Learn the Truth and Myths About Acne
By: Sarah Rendle
Having great looking skin doesn’t stop at the ladies, a massive number of males are very interested in making the most of them-selves and it all starts with the skin. We have an opinion of a person who is covered in spots; we come to our own conclusions rightly or wrongly if we see someone who has eczema or dry flaky skin. If someone is unshaven, dirty, wears heavy dark makeup, has lank greasy hair, has acne like it or not we make instant decisions on how we look. As there are three types of acne past, present and future signs of acne you need to first establish which type are YOU
So what is Acne?
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs when sebum (oil) and dead skin cells block the pore opening, causing sebum to build up inside the pore. Although acne is a common skin condition, if left untreated it can lead to severe inflammation and permanent scarring.
Who is affected by Acne?
Acne affects people regardless of age, gender, or race. More than 80 % of people suffer from acne at some point in their lives, many into adulthood. Did you know 20% of all adults suffer with active acne? and of the 85% of young adults (between ages 12 and 24) that suffer from acne, 25% will have permanent scars ranging from mild to severe.
Knowledge is POWER!! Learn about theAcne Life Cycle
Stage One: Clogged Pores
o Each pore in your skin is essentially a hair follicle lined by cells from the epidermis (the upper most layer of the skin). The hair follicle is connected to multi- lobed sebaceous glands (oil producing glands).
o Sebaceous glands produce sebum, a natural substance that lubricates the hair and provides essential fatty acids and lipids that are necessary to maintain the skin’s protective moisture barrier.
o As part of the skin’s healthy processes, cells that line the pore are continuously shed.
o They mix with sebum and flow out of the pore onto the surface of the skin.
o If the sebaceous glands produce too much oil, generally in response to hormones, the mixture of dead skin cells and sebum form a plug, blocking the pore opening.
Stage Two: Bacteria
o Dead skin cells lining the pore continue to be shed and oil is still produced by the sebaceous glands, both of which build up behind the plug.
o The accumulated mixture of sebum and dead cells attracts the bacteria found naturally in the skin (known as P.acnes or propionibacterium acnes), which feeds on oil and multiplies rapidly inside the pore.
Stage Three: Inflammation
The bacteria overgrowth triggers the body’s natural inflammatory immune response: white blood cells to flood the area. This causes swelling and redness in the region, which can ultimately lead to the discoloration and scarring associated with acne.
Which Type are You?
There are many types of acne breakouts, all of which result when oil and dead skin build up and clog the pore opening. Blackheads, whiteheads, pustules (or nodules), and cysts are the four most common types of acne breakouts.
Blackheads (or open comedones) are clogged pores that are only partially plugged, allowing some of the trapped sebum and oil to escape the pore. The sebum within the hair follicle solidifies. The dark colour associated with blackheads is due to the oxidization of sebum and melanin in the dead skin cells when they come into contact with the air. Blackheads are generally not inflamed or infected with bacteria and do not cause scaring.
Whiteheads (or Closed comedones) are the result of completely clogged pores. Below the skin, excess oil and dead skin cells fill the pore and begin to create a small whitish bump. Limited bacterial growth and a low grade immune response create the white pus associated with whiteheads. Pustules (or nodules) are red, inflamed acne breakouts that occur when clogged pores become infected with bacteria (P.acnes). Because of the inflammation and swelling, pustules cause the distinctive discolouration associated with acne and may also cause scarring.
Cysts are severely inflamed and pus-filled acne lesions that occur when the contents of a clogged pore seep into the dermis (lower layer of the skin). The deep inflammation and infection cause a severe immune response: white blood cells flood the area, which then becomes swollen and sore. Acne cysts are painful and often cause scarring. The white blood cells can overreact and damage the pore and surrounding area. After the cyst heals, a permanent scar may remain.
OK, So All This Information Is All Well and Good But, How Do We Treat ACNE!!
Please Do Not Be Mislead Acne can take anywhere Between 8 – 12 weeks to treat. When treating acne topically, dermatologists recommend a three pronged approach.
o Unclog pores and keep them clear.
o Control oil, which helps to limit bacterial growth
o Reduce inflammation.
MOST SYSTEMS DO NOT MATCH THESE CRITERIA
The skin takes time to adjust to a new system. We have discussed the Truth about Acne now the interesting bit …. the myths!!
Myth#1: Scrub face clean to treat acne!
Vigorous washing and scrubbing can actually irritate the skin and make acne worse. The best approach to good hygiene and treating acne is to gently wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser, pat dry and use an appropriate acne treatment.
Myth#2: You have to let acne run its course!
The truth is acne can be cleared up! Using a high quality, efficacious acne treatment system can address the stages of acne: clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation.
Myth#3: Acne is just a cosmetic condition!
While acne poses no serious threat to one’s health, it does affect the way people look and can affect the way people feel about themselves. Acne should be taken seriously and treated to prevent permanent physical scarring.
Myth #4: Acne is not related to diet!
Some studies indicate a relationship between and high-glycemic foods such as sodas, pastries and breads. Other studies have looked at the impact of dairy-rich diets on skin health. Many people insist certain foods affect their acne. When controlling acne, eating a balanced diet is always a good idea.
Myth#5: There is no correlation between stress and acne!
Acne not only causes significant stress, but is also made worse by stress. in a recent study, Standford University students with acne were analyzed before and after exams. The study showed the students’ acne worsened when under pre-exam stress. When you’re under stress, your body produces stress hormones such as cortisol, which stimulate an over production of oil in the skin. When this excess oil mixes with dead skin cells, it promotes bacterial growth and can cause acne to develop or become worse. This can, in turn, lead to ore stress, plunging you into a Stress-acne cycle.
You now understand the Facts about Acne – the Truth and the myths
Take a good long look at your skin in the mirror – what do you see? How does your skin measure up? Over the next few pages I will discuss various methods that will guarantee your skin to be beautiful, blemish free, a joy to look at, no matter what nationality you happen to be or how long you have been suffering with problem skin.
First though you need to know a little about the skin.
It is made up of layers – the epidermis, dermis and the subcutaneous layers. Skin consists of hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, melanins and connective tissue. Proper care is essential for normal skin functions. You see theskin wasn’t designed to have problems it’s construction is actually designed to combat most conditions. As I mentioned on average the new skin cells rise to the surface approx. 30 days. It has a high concentration of water and needs the pores open to enable the skin to breathe.
As you are probably aware our skin secretes an oil called sebum, which is naturally produced. Sebum is the chemical that helps to keep the skin at the correct levels of pH to enable the skin to fight bacteria and infections. You see we were not designed to suffer with spots, eczema, dry skin, etc., without this correction your skin will not be able to perform at it optimal level.
The biggest misconception is that you need to buy a product either soap or cleanser that is so harsh it strips ALL the oils from the skin. This simply encourages the skin to produce more oil, you then think you need to use more of the harsh product and the skin produces even more oils, a vicious circle. For a couple of days leave your skin, allow it to “rest”. Simply rinse with warm water but no products. Try not to get your hair products on your face; these too can be so harsh that the skin can react to them.
Once your skin has rested then I recommend a product that has absolutely NO bad ingredients, this isn’t as easy as it may seem as many companies will promote the good ingredients and not mention the bad fillers used. Even the most well respected companies within the industry use these bad ingredients; price also is not an indicator of quality. With these fillers it doesn’t matter how much good natural ingredients are used they will not work as the fillers will block the pores preventing them from being effective. Do not mix different company products ie a cleanser from Clarins, toner from body shop and moisturiser from Clinique this again is damaging your skin. Every company works on a different method some use exfoliation to get some results, some use “sealing in” the moisture. Keep to one product line.
Getting back to acne, to restore your skin to it youthful, glowing and healthy state I recommend the following five point daily regime:-
This is essential to clear the pores and remove toxins from the skin. Do not use anything with soap, coal tar or similar harsh cleansing agents, these damage the skin structure and creates further problems.
Be careful too much exfoliating and this will damage the skin. Use a mild, exfoliant preferably with marine diatoms, which will not damage the skin. Too many companies including the large, well-respected companies work with exfoliating the skin with very harsh ingredients. This is not desirable as it strips the skin of the sebum making the skin go to work on creating more.
Re – balance or Tone:
I have many people telling me even now, that the pores are closed with toners. It is with the pores that the skin breathes if the pores are closed or blocked then the skin is in trouble and dies. Toners were created for two reasons, one was to firstly remove the oil and petroleum left on the skin from traditional cleansers and secondly to retract the pores after the debris had been removed. Every hour of every day our skin is exposed to pollutants and dirt, this is held within the pores stretching them, if the pores are not cleansed thoroughly and then helped to retract to their original size, the result is very large exposed pores. Most toners have harsh alcohols, which again will cause further problems; natural Witch Hazel will retract the pores and restore the pH levels of the skin making the skin work at its optimal levels. This is one of the most important products your skin needs but it can be the most damaging if using the wrong product.
A good hydrating product can work wonders for scar tissue, and will assist the skin in the healing process and hydrate the skin. The side effects of this product are that it assists the elastin and collagen to perform better, hence younger skin!
Technology has moved so much within the skin care products and using oils and petroleum by products is such an old method to use, that now we know does not work.
Time and time again they will promote one or two good ingredients only to find that the bulk of the products are useless and in many cases damaging to the skin.
The Do’s and don’t on Good Skin Care.
Do: Use high quality ingredients This does not mean the dearest
Do: Keep to a simply regime
Do: Use the right products for your skin type
Do: Remember your skin will change, whether you move to a different location or if you stop or start smoking. Treat your skin accordingly.
Do: Cleanse, Tone, Hydrate and moisturise twice a day.
Don’t: Mix different company’s products
Don’t: Use products with cheap bulking agents such as petroleum by products, oils, coal tar, harsh alcohol etc.,
Don’t: Tear at the skin this will create lines and wrinkles too early.
You now understand the Facts about Great Skin
Check out my other guide on : Acne Tip