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How to beat skin and pore congestion after lockdown

How to beat skin and pore congestion after lockdown

Why looking after your pores is a first principle of natural beauty skincare

Why looking after your pores is a first principle of natural beauty skincare

Let’s face it, enlarged pores don’t look attractive. Nor do blackheads.

But how many of us give our pores the attention they deserve? Congestion – the blocking of pores – is often at the root of skin issues such as spots and breakouts so what skincare regimes will prevent that happening?

Dr Uliana Gout of London Aesthetic Medicine brings her scientific expertise and clinical experience to bear in answering your frequently asked questions…

Why do we get enlarged pores?

“First we need to consider the biology. Why do we have pores in the first place? Pores are simply openings through which hair follicles emerge, along with sweat and sebum (oil). Sebum helps moisturise the surface of your skin so it functions properly, so pores are vital to skin health.

Unfortunately, the oil-releasing pores, of which we have a lot on our faces, can become blocked with dead skin cells and impurities, such as make-up, which leads to blackheads and/or enlarged pores. Pores become wider if congestion is preventing the sebum from being released and doing its job.

So how do we get rid of them? Well, you can’t get rid of your pores but you can take steps to shrink them, and the best way of doing that is by keeping your skin clean, remembering to remove make-up before bed, and to exfoliate regularly so that the dead skin cells don’t cause any blockages.

We also know that sun exposure can exacerbate any issues with enlarged pores so it’s always good to wear SPF, even on cloudy days.

There’s also a little-known factor: the depletion of collagen. Collagen is what gives structure to skin, bones, and hair, to every part of the body in fact, but as we age production of collagen in the skin declines by about 1% a year – a process that can start from our late teens – and with a less stable structure wrinkles develop and pores can become enlarged. We apply collagen-boosting ingredients such as retinol to help slow that process down.”

Why is my skin so congested these days?

“We’ve all been spending a lot of time in our homes. In winter, the heating is on, we sweat more, our skin has to adjust to extremes of cold outside and heat inside. Also, our skincare routines have been thrown out of kilter by lockdown life, so we’re perhaps not cleansing as often or as thoroughly as normal. It’s easy to let your regime slip when your daily routine is disrupted. Mask mandates don’t help, either. Masks stop air getting to your skin and create a microclimate that leads to maskne, which is basically the result of congestion.”

With skincare, is it a case of less is more?

“It depends on what you mean by less. Doing nothing at all is not such a great idea because the simple fact of pollution means it’s important to cleanse and exfoliate. But yes, a lot of us have cupboards full of ‘miracle’ lotions and serums that someone has recommended, or we’ve seen in a magazine, and most of those are what I call ‘pampering’ skincare, in the sense that they feel good, and even feel like they’re doing your skin good, but are actually doing nothing at all. And quite often we yo-yo from one product to another, one brand to another, then wonder why we’re not getting the results we expect.

As a skin scientist I know that the key to better skin is to use fewer products and primarily use medical grade skincare. In other words, skincare that contains active ingredients that actually change your skin’s structure and function. Skin is quite a lazy organ, so you have to keep reminding it how to behave. Medical grade skincare has to be targeted, too, to address your skin’s needs.

At LAM Clinic we only use and recommend gold standard medical grade skincare. There are 6 products that form the core of our protocols: 1) medical cleansers, 2) chemical exfoliators, 3) humectants to maintain hydration, 4) medical grade SPF to prevent UV damage, 5) collagen inducers to rebuild the strength and structure of your skin, and 6) anti-oxidants to fight damage from free radicals.

It’s vital you have the right dosages and a pH formulation that works for your skin. The only way we can determine the precise dosages and combination of ingredients is via one of our hyper personalized consultations.”

Where am I going wrong? What skincare should I avoid?

“Oil-based skincare is very popular now but might not suit your skin and could exacerbate pore congestion. Bear in mind that efficacy claims are universal claims and your skin is unique. One size fits all skincare is a nice idea but in reality it’s not so simple.

A high price is not a good way to judge efficacy. Nor is newness. Just because something is new doesn’t mean it suits you. 

Be wary of mechanical exfoliators. Physical abrasion can cause unnecessary stress. Be kind to those pores, you need them onside! 

Be patient, too. Skin doesn’t respond well to constant changes in your routine or ever-changing ingredients. If you use a retinol-based product, don’t stop using as soon as you experience some irritation; that redness or mild irritation is usually a sign that the retinol is working, and exfoliation is taking place. 

Perhaps limit the make-up, and always wear a fresh mask every day.”

Can I achieve everything at home?

“In my experience, no. It’s vital to streamline your home routine and use medical grade products as directed – it’s probably 40% of your journey to beautiful, clear skin – but clinical treatments achieve the biggest gains and most fundamental changes to set you on the right path. 

Here at LAM, it all starts with our hyper-personalised consultation. I can examine your skin close-up, assess the relationship between skin, bone, fat and connective tissues, learn about your lifestyle, and so on. I even ask my patients to bring in pictures of their parents so I can anticipate how their skin and features will change with age. It’s a very detailed analysis and diagnosis, because it has to be. It’s a medical environment so we have to meet the highest medical standards, in terms of safety and efficacy.

Only in a clinic can we determine the correct pH formulation, so we know which products to use in the clinic and recommend the best skincare to use at home.”

What is a medical grade facial?

“It’s a powerful, tailored skincare treatment we provide in the clinic, which involves application of medical grade ingredients. It’s not a ‘pampering’ spa treatment although we do apply clay masks that will leave your skin feeling amazing afterwards. 

A typical facial begins with cleaning to remove oils and an exfoliating beta hydroxy acid peel with an ingredient such as salicylic to get rid of dead skin and thoroughly decongest those pores. We will also target any bacteria likely to cause spots then, when the pores are perfectly clear, we apply restorative medical grade humectants and antioxidants to create the optimum conditions for healthy, congestion-free skin moving forwards.”

What is medical grade skincare?

“Medical grade skincare changes your skin. I keep emphasising this point because it’s so important. The ingredients in medical grade skincare promote or inhibit specific skin functions, speeding up or slowing down the metabolism within the skin at various levels of the dermis and epidermis, rather than sitting on the surface doing very little. Yes, they are chemicals, but we’re all made of chemicals, so the key is finding the most effective ones, and as aesthetic medicine practitioners we’re highly trained to determine the best combination of ingredients for your skin.”

The answer to blocked pores is our LAM Glow Package

“One of our most popular treatment packages involves a series of 6 medical grade facials with a unique blend of pure lipophilic (lipid-loving) molecules to cleanse, exfoliate and decongest pores before your skin is infused with gently restorative humectants. 

We call it the Glow Medical Facial because our aim is to achieve that radiant, glowing complexion associated with youthful-looking natural beauty. We also recommend medical grade skincare to use at home to boost collagen levels and protect your skin from sun damage.”

Book now or call to ask for more information.

Glow Medical Facial Single treatment £320- Course of 3 treatments £864 (£96 reduction)

Photo courtesy of Alice Hart Davies @Thetweakmentsguide.com





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