Acne is something that has plagued me since early puberty and into my mid-20s. Looking back at photos makes me cringe seeing how much make-up I used trying to “cover up” the dreaded big, red, throbbing zits. Constantly touching my face, using thick make up, combined with overly harsh cleansers, I was certainly making the condition worse…
Acne really is a very common skin condition affecting 80% of the population at some point in their lives. Usually during the secondary school phase of our lives, where let’s be honest we could really do without it!
So, what is Acne? Well, there are glands just underneath the surface of the skin that surround the fine hairs on your face; Sebaceous Glands, which produce natural oils (known as Sebum). We have a love/hate relationship with Sebum… On the plus side it keeps our skin healthy, pliable and supple. However, over-production of Sebum and/or a narrowing of the openings to the Sebaceous Glands can cause Pores to be blocked by trapped oil and dead skin cells. Acne Bacillus loves these conditions and thrives, causing the dreaded infected spots and inflammation.
Ever wondered why pimples seem to only form on your face, neck, chest and back? Well the answer is simple, these areas of the body contain the greatest number of sebaceous glands. Back acne is particularly common, and should be treated to avoid acne scarring in this area.
Treatment of acne generally focuses on reducing oil production, fighting bacterial infection, reducing inflammation and speeding up cell turnover. In mild cases over the counter lotions and potions can work. Ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, sulphur and salicylic acid can encourage oily skin to dry up, kill bacteria and help remove dead skin cells which can clog our pores.
Miracle Acne Cure anyone?
If you are suffering with acne, chances are you’ve already trawled the internet, spoken to every beautician you can get your hands on, and tried a million & one different “miracle cures”. There are so many hints & tips out there it can be confusing, daunting and expensive! I’m going to list my Top Tips of best acne treatments. Some cost and some don’t, some are quick fixes and some take time, but these are things that worked and continue to work for me.
1 – Drink more water. Yes I can see you rolling your eyes and thinking I sound like your mother, but it helps trust me! Free, simple and easy. 8 glasses a day keeps the acne away!
2 – Don’t touch your face. The average person touches their face 2-3,000 times a day! Think of the amount of bacteria that is spreading!
This leads onto the question of whether “to pop or not?” I firmly believe in clearing out our pores to give our skin’s natural processes a helping hand. The key here though is to ensure the skin is thoroughly prepared before extractions and the pores are closed afterwards.
I’m not talking about a quick cleanse before and toner afterwards. I recommend a facial from an experienced skincare specialist to avoid the risk of spreading Acne Bacillus, as well as to avoid acne scarring. Some of our facials use steam to open the pores before extractions. For more adult acne I would recommend our Hydradermie Facial which uses alternating High Frequency to thoroughly cleanse following extractions, as well as having drying and germicidal effects. The Hydradermie Facial range starts from £50. Both area available as back treatments for those suffering with back acne.
3 – Be gentle with your skin. Don’t use overly harsh products. I remember vigorously scrubbing away at my skin with daily exfoliators and products that smelt as though they belonged in a hospital, convinced that this would “scrub” away the ever present pimples. Not only can overly harsh chemicals irritate your skin and cause sensitivity, but they can also destroy the skin’s natural oils and remove the skin’s protective barrier. When this happens your skin goes into “repair mode”, produces even more Sebum (or oil), resulting in yep you guessed it, more pimples.
4 – Simplify, simplify, and simplify your skincare routine. The temptation can be to mix multiple spot/skin creams and treatments to get the best results. This is not the case and can end up irritating your skin with conflicting ingredients, and potentially making your acne worse. Pop in for a free skin consultation with one of our Therapists who will complete a full skin analysis, and suggest the best routine to suit your skin, your time and your budget.
5 – Cut out caffeine and stop or reduce smoking. Both of these stimulate the adrenal glands, interfere with the natural process of the skin and will reduce the effectiveness of acne treatments.
I know no one ever died from acne, but I also know from my personal experience, that it can affect your confidence. Treating acne is not a quick fix, but there are things you and your skincare specialist can work on together to improve it. So if you do have acne and it bothers you, then now is the time to sort it out!
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