Firstly, what is acne? Acne is a result of an overproduction of oil and a build up of bacteria, dead skin cells, and daily aggressors, to make it even more exciting.. acne can also be a result of lifestyle, diet, environmental factors and hormones. If you have ever heard the saying “what you put into your body is going to come out onto your skin” then you may be familiar with how important the role of diet, hormones and lifestyle are to not only our physical health buy also our skin health and appearance. When you nourish your body with fresh, organic and nutrient dense meals you are investing in your skin and promoting a glow from within. Skincare starts in the gut!
Now to explain the difference between adult and teenage acne (besides the obvious age gap) and how to understand your skin more which will help you to treat it, purchase the right products for it and nourish it effectively.
The root cause of acne whether you are 15 or 50 is generally the same, it is a result of excess sebum and dead skin cells that promote the ideal environment for p.acnes bacteria to thrive. What causes the excess sebum production is where it starts to go deeper than just your skin, hormones start to come into play. The difference between adult acne and teenage acne is placement, adult acne will usually appear on the jawline and the chin whilst teenage acne is predominantly on the t-zone, forehead, back and chest. All acne is essentially formed the same way no matter your age but thew way you go about diagnosing and treating the type of acne you have varies. Hormonal acne is a result of fluctuating hormones, this type of acne can be triggered as a result of menopause, period issues, stress and pregnancy, sometimes even strenuous workouts performed by women who already have an underlying hormone imbalance or issue can result in excess stress on your body and an overproduction of androgens, androgens are a group of hormones and the most well known is testosterone, an excess of testosterone means more oil being pumped through your skin, and not the healthy kind of oil that we want to keep our skin youthful, but the sticky and tacky kind that binds to dirt and dead skin cells resulting in a breakout. Treating hormonal acne is all about getting to the root cause internally, having your hormones tested, decreasing stress and listening to your body are all baby steps you can take towards are clearer complexion.
Acne can appear on you skin in many different forms, cystic acne will appear as large white bumps and pus filled cysts that can be very painful to touch. Comedonal (clogged pores) acne doesn’t appear inflamed but rather your skin is rough with lots of texture and acne that is usually only visible under a certain light. Blackheads are open comedones that has allowed air to enter in causing the head to turn black. To sum up, acne appears in many different forms and at alternate stages of life but the root cause is always the same, it just may be a result of a different trigger. If you do find yourself struggling with acne, here are some ingredients to look at adding into your skincare regime, depending on what type of acne you are struggling with an AHA and/or BHA may just be your new best friend, these are chemical exfoliants they work from the top down by munching away at the build up of dead skin cells and dirt creating a smooth canvas for you to pump with acne fighting ingredients and hydration. Look at swapping your physical exfoliation for a chemical exfoliation 1-3 time per week and always be sure to wear a broad spectrum SPF as AHA’s and BHA’s will make your skin a little more sensitive to the sun. On top of your weekly chemical exfoliant, adding a retinoid (vitamin A) product into your routine a couple nights each week will help speed up your cell turnover promoting fresh healthy and oxygenated skin cells whilst eliminating the dead sticky cells that cause clogged pores and blackheads. Incorporating a soothing clay mask once per week will help draw out impurities from the skin and allow deeper penetration of product absorption too. Its important to remember to always moisturise your skin and not skimp on the hydration because your skin is oily, oily skin usually means dehydrated skin barrier so instead of skipping the hydration opt for a light weight soothing serum rich in stem cells and antioxidants to promotes that healthy clear skin glow.
5 simple steps to incorporate into your lifestyle that will promote a clearer complexion:
- Drink 2-3L of water each day & add some lemon for the added bonus of vitamin C.
- Change your pillow case often to prevent the spread of acne bacteria onto your clean skin.
- Take a daily probiotic.
- Never pick or touch your face..it's not worth it!
- Drink 3 cups of spearmint tea daily. This lowers the excess androgens in your body which means less oil production and that means..less breakouts, yay!
A few products that I often recommend to my clients for acne include:
Chemical exfoliation - Skin Better Science Alpharet Exfoliation Peel Pads OR Image Skincare Clear Cell Salicylic Clarifying Pads.
What about devices? Are there any that will make a difference?
Short answer, YES! My top picks are:
- LED - But you need to have the right device. There are a lot of LED's on the market and like anything, they range in efficacy. When it comes to acne, you need to be using the clinically proven wavelength of Blue 415nm (if it isn't this exact wavelength, it's not going to do what it should!) This wavelength will kill the p.acnes bacteria that is responsible for acne. We also highly recommend coupling it with NIR 830nm (near-infrared) as it is healing and anti-inflammatory so it will help to soothe the skin. We have done the research on what's available out there on the market and there are really only 2 that we confidently recommend:
Omnilux Clear - An awesome LED mask for those of you who are willing to invest in your skin, but don't want to commit to the Dermalux. It features the clinically proven wavelengths of red (633nm) and blue (415nm). It's suitable for mild - moderate acne and will also help with healing the skin (as well as getting rid of that acne bacteria!).
Dermalux Flex - Hands down the absolute best in the world when it comes to a portable LED device. There is simply not a comparative device. It has all THREE clinically proven wavelengths (red, blue and NIR - at the correct nanometers) and as a bonus, it is the only light in the world where you can use all three at once. Because of its flexible shape, it can be used all over the body so it is also great if you have acne or other skin conditions elsewhere, like the back for example.
- BT-Sonic - Microsonic Cleansing Brush - This professional cleansing brush is soft enough to use daily and is awesome for ensuring there isn't any debris left on the skin to clog the pores. The triangular cleansing head reaches even the hardest to reach contours of the face, delivering results in places round brushes simply can’t go.
- BT Micro-Fusion - This 3 in 1 power tool is so advanced, we even use it in our treatments! It's easy to use! It has an intuitive 2 button control which gives quick access to 3 modes and 2 power levels, while the LED indicators show exactly where you are at a glance. Let's take a look at the 3 modes:
1. EXFOL Mode (Exfoliation)
Maximises the cleansing and exfoliation steps, helping to gently remove dulling dead skin debris, excess oils and impurities for exceptionally clean skin.
2. CLEAR Mode (Extractions)Helps to loosen impacted oils and dead skin cells for exceptional at home extractions, helping to safely remove blackheads.
3. APPLY Mode (Product application)
Helps to deliver your serums and moisturisers to the skin, optimising absorption.
Made it this far? Well done! It's a lot to take in and the best bit is that we are here to help! Book in for a free virtual consult with one of our Dermal Therapists if you would like to have a chat about your skin and how we can help you reach those skin goals! Book here.