Skincare and acne myths!

As someone who has suffered with acne throughout my teenage years and early adulthood I know how frustrating it can be. This week I am going to set straight some of the myths surrounding acne and skincare. I know that many of you will relate to this given almost 90% of you will have experienced at least some spots by the age of 24.

What causes acne?
Firstly a short explanation of what happens to our skin to cause acne. Acne is caused when hair follicles in the skin become blocked. Sebaceous glands are tiny glands found near the surface of your skin, these attach to the base of the hair follicles and stop the skin from becoming dry by producing an oil called sebum. If the gland produces too much sebum this can become mixed with dead skin cells and plug the follicle. This area can then become inflamed and bulge giving a pimple or spot. Normally harmful bacteria that occur on our skin can play a role in this inflammation. Factors that play a role in the development of acne includes hormones,

Acne Myth busting ��

Acne is for teenagers- Myth
Acne often presents in the teenage years however the condition can actually develop at any age. In adults there are two subtypes: ‘persistent acne’ that continues from your teenage years and ‘late-onset acne’ that begins after the age of 25. Common causes of acne include hormones, your genetic make-up, certain medications and also smoking.

Acne is genetic- Fact
Your genetics play a major role as to whether you are likely to develop acne. Some studies have shown suggested that nearly 80% of acne cases is due to genetic inheritance. One study found that if both of your parents had acne, you are more likely to develop more severe acne at an early age. The study also found that if one or both of your parents had adult acne, you are much more likely to get it. Thanks Mum and Dad!

Acne caused by unclean skin- Myth
Over production of sebum by the sebaceous glands is the primary disorder, which is mostly caused by hormone levels. When pores become blocked they become inflamed and present themselves as spots. This is not due to being unclean or poor hygiene, which is both a frustrating and misleading myth. This is not to say however that keeping your skin clean and using cleansers is not important.

Chocolate makes acne worse- Myth
This has been a long standing myth that has now been gladly banished, especially for chocolate lovers out there. Research suggests that diet plays far less of a role in acne than we first thought and that hormones and genetics are much more important as a causative factor.

Acne is contagious- Myth
Acne is not an infection and therefore is not contagious. I can't be clear enough on this one.

You should still moisturise acne prone skin- Fact
Our skin is a protective layer and needs to be looked after carefully, moisturising is a part of this process and does not cause or worsen your spots. Even oily skin needs moisturising as excess oils do not equate to effective skin hydration. I advise using water based moisturisers that are kinder to acne prone skin.

Don’t squeeze spots- Fact
Squeezing the spots is not going to speed up the recovery or resolution of the acne, in fact often it makes your skin look worse. More importantly squeezing and picking spots makes scarring more likely.

Avoid make up- Myth
There is no need to avoid make up. Often people choose to cover up spots with make up to improve self confidence. It is important to choose the right products in particular opting for oil-free foundation or BB cream for coverage.

I hope the above tips have been useful and that we have banished a few myths! As always please see your doctor if you have any symptoms or concerns.

Avoiding the runs 💩

If you are unfortunate enough to end up with travellers diarrhoea, it really has the potential to spoil your day, even your whole trip for that matter. There are a few simple tips that can help prevent you from getting caught short.

  1. Avoid buffet food which may have been left our for some time, allowing bacteria to grow. Opt for piping hot fresh food instead, much safer and less likely to cause issues.

  2. Be wary of salads, these can be a source of troubled if not prepared in a clean uncontaminated area.

  3. Stick to bottled water as tap water can be a common cause for a runny tummy

  4. Avoid ice cubes as these are often made using that very tap water.

  5. Be extra careful to wash your hands after using the toilet and before and after preparing food, sounds obvious but lots of people still don’t do it.

Treating Travellers Diarrhoea

If despite your best efforts you do have diarrhoea whilst on your travels there are a few things you can do to help. Most cases are mild to moderate with less than 6 stools (💩) in 24 hours and therefore clear fluids with the addition of rehydration salts will help to keep hydrated. Be careful to prepare rehydration drinks using bottled water, sounds obvious but it is an easy mistake to make. Antidiarrhoeal medications such as loperamide can help with both the cramps and number of trips to the toilet, easing your symptoms and reducing the risk of dehydration. If you do become more unwell, particularly if there is blood or mucous in the stool and particularly if you have fever or vomiting then please seek medical attention. Best not to take any chances.

If you do have any symptoms or concerns please remember to speak to your doctor. I hope you have found the above tips helpful😊

Schools (nearly) out for summer! Your travel essentials before jetting off in the sun✈️!

I loved going travelling on my gap yeaaaarr (sorry had to) but in all honesty when it came to putting a first aid kit together I had no idea. Now to some the idea of a first aid kit sounds a bit lame bit I can assure you of two things. Firstly when you are abroad getting destroyed by mosquitos and you pull out insect repellent you will be heightened to a godly status amongst your travel buddies. Secondly there is nothing more attractive than a night in shinning armour who comes to save the day with a plaster, just saying.

First aid kit must haves!

  1. Insect repellent - there are few things more irritating than being eaten my mosquitos on holiday. Generally products containing DEET are most effective and once sprayed should last 6-8 hours. Always check with your pharmacist if the product is suitable for you.

  2. Anti-histamines- Well worth bringing with, as well as helping with hay fever they are useful for any minor skin allergies while abroad, especially if you do end up reacting to a few mosquito bites.

  3. Anti-diarrheals- Getting the runs on holiday can really spoil your trip. In addition to drinking bottled water and eating fresh food only it is alway worth bringing anti-diarrheal medication. Loperamide is often effective and can reduce the frequency of trips to the loo.

  4. Pain relief- definitely bring some over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol and ibuprofen. It can be really difficult if there is a language barrier abroad and you are trying to purchase even the simplest medication. Best to have this at hand, especially for those morning after headaches.

  5. Antiseptic wipes, plasters, bandage tape and scissors- You will be surprised how many cuts and scrapes you may get even on the most unlikely of holidays, better to be safe than sorry!

  6. Condoms- don't leave it to your mum to sneakily slide them in your suitcase, stock up and take with. There is no shame in being safe.

  7. Oh and don't forget your suncream!

This should be a good basis to your first aid kit, you can taylor your equipment depending on your destination.
Please visit your doctor if you have any symptoms or concerns and always consult your pharmacist before starting any new medication. Safe travels!

How to deal with first day at school/villa nerves 😧

There will be loads of times in life where we go into a new unfamiliar situation, whether you are off travelling or it’s your first day at university or work. I remember how worried I was going into the villa that I would not be able to find common interests or connections with the other islanders. This is a natural fear and something we will all face in our lives. Ultimately these situations are character building and strengthen us as individuals. Here are my top tips at beating the nerves and mastering these situations.

  1. Plenty of shut eye the night before- being well rested before going into a new situation means your mind is much more likely to be focused as well as relaxed, making those awkward slip ups about how old you are or where you are from less likely.

  2. Skip the coffee- When we are nervous and anxious our body is kicking out a load of adrenaline as well as other hormones to put us in a ‘fight or flight’ state. Now this would be useful if you are about to wrestle a lion however not so useful when going into a new social situation. The caffeine within coffee and other energy drinks exaggerates these effects, making you feel more on edge and worsening the nerves.

  3. Check the dress code- nothing makes your stomach sink quite like turning up and finding out you have dressed inappropriately. I mean imagine turning up to the villa in a suit…. That being said always better to overdress than the opposite, dressing down an outfit is easier than trying to smarten one.

  4. Know your audience- this gives you plenty of time to learn the lingo, like ‘peng sort’ for example. Whoever you are meeting it always looks good to know a little background, it can help with those potentially awkward conversation starters.

  5. Be yourself! I know this is flavour of the month but it is so true. If you are going to be spending any length of time with people then who you are will quickly become apparent. Remember the loudest people are often not the most confident and those who say the least can also be the ones with the most to offer. Ask plenty of questions and listen and engage with the people around you and before you know it you will be settled in fine.

Best advice from Sunburn

Nothing worse than being caught red handed, or quite frankly getting roasted by the sun. Sometimes even your best intentions fall short, I mean I wouldn't know of course but if you do end up a little red here are some useful tips-

  • The exposure of UV radiation in sunlight damages DNA which causes inflammation and redness (plus usually a world of pain).

  • First tip- Cover up ASAP! Even suncream will not completely protect your skin from further damage, so rather than trying to soldier on, stay in the shade and stick some clothes on.

  • Cool down- we call this a cool compress but essentially it means dunking a towel in cold water and place this over the area. A 15-20 minute Luke-warm shower can also be of help.

  • Be gentle with your skin! Avoid scrubbing your skin with a towel post shower, gently dap and save your skin further irritation.

  • Aloe-up- Aloe vera not only has cooling properties but anti inflammatory too, a life saver if you have ended up looking pink.

  • Numb the pain- Non-steroidal anti inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen reduce inflammation and reduce the pain, use this as instructed on the pack for at least 48 hours. Paracetamol will help with pain but not inflammation. Always check with your doctor before taking any medications.

Finally- take it from me, sunburn can have serious consequences, it ages your skin and increases your lifetime risk of skin cancer. Stay safe and use plenty of suncream.