I am asked how to manage skin conditions on a regular basis. Sometimes it is a straightforward question however often queries involve more than one skin issue such as received this e-mail from a young woman living in Europe. She is moving back to Australia and had some questions about how to manage her skin. What I love about this e-mail is that the writer wants to work out what is really going on with her skin rather than just relying on temporary solutions (antibiotics). She wrote that she also eats a good diet and exercises which is not only great from a wellbeing perspective but helps with skin complaints for so many reasons.

I was wondering if you could recommend a regime for my very sensitive and acne-prone skin? I am currently living in Europe and tried using the Dr Hauschka products Sensitive skin(Ed note: as with any product they suit some and not others. Dr Hauschka generally has excellent feedback) for oily/blemished skin a couple of months ago, however whether because of stress or the weather or the new products (not sure what) my acne has become so severe that my doctor convinced me to take an antibiotic to help it. I am moving back to Australia next week and am searching for a new skin care regime – in the long run I really want to treat my skin problem naturally and I know the antibiotics are only a short term fix. My acne is almost exclusively around my chin and jaw-line, and although the rest of my skin is also oily it rarely gets blemishes. However the skin on my chin is often dry and flaky (as well as red and inflamed…) and I find it difficult to exfoliate it without irritating the existing blemishes. I am at a loss as to what else to try in order to clear up my skin. Any advice would be much appreciated!

My reply was as follows: I think a couple of things are underlying your skin issues. Firstly it sounds like the acid mantle of your skin is unbalanced thus producing dry and oily sections. This needs to be repaired in order to balance out your combination skin. This would also account for the sensitivity – without an effective acid mantle there is a greater likelihood of skin reactions. To balance out the acid mantle you need a very gentle cleanser that allows the skin a quick recovery to its normal pH after cleansing and I also recommend a balancing serum or lotion.

In addition, breakouts around the chin area tend to be related to either digestive issues or hormones. If it is hormonal, you will notice your skin is worse around your period or ovulation. If not then it may be related to digestive issues. While somewhat strange to ask about via e-mail, think about whether or not your digestive system is as good as it could be and if not, it may be an underlying contributing factor to your skin issues. We can look into this in more depth when you come to Brisbane.

Using the antibiotic will help initially but as you say, eventually you want to treat the underlying issues. Taking probiotics will help overcome any issues with taking antibiotics.

Your diet sounds good so it is unlikely to be the issue however, I can send you a copy of our Vitale Clean Skin Diet if you would like to read it and in addition I recommend Karen Fischer’s Book, The Healthy Skin Diet. It is excellent and covers nutritional issues as well as dietary ones.

The products I recommend are:

Remedica Anago Black Soap – very gentle, this cleanser is has mild antiseptic qualities, is mildly anti-inflammatory and allows the skin a rapid recovery after use. It is ideal for oily and blemish prone skin.

Serum for acne prone & sensitive skin

Serum for acne prone & sensitive skin

Remedica Clair Visage – a balancing serum ideal for skin that is dry and oily. It helps heal, reduce inflammation and balance oiliness. Only half a pump at night is needed so this will last around 5-6 months.
Third Stone Botanicals Cederwood Moisture Gel – a light daytime gel that protects and balances oily skin

Initially I don’t recommend you use an exfoliant. Your skin is too sensitive. Once it has healed ie acid mantle repair and the inflammation has reduced, you can use a very gentle one such as Third Stone Botanicals Almond Rose Exfoliant.

Treating skin that is sensitive can be so tricky. I have one client at the moment and we are going through a process of elimination both with skin care products and diet & lifestyle. Sometimes it just takes finding the right products and sometimes it requires a more in-depth approach with nutrition, diet and lifestlye changes. However, I find the first and often most effective step is to stop the use of all products that contain synthetic ingredients, SLS foaming agents and strong fragrances. With the young woman above, we will see how she goes with natural, low or no fragranced (and certainly no artificial fragrances) products and therapeutic serums to manage both the sensitivity and the breakouts.

I would love to hear what experiences you have had with using products on your skin issues…dry, sensitive, oily, breakouts. Share what you have used with me and the Vitaleblog readers. And if you have any questions about skin issues, I would be happy to answer them.

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