Posts tagged with "Acne"

Meet the woman who created ‘Skinstagrams’ and #free the pimple

January 13, 2021

Lou Northcote spent most of her childhood in Dubai flipping through glossy magazines and dreaming of becoming a cover girl. With a tall, thin frame; a beautiful face; and a modeling career that started when she was just ten years old, her fantasy seemed perfectly within reach.

“Modeling was my whole life, and I thought I would always do it,” Lou says. But when she was 16 and began getting acne, she was mercilessly dropped by her agency and pushed out of the industry, told not to return until she had cleared her skin, Women’s Health Magazine reports.

After moving to England for boarding school a year later, Lou’s breakouts went from bad to worse, and she soon found herself wearing makeup around the clock to cover up her cysts. “

Indeed, it wasn’t until six years ago that she felt comfortable going makeup-free. With the help of dermatologists, good skincare products, and some antibiotics, Lou’s acne started to clear up. And in 2017, a return to modeling seemed in sight. She was offered a place as a contestant on Britain’s Next Top Model, which she eagerly accepted. But as soon as she arrived on set, the breakouts reappeared.

“The first challenge was to take all of your makeup off and go bare-faced,” she says. “I just remember I kept apologizing for my acne, as though it were something to be sorry for.” Lou’s time on the show eventually came to an end, and she had to battle her acne all over again—and an entire country’s worth of television viewers had seen her pimpled skin.

When the first episode aired in the fall, the then-20-year-old was worried she’d receive hate and criticism from those watching, so she decided to take things into her own hands. “I thought, ‘I’m just going to post a photo of my acne and talk about my struggle with it and see if there’s anyone else out there like me,’” Lou says. Wearing a sweatshirt that had “Free the Pimple” emblazoned on the front, she snapped a selfie that showcased her acne-ridden face and shared it on Instagram alongside a lengthy caption detailing her fight against acne.

“I have heard it all before: pizza face, crater face, I’m ugly because of my skin, wash ur face, ur dirty, ur disgusting, ur greasy, etc., the list goes on and on,” Lou wrote—fully expecting the post to be met with mean or negative comments. Instead, the response was quite the opposite. Not only did she not receive any hate, but her bold move actually encouraged others to do the same, and pretty soon, dozens of others were taking to Instagram and Twitter to share their own experiences with acne.

In the following months, Lou continued posting about acne, taking her followers along on her personal journey and offering general acne awareness. But it wasn’t until she wrote the story, This model wants to #free the pimple, for i-D Magazine, published in April 2018,  that she started to see some real opportunity in so-called Skinstagrams.

With a goal of not just sharing her own acne battle but instead providing a forum for anyone to tell their story, Lou created the @freethepimple_ page and #freethepimple hashtag in August 2018. “It was important to differentiate it from my own personal Instagram because it wasn’t only about me and my struggles,” she notes. “It was an entire movement.”

Nearly two years and thousands of posts later, Women’s Health reports, Lou’s vision has indeed become a movement. “Social media is such an amazing tool, and I feel so lucky to have this platform,” she says. “If I’d tried to do something like this back in the day, I probably would have had to go petition parliament or something.” But rather than shout, “Free the Pimple” in the House of Commons, the model-turned-activist and her more than 43,000 followers, between the @freethepimple_ page and her personal account, have shared raw, unedited photos of their blemishes and embraced what’s long been treated like a plague for exactly what it is: just a part of life.

While Lou’s efforts have been instrumental in shaping the Skinstagram movement, she is now joined by a host of other activists and influencers, who are similarly using social media to bring acne into the mainstream. There’s Kali Kushner, the 24-year old behind @myfacestory, blogger Em Ford of @mypaleskinblog, and Costanza Concha of @skinnoshame, alongside thousands of others sharing their breakouts and acne journeys with the world. The acne-positivity movement has also been embraced by celebrities like Kendall JennerLili Reinhart, and Bella Thorne.

As Lou’s #freethepimple campaign has grown, so too has its purpose. She now seeks not only to normalize and destigmatize acne among her following but also to provide useful and accurate information in a sector where truth is often hard to find. “I really try to use my platform to educate people,” she says. “I’m lucky to have had access to all these dermatologists and all this different skincare, so I try to share that.”

That being said, she never tries to push any products on her followers or insist that they use one thing over another. Rather, Lou uses her accounts to identify various ingredients and explain their benefits, to discuss the lesser-known side effects of acne—like the excruciating physical pain it can cause—and even to determine which makeup won’t irritate acne-prone skin. After posting a recent series on foundation that can be used with acne, the #freethepimple creator heard from one appreciative follower, who for years had tried and failed to find a foundation that worked for her breakouts—but thanks to Lou’s reviews, finally had an answer. “It’s really amazing to think that I’m actually changing people’s lives,” she says.

Research contact: WomensHealthMag

Soaked to the skin: Why you could be applying too much moisturizer

November 4, 2020

If your skin is dry, the answer is always more moisturizer, right? Well, not necessarily. According to experts, there is such a thing as over-moisturizing your skin—and using too much lotion can do more harm than good, according to a report by Best Life.

“Yes, you can use too much [moisturizer],” skincare producer Garnier told the publication. “Facial moisturizers are designed to be concentrated, and applying more of a moisturizer doesn’t cause better skin results, Sometimes it can even do the opposite.”

Your skin knows to produce a certain amount of moisture on its own. However, “if you over-moisturize, over time, it will make your skin want to produce less moisture on its own,” says esthetician Nidah Barber-Raymond, owner of The Peel Connection in Beverly Hills.

“Overdoing it will send a message to your skin that it has enough hydration, proteins, and lipids and that it can slow down the production of these vital skin nutrients,” Barber-Raymond told Best Life.

Wondering if you’re moisturizing your skin too much? Here are the key signs:

So, how much is the right amount of moisturizer to use? Barber-Raymond told Best Life that using a “nickel size amount of moisturizer one to two times per day depending on your needs.”

Research contact: @BestLifeOnline

Could acne treatments be causing acne?

July 26, 2019

There’s a reason why Dr. Pimple Popper of TLC and YouTube fame gets almost 5 million views per video or show.

As Dr. Amy Wechsler, a New York physician who is board-certified in both dermatology and psychiatry, recently told the TODAY Show audience, “There are so many people out there who like to pop their own pimples—they’re usually smaller than the ones that are on these videos—and they get satisfaction out of seeing something come out from the body that they feel like doesn’t belong.”

In fact, a recent story in Medium’s health section, Elemental, reports that acne appears to be “more prevalent than ever”—among both teens and adults.

The Elemental story also cites a statistic from the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: Roughly one-third of adult women have acne, while only one in five men do.

Could that be attributed to the fact that many women have more complicated skin care routines—involving the application of multiple over-the-counter and prescription acne medications?

The dermatologists with whom author Markham Heid spoke for the article suggested that some of the most common and popular acne medications, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, might in fact be affecting the skin microbiome in such a way that acne bacteria is then encouraged to flourish.

Harsh cleansers might do the same thing, they said, as might certain antibiotics and foods. “What we put on our skin can improve or disrupt the survival of these [skin] microorganisms,” said one dermatologist.

“This is something we didn’t know before, but we’re paying attention to now.”

So maybe your next skincare routine should be … just water?

Research contact: @Medium

Acne can make you go bananas—in a good way

August 6, 2018

On average, Americans feel they experience five bad skin days each month, based on findings of a recent study of 2,000 adults sponsored by CeraVe and conducted by OnePoll. That means that in a single year, the average American will suffer from 60 terrible skin days.

It’s enough to make you go bananas—but in a good way.

Strange, but true: Anecdotal evidence shows, many who suffer from acne, oily skin, psoriasis, eczema——even warts and skin discolorations—have found that rubbing the inside of the skin of a ripe banana (one with dark spots) on your face can bring relief from the redness, inflammation, pain and number of occurrences of the problem.P

You cut the banana skin up; then, rub a piece of it on your face very gently. Leave it there for half an hour, after which you can wash it off with cool water. (You also can leave it there overnight, for good results.)

Among the hundreds of positive posts on the site,, are the following—many of them, from former skeptics and cynics:

  • Outstanding result: Last week, I saw the reviews about banana peels and I have started to use [to use the peels on my broken out facial] skin. OMG. The amazing results appeared. So what does it do to my skin? (1) Reduces inflammation incredibly. (2) Heals pimples greatly. (3) Empties blackheads from pores. (4) Gently exfoliates. [I recommend that} … you leave it on your skin throughout the night. Choose, use it, and love it. Toby_boy
  • Shook: To say I was skeptical of this is undermining how I really felt. I was just have a bad breakout week, as well as a rash from a medical. I was desperate and nothing else was working, so I … rubbed a banana peel on the spots for a minute; then let it dry and went to sleep.(Others did this three times  day, but I only had time to do it at night.) … Woke up [with] a significantly less red face and shrunken pimples. I continued this for three more nights and my skin is 60% better and [the] facial redness/rash is gone .… So give it a try! It can’t hurt and it’s natural! Serena_95
  • I am so [darn] happy: Really, my acne was [so] bad that I [was] depressed and didn’t even wanna leave my house. I refused to look in people’s eyes because I [felt] like they were judging me. Acne covered my cheeks and I have oily skin, so I [felt] very dirty and I had tried every single product, but no improvement .… And this works so amazingly! I have only been using this for two days, and it works. How I use: Pick a yellow banana peel and massage gently over my entire face and sleep with this. Remember, it’s just my skin and you are different … but I hope it works for you guys, too. Mooniey

Why does it work? According to the site, Live Science, a wide variety of health benefits are associated with bananas. They are high in potassium and pectin, a form of fiber, said Laura Flores, a San Diego-based nutritionist. They can also be a good way to get magnesium and vitamins C and B6.

“Bananas are known to reduce swelling, protect against developing type-2 diabetes, aid in weight loss, strengthen the nervous system and help with production of white blood cells, all due to the high level of vitamin B6 that bananas contain,” Flores told Live Science.

“Bananas also are high in antioxidants,” she said, “which can provide protection from free radicals, which we come into contact with every day, from the sunlight to the lotion you put on your skin.”

And here’s another plus. If you are upset about your acne, bananas can be helpful in overcoming depression—”due to high levels of tryptophan, which the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter,” Flores said. Plus, vitamin B6 can help you sleep well, and magnesium helps to relax muscles. Additionally, the tryptophan in bananas is well-known for its sleep-inducing properties.

Eaten in moderation, there are no significant side effects associated with eating bananas. However, eating the fruits in excess may trigger headaches and sleepiness, Flores said. She said that such headaches are caused by “the amino acids in bananas that dilate blood vessels.” Overripe bananas contain more of these amino acids than other bananas. “Bananas can also contribute to sleepiness when eaten in excess due to the high amount of tryptophan found in them,” she said.

Research contact: