The best acne treatment plan is always a holistic approach. This means a combination of diet, lifestyle, supplementation and skincare.
This article takes a closer look at skin care – what to use and what not to use in any skin care regime in the healing and prevention of acne.
When skincare is the sole cause of acne
There are some cases of acne that are caused by skin care alone. These cases are less common, and the acne appears mild with very small lesions over any area over the face.
It is far more common for acne to be caused primarily by internal factors, in addition to the use of incorrect skin care.
For some women that are acne prone, their skin is more sensitive to ingredients in skin care products than others.
This is entirely dependent on the unique individual. For example, coconut oil may help to clear the acne of one woman, but cause a breakout in another.
The comedogenicity of ingredients
All ingredients in skin care have a comedogenicity rating from 0 to 5.
Comedogenicity is a measure of how likely that ingredient is to clog the pores of the skin. And as we know, clogged pores are the perfect setup for acne lesions to develop.
If a woman has acne prone skin, it is recommended that she checks the first eight ingredients in her skin care products for their comedogenicity rating.
If any of those ingredients have a rating above 2, then it is not the correct skin care product for her to use, as it has a higher chance of clogging the skin and causing acne.
Many makeup brands are highly pore clogging and aggravating to broken out skin. It is therefore highly recommended to choose a makeup brand that is specifically formulated for acne prone skin.
There are also makeup brands that include acne fighting ingredients, such as salicylic acid or zinc oxide.
In addition to choosing skin care that is not going to cause acne, there are specific ingredients that are beneficial in promoting the healing of acne.
These ingredients are recommended to look for in any skin care product.
Aloe vera is an astringent which is helpful for those with acne who typically have oily skin. Its astringent nature helps to dry out excess oil in the skin, and therefore reduce breakouts.
For those with acne who typically have dry or normal skin, the astringent nature of aloe vera can further irritate the skin. So in these cases it is recommended to combine it with an oil or moisturiser before applying to the skin.
Aloe vera also naturally contains salicylic acid, which is an anti-inflammatory and natural exfoliant. This helps to prevent the pores of the skin from becoming clogged, and therefore preventing acne.
Zinc is a naturally occurring mineral that has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which helps to symptomatically clear up acne lesions.
Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory which helps to clear up acne lesions.
Its ability to stimulate collagen production also helps to clear acne hyperpigmentation (discolouration) scars.
The molecular structure of jojoba oil is almost identical to that of the skin’s sebum. It’s because of this similarity, when used topically the skin is “tricked” into believing it does not require any more sebum production. So by using jojoba oil on the skin regularly, it can reduce sebum production and therefore reduce acne.
Jojoba oil also is both an anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, which helps to heal existing acne.
Natural clays used on the skin as a face mask have the benefit of drawing out impurities from the skin. This helps in the prevention of new acne lesions.
Clays are also naturally anti-inflammatory and antibacterial which helps to clear up existing acne.
There are many different types of clays, and some are more ideal for sensitive, oily or dry skin types. Bentonite clay is one of the most gentle and commonly used clays for healing acne.
There are many essential oils that can be used to heal the skin and to prevent future breakouts.
It is important to never use an essential oil on the skin without dilution, as in their pure form they are too strong and will irritate the skin. The one exception being lavender, which can be used without dilution.
Some essential oils commonly used in the topical treatment of acne include:
- Tea tree
- Clary sage
Topical probiotics restore skin microflora, preventing new acne lesions from taking form.
Colloidal silver is a powerful antimicrobial that works to eliminate the acne bacteria in the skin, and therefore heal existing acne lesions.
Whilst manuka honey is not going to prevent new acne from forming, its powerful antibacterial nature makes it an excellent spot treatment or addition to any skin care.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an anti-inflammatory, as well as containing acetic acid and alpha hydroxy acid. These properties make it an excellent natural exfoliant to prevent new acne lesions from forming.
Why skincare alone is rarely the solution
There are topical pharmaceuticals available that will clear the skin without working on any internal balances.
However, the issue with using these products is the person using them becomes reliant. As the internal imbalances have not been corrected, as soon as the products stop being used, the acne returns, sometimes worse than it was before.
By utilising much more gentle and natural skin care options, healing of the internal imbalances can be monitored by watching any changes in the skin. The use of the skin care in these cases is supportive to internal treatments, rather than being the sole regime.
Of course there is the odd exception where the acne is caused solely by the skin care, however these cases are not so common.
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