skin type: Spot-prone.
Characterised by: Oiliness, blackheads and blemishes.
Routine: Keep your skin as clean as possible by using an antibacterial face cleanser twice a day, remove pore-blocking dead skin cells with a face scrub twice a week and draw out impurities with a clay-based face mask.
If you do get a spot, treat it with a spot treatment and products containing salicylic acid which can help reduce bacteria, open pores and keep skin free of dead cells.
Ingrown Hairs - Prevent painful bumps and ingrown hairs.
Ingrown hairs (or psuedofolliculitis barbae) occur when hair curls back on itself and burrows into its own follicle or into nearby skin. Though they’re especially common in men with curly hair anyone can get them and if you’ve been unlucky enough to have encountered one you’ll know how painful and unsightly they can be.
Luckily, special products are available to help treat and prevent ingrown hairs. Ingrown hair treatments usually contain anti-bacterial agents along with salicylic acid to help keep skin free of debris and dead skin, allowing hairs to grow naturally.
If you’ve a steady hand (along with 20/20 vision) you can also free ingrown hairs with the help of tweezers but as with most grooming nightmares, prevention is always better than cure.
N&J knowledge: if you’re prone to ingrown hairs it’s a good idea to exfoliate the beard area twice a week with a good face scrub - this will help keep skin free of dead skin cells and will help lift any hairs that are ingrowing.
Q. I have really bad blackheads around my nose and chin. What’s the best way to get rid of them?
A. If you're sufering from blackheads, you’re certianly not alone. Most people, even those with dry skin, will encounter them at some point. They form when a pore becomes blocked with sebum - the skin’s natural lubricating oil. This oil eventually solidifies to form a little plug which oxidises as it comes in contact with the air, and turns black. Since the skin around your nose and chin are especially greasy this is where they’re most likely to appear.
As well as being unslightly, though, blackheads can become infected and have a nasty habit of stretching the pores they inhabit leaving sizeable holes if left untreated.
To keep the blackheads at bay ensure skin is free of grease and grime with the help of a good cleanser and use a facial scrub twice weekly to remove pore-blocking dead skin cells.
It’s also worth using a face mask once as week to give skin a deep-down clean, draw out impurities and soak up excess oil. If all this fails, or you’re sitting there will a bunch of blackheads already and want to remove them get yourself a Merkur Blackhead Remover. A really nifty little grooming tool, it has a specially-designed flat loop that you simply pop over the blackhead and press lightly, gently forcing it out without you having to get your fingers - or a beautician - involved.
N&J knowledge: To make the extraction of blackheads easier try steaming your face over a bowl of water first - it’ll soften skin and relax the pores.
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Recommended products link: Blackheads.
Q. My face is prone to spots and my neck gets razor bumps ingrowing hairs and unfortunately I have to use an electric shaver. Can you advise on my facial cleaning routine, washes, toners etc?
A. First of all, don’t beat yourself up about having to use an electric shaver. A lot of guys who suffer from breakouts prefer using electric shavers for the obvious reason that they don’t slice the tops of spots. I’m a firm believer that if you find products or grooming routines that work for you should stick to them!
Dealing with spots is a huge subject in itself but the golden rules are not to pick at them, support skin’s natural repair process with plenty of sleep and a decent diet, avoid harsh products that leave the skin tight and dry (it’ll only make more oil to compensate) and target the problem with products specifically designed for acne or spot-prone skin.
Since good cleansing is especially important if you suffer from spots, it might be worth investing is a specialist cleanser like Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Purifying Daily Cleanser which washes away blemish causing bacteria, excess oil and impurities.
It’s also worth switching to an oil free moisturiser like Anthony Logistics Oil Free Facial Lotion to hydrate skin without adding any grease and using a face mask like Baxter of California’s Clarifying Mask once a week to cleanse pores and absorb excess oil is a good idea too. Or, if you want a ready-made regime Murad also have some great kits containing everything you need to tackle problem skin.
Razor bumps, on the other hand, are easier to deal with if you make a few adjustments to your routine and use the right products. Technically known as psuedofolliculitis barbae they occur when hair curls back on itself and burrows into its own follicle or into nearby skin. Though especially common in guys with curly hair, anyone can have them and having had a few myself over the years I feel your pain (literally!).
One thing that exacerbates ingrown hairs are dead skin cells, which can collect around the hair follicles and interfere with hair growth. Since you suffer from spots chances are you also experience greasy skin occasionally which compounds matters because excess oil acts a bit like glue, sticky dead cells and debris against your skin.
The secret to avoiding ingrowns is to ensure the follicles are free of this grease and dead cells is by using a face scrub twice weekly. Simply massage into the entire beard area (including under the chin and jawline) using gentle circular motions. Not only does this exfoliate skin it also helps free any hairs that have just begun to ingrow and lift any that might be tempted!
This is a simple remedy for most people but if you get regular breakouts the last thing you want to be doing is irritating them with gritty scrubs so in your case I’d suggest you use a liquid exfoliator like the Anthony Logistics Glycolic Facial Cleanser which contains glycolic acid – a great alternative to “physical” exfoliants.
Another product definitely worthy trying in your case is Shaveworks The Cool Fix which is aimed specifically at dealing with ingrown hairs.
As well as soothing irritated, inflamed skin and containing ingredients to kill bacteria (a bonus if you also suffer from annoying spots) it also contains salicylic acid and glycolic acids to help keep skin clear and minimise ingrowing hairs. I’m sure with these simple tweaks to your routine you’ll see a huge improvement.
Lee, Niven & Joshua Lifestyle & Grooming Editor
N&J Knowledge: For anyone out there who uses a wet razor instead I’d suggest investing in a good shaving brush. Because of their bristles they’re a fast, efficient and ultimately economical way of freeing up hairs and ridding skin of dead cells.
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