Types of Acne and How to Help
Around 80% of the world population is affected by acne at some point during their lives. Although it is most common among teenagers and adults under 30, it can also last into adulthood or crop up during times of hormonal change such as periods, pregnancy and menopause. These hormonal changes are key factors that contribute to acne or acne irritation and can also be brought on by medications such as oral contraceptives.
Acne can be quite a complex skin condition, with no easy fix. Research has shown that when we get stressed the body releases hormones that ramp up the production of sebum and while this alone isn’t a direct cause of acne it is thought to be a contributing factor.
So what exactly is acne? Well, it’s basically a skin condition that occurs when the hair follicles become plugged up with dead skin cells and sebum, the sticky oil that is produced by the body to keep your skin moisturised. The glands that produce sebum get their cue from hormones called ANDROGENS – which includes testosterone. As you go into puberty the body increases the production of androgens, meaning an excess of sebum is produced. It is this excess, along with dead skin cells, makeup and daily grime that clog the pores and cause acne.
What types of acne are there? Well, there are actually several, ranging from mild, blackheads and whiteheads to severe where nodules or cysts are formed. Most acne tends to be mild to moderate, producing pink pimples that are relatively small and not too painful. Severe acne on the other hand can produce large, painful cysts that penetrate deep into the skin. It is this type of acne that can cause scars. Acne is most commonly found on the face, forehead, upper back and shoulders.
Skin care products and makeup can also cause acne. Products that contain mineral oil clog the pores because they can trap sweat and dead skin cells whilst makeup can be a direct cause. It’s important when choosing your makeup to look for terms like oil-free, won’t clog pores or non-comedogenic on their labels.
Although more research is needed there is some evidence to suggest that diet may play a role, not only in the development, but also in helping to prevent acne. Avoiding processed foods, such as white bread, bagels, sweetened and instant cereals, short grain white rice, snack foods like pretzels and rice cakes and even some fruits and veg like melons, pineapple and potatoes is recommended.
Instead, having a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation. These include fish, eggs, spinach and kale, soybeans and soy products, nuts and wild rice. According to some sources, an anti-acne diet should include complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and unprocessed yellow and orange fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts.
A good skin care routine can also be beneficial. Keeping it simple is the key. I know that the majority of people feel like they should ‘scrub’ their acne away, but this can actually make the spots worse. Many people with acne will over-cleanse and over exfoliate because they want to get rid of the excess dirt and oil. This over cleansing and exfoliating irritates the skin and can worsen the problem.
The most beneficial routine should include the following:
- Gently cleanse morning and evening and be careful not to use a rough cloth to remove it.
- Apply a gentle toner. Our Balancing Skin Toner does just that – it is hormone balancing and helps to regulate the skin’s natural secretions and in doing so moisturises dry skin and smooths oily skin.
- Apply a moisturiser that is full of skin friendly ingredients like hyaluronic acid as it is natural and kind to the skin. Hyaluronic acid helps to control sebum production so is a useful ingredient in your skincare products. Try our Rejuvenating Face Cream that contains hyaluronic acid and jojoba oil which is very similar in composition to the skin’s own sebum. It also has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which calms inflammation and reduces breakouts.
- Apply a detoxifying dead sea clay mask no more than once a week. Dead Sea clay is fantastic because it clears out the pores and absorbs excess sebum. It also has antibacterial properties kill off the bacteria that causes acne. Our Dead Sea Clay Mask powder is a zero-waste option that allows you to mix it with water, making it as thick or as thin as you like depending on how much time you have for a pamper!
Just remember to be kind to your skin! Treat it gently, no harsh scrubbing, no harsh chemicals, and your skin will thank you for it.