Acne has been compared to a traffic jam under the skin and it affects up to 80% of people.
It can be one of the most frustrating skin conditions and can affect people’s confidence greatly. It is common in teenagers but also very common in adults, both male and female.
So what is it and how does it start?
Put simply, acne occurs when a hair follicle/pore gets blocked with oil, dead skin or even make up. It can also be from hormonal changes such as the bodies increased production of the hormone Androgen which stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which leads to the blocking of pores.
Ance is an infection caused by a bacterium, P. Acne. As you know, bacteria can multiply and irritate the sebaceous gland. This can then become inflamed causing a blackhead/ spot. This is a very quick explanation but is important to discuss.
You also need to see if acne is inflamed (papules and pustules) or is it non inflammatory (blackhead or whitehead and not very red). Inflammation can make the acne more painful for the person and can be harder to treat. There are also various levels of acne and it is very important to talk to a skin specialist or doctor to get trusted and accurate advice.
So what is the biggest mistake I see people doing?
Stripping and scrubbing the skin to clean and clear the oil. This is a huge no no. I get why people want to do it and exfoliation is vital when treating acne or breakouts but it has to be done in the correct way. The aim is to keep the acid mantle intact and not dehydrate the skin. I have lost count how many people I see complaining of breakouts/congestion and say they have oily skin. The majority are suffering with dehydration and the skin has been over producing to compensate. This can result in bumps under the skin.
Let’s talk about diet
Diet is a big thing to consider. I will stress I am no nutritionist but I will briefly discuss diet. Junk food, crisps, chocolate, all the things we love are bad. Bad for skin in every way so I won’t go on as we all know this. I have found the big culprit is dairy (this kills me to write as I am a diary lover!) but I have seen skin transform when people reduce dairy products. Note how I say reduce not stop. Make small changes to start and I would never expect anyone to stop it completely. There is a theory that the hormones in cow’s milk can switch on the oil glands in humans.
I cannot stress how important an at home skin care routine is for helping with breakouts or acne. While professional treatments have an important role, the skincare at home will be vital. It is difficult for me to list products that work as each skin is different and each acne level is different. However, here are a few that I believe will work for most people
1- Asap gentle cleansing gel and asap daily facial cleanser
I usually try to recommend just one cleanser to people but I find with some cleansers that are active they can be too harsh used twice a day. For this reason, it is great to have a gentle and an active. There are also mini versions so you can get two smaller sizes for the price of a large one.
2- Asap daily exfoliating scrub
This truly is a hero product and even though it says daily I would be inclined to get people to use a few times a week. This will depend on the severity of the acne but this exfoliator is superb (for all skin types)
3- Asap clear complexion gel
A salicylic based gel that is fantastic for bigger breakouts (you know the ones that hurt and won’t go down) This can be used as a spot treatment one to two times a day but depends on the breakouts
4- Asap Super B serum
You know my utter love for this product. It suits every skin type and this is the one that will calm and hydrate an acne prone skin. Full of B vitamins, red clover and hyaluronic acid this serum helps to refine pore size, inflammation and add hydration without adding oiliness to the skin
5- Dermaceutic Active Retinol 0.5 or 1.0 or asap super A serum
Vitamin A is one of the most powerful ingredients out there. We always hear how great it is for anti-ageing but it is also worth knowing that it helps with pore size and oiliness of the skin and a must have product (please note retinol cannot be used if pregnant or breast feeding or if on Roaccutane)
6- A day time moisturiser with sunscreen, if possible and a night time moisturiser for when you are not using retinol. I have to see the skin to decide on how much moisture is needed so I won’t give examples of these. Sometimes people will need oil free moisturisers and others will need ones with more hydration
7-Mineral make up- an absolute must for people who are concerned with blocking pores. There are fantastic ones on the market today and don’t be afraid to ask for samples. I will be recommending asap pure mineral make up and if you are every passing and want to try it please call in to me.
So let’s round up what you should be considering:
-check your diet
-check your skin care
-go to someone you trust to have a chat about a routine and programme and let them know your budget. You may only want products or general advice
– wear mineral make up please
Finally, let’s talk treatments quickly
1- Microdermabrasion is a great way to exfoliate the skin. It’s a good starting point to help unclog pores and get rid of dead skin sitting on the surface.
2-Skin peels are one of my favourites as ingredients such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid are working on the skin and can get into the pore depending on the type of peel used and molecule size. My favourite for acne is the mask peel by Dermaceutic.
3-Clearing facials- Facials are also great for helping with breakouts and acne. Steam and extractions can help but it all depends on the level of acne. Be careful with extractions because you don’t want to cause trauma to an already irritated skin. Exfoliation here will be good and massage for helping to eliminate waste products. Masks will also help with either clearing or soothing inflammation
A combination of all of the above can be very beneficial but you will need to be guided by a professional
So there you have a little round up on what I like to do for people that call in to me that have mild or severe acne or even just some annoying hormonal breakouts. Knowledge is power so never be afraid to ask about ingredients and treatments.
Please drop me a line if you have any questions and know that the door is always open for free skin consultations. I hope this has helped some little bit.