Acne is a common disorder that affects many people. It often starts in puberty and can continue well into adulthood. Symptoms of acne include tender, red spots and pustules that later turn into pimples.
What Causes Acne?
Over production of sebum and oil from the sebaceous glands causes narrowing of the pore, which in turn leads to a blockage. Sebum builds up and causes “whiteheads” or comedones. These can become infected by bacteria, which usually live harmlessly on the skin known as Propionebacterium acnes (P-Acnes), and this is what causes the red, sore infected spots.
A Good Homecare Regime can Work Wonders for Acne Sufferers:
1. Products containing AHA’s (alpha hydroxyl acids such as glycolic acid) or BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids such as Salicylic acid) are especially useful, as they help the skin by encouraging exfoliation and shedding of the dead skin cells. This helps to keep pores from clogging and reduces the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands.
- Jan Marini Bioglycolic Range of products contain glycolic acid and are especially good for acneic skins. Jan Marini Bioclear contains both Glycolic and Salicylic Acid, and is recommended for use.
- NeoStrata also have a good range of AHA products and NeoStrata Clarifying Cleanser and NeoStrata Spot Gel are effective products
- Benzoyl Peroxide is a medication that helps prevent the narrowing of the openings of the sebaceous glands and slow the growth of the acne bacterium.
2. In addition to skincare products, there are clinically-proven products available which are hand-held light devices. The P-Acnes bacteria that colonises the skin and causes the infections and spots is destroyed by blue light. I recommend daily use of the award-winning home product AcneStar. This can be used at home, in conjunction with topical products, to reduce and clear acne.
3. Antibacterial facial scrubs can cleanse your skin, and reduce dead skin cells that could otherwise block pores, but these should be used with care and no more than twice a week, because the exfoliants can be harsh on the skin, especially if it is sensitive. Scrubs or cleansers with AHAs can also help your skin to shed dead cells, which encourages cell turnover and renewal. This brightens the complexion. Vitage Microexfoliator and Clinicians Complex Microdermabrasion Cream are both particularly helpful, and Jan Marini Body Scrub contains AHA’s and is perfect for acne and spots on the chest, back and arms.
Tips for Acne Sufferers:
- Sun Exposure: One of the biggest summer misconceptions is that sunbathing and a tan helps to clear up breakouts. Sun exposure may initially appear to dry up the blemish on the surface but meanwhile the sun only stimulates more oil production and exacerbates the acne process. Plus, sun exposure helps to create those nasty dark spots that are left after the blemish clears up. So think of sunscreen as your friend. We recommend Heliocare Gel SPF50 or Heliocare Skin Silk SPF30. Both of these are lightweight and non-comedogenic (will not clog the pores).
- Routine: Wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser such as Jan Marini Bioglycolic Facial Cleanser. Do not scrub your face as this will only make your acne worse.
- Leave Alone: Do not squeeze or pick at the pimples and spots; this makes them worse and may cause scarring.
- Moisturiser: Use a water-based moisturiser and choose products that are non-comedogenic. Greasy or oily creams and foundations block the pores and may cause spots.
- Hairstyles: Avoid hairstyles in which the hair is constantly touching your face. Shampoo your hair regularly, especially if it is very oily.
- Good nutrition: Eating a healthy, balanced diet will improve your general wellbeing, which will be reflected in your skin. It is a myth that chocolate is a cause of acne, however a good diet will improve the condition of the skin.
- Water: Drink lots of water as this will flush out toxins and transport nutrients around the body and improve the skin’s appearance.
- Products: Apply topical products regularly and consult a clinic specialising in products suitable for acneic skins.
- Medical Attention: Consult your doctor if your acne is persisting for several weeks or is causing psychological distress.