Like heartbreak and taxes, there are some universal beauty issues we’re all guaranteed to face at some point in our lives. Cracked, dry lips? Been there. Oil slick skin? Done that. Hormonal breakouts? You bet.
But just because these skin problems are common, doesn’t mean you have to put up with them. We spoke to some clever experts about how to give these skin issues the flick.
Are you going through lip balms faster than lattes? You can blame the weather for that.
“The skin of our lips is generally quite vulnerable to the effects of the environment and chapped or dry lips can be caused by exposure to the cold air in winter or sun exposure at any time of the year,” explains Dr Alexandra Varol, fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists and Principal Dermatologist at The Alexandra Clinic.
“Prevention is better than cure, so protect your lips year round with a moisturising lip balm with a high SPF. Re-apply the balm throughout the day if you are susceptible to dry lips. Avoid lip licking, stay well hydrated and follow a balanced diet,” says Dr Alexandra.
While it’s mainly a winter skin concern, dry skin doesn’t discriminate and can make an appearance whenever it damn well pleases.
According to founder of Skin By Sarah Hudson and skin expert, Sarah Hudson, you should steer clear of hot showers that can strip the skin of its moisture and replace coffees and teas with hot water with a squeeze of lemon, which is great for cleansing and ensures you’re upping your water intake.
“My medi-clinic has an oil that’s rich in vitamin E and I always prescribe that my clients add half a pump of this into their regular moisturiser as it adds extra nourishment the skin often needs when it’s dry,” explains Sarah.
“Also, apply a face mask rich in essential fatty acids and once a week leave the mask on overnight, it really hydrates your skin. Look for products with nourishing ingredients - like essential fatty acids and shea butter - that are going to mimic the natural oil of your skin.”
Dark under-eye circles
Do people often ask you whether you’re tired despite you getting eight hours of blissful sleep every night? Dark under-eye circles, we’re looking at you.
So what exactly causes those pesky circles? Well, aside from lack of sleep, stress and dehydration, there are a few culprits.
“Dark under-eye circles are often an inherited tendency and pigmentation due to excess melanin production, which can be genetic, hormonal or sun-induced, can darken the skin around the eyes,” says Dr Alexandra.
To minimise their appearance, get plenty of shut-eye and apply sun protection daily.
“Improving the appearance of the skin beneath the eyes can be achieved by targeting the cause of the change. If it's due to increased visible vascularity, then use of a vascular laser or IPL can reduce the redness by constricting the vessel,” explains Dr Rachel Manifold, dermatologist from the Australasian College of Dermatologists.
It’s like clockwork: at a certain time in your monthly cycle, big, hurty pimples rock up on your face uninvited. Hello hormonal acne, old friend.
“Hormonal acne may relate to menstruation, pregnancy, menopause or medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. The appearance and site of hormonal acne varies between individuals but it can range from small blackheads and whiteheads to severe cystic acne,” explains Dr Alexandra.
While any attempts to control your hormones, and in turn, hormonal acne, seem futile, there are some products you can use to manage the severity of breakouts.
“Mild acne may be improved by over-the-counter acne cleansers and topical treatments containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For more severe acne, it's best to seek advice from your general practitioner who may recommend further investigations, oral medications or a referral to a dermatologist,” explains Dr Alexandra.
Have you noticed that as you age, pimples leave behind a pink or brown mark on your face that’s not quite an acne scar but it’s not pigmentation either? Meet post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
So how can you fix it? First of all, prevent the problem from worsening by quitting picking at your pimples immediately (we know it’s hard).
“PIH is generally in the upper cells of the skin, the epidermis, so using a lactic acid exfoliant works really well. Also, specialised IPL with a practitioner that’s fully qualified (if you’re unsure, ask for their level of certification) can really help,” explains Sarah.
Look, pores are a part of life. That poreless, face-tuned look you see on Instagram? It’s just not achievable in real life, so don’t ruin yourself trying. But if your pores only seem to be getting bigger, there are some measures you can take.
According to Dr Rachel, enlarged pores can be minimised by cleansing twice a day to reduce any trapped gunk.
“Topical cosmeceuticals that contain alpha hydroxy acids or topical retinoids can also help to reduce the size of pores,” explains Dr Rachel.
Skin so oily you could fry an egg on it? We feel you. To fix it, you need to start by re-evaluating the cleanser you’re using.
“Don’t use soaps or harsh cleansers that strip you of oil as your skin will produce more oil as a result. Instead, opt for a cleanser that contains alpha hydroxy acids as they’re fantastic for oily skin,” explains Sarah.