Here are some tips for getting clear skin:
- Use ice instead of picking: Ice helps inflamed lesions from getting worse and often can make them go away. Cleanse your skin first, then get an ice cube and ice your zits for a minute or two. Icing the face will also help products penetrate better.
- Stop using liquid fabric softeners and dryer sheets. All of these leave a waxy residue on cloth. Unfortunately, that wax is getting on your skin while you sleep on that soft pillowcase, and it's clogging your pores. And, don't think that fragrance free is any better - it's the waxy residue, not the fragrance.
- Cut out the fast food and use unionized salt at home. Iodides are the culprit in the foods that you eat - it irritates the follicle walls and breaks you out. Stop eating peanut butter, peanuts and/or peanut oil. Peanuts contain an androgen hormone that can make acne worse. Try switching to unsalted almond or cashew butter- it doesn't have the same effect as peanuts. A lot of vitamins and protein drinks contain high levels of iodides also.
- Start taking zinc supplements. Research indicates that the best form to take is zinc monomethionine. Always take with food. Zinc monomethionine helps with inflammation from the inside out. Fish Oil, Vitamin A and D is also helpful.
- For women - use noncomedogenic (non pore-clogging) makeup and hair care. Don't take birth control pills that are low estrogen pills.
Find a skincare professional who understands these concepts and can help guide you in using the right products in the right way. If they give you an "acne kit" or a prescription for antibiotics and/or a retinoid without telling you how to use it, seek out someone else.
Make-up For Acneic Skin
Make-up does not cause acne but makeup can surely make it worse and potentially exacerbate breakouts in those who are acne prone.
Most pressed powders, BBcreams, and cream-to-powder formulations, contain waxes or other ingredients, which are unsafe for acne clients.
I suggest taking a very close look at the ingredient deck. This is generally found on the product box. Compare the ingredients to my Pore Clogging List and see if you find any offenders. If so, I suggest making a change to a safe makeup.
If you are looking for help clearing your acne and finding a safe makeup, we can help with a 100% acne safe makeup. Give us a call.
Birth Control for Acne Simplified
Birth control pills, IUDs, implants and shots are widely used today and prescribed often as a means to control acne. Most forms of birth control can have the potential to cause acne and weight gain in those susceptible. Typically birth control is divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone like) effects. As a general rule of thumb, those with the potential for higher androgenic symptoms should be avoided for people prone to acne because they promote breakouts. As an acne sufferer it is important to speak with your doctor about selecting a form of birth control that is higher in estrogen and lower in androgen potency.
The most commonly prescribed in this category are:
It is best to avoid the following that are high in androgen activity and low in estrogen:
Ortho Tricyclen Lo
Mirena or Skylar
Only you and your doctor can determine what form of birth control is right for you. The above is just a basic guideline that should be used to initiate a conversation between you and your physician. If you are considering using birth control, it is important to know that it can be associated with a high risk of blood clots, weight gain, nausea, mood changes, depression and breast tenderness. Serious side effects include strokes, digestive issues and embolism.
Finally, it is entirely possible to treat acne without using birth control. If you have no underlying health issues that require you to be on birth control and are considering using birth control only to control your acne, please feel free to talk with one of the estheticians to get some additional perspective on how we can help you with the use of topical products and treatments.
*Although the Paragard/Copper IUD does not contain any hormones, we have observed that it has aggravated acne with our clients.
Teenage Boys and Acne
As if the pressures of high school weren’t enough, you have to deal with pimples too?!
There are several things that can happen with hormonal changes in your teens. A sudden growth spurt, voice changes, hair on your face, underarms, and legs. And in some cases, acne! Hormones are not the cause of acne, but they do make it worse.
As we have discussed, acne is an inherited disorder of the pores. It starts at puberty when the oil glands start maturing. For a teenager, this is in the T-zone. A normal pore sheds about 1 layer of dead skin cells a day. But,someone with this disorder can shed up to 5 layers a day. All those dead skin cells combined with oil form a plug in the pore. This is how all acne starts.
Boys will tend to get acne earlier than girls, but will usually grow out of it more quickly. Girls tend to get it a few years later, but they won’t grow out of it until later as well. When hormonal changes get thrown into the mix, you may see a sudden increase in breakouts. An increase in the androgen hormone make the skin’s oil glands larger, in turn they start producing more sebum. Sebum is an oily substance that your skin naturally produces to help lubricate your hair and skin. When more of it is pumped into an already clogged pore, it can cause irritation and inflammation. Lo and behold, a pimple is born! Boys tend to have more inflamed acne (pimples, pustules and cysts) and these can cause scarring if not treated quickly and consistently.
These hormonal changes can make getting clear a bit more challenging. But with consistent exfoliation and use of benzoyl peroxide used correctly, breakouts can be reduced and managed.
Things to remember when dealing with teenage acne:
- Do your skincare routine every day! Just as you would use hand sanitizer to prevent getting sick from germs, you would use your skincare routine to prevent future breakouts. Not only will this clear your current breakouts, it will prevent new ones from forming.
- Don’t pick, squeeze, or scratch! We know it’s tempting, but you must resist! Messing with your face can spread bacteria, causing more breakouts, leaving behind scars and dark marks, or causing reoccurring pimples because of damage done to the follicle. Leave them alone and ice instead! You can do this to reduce inflammation: rub ice in a circular motion on each blemish for 2 minutes at a time. It really helps!
- Keep it clean! If you play sports or take part in other activities that make you sweat, wash your face as soon as you’re done. Bacteria love to feed on the moisture—make sure they don’t have anything to stick around for.
- Brush up on your Acne Knowledge! Check out the Acne Information Center on our website for tips on what else you can do to fight the breakouts.
We don’t believe in the “one size fits all” program that many other acne management systems use. Allow your Acne Specialist to create a customized homecare routine and treatments for your teenage skin and acne. Together, we’ll not only get you clear, but keep you clear.
- Antifungal Cleansers, shampoos and topical product.
- Oral antifungal supplements.
- Appropriate dietary changes.
- Exfoliation – regular but gentle peels.
Lifestyle Factors and Things to Avoid
- Discuss with your doctor whether you can stop oral and topical antibiotics. They are not necessary for us to clear your acne and antibiotics can contribute to folliculitis.
- Avoid use of very emollient or creamy moisturizers, sunscreens, cleansers, etc.
- Keep the affected area as dry as possible.
- For body folliculitis, avoid wearing constrictive clothing or clothing that doesn’t allow skin to breathe. Cotton is best.
- Avoid foods high in sugar, yeast and carbohydrates including alcohol, breads, candy, etc.
- Don’t use fabric softener or harsh detergents on sheets or clothing.
- Avoid using hot tubs or taking very hot showers or baths (especially for body folliculitis).
Antifungal Topical Products
- Supportive and active products that we recommend.
- Regenepure shampoo or other shampoos 1% or 2% ketoconazole or zinc pyrithione (make sure there are no pore clogging ingredients if you also have acne).
- Joesoef Sulfur Soap – the sulfur is anti-fungal.
- Topical zinc oxide can be calming and help skin maintain an optimal PH.
- Gold Bond powder for body folliculitis to help keep the skin dry.
Select one or two and rotate every few weeks:
Olive Leaf Extract
Oil of Oregano
Apple Cider Vinegar tablets or liquid
Grape Seed Oil
Probiotic supplements (dairy free ones) – good if you have been on antibiotics for a long time. No need to rotate as often as other supplements. Take for several months, then take out of diet for two weeks and start again.
Undecylenic Acid (bioactive nutrients combines this with two antifungals – neem and grapefruit seed oil.
Coconut Oil (or caprylic acid) – taken internally, NOT as a topical product.