What is acne, and how can I fix it?
First and foremost, acne is a skin disease. Yes, its also known as Acne Vulgaris. Allot of people self diagnose themselves with this skin disease that affects over 3 million people per year in the USA alone. Even though it’s a very common condition, proper and accurate information about acne is very difficult to obtain. This makes this skin disease very difficult to treat.
Wrong information and misleading information is as common as this skin disease itself. I’m sure you’ve heard people or magazines say……..
-”Oh, let ance run its course”
-”You just need to wash your face more!”
-”The sun is actually the best way to clear up your acne.”
-”It’s all the greasy foods and chocolate that gives you acne.”
-”Blackheads are just dirt and pollution stuck in your pores.”
-”Stronger products are better.”
-”Sunscreen and moisturizer makes you break out more.”
-”Stress has nothing to do with acne.”
-”Toothpaste can clear up pimples in no time.”
-”Don’t wear makeup if you want clearer skin, it only makes acne worse.”
-”Acne is curable.”
Causes of Acne
To have acne you need 3 ingredients:
- Dead skin cells
- Oil (also known as sebum)
- P-acnes bacteria
So how does this happen? Your body sheds dead skin cells daily. Under normal circumstances, dead skin cells gets shed inside of the pore and then makes its way up to the surface, after this, your body sheds the dead skin cell.
The skin naturally produces oil / sebum that keeps its smooth and supple. Sebum helps to prevent it from drying out and cracking. This protective layer of sebum also keeps out free radicals and bacteria from entering your biggest organ, the SKIN.
Ok stop. What is free radicals? Free radicals are things like pollution, radiation and cigarette smoke. Free radicals attach to your healthy cells and start breaking them down, causing aging, wrinkles and sensitivity.
Sometimes, due to a lot of different factors, the body can start making an abundance of oil/sebum. Some of these factors are over stimulation of the skin by either rubbing it too hard or using stimulating products, using very harsh and drying products that strips the skin, hormonal changes in the body and many more.
The dead skin cells and over produced oil then mix and sticks together inside the pore. Instead of moving up and being shed, this mixture now gets trapped inside the pore.
The third ingredient that naturally lives on your skin, is P.acnes. The P.acnes enters into the clogged pore and start mixing with the dead skin cells and the sebum. Unfortunately this bacteria now have the perfect home and environment to multiply by the minute. At this stage the pore gets very inflamed with the increased amount of bacteria in it. This causes our bodies natural mechanism against any inflammation to kick into gear namely, it will start sending water or fluids to try and clear up this mess. In fact, this makes it worse and swelling and irritation increases.
When this whole process happens, and goes into the skin with an increase of inflammation, an acne cyst or nodule appear.
There are 4 grades of acne. Only a professional will be able to accurately classify your type and grade of acne. Acne is classified in grade 1 through 4.
Signs of acne..
Common areas that gets affected:
- Upper arms
Symptoms of acne..
- Dark pigmented spots
- Sever depression
- Low self esteem
Its definitely more than just having a breakout that occurs on your skin. In fact, to have active acne, your skin needs to be covered with acne more than 70%.
There are many effective acne treatments but this does not mean one size fits all. Mild acne could be treated by active skincare ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid.
Keep in mind that nothing works overnight even though false advertising tells you that it will.
Common ways to treat acne:
Topical acne treatments:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid
- Medical grade skincare products (No products like Rodan and Fields or store brand products like Neutrogena or Clearasil or even Proactive will do the trick).
- Antibiotics (Reduce inflammation by destroying the bacteria). (This will treat the symptoms and not the cause of the problem).
- Birth control (to stabilize hormones that has an effect on oil production). Women only.
- Isotretinoin (the only medication that works on all causes of acne-this will not only treat the symptoms acne but also the cause).
- Light therapies –Blue light (uv) reduces the p.acnes bacteria. It is also healing, drying and antibacterial.
- Chemical peels.
- Acne removal ( draining or extraction of acne lesions)
Tips on how to maintain good skincare and skin health while dealing with acne
- Be gentle when treating your skin. Don’t use any harsh products with rough scrubbing beads on your skin. (This means: “Stay away from St Ives Apricot scrub”.)This can increase oil production and spread the p.acnes bacteria.
- Use your fingertips and hands and not harsh wash cloths or scrubbing pads that harvest bacteria in them.
- Wash your face twice a day or after exercising or sweating.
- Do not use hot water but instead use lukewarm water. Hot water strips your skin from all your natural oils and increase oil production.
- Wash your hair regularly .
- Try not to touch your face throughout the day .
- Do not tan or use tanning beds. Stay out of the sun. UV rays can cause hyperpigmentation on areas where there is scars and lesions that is recovering.
- See a professional skincare therapist if…
-your acne gets out of hand and it’s start affecting your self esteem
-products are not working OR
-if you start scarring and pigment occur.
For more information please schedule a phone consultation or reach out to me via email.