23rd April 2021

How to combat Acne and scaring?

Acne

Acne and Scaring

Acne, breakouts, congestion, blackheads or the most persistent annoying spot can all be very frustrating and upsetting especially if you have had to deal with this for a long time or your skin has never behaved like this before and this is all new to you.

Let’s take a closer look at why?

Stress

We all naturally deal with little or some stress in our lives, this is normal and it’s healthy to have some stress as this helps us to then know how to handle the more challenging stressful situations that maybe ahead of us one day. However, long term unexpected continual stress can cause many problems with the skin including breakouts and acne. During times of stress, the hormone level cortisone increases and this also stimulates the adrenal gland, both in turn stimulate the sebaceous gland to produce more sebum. This sebum is too much for the pore to handle as it is an overproduction. This then not only becomes blocked but also inflamed and uncomfortable and raised. P-acnes or P bacteria is contagious and once a spot appears another will soon appear by its side.

Diet

A healthy diet produce healthy skin cells. Our skin cells are enriched and made up of the foods we eat, so taking a look at any imbalances of food and foods that need to be eaten in moderation. We also know that although sugar and dairy and red meat are not responsible for your acne or breakout’s it is what causes it to become more inflamed, more active and can exasperate the condition.

Lack of sleep

Disrupted sleep cycles slow down the body’s ability to heal and repair. When your skin is breaking out and inflamed, we need to ensure that the skin has the ability to repair and heal more so during this period of time. Getting a good 7hours – 8 hours of good quality sleep per night is essential for the body to repair and heal and also us to manage stress better.

Genetics

We need to look if possible Mum, Dad or our siblings have had a history of breakouts and acne? This is likely to give us an idea of how our skin will behave. If you had acne or problematic skin in your younger years or have adult acne, then it’s a good idea to educate your children on a good skincare routine and how to take care of their skin health from now.

Over exfoliation or stripping away the skins protective layer.

Often many people who have problematic skin or acne have used very harsh products and maybe for too long. This can then strip away the skins natural oils and disrupt the skin’s microbiome, once this happens the breakouts and acne you have may also be what we call stimulated – the sebum is now constantly trying to replace and replenish the oils that have been stripped away and therefore it is in overdrive and producing too much of the wrong sebum to overcompensate for what was taken away.

Hormones

Stress hormones are not the only hormones that can cause the sebum activity in the cells to be in overdrive. Other hormones in the body can go through highs and lows which can, in turn, cause sebum like the hormone testosterone. As teenagers and through our 30’s and 40’s our bodies go through natural changes or sometimes changes that may need further investigation. 

Note; what we do see in the clinic a lot is: Someone breaks out due to a natural peak of hormones (the breakout normally takes a week or so to occur after the hormonal peak). They then change their skincare or attack the breakout long after the hormones have gone back to normal levels. They are now dealing with ‘stimulated’ breakouts as they have over striped the skin.

Medication

Certain medications can affect the skin and disrupt the sebum flow. We would never advise that you stop your medication but be mindful that you may need to adjust your skincare routine to manage the extra oil flow.

Top tips for dealing with acne skin:

  1. Wear Mineral make up whenever possible at least 80% of the time.
  2. Try as much as possible to not pick, squeeze and touch as you are spreading the P bacteria around and causing this contagious fluid to cause even more breakouts.
  3. Try to ensure you pay the most attention to your evening cleanse.
  4. Avoid high amounts of sugar and dairy.
  5. Always remove makeup first (defiantly not with wipes) then use your cleanser and cleansing device.
  6. Take supplements to feed the skin from the inside, reduce inflammation and mop up extra hormones.
  7. Have a facial to get some valuable skin education and clearance.

My go-to skincare products:

Cleansers: AlumierMD Acne Cleansing Gel, AlumierMD Purifying Gel Cleanser, Medik8 Surface Radiant Cleanser, Environ Sebuwash, Obagi Gentle Cleansing Gel.

Toners: AlumierMD Bright and Clear, Environ Sebutone,

Day creams: AlumierMD Hydralight, Hydraclarite, Hydrasmooth

24hr creams & oils: Environ A,C&E Oil, Dermaviduals Prescriptive Serum, Dermaviduals Treatment gel.

Vitamin A / Retinol: AlumierMD Retinol, Obagi Retinol, Environ A,C&E Oil

Enzyme peels: Dermaviduals Enzymatic Mask, Environ Dermalac.

Intense Treatment Programs: Obagi Clenziderm and Obagis Nuderm

Supplements: Skin Accumax, Skin Omegas 3&6, Skin Youth biome & Skin Youth Biome Clear, Skin Vitality 1

I can only advise on what I have worked with in the clinic over the years.

Salon Treatments

These are the treatments I would suggest having in a salon to support your skincare programs and the journey to healthy skin. Your skin care professional will advise when you are ready for each and every step.

Facials Have a few, 2-3 facials close together will help to get your skin in the best condition while educating on you great skin health and the best routine each and every time.

LED – Absolutely the best treatment to support or have as a stand-alone.

Chemical Peels – Work a treat but not on compromised skin, the skin must be ready.

Skin Pen – Works well on scarring, blemishes and making new healthy lovely skin cells.

My thoughts on antibiotic, toothpaste and sunlight with spots and acne

Antibiotics I think these are always given out too easily, they are prescribed indefinitely for people with no reassessment and implications to the gut health or sensitivity these cause to the skin. If they are not working after a period of time maybe you should give up. 

Drying your spots out with toothpaste is actually doing nothing at all! Please don’t put toothpaste or Sudo Cream on your face!

Sunlight myth

Okay here is what happens what you go on holiday or go into the sun and your skin clears up. The sun does dry up your extra oil and the tan you get on your skin evens out our blemishes and uneven skin tone. Making your skin look even-toned, spot-free and glowing. However, 30-40 days after your holiday once you’re out of the sun and back home and your tan is fading your skin is screaming out for nourishment and starts producing extra sebum and breaks outs start-up or return with a vengeance. The tan has faded highlighting the blemishes that were there and not adding the UV light causes premature ageing and depletes the collagen that we so need to help structure a skin with breakouts. We see this in the clinic every September and October, with lots of returning acne and breakouts after too much sun / UV exposure.

Grades of Acne 

Most skincare professionals and dermatologists will grade acne from 1-5. We only treat grade 1-3 in a clinic and anything above that grade 4-5 I always refer to a dermatologist.

Overall final word

Acne needs lots of care and attention to be managed and not to be cured. You can manage the breakouts and put lots of preventative measures into place to prevent scaring. It will eventually go but maintaining healthy skin, a good skincare routine and great gut health are vital.

For more advice on skin care, be sure to read our other blogs.

Case Study – Acne & Pigmentation