Are you facing a rough time with acne right now? If so, you’re not alone.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting 50 million annually. According to the American Academy of Dermatology 85% of those aged between 12 and 24 will experience acne to some degree, and adult acne is known to affect up to 15% of women beyond the age of 24.
As someone who was called “Pizza Face” in their teens (… how original), I understand how the blemishes on our face, arms and back can also blemish our emotions, and confidence. Even whether we go out with friends or not!
I know it feels like an uphill struggle. But it doesn’t have to be, keep reading and you’ll discover what acne is, how to manage it, which acne free face cleanseris great… and which ones are a disaster!
What Is Acne Anyway?
Acne is an inflammatory skin condition with a wide range of causes. While it’s obvious during hormonal changes, it can also be influenced by genetics and other factors. Most acne is commonly known as acne vulgaris.
Source: Medical News Today
As the medical manual Merck defines it:
“Acne Vulgaris is the formation of comedones, papules, pustules, nodules, and/or cysts as a result of obstruction and inflammation of pilosebaceous units”
In other words, blackheads, whiteheads, red bumps and solid lumps from blocked and inflamed pores.
But there are different subtypes, such as cosmetica, fulminans, and mechanica – and these relate to different causes. For example acne cosmetica was a phrase coined in 1972 to describe acne caused by cosmetic use.
Under the skins surface we have millions of tiny hair follicles. These follicles have sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance called sebum.This is our body’s natural “moisturizer”, our pores excrete sebum, keeping the surface of our skin lubricated, waterproofed and protected. Our skinneedssebum for health!
But acne forms when the sebum can’t get out to the surface of our skin. Whether it’s from dirt, makeup, increased cell shedding, or hormones - if our sebum can’t flow it builds up, grows bacteria, becomes inflamed and triggers an immune response. And that creates either “non-inflammatory” acne (blackheads and whiteheads), or inflammatory acne that’s swollen, red, big and painful.
As I explained, acne forms when sebum can’t release, building up bacteria in the pores and becoming inflamed. But the big mistake people make is focusing on the bacteria only, not the skin! Because if the skin is balanced in the first place, the bacteria can’t party! Here are 5 key things to consider:
Any diet high in “bad” foods are a risk, because they ramp up body inflammation, are low in skin nutrients, and can imbalance our hormones. But there are also specific foods known to stimulate the production of acne, especially sugar and surprisingly to many, (including my husband’s teenage son)dairy! A diet high in antioxidants (vibrant, dark colors), good fats (avocado, olive oil), lean proteins, and vegetables helps our skin shed cells, grow and repair in a healthy way.
Whether it’s puberty, pregnancy, PCOS or some unknown reason, a change in hormones (particularly androgens) can stimulate small breakouts, or worse, chronic acne. And while you may need to see a health expert to help balance things out, you can in fact, influence your hormones by eating better, sleeping 7-9 hours, reducing stress and adding more fun to your day.
Our genes control everything our body does! From the color of your hair, to the number of times you find yourself going bathroom! And the same is true for acne! Genes determine how much sebum we produce, the size of our pores, how our immune system reacts to bacteria, and how much inflammation it produces. But we can minimize our genes input by managing the environment of our DNA. Follow the tips mentioned under hormones, they apply here too!
We all know this one! If you wear makeup youmustremove it before you go to bed. But not justremove it… you must clean it thoroughly! When we apply makeup, micro particles are forced deepdown into our pores. It’s not like a bit of dust blowing on to your skin, it’s oily, thick and it’s not going anywhere until you clean it out with the right stuff! If we don’t cleanse properly, our makeup becomes waste material, and our pores are the toilet it’s crammed in. Gross.
So the point we made in #4 leads us to the skin cleansers we use! Now, you may be surprised to know not all cleansers are created equal, and the wrong one can stimulate more acne production, even overnight! But when you use a facial cleaner that balances your skin’s eco system, you can clear pores, reduce bacteria and stimulate healthy sebum productionfor clean, healthy, glowing skin.
Before you rush out and find the most hardcore acne cleanser to get deep into those pores... STOP! Did you know the wrong cleanser (and other skincare products) can actually make your acne worse?
Let’s do a quick (…and easy)science lesson for a second
You may be familiar with the term pH. This is the measure of acidity or alkalinity. We won’t get any more complicated than that. A good example is a chlorinated swimming pool that’s safe to swim in has a pH of 7.4 – 7.6. While the pH of drinking water is a neutral 7.0. pH matters! If you switched these, you might feel different drinking higher pH water, and the pool will grow bacteria.
Our body has it’s own unique pH levels too!
Your skin’s sebum creates an acid mantlethat has a pH of 5.5 (or a broad range of 4.0 – 6.0). Healthy skin is acidic, and that’s what keeps it healthy!
Just like the pool example, pH matters on our skin too! When imbalanced, our cells don’t function optimally and our bacteria are disrupted. A really simple demonstration is an acid burn (eg pH 1.0) or alkaline burn (eg pH 14.0).
Now, we may not be operating in the “burn zone” but remember, your skin has a pH of 5.5 so anything that falls outside it will upset your skin’s delicate balance.
MYTH: Being alkaline is healthy
TRUTH: Being in balance is healthier
Soap is alkaline. And most of us know that soap is bad news for skin. But you may be surprised to learn that a lot of gentle face wash products are too alkaline also! And research clearly demonstrates the link between the pH of over-alkaline skin and disruptions in skin function, and bacteria balance.
Yes, even with ‘natural’ cleansers!
Bacteria hate acid environments. So if we want our skin to remain blemish free, we need to keep the bacteria balanced by keeping the pH balanced.
It’s hardly surprising the Soapberry has been used for thousands of years to keep skin clean and healthy – ancient wisdom has long known that the Soapberry is a natural source of cleansing saponin, but not only that! It lathers to a skin-healing pH 5.5! The Soapberry is also naturally antibacterial, and soothes inflammation.
So when you use a Soapberry Facial Cleanser or Body Acne Wash you get a deeper cleanse, removing dirt and deep makeup deposits while keeping the delicate acid mantle in tact. This allows your skin bacteria to remain balanced for fighting acne, instead of inviting those that cause it! And because it’s perfectly pH balanced, it won’t dry your skin and over stimulate sebum production!
With a more balanced and natural body wash like this one, and a facial cleanser like this you can now start layering up pH balanced skincare products to support the work of your Soapberry antibacterial body wash, and facewash.
When it comes to toners, serums and moisturizers, the same rules apply – it’s all about balance. Unless a specialist has advised otherwise, all your skin care products should match your skin’s broad pH 4.0 – 6.0 pH. Rosewater and Witch Hazel toners both have an acidic pH between 3.5 – 4.5 which is perfect!
But if healthy aging is as important as acne control, you must moisturize! Dry skin can overproduce sebum as protection, and blocks pores, causing acne. But don’t worry if your skin isn’t dry, you don’t need a special moisturizer for oily skin! Your skin will be more nourished with a balanced pH skin moisturizer like Ginseng Green Tea Moisturizer and Soapberry Body Lotion. Your skin will feel healthy and you won’t worry so much about stimulating oily breakouts. Our Soapberry natural lotion reduces inflammation and nourishes skin, while managing sebum, supporting the acid mantle and keeping bacteria balanced.
All genetics and hormones aside, when you allow sebum to flow in balance by cleansing and moisturizing properly, it’s easier for your skin to maintain an acidic pH and keep bacteria balanced. Now, with pores working as they should, and bacteria firmly in check, your skin is more nourished and able to heal. And of course, that means clearer skin and more confidence.
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