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Christmas is the perfect time of year to go extra on your make up. The fam are more relaxed – your great aunt won’t launch into a lecture about clogged pores and young skin. What’s more, you won’t feel like you’ve gone OTT for a cinema trip either. Yes, we know it’s dark in there, but you never know who you might run into.

Enter: MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder. A fave in the blogging world, this hot product will give you luminous skin to rival all five Kardashian-Jenner sisters. The best bit? You can find one in December’s bettybox so you don’t even have to pop it on your Christmas list!

Not only will it brighten your eyes (midnight Netflix binging takes its toll, guys) but it’ll give your cheekbones a magical glow. Quite literally, it’s your time to shine! We haven’t been pouring over those YouTube tutorials for nothing, you know. Here’s how to use it…

1. Prep your base

That means sweep on your primer, work in your foundation, contour your cheekbones and dust over your blusher so your skin is pretty much set.

2. Choose your brush

It’s all in the tools, girl. For a light, subtle glow reach for a fanned brush – it picks up less product but is still a whizz at applying it in just the right places. For a total glamazon look though, an actual highlighting brush is best.

3. Identify your glow zones

You don’t want to end up looking like a shiny bauble now, do you? To avoid that megawatt sheen, it’s important you only highlight the right places. They are: above and below your brow bone, your inner eye, down the bridge of your nose, above your cheekbones and your cupid’s bow.

4. Dust the powder over these MUA-pro zones, then nail every single Christmas selfie. You’re welcome.  

MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder is available in December’s bettybox – sign up RN if you haven’t already – and from the MUA Make-up Academy website.

Image: Kate Borrill

Hands up who loves winter? And what’s not to like, right? Cosy jumpers, crunchy leaves, hot drinks, twinkling fairy lights… it’s the best. Except when it comes to your hair and skin, of course. ‘Cos as much as you yearn for pretty flushed cheeks and smooth silky hair cascading around your knitwear-covered shoulders, the weather has other ideas. Don’t abandon yourself to the frizz just yet though! Here’s how to deal with winter’s most wearisome beauty complaints.

Scaly skin

No, you’re not turning into a lizard, honest. A good body moisturiser is your best friend here – definitely upgrade your light body lotion to something a lot richer.

You can also make a few in-shower tweaks, too. Choose a nourishing shower cream and exfoliate lightly every other day to shift old skin cells. And, tempting as it is to crank the temperature up, keep it lukewarm rather than super hot – your skin will thank you for it.

A dry and blotchy face

Constantly dancing between dry, overheated buildings and the cold, wet outdoors can play havoc with your complexion, leaving it flaky, red and feeling uncomfortable. Again, a good moisturiser and regular (gentle) exfoliation will help restore a healthy glow.

You might want to reconsider your whole skincare routine, especially if your skin is usually oily or blemish-prone. Opt for gentle, moisturising products instead of astringent-based ones, and treat yourself to nourishing and softening face masks instead of deep-cleansing ones which can strip away your skin’s delicate surface.

When you’re out in the elements, keep as much skin as possible protected by a hat and scarf, and remember that we don’t feel as thirsty in winter as we do in summer, so keep reaching for the water – it’s your skin’s best weapon in the fight against the dreaded blotch!

Dry, flaky lips

Winter can be hella romantic, so of course your lips start resembling a scaly deep-sea creature. Tempting as it is to pick at them – don’t! Seriously, that just makes everything a hundred times worse. But, annoyingly, so does slapping on layers and layers of lip balm, because that can cause irritation as well. So what to do? Every night before bed, gently exfoliate with a sugar scrub or soft wash cloth, then apply a generous layer of balm. Then re-apply lightly and occasionally throughout the day (invest in a couple of nice balms and put them where you’ll need them – in your bag, next to your bed, on your desk – so there’s always one within reach).

Splitting cuticles

Not only do cracked cuticles totally ruin your fierce manicure, they can be pretty painful too – ugh! Your cuticles are a really small part of your body, but they’re still susceptible to the same wintery damage as the skin everywhere else, so they need TLC too. Either include them in your usual body moisturising regime, or invest in a dedicated hand cream. Better yet – treat them to a specialist cuticle oil to keep them soft and supple. Don’t trim them – that just makes them more fragile in the long run – and wear gloves when you’re out and about to protect them (and your hands overall) from the cold.

Dandruff

There’s only one type of white flaky stuff we want this winter, and that’s snow. But dandruff is another common seasonal beauty complaint and let’s be honest, it can be a bit embarrassing. Luckily, it’s nothing a good old dandruff shampoo won’t fix, although you can’t just use it once and expect the problem to go away. The key is consistency – use it at least twice a week. Try a scalp exfoliator once a week pre-shampoo, too. It might sound a bit odd, but you exfoliate your body, don’t you? Same principal! Again, keep the water temperature lukewarm to avoid aggravating your scalp, and try to avoid styling products that contain alcohol, as these can dry out your scalp even more.

Frizz

There’s not a lot of hair-friendly moisture in cold air. Couple that with central heating and lots of wool and polyester and POOF – hello, frizz! It’s a sad fact of life for many a long-haired girl, but help is at hand, and it’s mainly in the prep process. Choose a frizz-fighting conditioner for daily use, treat yourself to a deep-conditioning treatment once a week, and after washing, apply a conditioning oil to the lengths.

Ditch the thick cotton towel – it’ll just add friction to your hair. Instead, use an old t-shirt to dry your locks, as the cotton soaks up extra water without being abrasive. Go easy on the heat styling, too – use a slightly cooler setting on your dryer and tools if you can. It might take a little longer to get the look you want, but your hair will thank you for it. And if the frizz has already hit, a small squirt of hair serum can help get things back under control.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin

Oh, spots. You enigmas.

We can squeeze you, prod you and ignore you – but we just wish we could understand you. If we could only sit down for a good heart-to-heart, here are a few of the burning questions we might ask.

1. “Why?”

The first word that springs to mind the moment you catch sight of the monster staring belligerently at you in the mirror. Just why, you ask desperately – and for a while, this bleak three-lettered word is really all you can think. Facts about sebaceous glands, stress and hormones can’t reason with it.

But eventually the blind panic subsides into more nuanced questions like…

2. “Why me?”

It’s hard to answer. Spots are caused by all sorts of complex reasons – see above – but if there’s one thing we can assure you of, it is not because the universe hates you. It seems that way right now, but this has everything to do with chemicals that everyone has – and nothing whatsoever to do with you personally.

Pimples (a slightly more technical term for the little terrors) appear when oil-producing glands become clogged and infected. This could be hormones causing you to produce more oil; it could because your fingers or a hat or scarf you’ve been wearing has been irritating your face. It’s unlikely to be a product – most are tested for that these days – and probably not your diet either, whatever certain people in your family and friendship circles might tell you.

3. “Why now?”

Because, hormones. They’ve the starring roles in the film Period – and if you’re feeling them, chances are it’s heading to a cinema near you shortly. Testosterone levels are generally higher in puberty, and as that’s believed to increase oil production, it means you could get spots any time. Rest assured this has nothing to do with the fact you’ve a date tomorrow night, and it doesn’t mean said date is automatically doomed either.

4. “Are you as obvious to other people as you are in my head?”

Is Vesuvius erupting on your forehead? Is there real lava and people running away you screaming? Then no, he (spots are always he) isn’t.

Other people probably haven’t even noticed it. But that won’t stop you capturing every conceivable angle another human could see your face at in the mirror and on your phone camera, and begging friends, “but what about the south south west-facing aspect of my chin??”, of course.

volcano

5. “When will you make for good pick?”

Officially, of course, the answer to this is ‘never’. But we know that no sooner has the offending spot appeared than you are assessing his fitness for picking: prodding and stroking, dreaming of past victories, and comparing their colour and feel. Weirdly – grossly –  it’s actually a very similar process to that of feeling if a fruit is ripe: you will know innately when the moment comes. The challenge is holding off until it then. Strike too soon, and you’ll blow your chances of great picking for good.

6. “Why did you pretend to be ready when you weren’t?”

He looked so promising and pickable! Now he’s just a messy, painful blob. Ow. Liar.

7. “Can I hide you?”

The sensible seventh question one can only arrive at having wailed one’s way through the first six – to which the answer is that it varies according to the spot you have. If you leave him bare, he will heal quicker – but provided the spot is not, in the least gross possible way, leaking, then if you want to cover up with some concealer (or a big scarf) go for it. Just ensure you choose your product wisely…

scarf

8. “Why the hell won’t you just stay covered?” 

In short, not all concealers are born equal. Indeed, some are so ineffective they succeed in creating more of a blemish than the one they’re supposed to be concealing: all too vividly do I remember one teacher telling me that I had “a splodge of mud, dear, on the centre of your chin.”

So do your research: ask friends, family, magazines, the woman at the make up counter, what they recommend for your blemishes. You’ll cut not just the amount of time you have a spot, but the amount you spend checking, and thinking about checking, and – after you have checked – obsessing about the way the spot is blooming though your cloudy concealer like a full moon.

9. “How long are you here for?”

You beg to know, every single time you meet it in the mirror. There is no clear answer, but one’s thing for certain: the longer you pick, prod and fill him with rubbish concealer, the longer you’ll be having this conversation. Like so many bullies, the best way to deal with a spot is to not engage.

10. “Is this it for the rest of my life?”

Now for the good news. Though you will probably run into the odd one from time to time, once puberty’s done and dusted the most offending spots will plague your younger siblings (who’s laughing now, brother?) and leave your skin in peace.

peace

See ya, tiny pal. So glad we had this chat.

@finney_clare

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

It starts with a prickle: a tingling, tightening sensation that contracts under your skin, like a stretched elastic band shrinking back to size. It strikes the moment you get out the shower, or the pool. Sometimes it strikes without warning: one minute you’re sat listening attentively to Mr Jenkins, the next you are wincing, surveying your pencil case for a suitable scratching tool and subtly reaching your ruler down to the back of your knee.

If this sounds familiar, read on. You’re the girl with the entire Dry Skin collection of Garnier products, and you know the following things: there are few things more devastating in life then going for a big old scratch, only to find you’ve cut your fingernails too short.

Fingernails don’t always cut it

Either they’re too short (see above) or the feeling of dry skin under your nails is so rank it puts you off. For real traction with a scratch, you need implements: rulers work well, as do protractors, hair combs, and, if you’re really desperate, the lid of your takeaway coffee cup. The key (ahh, keys. Keys are LOVELY) is choosing a tool that’s sharp enough to satisfy, but not so sharp you break the skin.

Black’s not worth it

Only 5 per cent of your brain will be engaged in the outside world. The other 95 per cent will be worrying feverishly about the appearance of white flakes.

Dry skin tips! on a magazine cover is like a red rag to a bull

No matter if you’ve read 10, 20 or 500 such features before, you’re buying that magazine and flicking to the page that you hope will change your life. It’s as inevitable as a peely, flaky nose on the eve of a first date.

Nine times out of ten, it’s a promotion

For a product you’ve already tried (Dove moisturising shower gel, I’m looking at you.)

You can chat moisturiser brands like some people can chat Love Island contestants

Body Shop mango butter is a bit heavy. Palmer’s cocoa butter, like Kem, can be too sweet, but it follows through. The Simple range does what it says on the tin, but it’s a bit dull. Clinique has more shelf cred, but it’s not for everyone, anymore than Liv is. You wouldn’t say no to Sudocrem, day or night.

You dream about moisturiser

Rich, creamy dreams in which you slather yourself in soft white lotion the texture of marshmallows and it melts into your skin like butter, leaving it peachy-soft and velvety.

You wake up to find you’ve gauged yourself in the night again

The crook of your elbow, the backs of your knees, the inside of your thighs and your scalp are inhabited by little devils with stinging, scratchy pitchforks.

Boiling hot showers are proof that pleasure and pain can be one and the same

Until you get out, and all you feel is burning and bitter remorse.

There is not enough moisturiser in the world to soothe you

Only the Dermalogica stuff on prescription is best, but then you gotta wean yourself off it, and that stuff is crack, for cracks.

All make up cakes into the cracks and looks shit

No matter how ‘dewy’ your foundation is, it will always look like a wash of dried paint in a desert. Sometimes you feel like your face is peeling off. Heck, sometimes it actually is.

@clare_finney

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin

Ok, ok… *almost* as satisfying. But in the long run far better for your face. 

1. Seeing your food coming in a restaurant.

2. Your fave artist dropping a surprise new album.

3. Finding a fiver in your pocket.

4. Finding a tenner in your pocket.

5. Your cold clearing up for a solid 30 seconds so you can actually taste your food.

6. Waking up in a panic then realising it’s the weekend.

7. Stepping on really crunchy leaves.

8. Your phone dutifully staying on 1% battery until you get home.

9. Two chocolate bars falling out of the vending machine.

10. Finding free public WiFi.

11. Tweezing out an ingrown hair.

12. Your favourite TV series being renewed for another season.

13. The person you fancy texting back STRAIGHT AWAY?!

14. Having a really good poo.

15. Getting bettybox through the post! *ahem*

16. 7 Chicken McNuggets.

17. 7 Mini Jaffa Cakes.

18. Finishing your shower just as the hot water runs out.   

19. All your TV shows scheduling perfectly one after the other in the evening.

20. Everyone around the table saying ‘yes’ to seeing the dessert menu.

21. The dog trotting towards you so you don’t have to make the first ‘can I pet your dog please’ move.

22. Seeing a dog.

23. Dogs.

24. Snow day at school.

25. Finding a secluded spot and finally pulling your tights back up.

26. Getting the window seat on a train/plane.

27. Peeling off dried glue on your hands.

28. Bubble wrap. Obv.

@louisejonesetc

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty

Sun’s out! Fun’s out! Buns out! And before you can say “hang on is this sun cream or melted Cornetto?”, they’re burned. Ouch.

Now, you’re not silly – you know that too much sun is bad for your skin in so many ways, from causing wrinkles and premature ageing to full-on giving you cancer. But the world of SPF products can be confusing, and it’s so believe all those myths you hear while you’re slapping on some factor 15 and heading for the lido…

So rather than listen to the lady next door who looks like a leather handbag, how about we shine a light on these sunny skincare lies, once and for all? Warning: may contain evidence that your parents don’t know *everything*.

You can’t get burned on a cloudy day

Wrong! Sunburn is caused by UV radiation, and 80% of UV rays can travel through cloud – so even though the weather might look meh, if you’re out and your skin’s out, you can still get burned or damaged by the sun. It’s sneaky like that.

I have dark skin, I’m safe!

Nope. It’s true that darker skintones are less likely to go the full red lobster, but all ethnicities and skin types can get skin cancer, and they can all age prematurely with too much sun exposure too. So share your SPF around, people – it’s not just for the milky-pales.

If I get a nice base tan, that’ll protect me

Not even a little bit. Sorry sun junkies, but technically there’s no ‘healthy’ level of tan – any tan at all equals sun damage. In fact that’s literally what a tan is; sun damage in your skin. Obviously it’s better to be lightly golden than, like, magenta pink, but the idea that getting tanned on the first day of your hols means you can then skimp on the SPF for the rest of your holiday is, sadly, bollocks.

But I NEED sunshine for the vitamin D!

Nice try but no. It’s true that you need vitamin D to keep your bones, teeth and muscles healthy, but you should be able to get all you need from just being out and about outside for short bursts during the summer, and from foods like oily fish and eggs. Your skin stops producing vitamin D after 15 minutes in the sun anyway, so you can put a sock in that excuse.

Sun cream will give me ALL the acne

This is a fair worry, as traditionally SPF has a reputation for leaving your face greasier than a Blackpool chip bag. But don’t freak out that you have to choose between clear skin or protected skin – it’s just a case of finding the right sun cream for you. If you’re prone to spots then look out for the SPFs that say ‘non-comedogenic’ on them (that means it’s designed not to clog your pores) and you might prefer a ‘physical’ sunscreen with zinc titanium, which is good at keeping the skin matte.

Oh and also – certain acne products and spot-preventing ingredients can actually make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so watch out and read your bottles thoroughly.

If my foundation has SPF in it, I’m fine

Makeup with sun protection in it is great (look out for that ‘SPF’ number on the tube or bottle), but unfortunately unless you’re caking it on like a 100 layers challenge, it probably won’t give you enough protection for hot, sunny days. So you’ll need a dedicated sun cream underneath your makeup too.

If I put SPF 50 on in the morning, I’m sorted all day

Firstly, well done you for using SPF 50! Give yourself a Magnum for effort. But, and we hate to rain on your parade here… no, you can’t slather on the high stuff at 8am and still be protected at that evening barbecue. Soz. Dermatologists recommend reapplying your sun cream every couple of hours, and immediately after you’ve been swimming.

Anything higher than SPF 20 is a scam

No! This is a popular rumour (mainly spread by parents being asked to fork out for that fancy Clinique primer), and while it’s true that experts are divided on whether super-high SPFs make as much difference as they claim to, in the summer you should definitely still be going for SPF 30, minimum, or even better, SPF 50.

If you apply it properly (and that means slathering it on, btw, like garlic mayonnaise on a Spanish potato) then the number should correspondent to the amount of time you can stay in the sun before you burn, compared to bare skin which burns after 10 minutes. So SPF 30 means 30 x 10 which equals 300 minutes, and 50 means 500 minutes. Roughly.

Sunbeds are safer than sunbathing outside, right?

Nope. According to Cancer Research, “sunbeds are no safer than exposure to the sun itself” – and using one below the age of 35 increases your risk of developing skin cancer by nearly 60%. Which is pretty scary really. But while you can’t exactly avoid the sun your whole life, there is an easy way to avoid damage from sunbeds. And that is: er… not using sunbeds.

Fake tan looks crap though

Let’s take a moment to be thankful for science, working hard at the important things in life – such as giving us fake tan that doesn’t look peri-peri marinade. Because while sure, we’ve all had disasters like these, truth is there are so many seriously great fake tans on the market these days for all different skin types, effects and laziness levels. We especially love this one from St Tropez, which works in the shower in three minutes flat, and this genius Overnight Elixir from L’Oreal, which tans you while you sleep and doesn’t even stain your sheets. Or you could skip it all and just embrace your natural gorgeous ghostliness.

Because you know what actually does look bad?

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

Sensitivity: a good thing in life, a bad thing in skin.

When your face is the equivalent of that touchy friend who flies off the handle at every innocent comment (“I said your hair was doing a NICE flicky thing! A NICE one!”) it can be hard to know how to keep it happy while still getting it to do all the things you want your skin to do… like looking clear and spot-free, wearing make-up, not wearing make-up, going swimming, standing in the cold without turning into an angry, itchy red misery mask. All the things.

Harsh chemicals can just aggravate the problem further, but if you’re also dealing with spots, oily patches and all the other joys that the puberty fairy brings in her hormonal handbag, you’re not going to want to just your skin to sulk on its own, either.

But luckily you can stay calmer than your angry cheeks, because there are loads of things out there to help. Plants, to be specific. Herbs, flowers and other botanical extracts can work magic on irritable skin; and these days there are loads of brands that bring nature and science together in brilliant ways. These are the ingredients you (and your fussy skin) need you know about.

Calendula

Found in the pretty petals of marigolds, calendula extract has been used for centuries to counteract redness and calm down inflamed, stressed-out skin.

Weleda’s Calendula Face Cream might be intended for babies, but don’t let that put you off – for sensitive skin having a tantrum, it’s basically soothe in a tube.

Weleda Calendula Face Cream, £9.50

Oats

Sometimes there’s nothing more comforting than a big bowl of porridge, is there? And your skin basically feels the same way. Oats contain beta-glucan, which helps boost your skin’s immune system, calms redness and soothes dry, itchy skin.

Lush’s Jackie Oates is a pale base made with oat milk and other natural lovelies. For porcelain skin it’s basically the makeup equivalent of your mum whispering ‘shhhhhh…. it’s fiiiiine, I’ll put the kettle on.’

Jackie Oates Colour Supplement, £9.95

Chamomile

Speaking of tea – chamomile is famously great at calming minds and tummies, and it’s no surprise that it can do the same for your face too. Thanks to a potent anti-irritant called bisabolol, those little flowers are a dream for sensitive skin, where other plant-based oils like lavender and rose can get it all riled up.

Burt’s Bees’ Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream is a super gentle way to get skin squeaky clean, featuring the all-important chamomile with best pals, softening aloe and cooling menthol. The loveliest bunch of flowers you can buy yourself.

Soap Bark and Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream, £11.49

Honey

Naturally antibacterial (although it’s too sticky to use instead of hand gel, stop right there), Winnie the Pooh’s fave is also a top treat for skin.

You can apply fancy-pants manuka honey straight onto your skin as a mask – or grab a sachet of this lovely stuff from face mask stalwarts Montagne Jeunesse. And a granola pot while you’re at it.

Manuka Honey Face Mask, 95p

Grape seed oil

Odourless and less potent than other oils, grape seed is great for sensitive types but especially great for skin that manages to be both easily irritated AND oily (wtf, skin).

 

Simple’s Hydrating Cleansing Oil features grape seed, to melt away makeup while keeping your dry bits moisturised, your thirsty bits hydrated and your oily bits balanced. That’s oil, folks.

Hydrating Cleansing Oil, £6.99

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

It can be really tricky to know when you’ve properly matched your foundation to your skin tone, so in this video Jazmin talks us through what to watch out for and what to do to make sure your foundation looks as 🔥 as you do.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Picture the scene. You’ve woken up, looked in the mirror, and suddenly there’s a whole other head on your head. A power pimple. A zit that won’t quit.

In a perfect world, you would take a deep, calming breath and leave it alone to do its thing. “You be you, little spot!” you might say, then go off to keep those twitching fingers busy by doing something wholesome – your homework, maybe, or learning the clarinet. You would tell yourself what we all know: that squeezing a spot can just make it worse, and that you risk transferring bacteria from your fingers to your face every time you go in for a pop or a pick. In a perfect world, you would leave. It. Alone.

But this isn’t a perfect world, and in this world you’re obviously going to want to squeeze that spot silly.

So what are the rules? How can you tell if a pimple is ripe for the popping, or if you’re going to end up with a nasty old scar? When should you probably not squeeze and when should you definitely absolutely 100% not squeeze, for fear of going to school with a scab on your forehead so big that your teacher will stop in the middle of the register to ask if you’ve been in an accident*?

*True story.

Here are your golden rules.

Rule 1: colour

Look at the spot. Look harder. Can you see a light, yellowish head in the centre, or is the whole thing red and angry? If it’s the latter, fingers off. Red means inflammation, and inflammation means that your poor spot is grumpy enough without someone jabbing at it. Let it brew for a while longer – if it’s a seriously deep cyst, it might go away without ever becoming squeezable.

‘Whiteheads’, however, are the happiest poppers of the bunch, especially once the yellow or white patch is larger than the redness round the edge. They don’t make teeny tiny rulers to measure this though, so you’ll just have to judge it by eye. 

Rule 2: texture

If your spot looks stretched and shiny, like Bruce Willis’ head, then it probably isn’t ready for squeezing yet. Ideally you’re looking for a proper bulge, as though it might just burst of its own accord. And we know, we know – waiting for this stage takes the patience of a saint, not to mention walking round with a blossoming zit on your face. But as a wise person once said, good things come to those who wait. And squeezing that bad boy is going to be so good. 

Rule 3: equipment

You might think that fingers are the best (and only) tools for the job – after all, if we weren’t supposed to squeeze spots then why did we even evolve to have fingers? But your fingers have plenty of other jobs to keep them occupied and gather germs, whereas there are actually helpful implements designed just for pimple-popping, like this blackhead remover (£4) from The Body Shop. And if you’re sticking with the tools nature gave you, always wash your hands and/or wrap tissue round your fingers before going in. You’re not an animal.

Rule 4: method

Sure, you’re excited. And also you want to get it over with quick in case somebody walks into the loo, or the spot police leap out and arrest you. But before you and your eager digits leap right in there, stop to think about technique.

Be gentle and press down either side of the spot’s centre – down, not inwards – because this motion is best for forcing the pus up, up and away. Another reminder: be gentle. If it doesn’t swiftly erupt like a party popper then STEP AWAY. Occupy your hands. Go find a puppy to stroke. Play MarioKart. Knit a scarf.

Rule 5: aftercare

You might think your job is done and you and your newly hollow pore can skip off into the sunset, but nope – there’s homework. Firstly, stop squeezing as soon as all the white is out. DO NOT be tempted to keep digging for gold. Like that time you ruined your Dad’s prize begonias looking for pirate treasure as a kid, you won’t strike gold but you will end up with a big ol’ mess.

Secondly, once your session has finished, dab a little toner or antibacterial gel on the area (it might sting, brace yourself) and then smooth a bit of Vaseline, Sudocrem or another soothing balm or cream over it to help the healing process. Then, and only then, can you sit back and relive the memories of that glorious squeeze. Mmm.

Mmm.

If spots or acne are making life hard, get the full lowdown from the NHS here.

Alright, there’s no need to panic. Whether it’s a few lone ranger spots or a whole party of pimples, acne is pretty much bound to make an appearance at some point in everyone’s teenage years.

Rihanna? She’s had it. Miley Cyrus? Yup. Chris Hemsworth? Uh-huh. Liam Hemsworth? Him too. Michelle Obama? Yep, acne.

While knowing that the rest of the world has, or at least had acne, might be slightly reassuring, we thought you might like some practical advice as well.

Why, skin, why?

Acne is a super common skin condition that affects almost all teenagers at some point or other. Generally, it causes spots, lumps and oily skin, but some people find that it also makes their skin hot or painful to touch.

Most people develop acne on their face, but a lot people might find that they notice acne on their chest or back. Keep calm, this is totally natural! Acne can be made up of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, cysts or a lovely pick ‘n’ mix of all four.

WHY ME?

This isn’t because you ate an entire bag of Buttons yesterday, or because you haven’t been washing your face enough or because you are a disgusting human. Spots are generally just your hormones saying ‘Hello!’

TL;DR? Here's the important stuff:
  • Keep your face clean using a mild cleanser and lukewarm water before bed, so that your skin can breathe overnight.
  • Try not to squeeze. We know. Just do your best.
  • If you’re going to use skincare products, have a good idea to have a chat with a pharmacist for advice on the best product to use for your skin type.
  • If your acne is severe or you notice that it’s sprouting on your chest and back, it might be a good idea to head to the GP.

Acne often comes on during puberty as your hormone levels change. If your parents had acne, it’s more likely that you will too.

BUT the good news is that for most people acne goes away towards the end of their teen years.

Why is this happening?

Those teeny tiny little holes in your skin (look closer… closer… there they are!) are your pores, and they contain glands that make an oil called sebum. Sebum is actually really useful – it’s the thing that lubricates your hair and skin and makes it healthy and shiny, like the beautiful land mermaid you are.

But during puberty your hormones (oestrogen and progesterone, we’re lookin’ at you) can confuse your glands and cause them to produce too much sebum, which can clog your pores. Which can lead to acne.

You’re not alone

Acne is super common among teenagers and young adults – about 80% of people aged 11-30 are affected by acne. EIGHTY. Sometimes, there really is safety in numbers.

That being said, the word ‘acne’ is a bit like the word ‘fine.’ In the same way ‘fine’ can mean, ‘I’m good,’ or ‘I’ve had the worst day of my life but don’t want to talk about it.’ ‘Acne’ can mean, ‘I have one or two spots and everything’s ok,’ or it could mean ‘my entire face appears to be made of pus.’

What can I do?

Annoyingly, the most common cure for acne is time (arggh). But don’t worry – there are plenty of things you can do to ease the symptoms.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

There are loads of different ways to cleanse your face. You can use wipes or balms or foams or face washes; but the most important thing is to find a product that works for you. You might want to look for products that contain salicylic acid, which is an anti-irritant that can reduce redness and work as an anti-inflammatory to calm breakouts, or over-the-counter products featuring benzoyl peroxide, which kills the bacteria on your skin (use sparingly and always follow instructions).

If you can, try and wash your face once or twice a day, but avoid doing it more often as frequent washing can irritate the skin and make symptoms worse. Fussy, we know.

It might help to avoid using a lot of make-up, as it can clog your pores even more. If that’s a deal breaker, have a look for ‘noncomedogenic’ or ‘nonacnegenic’ make-ups, as they can be a bit kinder to your skin. If you’re wearing make-up, it’s an even better idea to wash your face before bed so that your skin can breathe overnight.

Ex-squeeze me?

Step away from the mirror! You’re not meant to squeeze spots because it can spread bacteria, make them worse and lead to scarring. But look, we know that’s easier said than done. If you’re one of those magical people that can ignore the temptation to squeeze that zit into oblivion, you are our hero. We salute you.

But if you do it, at least do it right – and that means clean fingers, be reeeally gentle and don’t go digging until it’s definitely, definitely ready. Here’s a handy guide.

Run like the wind.

We know we say it a lot, but exercise can help your skin look better. And while it might not always improve your acne situation, it can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem – which is far more important than your pores, really.

Anything else?

There are loads of lotions and potions available to help get acne under control. In order to avoid staring at an entire aisle of products in Boots, it’s probably have a good idea to have a chat with a pharmacist for advice on the best product to use for your skin type.

If your acne is severe, affecting your confidence or you notice that it’s also sprouting on your chest and back, it might be a good idea to head to your GP. They can prescribe you stronger treatments that can get your skin back in tip-top shape.

Acne is kinda an inevitable part of life. Like locking yourself out of your house. Or members of your favourite boyband eventually leaving to try and launch solo careers (ily Zayn).

But the good thing is, loads of people are fighting the same battle. Acne won’t trouble you forever. And spots or no spots, your skin does a pretty great job of keeping your organs in – let’s not forget that. So take off your paper bag and remember, beauty is way more than skin deep.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty

There is a rule, written somewhere in the Unfair Laws of the Universe, that says two of the first three weeks of September have to be unbearably hot. This is frustrating for a variety reasons.

Firstly, school has gone back. Which means that summer holidays are over and there is no way to harness the heat into a day trip to the beach or another peanut butter Magnum opportunity. On its own this might just be bearable (at least there’s everyone’s back-to-school hair experiments to distract you), but then they insist that you have to do PE.

Now of course, exercise itself isn’t the problem. In fact, it’s pretty damn excellent; it helps boost your mood, reduces stress, does wonders for your skin and helps you live to 112.

No, the problem is that they make you run around a field when it’s a million degrees outside. Or they make you do sit-ups and pull-ups and push-ups when literally nothing about your body wants to be ‘up’. In fact, in wants to be down. As in, lying down. Preferably on a beach, or on the floor of a deeply air-conditioned room listening to a soundtrack of a beach.

But teachers can be cruel, as can September. So allow us to present: your post-PE survival guide (summer edition), to make those endless, sweaty games of netball a little more bearable.

You go, you future Olympian, you.

1. Water bottle

Sure this one seems obvious, but when half of your class are lining up for the water fountain with red faces and dry mouths, you’ll be the smug one sitting in the shade, drinking deeply from your water bottle without a care in the world. Aside from your heart rate.

Happy Jackson’s H2Awesome Water Bottle, £7.96

Copy of Waterbottle

2. Braids – Dutch, French, Pigtail, whatever you fancy 

Pre-PE, pop your hair in braids. If you think people who can braid their own hair are sorcerers (you’re not alone in this), see if you can find someone who can braid them for you and save your arms the pain (after all we’re in the business of making PE less, not more traumatic). This way, when you take your hair out after PE you’ll have skipped the dreaded kink and given yourself beachy waves.

Also, look how weirdly happy this girl about the braid in her hair! Oh wait, that’s me. I’m the weirdly happy girl in the photo. Carry on.

(£0, obv)

Copy of Braids

3. Wipes

Let’s be honest, people should carry wipes around in the same way they carry around tissues. They are useful in pretty much all situations. Spilled some sauce on your top? A wipe can fix that. Need to blow your nose? A wipe can handle that situation whilst also cleansing your skin. Had double PE and your body is now ¾ sweat and ¼ skin? A wipe has your back. And your front.

These ones from Wilkos have the benefit of being both gloriously cheap and great for sensitive skin. Plus, cleaning your face after exercising can help keep spots at bay #winning.

Skin therapy Fragrance Free Wipes for Sensitive Skin, 50p   

Copy of Facewipes
4. BB cream

BB cream is like the superhero of the make up bag. On the outside it looks like a regular moisturiser, but in reality, it’s full of secret powers. This one from La Roche-Posay has SPF 20, so it will protect you from the sun. It’s tinted, so if you’re all red and blotchy after PE, it will give your skin a nice, even tone. Plus, it’s made for oily skin, so it can help mop up that post-hockey shine.

Pop a thin layer on after wiping down with your wipes. It might not be as cool as invisibility or flight, but hey, we’ll take whatever super power we can get.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar BB Blur Mousse, £14

Copy of BB cream

 

5. Dry Shampoo  

Braids can do many things – like make you look like Princess Leia or a member of the Von Trapp family – but they draw the line at keeping your hair grease-free. Enter our BFF (barnet fixer forever) when your hair is less ‘beachy waves’ and more ‘it looks like I’ve been swimming in a frying pan.’ Batiste have a range of scents (our fave is blush) and they even come in travel sizes, so you don’t have to sacrifice your geography homework for bag space. Shame.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Blush Floral and Flirty, £2.99

Copy of Dry shampoo

6. Socks

We know it sounds like something your mum would say, but a spare pair of socks really go a long way in bringing down the pong factor. Sure, some schools have regulation socks that are all boring and navy or whatever but this pair is awesome and we wanted you to see them.

But seriously, pack a spare pair of socks that you can change into after PE – your feet and your classmates will thank you. Manufacturers of athlete’s foot treatments will not.

ASOS Pug On Heel Ankle Socks, £3 

Copy of pug socks

7. Body Spray

Watermelon Body freakin’ Oil Spray. Do I really need to say more? No, seriously, do I? This is a moisturizing body spray that smells like watermelon. Spritz some of this around you (neck, wrists, hair) to leave you smelling fresh even after you’ve played an hour of field hockey.

Original Source Skin Quench Watermelon Body Oil Spray, £6.99 

Copy of Body Spray

 

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Clueless