Irritated, red, spotty skin - could it be dehydrated?

(11 Posts)
bertiebow Sat 12-Sep-15 12:33:08

My skin has been steadily deteriorating for the past year. Started off just getting a couple more spots than usual, but now it is irritated, red, inflamed and spotty. I have probably made it worse by changing routines to try and fix it.

Things that have helped:
- natural oils e.g. almond and grapeseed oil
- Lush Ultrabland (prob because of the almond oil)

Things that have not helped:
- any kind of traditional acne treatment e.g. benzoyl peroxide, Triacneal, Effaclar Duo

I used Triacneal and Effaclar duo after reading Sam Bunting's blog, but it immediately made my skin so much worse that I stopped (even though she says not to, I was too scared to carry on). It was making my skin really sensitive and it looked completely awful with loads of spots and tiny red bumps. It's still recovering from this and now I really don't know what to do!

I work in an air-conditioned office and I'm sure this is making it worse, as my skin improves when I'm off work/on holiday. I think it is dehydrated more than anything.

Can anyone recommend a very simple, kind routine to get my skin back into balance? At the moment it is very pissed off with me!

Sodder Sat 12-Sep-15 13:34:01

I can't offer any magic solutions but it's interesting that your skin started to deteriorate at a certain point in time. My first question re any skin changes is always this: Are you taking hormonal contraception because some people can take brand X for years and then suddenly for no apparent reason, their skin flares up so I'm wondering if it has anything to do with that. If it is that then your problem is hormonal and you need to go to the doctor and possibly change your contraception. Speaking from experience, hormonal contraception can make any skin sensitivities worse or create new allergies. Which is nice!

Regarding your office, if your skin is flaring up then dehydration will make it worse. You need to drink lots of water, I'm afraid. I also use Aveda Intensive Hydrating Mask but this has fragrance in it so I'd only start using it once you've got the other thing mentioned above and below sorted out.

Skincare: I used to think I had oily skin so I used like so many people the dermatological equivalent of paint stripper thinking this would help. It didn't. You might have irritated your skin by using more astringent products when the spots first appeared and the fact that your skin is red suggests an allergy to something. I'd try using the oil cleaning method on your skin. Use the search function on here and google. For many it works if they use a nice gentle non scented oil. I don't use OCM so you'll need to research this. If you can clean your skin using an oil which doesn't make your skin red then you can start to research moisturisers and treatments.

So, 1 - contraception, 2 - OCM and at work drink lots of water.

Hope this helps a bit.

Sodder Sat 12-Sep-15 13:37:36

Oh and I'd recommend keeping a food diary. Things to think about: Do you eat more of a certain thing at work e.g. sandwiches, drink certain drinks which when you're away from you either completely cut out or reduce your consumption of.

This might not apply to you at all but it's worth exploring all avenues.

bertiebow Sat 12-Sep-15 17:21:41

Thanks Sodder! I don't use hormonal contracpetion so it won't be that, although obviously it could still be hormonal somehow. I already drink a lot of water (prob 3 or 4 pints during a working day plus tea) , but the air at work is just horrid - the windows don't open and I work quite long hours and don't often get out of the building at lunchtime.

I don't think there is a food link as I tend to rotate between lunches, although I am now avoiding cheese as I've heard too much dairy can be bad for skin. I don't take milk in tea or coffee anyway.

OCM - yes, this could be good. Ultrabland was kind of like doing OCM. I am a bit wary of castor oil as that seems to be where people run into difficulties and it looks quite harsh/drying. Maybe I will go back to Ultrabland or just use almond oil on its own.

Also considering doing the Caroline Hirons routine (although mineral oil has always been ok on my skin so I won't ban it). The oil free routine that Dr Bunting recommends just seems to make it worse.

Any more advice welcome!

lucysmam Sat 12-Sep-15 17:32:53

What sort of moisturiser are you using?

bertiebow Sat 12-Sep-15 18:08:49

Moisturiser varies. When I was using the Effaclar, Triacneal etc. I used a non-comedogenic one by Mixa (French skincare brand) but it was sticky and weird and stung like hell if it got in my eyes. Recently have been using almond/grapeseed oil which works ok. Maybe need something more heavy-duty. I basically don't have a proper routine atm although I always cleanse before bed.

lucysmam Sat 12-Sep-15 18:55:24

I wonder if something layered under the oil might help.

Something with hyaluronic acid in it to draw the moisture from the oil maybe.

Or a serum with ha, then oil.

Something to help repair your skin's moisture barrier rather than anything stripping it. The benzoyl peroxide will be very drying & probably contributing to the overall dry/irritated-ness.

flamingnoravera Sat 12-Sep-15 19:01:16

Make up, concealer in particular can do this. Throw away anything that is older than 3 months. Wash all your brushes and steer clear of anything with nickel in it (including mineral make up powders).

bertiebow Wed 16-Sep-15 21:20:45

Sorry, I lost this thread! Lucysmam, actually I have been doing what you've said for the past couple of days and it has helped loads! I've basically been doing a knock-off CH routine, consisting of double cleansing with baby lotion (mineral oil, I know, but my skin likes it) then a mild acid toner, roseawater, a hyaluronic acid serum (£2 from SuperDrug and it really makes a difference) then a few drops of grape seed oil and a bit of astral (and collapse!). Same in morning except single cleanse and no oil. Has made quite a difference in 3 days, think it's basically rebuilding my acid mantle which was probably fucked.

lucysmam Thu 17-Sep-15 09:41:41

Oh good, glad to see something helping. I'd stick at it for the mo & re-assess whether you need anything else (i.e. aha/bha/tretinoin) when your skin's had a good recovery time.

I've found that once I stopped randomly using stuff to 'fix' my skin and started paying attention to what I'm using, it's the best it's been in years!

Fwiw, I have no problems with mineral oil either.

Are you using baby oil for your second cleanse? A micellar water or gentle foaming cleanser might be better - it'll take off any residue left on your face which should help further.

Also, pop the oil on top of the Astral - it'll seal it in rather than the cream sit on top of the oil.

chanie44 Thu 17-Sep-15 10:29:57

I always thought my skin was oily, but discovered it was dry and dehydrated.

I now use a serum and moisturiser for dry skin, which has helped.

I also use a natural cleanser which has helped with the irritation.

Change one product at a time and see how you get on.

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