Acne, zits and pimples!  We all have them, all ages all genders, they just keep popping up. (Pun intended☺)  But how do we minimize them?  The good news is, “we can”!  Let me share some insights on how to regulate the oiliness of your skin and have a clearer problem-free skin.acne

Diet and Hormones

If you can get your diet and hormones under control you are well on your way to healthier skin. Fresh vegetables and a healthy balance of protein are essential. Decrease sugary foods and drinks and drink 1½ – 2 litres of H²O daily! Avoid processed foods and eating out of packets. A short period of detoxification can also be very useful. To help kick start your detox and begin a new healthier way of life.

By eating healthier you will inevitably balance your hormones naturally as much as possible. For women with polycystic ovaries and other ‘woman’s issues’, (eg. peri-menopausal or actual menopause), skin breakouts are the least of your problems. Sometimes when it comes to hormonal imbalances you may need blood tests to establish where your hormone levels are at and what medical alternatives there are to help you. Even so, you can work on the external issues of skin concerns with good quality products.

Acne Treatment

Acne begins at puberty and can go on for many years thereafter if you don’t find good quality effective products to combat it.  Acne is caused by an increase in a male sex hormone called androgens which is created by both ovaries and testes. As the body is developing, this hormone increases the sebaceous flow, which is the oil that comes out of pores/ hair follicles that lubricate your skin. It’s like your body is self moisturizing, but not in a good way when it’s excessive oil, as excessive oil production causes an accumulation in the pores and festers there causing acne. This combined with dead skin cells and bacteria forms a white head or papules (big red bump).

Many parents run straight off to the dermatologist with their precious teens, as they don’t want what happened to them to happen to their own off spring!  To me that is a last resort!  My beauty philosophy is to avoid harsh chemicals and drugs where at all possible!  In the twenty first century skincare products have come of age!  Skincare experts have access to some amazing products that are not harsh on sensitive skins and as a topical application will not disrupt internal mechanisms.  As teens (or at any other age really), we have enough going on with the changes inside our systems, so  keep it as simple and the least disruptive as possible.

Doctors and dermatologists will often prescribe either oral antibiotics or high level oral Vitamin A.  These have their place as a last resort if nothing and I mean NOTHING else works. As we all know the long term use of antibiotics weakens the immune system and impairs the body’s ability to fight serious health conditions and disease. Short term OK but for acne you are generally put on a minimum of a three month course.  As soon as you stop taking the medication the problem can reoccur as the underlying cause of acne is not being addressed. High strength oral Vitamin A shrinks the oil glands to reduce the amount of oil that comes to the surface of the skin. Unfortunately, it’s not effective long term as it dries the skin and more often than not creates major skin sensitivities. Yes it can be beneficial short term, but long term it can also have detrimental effects on the body.  Both these treatments are popular as they provide fast results but long term they are no so effective and they are not a healthy solution or long-term treatment for acne.

Traditional topical acne treatments, like washes and spot treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide.  They are fairly inexpensive and readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies and therefore where most people start. AND yes they have an effect on the bacteria with their anti-microbial or anti-bacterial components. And yes they do kill the bacteria on the skin that causes acne BUT they DON’T contain specific ingredients that remove the dead skin cells or regulate the oil flow onto the surface of the skin that clog the pores.

Saving money often comes at a high price, as such products can be very irritating to the skin and then you not only have acne, whiteheads and papules but now you also have red irritated dry skin too and you go around and around in circles using a product that is creating more problems and not attending to the real problem quite so well. Red irritated skin is not common with acne and is mostly the cause of low quality products.

Then with all this encouraged skin dryness from oral vitamin A medication and topical benzoyl peroxide comes premature aging, if you are not intensely hydrating the skin to combat this excessive dryness, which most people with acne don’t as they feel applying moisture to acne will feed it, but this is incorrect, as the correct moisturizer will heal and calm and hydrate the skin. Especially if you are an adult using these products it’s 100 times worse re the aging! And really who of us wants to age any faster than what we have to?

So no matter what your age when you are dealing with acne or the odd hormonal break out consider visiting your trusted skin expert who can deliver not only amazing result, but amazing products with the science and technology to back them. One of the best solutions to combating congested skin is a product that contains salicylic acid or mandelic acid. Both are plant derived, therefore pure plant botanicals that are easily accepted into the skin are FDA registered ingredients to prevent and treat acne.

Salicylic is what is termed a BHA or beta hydroxy acid. It not only kills bacteria but it will break down the accumulation of dead skin cells that clog the pores and create long term acne. Many product companies do include salicylic acid in their formulations but it is important to find skincare products that have encapsulated salicylic acid, this ensures the ingredients are going to be beneficial to the skin in the deeper layers, not just on the surface and are non-irritating to the surface of your skin, as harsh non capsulated salicylic will cause redness/dryness and irritation, so its all about the quality and science behind the product too. Remember you pay for what you get!

By treating the deep layers of the skins cellular makeup you are able to reprogram the skin cells to grow healthier and more ‘normalized’ to regulate that oil flow and keep the skin regularly exfoliated to prevent oil and dead skin build up in the pores. Therefore keeping your skin clean/antibacterial free and clear and normalized!

Now there are topical vitamin A’s that are also great for the more mature skins/adult acne. Topical vitamin A is a wonderful antioxidant, (preventing further environmental damage); it also helps to nourish the cells. When combined with other pure botanicals such as mulberry or liquorice it also helps to even out skin tone and pigmentation, fade scarring and is very firming on the skin. Great for fine lines and wrinkles. So if you want a little bit of everything i.e. you have a combination skin that has a bit of excess oil, hormonal breakouts, lines and wrinkles, then I highly recommend you incorporate a vitamin A serum into your night time regime.

It’s imperative no matter what the skin condition to hydrate. Without good hydration your skin will not heal, and it will also age!  When using any kind of retinol (vitamin A product) or BHA/AHA that renews the skin you MUST always use a hydrating moisturizer and total protection SPF 30+ sunscreen, EVERY day to look after those lovely healthy new cells and prevent future aging. Even our teens should be protecting with a daily SPF! We all should no matter what our age or skin type.

Training Teenagers how to Look after their Skin

To conclude, a word to the wise… (The parent) your teen may decide to not use or stop using their new products as they think their skin is getting worse. And no matter what you ask them they will tell big fibs and say they are using them when all they are doing is looking at the containers and not picking them up and putting them on their actual face, like at all. This is for a few varying reasons but in my experience when dealing with teens this is why!

  1. They see their skin is getting worse not better so they discontinue use. And this is quite true. BUT you must remind them that all that, for want of a better word, CRAP in their pores has to come OUT. And the products are doing a fine job of drawing all the impurities out, allow 2-6 weeks for the skin to detoxify itself, to speed this process up I would recc a monthly deep cleansing facial with your skincare expert. After the products draw out impurities they can THEN and only then work on healing the skin, regulating the oils and normalizing the cells, so that you have a clearer healthier looking skin. Once the skin has been brought back into balance, encourage your teen to continue cleansing twice and day and keeping up the regime, to avoid reoccurrence. They might like to revisit their skincare expert and see if they need to be prescribed a gentler skincare line for maintenance. The key here is perseverance and good training, without it you may was well flush your $ down the toilet. It may mean you as the parent have to physically apply their products the first few days, both morning and night to teach them and get them into the habit. But if that’s what it takes then do it I say!

  2. Your teen is just a typical lazy teen that is not doing their routine morning and night. Washing their face with the correct cleanser is a good start! And twice per day to remove impurities from their day as well as the excess oils each morning that accumulate while sleeping. When sleeping the skin is at its most active as it’s attempting to repair itself while you are resting. OH and a clean pillow slip every night or every other night will help too as teens produce SO much oils from their hair also.

  3. We all know teens don’t like to shower (I just don’t get it) so a daily shower that includes washing of their oily hair every 2-3 days too is ideal. I’m not sure how you enforce that but I will leave that to your discretion, this goes beyond my role here! ☺

So book your teen, pre-teen or even yourself in, for a skin consultation and we can further discuss a plan to give you all back confidence and brighter complexion.

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