Acne affects most of us at some stage in our lives…
Whatever age or sex you are, it is the hormones that set a series of events in place which see your skin erupting in all manner of ways. Your hormones, however are influenced by many of your lifestyle choices, and it is these which can see you on path of having problematic skin.
“Hormonal skin” is really just one type of problem skin and although the other types influence these hormones why you get that pimple depends on what is happening inside your body.
It is now realised that there are three causes of acne/problem skin and they will all produce pimples on different areas of the face although any person can suffer from a combination of each. Topical treatments are similiar, however internal health needs to be considered for each of them.
- Direct hormone action – jawline and chin usually oily skin
- Candida overgrowth – anywhere but predominantly forehead, high cheeks with skin often being bumpy, congested and quite inflammed
- Diet and stress – occasional breakouts
Whatever your cause the severity of an outbreak varies in grades:
- Comedonal – black heads, white heads, milia
- Red bump acne
- Red bumps with pus
- Cystic acne
First line of defense – pH and the acid mantle
The pores of our skin are made up of a combination of oil and sweat glands that help to keep our skin healthy and elastic.
The acid mantle is a slightly acidic layer of the skin. It is our body’s first defence mechanism against bacteria invading it. This layer develops at puberty and causes the pH to decrease to about 5.5 from the childhood 7.
A bacteria, Propionibacterium Acnes also known as p. acnes, normally lives on the skin, with or without the presence of acne. However, if you are prone to acne, the number of p. acnes is greatly increased.
It’s been found that the growth of these bacteria is dependent on the pH value of the skin. If you have a normal skin pH of 5.5, growth is minimal. A slight shift towards the alkaline will help the p. acne thrive, there is also an increase in sweat production and the skin will feel dry.
So what helps with fighting acne?
You can’t easily change your hormones, but you can change the way they influence your skin with diet. Gut health has been shown to be a large influencing factor in skin pH, sebum production and the growth of surface bacteria. Cut down yeasty foods and sugar, increase your greens and drink lots of water. Help is available in the form of Certified Organic Superfoods, which I highly recommend. In addition to these, the Osmosis MD Digestive Health taken twice daily will help.
Caring for your gut health is essential for treating a candida overgrowth skin, it will also help you manage your stress, and obviously helps a diet related problem skin.
If you have pimples around your hairline change to an Organic Shampoo and Conditioner. The chemicals in most shampoos are dreadful and if you are acne prone often this is the cause. Keeping your hair clean and off your face will also help.
Some rules to help you:
- Use a good quality mineral makeup containing no-nasties, preferably with added antioxidants. Go makeup free whenever possible.
- Use naturally citric, enzyme and lactic-acid cleansers. These will adjust and normalise your pH as well as restore health to the stratum corneum. Cleanse as soon as you can after exercise or sweating a lot (all of our cleansers).
- Use moisturisers with a low pH – slightly acidic will help restore skin hydration. Remember, though, that if your skin is irritated and sore, it needs soothing antioxidants and growth factors before any moisturiser can work well.
- Use a UV block every day as UV damages your skin. Zinc based is best and a good one will not clog your pores.
- Nourish your skin with topical antioxidant serums including the appropriate level of Vitamin A. If your skin is inflamed, dry, red or sore, wait until it is calmed down with your use of growth factors (Rescue Serum) before beginning your Vitamin A. It is fine to spot treat with your Vitamin A during this time.
- Eat a good diet, low in sugar and yeast, processed foods and high in greens.
- Drink plenty of water: 2 litres per day.
- All those red spots left from each pimple are inflammatory spots. They are best treated with time and Vitamin C serums (not creams as C serums are generally more stable and therefore more effective).
- Wash your pillow cases at least weekly, your face-washers and eye brow tweezers after every use and your hair brush regularly. Keep everything around you clean.
- Use soaps – they are alkaline, raising the skin’s pH and drying out your skin. They remove the acid mantle and kill off essential epidermal microflora which help to keep the acid mantle healthy. It takes 14 hours for the body to restore the acid mantle – probably when you would wash your face again! This is also why scrubs are not good for your skin.
- Use make-up which will clog your pores.
- Have long hot showers as you are damaging your acid mantle, opening your pores and the result will be more p. acnes and more pimples.
- Use scrub type masks. They just damage the skin, making the situation worse.