Skin Positivity and Acne


Embracing imperfections is not something that comes naturally to me, or indeed many women, it seems. So it’s no surprise that the Skin Positivity movement has been so warmly received and has gathered such momentum. It’s the lack of kindness that gets me the most. Cruel or thoughtless comments of the acne-orientated variety literally crush the human spirit. I know from experience, it’s happened to me. I’ll never forget exiting from a long-haul flight to see a boyfriend post exams only to see his face register my bumpy, inflamed skin and look somewhat….disappointed. Spirit crushed like a bug.

With increased dialogue, comes a shift in attitude and a greater willingness to share the many ways troubled skin impacts on quality of life. Increased awareness reassures you that you’re not alone, that the problem spares no-one (celebrities and models included) but most importantly increases dialogue about proper solutions. So much mythology exists around acne treatment, and a lot of this stems from the feeling that it’s a beauty problem, rather than a medical one. But good, science-based skincare really is the route to happier skin, with results that can be sustained – and that’s vital. Because ultimately the best way to acquire true Skin Positivity is to have skin that doesn’t need thinking about.

Screen Shot 2018-04-12 at 09.50.45.png

How I Hold It Together - Stress Awareness Month

 I’ve decided to resuscitate my blog. Ironically at the beginning of April, which marks the beginning of Stress Awareness Month. There does rather seem to be an Awareness day for just about everything these days, but this seems rather a major feature in my life at the moment, so I thought I’d share what helps me unravel the knots in my shoulders, the whirring sound in my brain and generally help me keep my sh*t together on a trying day. 


I’ve always been a stress bunny. And I recognize the patterns I can spot in myself in lots of the women I see in clinic. Jaw clenches. Sleep quality plummets. Worries and anxiety mount, and hurtle around on a loop until they completely derail your higher cognitive processes, making decision-making a nightmare. Skin gets dry/bumpy/red/unhappy. Retinoids and good moisturiser can only help you get away with so much if the stress persists, after all.


So to make my decision-making easier, I’ve finally got myself an organizational tool (Evernote)I can stick to (I have a number of abandoned ones with half-finished to-do lists cluttering up my phone that just didn’t click). And I’ve mastered the art of not saying yes to everything. That was a hard one, I’m not going to lie….


And that when I’m feeling really troubled, the only thing that reaffirms life is the euphoria that follows  physical activity to the point of exhaustion (Psycle), accompanied by electro-beats. And short, effective yoga routines (BohoBeautiful) I can do anywhere stop my computer arm cramping from overuse.


And with all of that, I might get a decent night’s sleep. Which is the key to it all. And maybe there’s something that comes with the realization that stress is an inevitable part of life. Just the right amount helps us perform, achieve our goals and satisfy ambitions. But the big stuff, the stuff that really knocks you for six, is the stuff you don’t see coming (Baz  Luhrmann wisdom –  EveryoneShouldWearSunscreen). But maybe by practicing good stress management most of the time, it can become a habit; one that makes you that little bit more robust in the face of true adversity. Wishing you all a stress-free April!

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 00.42.37.png

How To Not End Up A Hot Mess + Care For Your Skin After Hot Exercise

Keeping fit has become a sticky business of late –  it makes sense, as you are bendier and less likely to hurt yourself when everything’s warm’n’limber. But staying beautiful (especially if you’re headed back to the office after a reviving mid-day work-out) becomes a challenge. Especially, if you suffer from acne. This is clearly a recurring phenomenon – in my recent visit to Psycle (THE place to get your groove on whilst having a massive endorphin hit) I overheard exactly 3 women bemoaning blemishes during the time it took me to go to the loo. Girlfriends who do Bikram say the same thing. Here’s my plan for keeping it together:





1)   Keep make-up light on work-out days – use a non-comedogenic, light-textured tinted moisturiser (love Nars). Conceal where needed (Vichy Dermablend Foundation Stick won’t block pores and can mask Vesuvius – a must-have in your kit). Skip powder + use blotting papers if 11 o’clock shine is a problem (love MAC ones)– you can work with base that isn’t powdered; you can’t when it is. And of course, keep eye make-up to a minimum – curl lashes and use only waterproof mascara, obv.


2)   Hair up – loose topknot works best. Bobble water for hydration. Forget face.


3)   Blot face. Inspect the damage. If you’ve kept it light, you should just be able to touch up your base/concealer where needed. Blusher should be unnecessary. A bit of lip-colour and you should be all set. For body, I think wipes are acceptable. If breakouts are an issue, use a medicated one like Murad Clarifying Wipes or get Stridex Acne Pads from the US. For hair, spritz volumising spray on roots (I like PhytoVolume Actif Volumizing Spray) and use dryer and round brush to get a bit of root lift and restyle front sections of hair. Blast it underneath near the nape of the neck.


4)   Work on your complexion – don’t acquiesce to breakouts; get a plan. This will save you so much time in the long-run, not to mention free up valuable headspace for much more important things (like what colour to get Lexie workout gear in). Get a kit together consisting of something like: La Roche Posay Physiological Cleansing Gel and Effaclar Duo and Effaclar H (for day). Swap Effaclar Duo for Avene Triacneal at night. And of course a broad-spectrum sunscreen that works like primer (MUST be non-comedogenic). If that isn’t improving things, go see a derm.

Originally posted on : 15/03/14 Dr Sam Bunting Word Press

Is Your Make-up Bag Ruining Your Skin?

A woman’s make-up bag is the cornerstone of handling the ‘no-time’ trend – whether its about finishing lipstick application ‘dans la tube’ or transitioning from a day-to-nighttime look in the office loos.  However its important to manage this vital toolkit wisely, especially if prone to problem skin. Think about an item like a compact foundation – incredibly convenient for touch-ups, but that applicator is in constant contact with both hands (which may, or may not be clean) and face (oily t-zone, anyone?), so will rapidly become dirty and a breeding ground for bacteria.

There are some key steps to avoiding skin issues due to the murky depths of your make-up bag:

1)    Wash brushes once a week in gentle shampoo to avoid the harbouring of acne-promoting bacteria.

2)    If using a compact foundation, be scrupulous about sponge hygiene. There is nothing ickier than a sponge in need of a bath.These are breeding grounds for bugs, so wash regularly, allow to dry thoroughly and replace frequently.

3)    Choose products that are non-comedogenic, especially if looking for longlasting products to survive the full work day. I see a lot of patients with a condition called perioral dermatitis – red bumps around the mouth that look like acne – and their cosmetics almost invariably play a role in this annoying and frequently recurrent disease.

Besides: if your make-up promotes blemishes, you will end up spending more and more time covering up your skin in the morning – a rather futile spiral.

4)    Avoid putting fingers into a jar of cream, however indulgent that might feel. Use a clean spatula to decant product hygienically.

5)    NEVER use saliva to wet make-up brushes or correct make-up mishaps. The mouth is a dirty, dirty cavity.

6)    Don’t borrow or lend make-up, especially eye products. Conjunctivitis is highly contagious and leads to a red, sticky eye (not attractive).

7)    Finally, pay attention to the physical properties of your make-up. Unfortunately many cosmetics don’t have an expiry date. Liquid foundations and mascara have the shortest shelf-life – they should be replaced after as little as 3 months. If a foundation changes texture or a mascara acquires an unusual odour, it’s time to bin it. Bacteria can colonise products and the preservatives might not be work quite as well as they did when you first opened it – so to reduce this risk by seeking out products in a pump, rather than in a pot or open-necked bottle.


Originally posted on : 5/7/14 Dr Sam Bunting Word Press