Acne is a four-letter word to millions of people. It can cause self-esteem issues, and be a real nuisance, both in adolescence and adulthood. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help the problem.
How it happens
“Acne is the most common skin condition,” according to the American Academy of Dermatology, so don’t feel bad if you have it. It forms when dead skin cells and natural oils on your skin mix together and clog hair follicles. When the pore is clogged, bacteria become trapped and creates a minor infection. Then, white blood cells are amassed to treat the infection and viola! You have acne. Now that we know how it happens let’s look at how to control it.
#1 AHA BHA Cleansers
There are many soaps and cleansers on the market, so you need to be smart here. If you are considering any standard bar soap do yourself a favor and throw it away…or just don’t buy it. Many people think you need to over clean skin with acne. While you do need to keep it relatively clean, it’s common to strip the skin’s natural oils that maintain moisture. When these oils are stripped, the body produces excess oil to compensate…and boom! More acne. Rather than over scrub, wash, etc, try using a medical grade cleanser that has both alpha-hydroxy (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) in it. These acids attract oil to them without stripping too much oil off your skin. BHA’s also calm and inhibit inflammation, which helps to keep excess oil off your skin.
Quick tip: Try using IS Clinical Cleansing Complex, which is great for all skin types. It calms as it cleanses and will help keep your skin blemish free.
As a potent form of vitamin A, retinol is the gold standard for all things skin (anti-aging, brown spots and acne). Retinol essentially tells your skin to turnover. So, you are causing skin to exfoliate itself naturally, which will go a long way towards helping regulate acne. As a bonus, retinol is also great at anti-aging. According to Dermatologist Dr. Carl Thornfeldt, “Vitamin A and retinoids modulate 1200 of the 4000 genes involved in aging.”
Quick tip: There is a lot of junk in stores with little or no proven efficacy. So, make sure to get your retinol from a licensed physician or a medical grade brand. This way you know what you are getting.
Perhaps the most important ways to help control acne is sunscreen. Believe it or not, ultra-violet (UV) light can make acne worse. It can cause inflammation and when bacteria are trapped in a hair follicle, UV light can help bacteria multiply. Imagine a greenhouse that instead of produce grows bacteria…not pretty, but you get the idea!
The best way to stop this is to use a broad-spectrum, non-comedogenic (non-pore-clogging) sunscreen. When shopping for one, focus on brands that have zinc and titanium instead of chemical based ingredients. Chemical based sunscreens are okay, but they take 15-20 minutes to absorb and must be broken down by your body. Zinc and titanium are forms of physical based sun block and work on contact. Quick tip: Try using Sunforgettable by Colorescience. It’s dry sunscreen, with both zinc and titanium, that can be reapplied over makeup or on bare skin.
If you have acne try these three tips as they will help with the battle. They don’t take a lot of time to do. At night, AHA/BHA cleanser, retinol and during the day AHA/BHA cleanser and sunscreen can be a potent ally. Just make sure if you use retinol, to always use sunscreen because it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
If you need a place to get started, please try our skin quiz, as we create skin care regimens to get rid of acne. They are then delivered to your doorstep with instructions for use. Try it- you won’t be disappointed.
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