Why do I have so much acne?
There are many factors that affect acne and it can be difficult to pin down the exact cause. The actual formation of acne is caused when excess oil clumps together with dead skin cells and clogs skin pores. The pores swell and push out the contents from under the skin, which results in blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, nodules, papules, and cystic lesions. The production of oil and the amount of dirt on the skin is therefore how acne forms, but simply cleaning your face, as you may have realised, does not always prevent acne breakouts.
The first thing to do is to look inside at your hormone levels. Hormones fluctuate throughout our lives according to changes in our lifestyle and our age. We can actually influence our hormones with what we eat, how much we exercise and with our stress levels.
At what age is acne the worst?
Although acne is usually associated with teenagers, it can affect us into our adult years. This is usually caused by hormonal changes, which fluctuate the most during puberty, in our twenties, and then (for females) during the menopausal years. As oestrogen levels fall with age, collagen, elasticity and moisturise levels fall, which can result in hormonal acne on the chin, the sides of the mouth, the jawline area, the chest, and the upper back.
It’s important to remember that acne is something that affects most people at some stage in life and you’re never alone. Acne can be debilitating in some cases and cause withdrawal from social situations due to feelings of self-consciousness and anxiety. While you can look at your diet, medications, stress levels and the products you’re using, it can be difficult to pin down what is actually triggering your acne. Please seek advice from a dermatologist if you’re struggling with acne.
How can I prevent acne?
The first way to prevent acne is to eat foods high in antioxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatories. This will increase skin elasticity, collagen levels, hydration levels and protect the skin from damage.
Omega-3 essential fatty acids are found most abundantly in flaxseeds, nuts and plant-oils. When our diet lacks omega-3-fatty acids, it causes an imbalance and increases insulin levels, which in turn increases the production of sebum and leads to acne. Pairing a diet rich in omega-3-fatty acids with a diet low in saturated fats (found in meat, poultry, dairy, fish, eggs, sunflower oils and coconut oil) is essential for maintaining healthy skin and keeping your insides balanced.
Vitamins A, C and E are found in fruits, vegetables, eggs and plant-oils. They are known to boost the skin’s vitality and luminosity, protect against environmental damage, boost collagen levels and reduce inflammation. Skincare products often use these vitamins as ingredients in their formulas, so they must be important!
Vitamins B2 and B3 are found in whole wheat products (bread, pasta), wholegrains (rice), breakfast cereals, avocadoes, peanuts, mushrooms and potatoes. These vitamins improve skin tone, make the skin more radiant and balance natural oils.
Other foods to avoid or reduce your consumption of are refined sugar (which again rapidly raises insulin levels and imbalances your skin’s natural oil production); dairy (because the artificial hormones that dairy cows are treated with in order for them to be kept pregnant all the time and produce milk interacts with our own natural hormones and causes an imbalance); and gluten (because of its inflammatory properties, it has been linked to poor skin health, but this is not concretely evidenced by dermatologists).
We all know that our mental health is just as important as our physical health. And more often than not, the two are interlinked. Stress releases the hormone CRH (corticotrophin-releasing hormone) which binds to receptors in the skin’s sebaceous glands and increases sebum production, which can cause acne to form. Stress can also slow wound healing by up to 40%, which slows the repair of acne scars. Stress can also drive people into eating unhealthily and sleeping poorly, which all cumulatively damage the skin.
To reduce stress and improve your mental wellbeing, try to release endorphin levels with exercise, chat to others, establish a nice morning routine that will set you up for a productive day, and don’t forget to relax.
SKINCARE PRODUCTS: What are the best acne products?
PCA Skin Facial Wash Oily/Problem Skin: this facial cleanser exfoliates with lactic acid, hydrates and protects with gluconolactone, and reduces inflammation with aloe vera leaf juice and allantoin. It’s a really good option for whitehead and blackhead removal and keeping the skin completely skin without over-drying.
Another facial cleanser option is the Biretix Cleanser Purify. It uses potent ingredients to defend against fungal acne (clumps of small white or red spots caused by yeast), prevent and eliminate blackheads and red spots, and clear the skin from excess oil.
Another great Biretix product is their Micropeel Purifying Exfoliant Treatment. It essentially mimics an acne facial treatment through its peeling technique. Niacinamide helps to control oil production, reduce enlarged pores and minimise redness and inflammation, while willow bark extract deeply clears pores and neutralises spot-causing bacteria. For oily skin use 2-3 times per week, and for dry-normal skin, use once per week.
The best serum for acne scars is the Osmosis Skincare Rescue Epidermal Repair Serum. It contains a revolutionary formula combining ozonized ethyl oleate with other active ingredients to neutralise toxins, soothe internal and external inflammation, and activate epidermal wound repair. Its ingredients fade acne scars and also protect against oxidative damage to prevent further scarring or pigmentation. It’s an all-round great product for a clear and smooth skin texture.
The Indeed Labs Clearify Facial Oil is a lightweight, mattifying and non-greasy oil for congested and acne-prone skin. While it may seem counter-productive to put oil on oily skin, it’s actually an effective way to balance oil production and avoid drying out the skin. It includes the BHA exfoliant salicylic acid to dissolve dead skin cells and clear out the skin and also to fade acne scars. Additionally, argan oil deeply nourishes and repairs the skin barrier. Other antioxidants reduce inflammation and boost hydration, which reduces the appearance of acne scars. Apply 2-3 drops to clean skin after serums and before moisturiser.
If you think your acne breakouts are being caused by hormonal imbalances within your body, Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Accumax is an award-winning skin supplement that naturally treats hormonal acne. Skin Accumax comes in the form of capsules to be taken up to 4 times per day as a supplement, for a recommended minimum of 14 weeks. The capsules contain vitamins A, C, E and DIM (diindolylmethane) to balance hormone production, detoxify toxins that clog the skin, support skin maintenance and reduce inflammation. It’s perfect for all ages and is the only hormonal acne treatments for scars and breakouts of its kind.
How long does it take to get rid of acne completely?
Acne is associated with oily skin because it forms when excess oil on the skin binds with dead skin cells and clogs pores. This does not mean that only people with oily skin can get acne. Dehydrated skin causes oil production levels to go into overdrive, which again causes more acne breakouts, and similarly, combination skin will cause you to see acne in some areas of the face but be suffering from dryness on other areas. It’s therefore imperative to understand that your skin will not react to treatments and products in the same way as others, and that sometimes you need to try a few products before the right one. However, don’t fall into the trap of abandoning a product after a few weeks when you don’t see result. Products will often take 4-8 weeks to show a real difference, be patient!
It’s also important to know that acne does not affect you at one point in your life and then go away forever. Hormonal and lifestyle changes throughout the duration of our lifetimes can trigger acne at different ages and will likely only last for a short period of time. Acne is a natural part of life and although there are many things that we can do to prevent it, no one has perfect skin!
Does putting toothpaste on acne help?
Some ingredients like baking soda, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide that are found in toothpaste have drying properties that can help to shrink acne spots. However, it’s never a good idea to put toothpaste on acne. Toothpaste is formulated for your teeth and contains chemicals that are way too strong for your skin and can cause irritation. Instead of running the risk of making your skin worse, try a drying solution that is specifically formulated for acne, for example, ingredients like salicylic acid, niacinamide and retinols are all scientifically proven to reduce and prevent acne by decreasing oil production.
Does drinking water help with acne?
Drinking water is the best thing you can do for your skin. The benefits of drinking a lot of water everyday cannot be stressed enough, and sadly most of us are not drinking enough. We should be drinking 2 litres of water per day, and if possible, more than that.
Water keeps the body hydrated, helps to maintain skin elasticity, increases radiance and shine, and in turn reduces the appearance of scarring, wrinkles and pigmentation. Water also flushes out all of the toxins from the body, working with the gut to maintain a healthy skin barrier.
In terms of clearing your skin, water is key. A great tip is to keep a water bottle with you at all times and tracking how much you’re drinking. Feel free to add things like lemon, cucumber, berries or juice to make it taste a little sweeter!
How do dermatologists get rid of acne?
Dermatologists will recommend leading a healthy lifestyle, using high-quality skincare products, and getting frequent facial treatments to get rid of acne. A simple but effective skincare routine incorporating a cleanser, exfoliator, serum and moisturiser is absolutely essential to heal the skin, increase cell turnover and protect from further damage. However, implementing these simple steps into your daily routine may not have an effect on your acne and acne scars, in which case dermatologists will sometimes prescribe medicines such as Accutane or Roaccutane, especially for teenagers.
The best way to get rid of acne and deep acne scars is to have acne facial treatments because they repair and protect the skin at a cellular level using high-quality technologies and ingredients. The two best facial treatments for acne are vitamin A infusions and chemical peels. They unclog pores to prevent further acne and inflammation, penetrate deep into the skin to hydrate and stimulate cell production, lighten dark spots by removing the top layer of the skin, and support the skin’s immune functions.
What is the best acne treatment?
The vitamin infusion for acne uses advanced liposomal delivery to support the skin’s natural skin barrier and carry essential vitamins and active ingredients through cell membranes and into the deep layers of the skin. Combining active powders and 2% vitamin A infusion, this acne treatment reconditions the epidermis (the surface layer of the skin), restores the hydro-lipid balance (the skin’s moisture barrier) and boots collagen production. Its use of galvanic technology, ultrasound stimulation, LED light therapy, and vibrating massage also promotes cell renewal and boots blood circulation, which instantly brightens and evens the skin.
The facial peel for acne is different from the vitamin infusion acne treatment because it has no facial flaking and zero downtime. It provides controlled resurfacing of the skin using potent botanical extracts followed by a deep healing mask to eliminate skin impurities and relieve inflammation. It combines papaya and pineapple enzymes with a potent clinical level grade of glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin, increase cell turnover, reduce acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, and stimulating collagen production. It uses similar technology to the osmosis vitamin A infusion that will repair, reduce and protect the skin from acne.
Author: Megan Kerr