How To Stop Spot Breakouts From Ruining Your Skin On Holiday

Sunscreen, excess oil, and sleeping under air-con can play havoc with your skin on holiday. Here's how to stop it.

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Your bikini collection is complete and the flamingo pool inflatables are packed, which means the sun-soaked holiday you've been waiting for, for what seems like forever, is finally here.

Out of office = ON.

But with the sun, sea and endless cocktails comes a whole host of skin problems like dryness, dehydration, increased oiliness and probably the most irritating of all, breakouts.

Dealing with spots should not be on the agenda when you're trying to relax, so we asked the experts exactly how to combat them.

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Crystal clear skin on top of that healthy glow? Um, yes please.

Choose Your Sunscreen Carefully

Applying sunscreen is non-negotiable on a sun-drenched holiday (in fact, anywhere) but if you're prone to breaking out, it pays to invest in the right formula for your skin.

'Avoid using petroleum-based products, opting instead for feather-light, non-greasy-textured, non-comedogenic lotions that have specifically been developed for oily skin,' says Harley Street skin expert, Dr. Gabriella Mercik.

'Cosmeceutical ranges such as BDR combine active ingredients with mineral sun-blocking filters to provide broadband protection against rays while soothing and moisturising the skin, as well as deflecting heat away from the skin to allow cells to heal themselves.'

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This is something aesthetic doctor Dr. Natalie Blakeley of the Light Touch Clinic seconds. 'Look out for sunscreens with an oil-free formula and pick up those that are not water-resistant,' she says.

'While water-resistant formulas keep the sunscreen on your skin, they also trap any excess oil underneath, which can lead to breakouts.'

But if you're on-the-go, Dr. Blakely suggests keeping a brush-on sunblock powder in your handbag to keep excess oil from ruining your pictures. 'It applies just like a regular powder for a matte finish, but provides protection from the sun.'

Try...

- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Invisible Face Mist, £14

- bareMinerals SPF30 Natural Sunscreen, £25

- Heliocare Advanced Gel SPF50, £18.90

Avoid Sleeping Directly Under Air-Con

There's nothing more satisfying than escaping to an ice cold room after a day spent basking in the sun, but sleeping directly under harsh air-con can dehydrate the deeper layers of the skin, exacerbate sebum production and cause those dreaded breakouts.

'Extreme heat in comparison to the cool breeze of air-con can play havoc with our skin,' says Dr. Jonquille Chantrey, cosmetic surgeon and skin expert. 'This is often due to dehydration, but proper cleansing combined with plenty of fluids will maintain a healthy balance in the skin.'

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And the types of products you apply before bed makes a huge difference, too.

'When our skin is dehydrated it produces excess oil to compensate,' says Kirsti Shuba, skin expert and founder of Katherine Daniels Cosmetics, 'but this often means we start to use incorrect products.'

'Choosing creams or serums for oily skin will only make the situation worse,' she reveals. 'Instead, look out for ingredients like hyaluronic acid - it's a natural moisturiser that will feed your skin what it needs. Mushroom extract is also great, because it locks in moisture that the skin might loose in an air-conned room.'

Try...

- Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Skin Rehydration Serum, £40

- Katherine Daniels Urban Shield Concentrate, £38.45

Pack A Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser To Keep Oil At Bay

It's not just you - skin does tend to become oilier in the summer months, according to Dr. Natalie Blakely, aesthetic doctor and owner of the Light Touch Clinic. Changes in temperature can stimulate excess sebum production, and when oil mixes with dead cells on the surface of the skin, it can lead to blocked pores and eventually breakouts. The solution? Incorporating a gentle exfoliator in to your cleansing routine.

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'Mild exfoliation is really important,' says Dr. Gabriella, 'because when faced with excessive sun exposure, our cell turnover begins to slow down, leading to a buildup of dead cells. Breakouts are often a result of these clogged pores, so continue to exfoliate after your holiday, too.'

But it pays to invest in great products. Exfoliating with a gritty scrub during sun exposure will irritate and cause skin damage, so choose something packed with AHAs, instead.

'I always recommend the Dr. Levy 3Deep Cell Renewal Microsurfacing Cleanser, £39,' says Dr. Natalie, 'as it has a gentle, moisturising formula and rice beads to reveal brighter skin. I also love the Zenii Chamomile and Papaya Cleanser, £35 which uses enzymes to exfoliate the skin. What I would say, though, is to exfoliate a little less in the summer to prevent skin from getting too dry.'

One or twice a week is ample.

Swap Your Make-Up To A Powder Base

If you can't bear to go fresh-faced on the beach, it's a good idea to re-think your make-up.

Like Dr. Natalie, Lorraine Scrivener, skin expert and director at Eden Skin Clinic is also a huge fan of brush-on-block, but when it comes to summer make-up, she suggests switching out heavy and occlusive liquid foundations for mineral-based powders to keep breakouts and shine at a distance, too.

Her go-to? 'bareMinerals,' she says. 'Swapping your make-up to a powder base can really help.'

And even if it's comprised of minerals, it's still important to remove every single scrap of make-up before bed, which leads us on to...

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Avoid Over-Washing Your Face

A mixture of make-up, sunscreen and sweat can all make skin feel greasy and just generally unclean, but try to resist the lure of the chic hotel bathroom, because washing your face more than twice a day will only strip the skin of necessary oils.

'Over-washing can impair the skin's natural barrier function and cause irritation, sensitivity and dryness,' says Lorraine. 'Those with oilier skins tend to want to over-wash or over-exfoliate so their skin can feel drier or cleaner, but don't be fooled. This can over-stimulate the skin and result in even more oil production.'

So, what's the most effective way to keep our skin looking and feeling fresh?

'It's so important to follow a routine which supports the natural protective function of the skin,' agrees Dr. Gabriella. 'I advise that a more thorough, advanced cleanse should be adopted in the evening, and in the morning, washing your face with clean water or using a hydrating micellar water will help to maintain that protective shield that our skin has constructed during the night.'

Kirsi agrees: 'Cleanse thoroughly in the evening, especially if you are wearing an SPF,' she says, 'but always opt for something gentle that will still remove make-up and sunscreen from the skin. Using a micellar cleansing water is also great for when you are away. Keep it in the fridge and it'll give skin a lovely, cooling sensation.'

Try...

- Garnier Skin Micellar Cleansing Water, £4.99

- January Labs Pure & Gentle Cleansing Gel, £24

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Alternate Every Cocktail With A Glass Of Water

Holidays and piña coladas were made for each other, but the effects of sinking one too many cocktails will eventually show up on your skin. Cue that tight dehydrated feel, inflammation, dullness and, of course, spots.

'Sugar-loaded alcohol can have a direct impact on the skin,' adds Lorraine, 'and that's because it deprives it of vital vitamins and nutrients.' So what's the quickest way to counteract the damage?

'For every one alcoholic drink, I'd suggest drinking two glasses of water,' says Dr. Jonquille, while Dr. Natalie says packing a nutrient rich serum for the day time will aid skin repair after a heavy night. 'I'm particularly fond of the Zenii Antioxidant Power Serum, £85 as it combines replenishing vitamins with hydrating hyaluronic acid,' she says.

Inflammation-reducing skincare ingredients will also help combat puffiness and potential damage, according to Dr. Gabriella, who recommends the Arcaya Actives Aloe Vera Skin Booster if your skin is in need of a post-cocktail pick-me-up.

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