5 Things You Can Do to Control Acne
Ever felt like your body is conspiring to make you unhappy? At no time is this feeling so apparent than in puberty, when we first become aesthetically aware of ourselves. Flooded with hormones that desperate need to fit in, you’d think your teens were hard enough without one of the most discomfort-inducing skin conditions adding to your problems: acne.
The worst part? Acne can follow you into adulthood, leaving you feeling wretched, overwhelmed, and depressed. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the global acne treatment market hit a whopping $9.1 billion in 2020. People spend a fortune on medical gels, ointments, and pills that promise to control outbreaks and reduce scarring, but do they work?
To an extent, yes. Acne is an incurable condition, but you can control it with medical treatment and an appropriate skincare regime specific to your skin type. There is a common misconception that acne is an oil problem, and in some ways, it is, but drying out your skin with harsh cleansers and chemical exfoliants won’t solve your problem – and might even make it worse.
Today, we’ll examine acne’s causes and what you can do to restore balance to your skin and reduce inflammation. I won’t discuss medical treatments in this blog since you should consult your physician for a proper diagnosis of the cause of your acne and the best treatment for you. My other recommendations, however, are suitable in most cases, so please read on.
What Is Acne and What Causes It?
Acne is a breakout of red bumps or yellow, whitish pimples, typically appearing on your face, back, or chest. In extreme cases, acne can also cause painful boil-like cysts that you might need professionally drained. (I’m sure you’ve squeezed the odd pimple or two, but you should never pop acne breakouts – especially pus-filled cysts – as it can result in scarring.)
The culprit behind this frustrating condition is a bacterium called P.acnes. A sensitive wee soul, P.acnes gets upset whenever your body undergoes hormonal changes, causing inflammation and disrupting your skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands. Hormonal changes can also block your hair follicles, resulting in a build-up of pus.
Your genetics play a big role, too. As your skin cells renew, the dead ones slough off in a process called desquamation. But if your body is genetically disposed to produce too much keratin (hyperkeratinization), it can’t shed the dead cells and they remain trapped inside hair follicles and sebaceous glands, coalescing to block your pores and cause breakouts.
Acne is most common in your teens and early twenties. However, you might also suffer breakouts during other hormonal stages, such as pregnancy or your menstrual cycle. You might never get rid of acne completely, and you’re almost certain to suffer it if your mother and father did – another reason to evaluate your genetics before settling on your skincare regime.
How to Control Acne Breakouts
If you’re susceptible to acne, you’ll never eradicate it, but with a few simple steps, you can keep it under control and not let it control your life. Stress (increases your body’s level of cortisol, a hormone that causes your glands to produce more sebum), anxiety, and depression can all worsen skin conditions so whatever happens, try not to let acne define you.
1. Avoid Products That Might Block Your Pores
Acne can eat away your self-esteem making you feel unhappy with your looks and less than confident without concealer. Makeup might make you feel better in the short term, but if you use it regularly and heavily, it can clog your pores and trap dirt, grease, and pollutants that irritate your skin further. Never leave makeup on for longer than a few hours and avoid products that contain oils so your skin can breathe.
2. Cleanse Daily to Remove Excess Oil
Your skin needs its sebum (oil) layer to retain moisture and nutrients. Acne can cause your skin to produce too much sebum, but you shouldn’t strip it all away. Instead, use a gentle cleanser no more than twice a day to remove impurities and mop up excess oil.
We recommend our Gentle Cleansing Foam with rose water, camomile, and calendula. The natural ingredients are kind to your skin, and the formula helps restore your skin’s natural pH (which is critical for protein synthesis) and calms inflammation and redness.
3. Apply a Toner to Help Shrink Your Pores
Astringent toners help to remove oils from your skin but if this drying effect is too harsh, it can stimulate further sebum production. Avoid anything chemical and instead choose an all-natural toner that cleanses, moisturizes, and gently shrinks your pores.
Our Balancing Toner contains blueberry, rose water, and cloudberry in a formula that soothes and moisturizes while still removing stubborn makeup and other impurities. Blueberry is also a mild astringent that helps shrink pores and minimize blackheads.
4. Hydrate Your Skin With a Water-Based Moisturizer
A popular misconception about acne is that sebum (oil) is bad. While it’s true that oil-based cosmetics can clog your pores and worsen acne, your skin still needs hydration to function normally and prevent scarring. Moisture also lubricates the skin and defends it from environmental pollutants that can cause premature aging.
We recommend a light, water-based non-comedogenic (non-pore-blocking) formula such as our Skin Protecting Moisturizing Cream. It’s non-greasy, absorbs quickly, and contains vitamin C and hyaluronic acid to replenish moisture and help minimize scarring. Ceramides also help to reduce pore size by supporting your skin’s natural elasticity and firmness.
5. Get Outdoors and Enjoy Some Sunshine
The sun is nature’s cleanser. It kills bacteria, including P.acnes, and it encourages the release of melanin, which can reduce the appearance of spots (since it darkens your skin). Just being outdoors, among nature or enjoying some sunshine, will lift your mood too, reducing the stress that can worsen acne.
But be careful to avoid the sun when it’s hottest. Sunburn and sun damage will aggravate breakouts and cause pain. Beware sunscreens that might block your pores, too. Choose a water-based sunscreen and always cleanse when you return from time outdoors.
Acne can feel terribly unfair, especially if it lasts until adulthood. Somehow you need to learn to live with the condition and manage it. Stick to a sensible skincare regime, and don’t let acne turn you into a recluse. Go outside, socialize, and enjoy yourself. Life’s too short to let a skin condition interfere with your quality of life.
Having said that, emotional consequences of acne should never be taken lightly. It is normal to feel down every now and then if you have acne. But if feelings of distress persist find a physician who is sympathetic and willing to address the emotional issues that go along with acne, and help you in the right way.
These recommendations are not cure-alls, but like all things worth having, it takes a bit of work on your part, and a conscious decision every day to remain positive. Trust me, the rewards are worth it. And remember, none of us is perfect. Try to focus on the things you really like about yourself.
Love nature, love skin, love you.
Daniela Korenc | Founder and CEO