Self-Help Acne Guide

Acne Facts for Clear Skin

In this Self-Help Acne Guide we show you some things you can do to help control your acne. Doing these do not take the place of using the right products in the right way for your acne, but they will support the process of getting clear skin.

Get enough rest and reduce your stress. Stress stimulates the adrenal gland and in the acne-prone individual, the adrenal gland promotes oil production which leads to clogged pores.

 Stay away from foods, vitamin supplements and sports drinks/bars that contain iodines. Iodized salt, seafood, fish, seaweed, fast foods and dairy products (cows lick iodized salt licks) and especially kelp tablets (some people take these for thyroid support) are a part of this list. Contrary to popular notion, chocolate and greasy foods (unless they contain salt, which most do) do not aggravate acne.
salt

Stay away from “high androgen” foods. These are found in peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, corn oil, wheat germ, shellfish, organ meats (i.e. liver, sweetbreads and heart). These contain hormones that exacerbate acne.

peanut butter

 Some swimming pool disinfectants contain Iodides and Chlorine, which can remain in the water, causing skin problems for frequent swimmers. Many swimmers find that the combination of hot and humid weather, the physical exercise of swimming and the chlorinated pools, can cause major acne flare-ups.

 Don’t pick. Instead of picking, rub ice on pustules and pimples for about five minutes, twice a day. Try to catch them when they are first forming and they most likely will go away. You can use Benzoyl Peroxide for this, but the surrounding tissue may get very dry.

Use fragrance-free detergents such as Cheer Free, All Free & Clear, Tide Free or Arm & Hammer Free.

Do not use fabric softeners and/or fabric softener sheets in the dryer, especially on pillowcases as they cause a waxy residue that can clog pores on acne-prone individuals. If you are worried about static cling, then use some anti-static cling balls that you can purchase from Bed Bath and Beyond for $5.

Avoid low-estrogen birth control pills, Norplant, Provera, and Depo-Provera. Also progesterone hormone replacement Premarin can be problematic. If you have polycystic ovaries, they will cause hormonal changes and breakout. See our article about birth control for more information. Also, the taking of birth control pills may delay the onset of acne and once off them, you may experience the acne you would’ve had before taking them.

Do not use cosmetics OR hair products that contain pore-clogging ingredients. See our article on pore clogging ingredients for a list of ingredients to avoid. Retin A has the pore-clogging ingredient, isopropyl myristate as its first ingredient.

Limit sun exposure and use a sunscreen. Although sun exposure causes desirable scaling and drying, it also damages the follicle, exacerbates hyper pigmentation, causes skin cancer and premature aging and can cause “solar acne” later in life, as well as “Acne Majorca” also caused by sunlight. Warm climates with heat and humidity can exacerbate acne.
 

Wear a noncomedogenic sunscreen every day regardless of whether you go outside or not. This is very important especially if you are using product for your acne!

Pore Clogging Ingredients in Skin Care

Do not ever put anything on your skin or your hair without checking the ingredients first, even if it says “won’t clog pores” or “noncomedogenic” on the bottle.

Many professional skin care products, natural skin care products, organic skin care products and even acne skin care products can have pore-clogging ingredients. No government agency oversees this, so skincare companies can claim their products promote clear skin and have pore cloggers in their ingredient deck.

There are many ingredients that sound wonderful for your skin, but can be some of the worst offenders. Natural oils like cocoa butter and coconut oil which are found in many “organic” skin care lines will wreak havoc with acne-prone skin. Other oils such as jojoba, olive and lanolin are mildly comedogenic and can be a problem if formulated with other comedogenic ingredients.

The prescription product Retin A (the cream form) has isopropyl myristate – a potent pore-clogger. Some other prescription products are comedogenic as well. Many over-the-counter acne medications also have pore clogging ingredients. “Oil-free” products are not necessarily safe either.

These are all the ingredients that can aggravate acne.

INGREDIENT
Acetylated Lanolin
Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol
Algae Extract
Algin
Butyl Stearate
Carrageenan
Cetyl Acetate
Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20
Chondrus Crispus (aka Irish Moss or Carageenan Moss)
Chlorella
Coal Tar
Cocoa Butter
Coconut Alkanes
Coconut Butter
Coconut Oil
Colloidal Sulfur
Cotton Awws Oil
Cotton Seed Oil
D & C Red # 17 (can also be listed without D&C)
D & C Red # 21 (can also be listed without D&C)
D & C Red # 3 (can also be listed without D&C)
D & C Red # 30 (can also be listed without D&C)
D & C Red # 36 (can also be listed without D&C)
Decyl Oleate
Dioctyl Succinate
Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2-Sulfosuccinate
Ethoxylated Lanolin
Ethylhexyl Palmitate
Glyceryl Stearate SE
Glyceryl-3-Diisostearate
Hexadecyl Alcohol
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Isocetyl Alcohol
Isocetyl Stearate
Isodecyl Oleate
Isopropyl Isosterate
Isopropyl Linolate
Isopropyl Myristate
Isopropyl Palmitate
Isostearyl Isostearate
Isostearyl Neopentanoate
Kelp
Laminaria Digitata Extract
Laminaria Saccharina Extract (Laminaria Saccharine)
Laureth-23
Laureth-4
Lauric Acid
Mink Oil
Myristic Acid
Myristyl Lactate
Myristyl Myristate
Octyl Palmitate
Octyl Stearate
Oleth-3
Oleyl Alcohol
PEG 16 Lanolin
PEG 200 Dilaurate
PEG 8 Stearate
PG Monostearate
PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate
Plankton
Polyglyceryl-3-Diisostearate
Potassium Chloride
Propylene Glycol Monostearate
Red Algae
Seaweed
Sea Whip Extract
Shark Liver Oil (Squalene)
Shea Butter
Sodium Chloride (Salt)
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Solulan 16
Sorbitan Oleate
Soybean Oil
Spirulina
Steareth 10
Stearic Acid Tea
Stearyl Heptanoate
Sulfated Castor Oil
Sulfated Jojoba Oil
Stearyl Heptanoate
Wheat Germ Glyceride
Wheat Germ Oil
Xylene

How to Get Rid of Acne

You cannot cure acne but you can have clear skin if you know what you are doing. There are a few key concepts that you need to know to get your skin clear and get rid of acne.

  1. You need to use the right acne products for your type of acne. A product that is good for inflamed acne (pimples, pustules and cysts) will not be good for noninflamed acne (blackheads and whiteheads)
  2.  You need these products to be strong enough for your type of skin. If they are not, your skin will not change much. If they are too strong, you will irritate and dehydrate your skin; and you will still break out.
  3.  You need to use these products in the right way. It takes strong products to get acne under control, but if you use too much too soon, you will irritate and dehydrate your skin. You must start slowly with strong products.
  4.  You need to account for skin adaptation. What does this mean? This means you cannot allow your skin to get too “used” to products. If you do, then your skin will stop responding and not get clear. It takes adjusting your skin care regimen routinely.

Does this all sound like tricky business? Yes, no doubt that it is.

These are the main reasons you need an acne expert to guide you in the process of getting your skin clear. We know what it takes to get and keep your skin clear and we know how to get rid of acne once and for all!

Popping Pimples

 Popping pimples seems like a good idea at the time. It’s quick, it’s satisfying, and it leaves you with a smooth surface. Problem solved, right? It might seem like it, but every day our acne specialists see the fallout from acne that’s been overzealously picked and popped. Most commonly, popping pimples will leave you with very dark or red spots (even scabs) in the area where you picked. These marks, called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, can take months and even years to go away without chemical peels for acne scars. Picking too deep can even leave you with permanent pitted, “ice pick” scars that only laser treatments or plastic surgery can improve.
Popping pimples 1©

But the real problem with popping your pimples is not the appearance of the surface of your skin, but its affect on your acne overall. Squeezing a pimple damages the follicle wall deep inside your skin, encouraging further inflammation and breakouts in the picked area. You could get a cluster of pimples in the area where you popped, or the popped pimple could come back to haunt you again and again in the same place because the wall of that follicle has been compromised.

poppingpimples2©

To get rid of a pimple, we recommend applying ice to the lesion for a few minutes twice a day in order to reduce redness and swelling, healing your pimple from the inside out. Or, schedule an acne treatment with us. The acne specialists at Body and Face Solutions can remove dead skin cells and oil from the follicle without breaking the follicle wall and spreading acne bacteria. Better yet, they can recommend the best acne medication for you so that you won’t break out in the first place.

poppingpimples3©

Acne Home Remedies

Not all home acne remedies are bad, indeed some can even alleviate irritation or inflammation, but the only thing that will get you clear is a managed home care routine that works to prevent the acne cycle from starting in the first place. This includes daily use of exfoliants and anti-bacterial ingredients used together in the right way. Anything short of this has only a band-aid effect and won’t do anything for long term control of your acne.

home-rememdy-cream

Some common home acne remedies are: toothpaste, apple cider vinegar, just water, clay or honey masks, liquid or bar soaps, lemon juice, hard scrubbing with wash cloths or sugar, tea tree oil, egg whites and coconut oil, to name a few. Some of these are complete myths, like just water or toothpaste, others have beneficial properties, but are only part of the puzzle (tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, masks or egg whites), while still others are downright harmful and can actually make acne worse: bar or liquid soap, hard scrubbing and coconut oil, to name a few. Even though coconut oil sounds nice for the skin, it is actually highly comedogenic (pore clogging).

It is important to understand that while some of these home acne remedies can help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with acne, none of them will do anything to stop you from breaking out in the first place. Acne is a chronic disease of the skin whereby the dead skin cells are shedding at a rate 5 times faster inside the pore than in a “normal” skin pores. This means that if you are not using exfoliants to help the dead skin sloughing off inside the pore, and using anti-bacterials to kill the bacteria that feeds off this dead skin, you will never get the acne cycle under control. You will continue to break out no matter what home acne remedy you try.

home-rememdy-lemon               home-rememdy-coconut

Sure, toothpaste might dry out a pimple because of the small amount of sulfur present in the product, but it will not prevent a new one from coming up. Lemon juice might be lightening, but it can also be very irritating for certain skin types and makes you more sensitive to the sun. Tea tree oil and apple cider vinegar are potent anti-bacterials and anti-fungals but they must be used with caution because overuse can burn the skin. Harsh soaps can make acne worse by stripping the skin of its natural oils, sometimes making you break out more because of the imbalance of oil and moisture in the skin. Even worse, coconut oil might have anti-inflammatory properties, but when applied directly to the skin it is actually highly comedogenic and will clog your pores even more than they already are! Finally, egg whites and honey or clay masks may temporarily help to reduce redness, kill bacteria or absorb oil, but they will do nothing to keep you from breaking out.

Only with the guidance of an experienced professional showing you how to use the appropriate products in the right way and educating you on the common pitfalls, will you get and maintain consistently clear skin.

We here at Body and Face Solutions can help you achieve just that. Call us and make an appointment today!