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Promotional Content • Saturday 9th January 2021 Beat breakouts

Consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall reveals everything you need to know about acne — causes, treatments, tips — and the pandemic-induced ‘maskne’ phenomenon. Words: Emma Gibbins


f you suff er from acne and have recently noticed your symptoms worsen, you’re not alone. “When wearing masks,

the skin can become hot and this moisture with excessive oil and skin cells can block pores and exacerbate acne,” Dr Justine Hextall tells me. “By occluding the skin there may be changes to its natural microbiome, disrupting the delicate skin barrier. T is can exacerbate acne and other infl ammatory skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema, as well as increasing skin sensitivity.” Although there haven’t been many peer studies in this area, Dr Hextall confi rms that silk masks may be preferable to those made of other materials because of silk’s breathable, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Having had clear skin throughout

my teenage years, when I reached adulthood I began to suff er from acne — something Dr Hextall says is quite common. “Some of the biggest triggers include hormonal changes associated with stopping the contraceptive pill to start a family and post-partum and peri-menopausal hormonal changes.” T e fi rst two steps are to fi nd

Acne-free skin PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY

out what’s triggering the acne and to look at your skincare routine. After explaining to Dr Hextall

that cleansing my skin made it feel tight and dry, she told me that this usually suggests a change in the pH of the naturally acidic skin barrier. “Once that pH changes, there’s often increased transepidermal water loss, leaving skin dry and irritated,” she said. “T e skin may well produce more oil to compensate for that dryness.” I book in with Dr Hextall for a

mandelic peel and phototherapy light treatment at the clinic. “A mandelic peel is anti-infl ammatory and will turn the skin cells over, as well as helping to unblock pores and resolve pigmentation issues,” she says. Since I have fair skin, I’m more likely to experience redness than pigmentation, but my skin could pigment if I’m out in hot weather. “If you have a peel during summer, it’s important to use sun cream,” Dr Hextall adds. A pro peel is applied to get my

skin ready for the acidic mandelic and salicylic peel. Discussing other treatments, Dr Hextall tells me she usually treats acne with a combination of a retinoid and benzyl peroxide. If she does prescribe antibiotics for acne, she usually starts with a low dose doxycycline, favoured for its anti-infl ammatory benefi ts. T e salicylic acid, which helps to unblock pores, and the azelaic

acid, which has calming and anti- infl ammatory properties, are then dotted onto spots with a cotton bud and left for seven minutes. My skin is then exposed to a mixture of blue and red LED light. “Broadly, the blue light targets the breakout, and the red light is anti-infl ammatory,” Dr Hextall says. T is is the fi rst treatment of my

six-week course, but Dr Hextall tells me that this will vary from person to person. “It’s important to manage expectations, tailor the treatment to the individual, and be prepared to change direction to fi nd the best solution,” she says. “Beware of being off ered miracle solutions.” Dr Justine Hextall has worked

as an NHS consultant for 16 years and trained at St John’s institute of Dermatology.


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ACID REFLUX PROBLEM FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE’ Linda found a way to cure her acid reflux. This is her story.

Some time ago I began to suffer with acid reflux. I had a burning sensation in my throat and chest, which gave me a lot of discomfort.

I woke up in the night because of the irritation, then found it hard to go back to sleep. Perhaps it was an inevitable part of aging?

My doctor prescribed medication, which caused me to have an upset stomach. I took the medicine, but was not happy to read the long list of negative side effects.

When I read about the IQoro I was initially very sceptical. How could a piece of plastic possibly cure my problem? But I was unhappy with the idea of taking medicine for the rest of my life. I decided to give it a try; at least it couldn’t do me any harm.

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IQoro is a neuromuscular training device that strengthens weakened internal muscles in the swallowing process; the root cause of acid reflux, snoring and swallowing problems.

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Valid until 30th Jan 2021


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