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How To Approach Acne, Hyperpigmentation & Sun Damage, According To A Beauty Expert

Over the last few years, the skin positivity movement has helped us rethink the way we talk about and treat our skin. By seeing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema and hyperpigmentation represented on our screens, the language around skin being either “good” or “bad” is finally changing. 
But while we should be normalising real, unretouched skin, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to treat it. Sun damage, acne spots, and hyperpigmentation are all conditions that can cause scarring, blemishes, dark spots, and more — all of which often go hand in hand with anxiety.
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To learn why these skin conditions occur in the first place and how to manage them, we spoke with Joao Paulino, a skincare expert and product developer at Swisse Beauty

Sun Damage

We know that Australians spend a lot of time in the sunshine. But with some of the highest levels of UV exposure in the world, sun damage is a common skin concern. Apart from the obvious bright red sunburn seen on so many every January, other symptoms of sun-damaged skin include pigmentation, broken capillaries, age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. 
Although it’s been drummed into us since primary school, Paulino echoes the prevailing sentiment around sun damage: prevention is key. 
“Applying sunscreen correctly, daily is the most effective way to prevent UV-induced skin damage. The consequences of which can vary from premature photoaging to more serious health concerns such as melanomas."
On the skincare side of things, Vitamin C-infused products like Swisse Beauty's Vitamin C 10% Brightening Booster Serum also helps to protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier and provide antioxidant protection to prevent signs of premature skin ageing.
In addition to boosting your skin’s nutrients through diet and skincare, there are also a number of specific skin treatments that can help mitigate the effects of the harsh Australian sun.
Non-surgical procedures such as chemical peels can address uneven pigmentation, fine lines, and improve skin texture and tone.
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Acne

Acne has many causes, both internal and external. Hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis can create acne-prone skin. In this case, it's advised you reach out to a medical professional for help in balancing your hormones through diet, supplements, and exercise.
Topically, skincare that cleanses deeply and manages oil production can help to clear blemishes and blackheads.
Paulino suggests considering a targeted skin formula that's rich in scientifically backed ingredients to support the skin from lifestyle and environmental impacts. He also emphasises the importance of "cleansing morning and night to remove external impurities."
Although blemishes usually last for a few days, sometimes the scarring can leave its memory weeks or even months after the pimple has erupted. 
Paulino’s top advice, though? Don’t. Pick. 
“Not picking at acne is an important factor to reduce the potential of scarring,” he says.
Dermatologist-approved skin treatments such as skin needling, cosmetic peels, and laser therapy can also improve the appearance of acne scars. 

Hyperpigmentation

Another common skin condition, hyperpigmentation is where patches of skin become darker than the other skin surrounding them. 
“Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition in which the normal mechanism for producing the skin pigment, melanin, is disrupted. This can happen through various means: genetics, hormone fluctuations, skin inflammation, or even a combination,” Paulino says. 
Some skincare tips that can assist with hyperpigmentation include skincare containing ingredients such as glycolic acid, an active known for its skin renewing benefits.
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Paulino says, however, that you need to "be mindful that it may not agree with everyone’s skin, especially at different percentage levels. Given the potential for skin irritation, patch tests are always recommended, as with any skincare!”
Although skincare can be a supporting tool, Paulino tells Refinery29 Australia that formal medical treatments should also be taken into account. Qualified professionals, such as a dermatologist, can diagnose the skin condition and recommend next steps.
Overall, he notes that dealing with skin conditions is a “two-step approach” and we need to focus as much on our insides as our outsides.
“Don’t forget your lifestyle and diet! From repairing to skin ageing, what we eat and drink impacts our skin hugely,” says Paulino.
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