This is the second part of my new monthly series of guest posts with the gorgeous Eve from Eve Organics. If you'd like to read Part 1 and get to know Eve a little more, you can pop over to my interview with Eve from last month.

This month, Eve is sharing her knowledge on treating acne, and what to do once your acne has begun to heal.

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Acne can be extremely disheartening. If you suffer from acne, it’s likely you’ve had to work hard on your confidence levels, and, if you’re a female, you’ve also probably tried just about every anti-acne product and heavy-duty concealer that exists on the market. Right?

I suffered from persistent acne from around the age of 17 right through to my mid-twenties – and I, too, tried absolutely everything; at least in the early stages.

I was in my early twenties when I started Eve Organics; and it was at this point that I cut everything non-natural out of my skin care routine and started to ‘think long term’ and be a little kinder to my blemished skin. (That is; no more off-the-shelf harsh face washes, no nasty acne medications or creams, and no more ‘stripping’ my skin).

Once my acne healed (more on how this happened in a bit), I moved on to a new stage of acne treatment - I started using natural products to combat the scarring and uneven pigmentation I had left over. Because, as you’ll know if you have acne-prone skin, the journey doesn’t end when the acne goes away!

This blog post is about caring for acne-prone skin, at every stage of treatment.

Preventing acne before it starts – things you can do on the inside

One of the quickest and most effective ways to fight back against acne is to concentrate on balancing hormone production from the inside out. Most acne is caused by hormonal imbalance – generally, an over-production of hormones called ‘androgens’ (both males and females have these).

The contraceptive pill combats this issue – but it’s not suited to all of us. Another way of decreasing androgen production is to reduce your intake of sugar, dairy, and refined (i.e, white) carbohydrates – such as white pasta & bread. All of these foods encourage androgen production. If you simply can’t lay off the chocolate, then at least increase your fibre intake, as fibre helps to control blood sugar.

When acne is active

If you have active acne (i.e, whiteheads, inflammation, soreness), then the number one thing you can do is to not touch your skin whenever possible. This is so hard, but so important. Keep your hands off your face (even resting on your hand while you’re reading a book, for example, is a bad idea when you have acne. Our hands are covered in bacteria even at the cleanest of times – and you don’t need any extra bacteria on your skin.) The same applies to hair. If you have loose hair or a fringe, try to keep it as clean as possible and, if you can, keep it off your face with a pin or band.

Secondly – be very careful with exfoliation. Basically, you don’t want to do anything that’s going to spread the infection – so harsh scrubs should be avoided. That’s not to say that you can’t use a gentle, non-abrasive mask to withdraw impurities from the skin and help with detoxification. Mokosh's Face Cleansing Powder/Mask would be a safe bet.

Another thing you can do that will help, but takes courage, is to let your skin breathe. As tempting as it is to plaster on the makeup, it really doesn’t make your complexion look that much better (does it? Try it out – put a light layer of tinted moisturiser on instead of your usual full face of makeup – chances are it looks a lot fresher, even if there are some blemishes showing through). Avoiding heavy makeup – especially synthetic makeup that contains mineral oil and other nasty, pore-clogging ingredients, isn’t going to help your skin to heal. Give it a break, and if you have to use makeup, use natural makeup instead, and apply it lightly using just-washed fingers.

Finally – avoid harsh, stripping cleansers (hint: most ‘foaming’ cleansers fall into this category) at all costs. If you have oily skin with your acne, then I know that your knee-jerk reaction is to try to get rid of all that oil – quick smart. But that won’t help. For more info on why oil is good for oily skin, take a look at Kelsey’s recent article over on the Eve Organics blog. Instead, the name of the game here is balance. Use a cleanser that’s designed to restore equilibrium to over-active oil glands, and help the skin to balance itself out naturally. Mine (and Kelsey’s!) favourite cleanser for this purpose is the Blissoma Fresh Mild Rice Cleanser – but, any balancing cream cleanser will help.

After Acne

If your active acne has disappeared, chances are you’re jumping for joy. If you’re anything like me, then you’re so excited about your blemish-free face that you don’t even want to wear makeup anymore – because you don’t feel like you have to anymore. And that’s liberating!

It’s a wonderful relief to have overcome acne – but it usually doesn’t just disappear without a trace. If you had cystic acne, you might have some deep scarring. If your acne wasn’t so severe, you will probably still have some pigmentation and red ‘marks’ in previously affected areas. Luckily, there are natural ways to treat this.

Firstly, take it easy. Acne can ebb and flow – so don’t assume that, because you don’t have any active blemishes right now, you should immediately go out and get a harsh peel to fix the scarring. Take it slow, and continue to use a balancing skin care routine until your skin has been settled and acne-free for some time.

Once that’s happened, you can start to incorporate products that contain naturally brightening ingredients – like willowbark, alma fruit /indian gooseberry extract, citrus extracts, bearberry, and licorice.

You can also start to reintroduce regular exfoliation into your routine, since there should no longer be any danger of spreading infection. Again – take it slow. A gentle scrub once a week should do the trick, helping to slough away dead skin cells and keep skin clear. Try Fable Naturals Quinoa & Almond Fresh Skin Exfoliator.

Finally – love your skin, and treat it with kindness! You’ve heard the saying that acne-prone/oily skin in youth means plump, hydrated skin in old age. That might not be much of a consolation right now – but always keep the future health of your skin in mind, and don’t abuse it out of frustration. Overcoming acne takes a great deal of patience.

And most important of all, try to remember that nobody notices your acne as much as you do. That’s a promise. Concentrate on other areas of your appearance that you love – I used to take really good care of my hair when I had acne, and as long as my hair was shiny, healthy and styled the way I liked it, I felt much more confident; no matter what my skin was doing. Focus on the positive and play up your assets.

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