Acne Awareness Month: The lowdown on causes and treatments of acne
If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll already know that acne is a chronic skin concern experienced by up to 85% of Australians at some point in their lifetime.
No longer a condition stereotypically associated with teenagers and a woman’s cycle, as the prevalence of acne appears to be on the rise, Acne Awareness Month has never been more significant.
In honour of Acne Awareness Month, we’re here to help you uncover the acne facts and give you the lowdown on a skin condition that will touch most of the population at some point in their life.
What is acne?
The sebaceous glands produce the skin’s natural oils, otherwise known as sebum. When excess oil mixes with debris such as dead skin cells and bacterial invaders, the result can be blocked hair follicles causing angry and inflamed pimples, blackheads, cysts and boils. Otherwise known as acne.
How can I cure acne?
Now here’s the million-dollar question and the starting point for a lot of misinformation about acne.
All too often, consumers are prescribed harsh topical solutions or artificial hormones to clear their acne. What is glaringly overlooked is that these ‘cures’ don’t provide a long-term solution and can often cause more problems than they solve.
All cases of acne are a result of excess oil in the sebaceous gland. While we can reduce the symptoms, to specifically cure acne, we need to put the products down and look deeper into gut health.
You are what you eat
Extensive research (the earliest of which dates back nearly 80 years) has displayed links between a healthy gut and the condition of the skin.
The gut’s microflora is made up of millions of species of bacteria. In a healthy gut, the balance of good and bad bacteria works to process nutrients from food and deliver them throughout the body to help all cells function optimally.
A bacterial imbalance can lead to a condition known as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). SIBO compromises the gut wall so toxins can freely enter the body leading to health concerns such as allergies, inflammation, hormonal imbalances and, the reason we’re all here today, acne.
To look for the causes of acne, we need to address the overarching causes of any bacteria imbalance such as:
- Lack of nutrients
- Food intolerances
The gut and acne
The gut comprises millions of bacteria so specifically identifying the imbalance can be a long and often complex process.
If you’re prone to acne, our advice is to first consult with a dietician, nutritionist or another healthcare professional who can help identify any bacterial imbalances that may have led to the breakouts.
This will involve thorough testing and may be a lengthy process. If you don’t identify and treat the internal causes of acne, topical treatments will be futile. The product might act as a band-aid, but it won’t ever cure acne, and any company that sells products claiming to do so isn’t being truthful.
As you work to identify the cause of your acne, there are some things you can do to protect the integrity of the skin and minimise redness and inflammation to reduce the appearance of breakouts.
Bacteria, dead skin cells and other toxins can mix with sebum leading to blocked pores that display as spots and acne. Regular exfoliation will clear dirt and skin cells from the pores to regulate oil flow.
We don’t recommend using harsh exfoliants if the skin is inflamed and cracked. Instead, use a gentle enzyme exfoliant that clears pores without damaging healthy cells. We also love Bx Reveal Exfoliant as a triple acting, gentle exfoliant suitable for sensitive skin.
Dirt and bacteria are prime culprits for spots and breakouts. Keep skin cells clear and avoid blockages by thoroughly removing makeup every evening followed by a thorough cleanse. Bc Refresh Cleanser is extract of soapberry and a powerful source of antioxidants that gently clears the skin’s surface while acting as a superior source of antioxidants to reduce redness and strengthen the skin.
Avoid harsh exfoliants and cleansers
Sadly, the products that claim to be acne and breakout-friendly are often those that cause the most damage. In general, these products contain harsh alcohols designed to dry out the excess oil essential for skin health in appropriate quantities.
Put these products down.
Not only will they not solve a problem, but they’ll also dehydrate healthy cells leading to redness, irritation and sensitivity.
Use fully active, water-soluble serums
Replace occlusive moisturisers with water-soluble serums that hydrate and nourish skin cells without increasing the toxic load on the skin. We love using Bd Luminosity Serum on acne-prone skin as the tartaric acid acts as a gentle exfoliant as the gallic acid works hard to reduce redness and build up the Biologi glow.
Acne is a complex condition for which there is no topical cure.
During Acne Awareness Month, contact us to find out more about the condition and learn how you can prevent and treat breakouts and acne.