This might surprise you but coconut and rosehip oils aren’t the cure-alls they’re made out to be.

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Most of us will do anything for a clear complexion. But as anyone with acne-prone skin will tell you, getting rid of blemishes – permanently – is far more complex than Photoshop’s ‘blur’ tool or an artful concealer application might suggest.

From ‘miracle’ products that might be aggravating (instead of alleviating) the already-bumpy road to clear skin, to the foods that can actually complement all those lotions and potions you’ve been applying, dermatologist Dr Hanna Kuchel tells us once and for all what will help address your skincare quandaries – and simply, what won’t.

First of all, Dr Kuchel says, if you have oily skin, step away from the coconut and rosehip oil.

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“These are beautiful products, but not for people with oily skin. They are anti-inflammatory and great for people with dry skin – but they do cause problems for people who are prone to acne,” says Dr Kuchel.

“You should also avoid high GI foods – they’re processed and packed with refined sugar. These foods put you blood sugar up, which can lead to inflammation, which can then lead to – or aggravate – acne,” says Dr Kuchel.

So it’s not fried foods or chocolate, per se, that’s giving you spots – despite what your grandmother (and well meaning strangers) might say. It’s the spike in your blood sugar levels that can cause infalmmation. The more you know, right?

“Instead, opt for low GI foods – things like brown rice and protein – which will keep your blood sugar nice and stable.”

As for dairy, “there’s been research out recently that says there is some correlation with acne, but it’s not too bad,” says Dr Kuchel, so before cutting out an entire food group (it’s a bit of a dramatic, you guys) consult your health practitioner if this is the right way forward for you.

Otherwise, “if you get red skin and flushing, foods like chili can cause rosacea.”

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But, as we all know, health is a delicate balancing act. One thing won’t change your life. But a few things working together will. Skincare is no different.

“When it comes to choosing the right food for better skin, you’ve got to think about the whole diet. If you have the correct amount of vitamins and minerals in the body, your skin should be okay,” says Dr Kuchel, who says that fish oil supplements are also an excellent anti-inflammatory agent.

Another common mistake Dr Kuchel sees in practice are people with acne-prone skin over-washing – or under-washing – their face. The former can dry out the skin, and the latter doesn’t give the skin an opportunity for cleansing. It’s a fine line, we know.

“Make sure you are using gentle skincare and an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturiser, and that you don’t over-expose your skin to sunlight. Daily sunscreen application is also extremely important (it must be oil-free, though) and is great for anti-aging and protecting your skin from rosacea.”

And as for the million dollar question – will wearing makeup to the gym aggravate the skin? – Dr Kuchel says no, it’s fine.

“As long as it’s light and non-acne forming you can wear what you like.”

Well, there you have it.

October 25, 201612:13pm

beauty | body+soul

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