Straight Up Facts about Acne
Well, this is definitely one topic that has been covered by 1000's, and it's no wonder . . Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually. It is estimated to affect 9.4% of the global population, making it the eighth most prevalent disease worldwide.
As the skin is the body's largest organ, whenever something is happening internally, it will, more often than not, come out through your pores; this is how your body detoxes.
I have helped numerous clients that struggled with acne over the years, so in this article, I am going to share some straight-up facts about acne that will help you manage your skin condition better.
Before we jump into this, it’s essential to understand the basics in order to figure out the reason behind your acne.
So, What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that almost everyone has gone through. Although acne remains largely a curse of adolescence, any age group can be affected by acne.
Acne starts when the skin's sebaceous glands (oil glands) release too much sebum (oil), the oil travels up the hair follicle and clogs the opening to the hair follicle. Oil is a natural substance that lubricates and protects the skin, but under certain circumstances, cells close to the surface block the openings of sebaceous glands and cause a buildup of oil underneath. This excess oil, combined with dead skin cells trapped in the hair follicle and bacteria, causes surrounding tissues to become inflamed. This inflammatory condition of the skin happens for a reason, and that’s what I want to help you figure out.
Acne does tend to worsen in people with oily skin and can affect any part of the body, but in this article, we’ll talk about facial acne.
Types of Acne
Now that you know what Acne is, another thing you need to be able to identify is what type of Acne you have. Let’s look at common types of acne, what could be happening and how to address the problem.
Blackheads and Whiteheads: Don't we just hate these? This type of acne is actually quite common; it is non-inflammatory and should not cause swelling. Both conditions are caused by the clogging of the pores by sebum and dead skin cells. The only difference is that the outer layer of the pore is closed, making them appear as black or white dots on the skin’s surface.
Acne Papules: are small pink or reddish bumps that seem inflamed; The infection is caused in the deeper layer of the skin, the dermis and usually appears on the neck, chest, shoulders, and back.
Pustules or Pimples: are yellowish pus-filled bumps with a red-colored base due to inflammation. The pus-filled head is also a result of the body's response to fight off the bacterial infection on the skin. Scarring can occur if picked or scratched.
Nodules: This is the worst type of acne; these are solid pimples deep in your skin. Nodules are caused when your pores become blocked, trapping in dead skin, hair and oil. These pimples are large, painful, and can take some time to heal.
Factors That Can Contribute to or Worsen Acne
The list of what may contribute to acne breakouts is long, including genetics and hormone change, but let’s talk about a few that you may not have considered.
So, How Do You Manage or Get Rid of Your Acne:
Well, first off, look at the products you use on your skin. Are you using a cleanser that dries out your skin, then use a heavy moisturizer to add that moisture back - but it's actually clogging your pores? Have you figured out if you actually need a moisturizer, especially if you are producing that much oil? It becomes a 'self-fulfilling prophecy,' doesn't it? You may need only to hydrate your skin rather than moisturize it. Check out my video on Skin Hydration and see if this might be a better solution for you. At Vskincareline, our Organic Blemish Defense Acne Range of products (including Treatment Serum) are gentle and non-irritating on the skin.
2. Do you use a lot of makeup? Especially if you are using makeup to cover up your acne, many people don’t understand that makeup doesn’t allow the skin to breathe naturally and can clog your pores leading to an acne flare-up.
And definitely do not exercise or sleep with makeup on; neglecting to remove your makeup at the end of the day can cause severe acne problems. So, make sure you use a product that cleans out your pores; I usually advise my clients to cleanse their skin in the morning and then cleanse twice at night. Our VSkincare Enzyme Foaming Cleanser is a phenomenal product in our range that helps deep clean your skin and unclog your pores. Use it every other night. Initially, you might purge a little bit but keep at it. Eventually, all the gunk will start coming out, and your skin will be nice and clean again.
3. Okay, so you don’t wear makeup! Well, this would be a good time to look at your diet. For example, if you are prone to getting blackheads, it’s an indication that your body is producing mucus, which means you probably eat a lot of processed foods or a lot of sugar, which can be a contributing factor. My recommendation here would be for you to clean up your diet.
4. What about exercise and sweating? Many people do not consider these factors when it comes to acne.
For example, if you do a lot of outdoor or indoor sports, sweat a great deal, use headgear, you may get acne on your forehead. Sweat, now mix that with oil and bacteria; all of this has nowhere to go and is forced back into the skin, which contributes to blocking your pores. So, we are back to cleansing your skin and, in this case, cleanse soon after you are done with your activity. I would recommend an antibacterial cleanser to clean the irritated or affected area.
5. Then there is sunscreen and sweating. A lot of us don’t really think about this, do we? Many of us use sunscreen when out in the sun for long periods. It’s essential to protect the skin from sun damage, but certain sunscreens contain chemicals that can irritate your skin, making you more susceptible to acne breakouts. These sunscreens act as a block or shield over your skin; the minute your pores open and you start sweating, the product penetrates the skin tissues and can clog your pores. It’s like “damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” right! so you do want to be careful and pay attention to the type of sunscreen you use; if you are prone to acne breakouts, do your research and limit the use of sunscreens with chemical UV blockers. At Vskincare, our Reflect sunscreen is mineral based, a non-nano zinc oxide that acts as a protective layer on top of the skin to deflect and disperse harmful sun rays. It protects without penetrating the skin, so the body doesn’t absorb it.
And my final tip: I advise all my clients with any skin condition to keep a daily diary. Trust me on this one, with the busy lives we all live, having to remember what you used or ate on Monday because you now have a breakout just before the weekend is nearly impossible. So, document every day:
What you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner
What did you use to cleanse and moisturize your skin morning and night.
Did you exercise or do an outdoor activity? What did you do and/or use before and after your workout?
Basically, record what you eat and apply on your skin; this process will go a long way in helping you figure out what you are using, eating and/or doing that contributes to an acne flareup.