Your Ultimate Guide to Controlling Acne
What Exactly Causes Breakouts?
Acne is caused when tiny holes in the skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked.
Sebaceous glands are tiny glands found near the surface of your skin. The glands are attached to hair follicles, which are small holes in your skin that an individual hair grows out of.
Sebaceous glands lubricate the hair and the skin to stop it drying out. They do this by producing an oily substance called sebum.
In acne, the glands begin to produce too much sebum. The excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and both substances form a plug in the follicle.
If the plugged follicle is close to the surface of the skin, it bulges outwards, creating a whitehead. Alternatively, the plugged follicle can be open to the skin, creating a blackhead.
What’s the Difference Between Teen Acne and Adult Acne?
Acne in adults also occurs because of an excess production of skin oil. It’s not well known why certain adults continue to develop acne, but genetic factors seem to play a role. If your parents developed acne during adulthood, you’re more likely to develop acne during adulthood as well.
While teenage acne is primarily caused by an influx of hormones during puberty, hormone production stabilizes after puberty. Adult acne continues to occur, though mostly in women. Hormonal fluctuations during adulthood such as pregnancy and menstruation typically trigger acne. Many women with acne notice diminished outbreaks after menopause, when estrogen and progesterone levels drop. Teens often develop acne around their cheeks and forehead; adults tend to develop acne on their chin and around the mouth.
The History of Acne Care
Historical records indicate Pharaohs had acne, which may be the earliest known reference to the disease. Sulfur's usefulness as a topical remedy for acne dates back to at least the reign of Cleopatra (69–30 BCE). The sixth-century Greek physician Aëtius of Amida reportedly coined the term "ionthos" (ίονθωξ,) or "acnae", which seems to be a reference to facial skin lesions that occur during "the 'acme' of life" (puberty).
In the 16th century, the French physician and botanist François Boissier de Sauvages de Lacroix provided one of the earlier descriptions of acne. He used the term "psydracia achne" to describe small, red, and hard tubercles that altered a person's facial appearance during adolescence and were neither itchy nor painful.
The recognition and characterization of acne progressed in 1776 when Josef Plenck (an Austrian physician) published a book that proposed the novel concept of classifying skin diseases by their elementary (initial) lesions. In 1808 the English dermatologist Robert Willan refined Plenck's work by providing the first detailed descriptions of several skin disorders using morphologic terminology that remains in use today. Thomas Bateman continued and expanded on Robert Willan's work as his student and provided the first descriptions and illustrations of acne accepted as accurate by modern dermatologists. Erasmus Wilson, in 1842, was the first to make the distinction between acne vulgaris and rosacea. The first professional medical monograph dedicated entirely to acne was written by Lucius Duncan Bulkley and published in New York in 1885.
Scientists initially hypothesized that acne represented a disease of the skin's hair follicle, and occurred due to blockage of the pore by sebum. During the 1880s, they observed bacteria by microscopy in skin samples from people with acne. Investigators believed the bacteria caused comedones, sebum production, and ultimately acne. During the mid-twentieth century, dermatologists realized that no single hypothesized factor (sebum, bacteria, or excess keratin) fully accounted for the disease in its entirety. This led to the current understanding that acne could be explained by a sequence of related events, beginning with blockage of the skin follicle by excessive dead skin cells, followed by bacterial invasion of the hair follicle pore, changes in sebum production, and inflammation.
The approach to acne treatment underwent significant changes during the twentieth century. Retinoids became a medical treatment for acne in 1943.
As times goes on, we have found significant success with some of the natural ingredients mentioned below, as well as the prevention tips notes below as well.
7 Acne Prevention Tips
Wash Twice a Day. It’s important to remove excess dirt and oil from the skin by washing regularly. Twice a day can help keep skin free of bacteria and dirt, which is important for keeping pores clear and healthy. Over-washing the face may cause the skin to become dry, which can aggravate pimples. Choose a mild cleanser that your skin can handle twice a day, and save the more involved treatments for just a few times a week.
Exfoliate Gently. There is manual exfoliation and then there is ingredient causing exfoliation. You can choose a soft washcloth, gentle cleansing pad, or a gentle facial brush for some good manual exfoliation options. If you’d like to try an ingredient causing exfoliation product, start with something that is considered mild and work your way up to a strength you’re comfortable with. Glycolic and other acid products are great for exfoliating away the dead skin cells that can often clog pores, and they can also keep scars and inflammation at bay and at a minimum.
Reduced Dairy & Sugar in Diet. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, foods with a high glycemic index may increase the risk of developing acne or make acne worse. Try to reduce sugar intake a bare minimum. Dairy products, especially skim milk, may also increase a person’s risk of developing acne. A person may want to cut back on a particular food group, to see if their skin improves.
Keep Hair Clean & Consider Your Hair Care Products. Avoid heavy hair products that can transfer to your face, like oils, pomades, wax based products, etc.
Refrain from Picking & Touching Your Face. Your hands encounter grime and bacteria constantly throughout the day. And each time you touch your face, some of those pore-clogging impurities may get transferred to your skin. And while it is very tempting to pick and pop a breakout, this can cause bleeding, scarring, and spread the infection and bacteria to other pores, causing more breakouts.
Reduce Stress. It’s harder to do and easier to say, but try to reduce stress and drama in your life. Stress doesn’t cause pimples, but it may make them worse. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, research has shown that when you’re stressed, your body produces more oil-stimulating hormones.
Have a Simple Product Routine & Ingredient List. Choose products and cosmetics that are labeled "noncomedogenic," meaning it should not cause acne. Read the ingredients list on the product label before buying. A clean, simple ingredients list is your best choice. Avoid chemicals and synthetics that can cause irritation and clog pores.
6 Acne Eliminating Ingredients You Need
Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is a popular choice for treating acne because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It's thought to calm redness, swelling, and inflammation. It can help to prevent and reduce acne scars, leaving you with smooth, clear skin.
French Green Clay. French green clay is an absorbent, mineral-rich clay with healing abilities. According to 2010 research, French green clay has potent antibacterial properties. It helps draw out impurities, reduce inflammation, and absorb excess oil that may lead to pimples. You can mix it with your favorite mask or scrub, or create your own with honey or plain yogurt.
Salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring compound, which can be isolated from the bark of the willow tree. Salicylic acid penetrates into your skin and works to dissolve the dead skin cells clogging your pores.
Retinoids. Topical retinoids are derived from vitamin A, and can either be an over the counter product or a prescription (which tend to be very harsh). These treatments can also get rid of excess dead skin cells and reduce inflammation.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids. Acne pimples occur when your pores are clogged with a combination of dead skin cells, oil (sebum), and bacteria. Exfoliating with AHAs can help loosen and remove the clog. Continued use may also prevent future clogs from forming. AHAs may also reduce the size of enlarged pores, which are commonly seen in acne-prone skin. Skin cell turnover from exfoliating glycolic and lactic acids can even reduce acne scars. Some acne products also contain other AHAs, such as citric and malic acids, to help soothe inflamed skin.
Sulfur. Elemental sulfur can be found near hot springs and volcanic regions in many parts of the world, especially along the Pacific Ring of Fire; such volcanic deposits are currently mined in Indonesia, Chile, and Japan. Sulfur helps dry out the surface of your skin to help absorb excess oil (sebum) that may contribute to acne breakouts. It also dries out dead skin cells to help unclog your pores.
Our organic acne spot treatment and mask is an excellent choice for treating your acne with fast, natural results:
Jeanette @ Claribelskincare.com