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November 04, 2020
We know acne and blackheads are frustrating to say the least. Not only do they keep popping up, and *especially* before an important event, they often seem to come back at the same places.
There are many factors that contribute to acne. Excess oil production, accumulation of dead skin cells that leads to clogged pores, bacteria, and inflammation are the four most direct factors, whilst, hormones, stress, menstrual cycle, and diet, can all influence them. Some medications, including corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, and lithium, can also cause acne.
So what are the best ways to fight acne?
First and foremost, DO NOT PICK! Yes, it’s been said a million times, but it’s hard, we know. The problem is, by picking that acne, not only are you damaging the skin barrier that locks in water and prevents bacteria and pollutants from attacking the skin, you are also squeezing all those bacteria to different parts of the face, as well as introducing new bacteria to the wound, which can result in even more and worse acne. In fact, except when you’re cleansing and putting on skincare and makeup, keep your hands off your face, period.
Retinol works in a few ways. Firstly, it help to regulate skin cell turnover, which is incredibly important in treating acne, as the tiny molecules can penetrate deep into the cells and bind to nuclear receptors, which oversee skin functions like cellular metabolism, proliferation, inflammation, and cell death. Secondly, it exfoliates to remove dirt, dead skin cells, and oil from pores, which helps prevent the formation of acne. Thirdly, it can stimulate the production of collagen and elastin at the dermis level, thereby reducing the appearance of pores and acne scarring over time.
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Research shows that diet can play a significant role in acne development, as different foods are linked to factors that contribute to acne, including sebum and keratin production, acne-causing bacteria, hormones, blocked pores and inflammation. These include but not limited to dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, eggs, and alcohol. We previously talked in depth about the different foods that can cause various skin issues like acne. Read about them here and here.
Clay masks, such as those containing kaolin, can absorb oil and dirt from the skin and prevent and treat blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. Research also suggests that clay, which usually has a negative charge, may help it bind to positively charged toxins, bacteria, and heavy metals like mercury and lead found in environmental pollution, and thus remove them from the skin. Besides, it is also rich in beneficial minerals like silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, copper, iron and potassium to maintain skin health.
Supreme Seed Delicate Purification Mask <- Click to shop
The London Mask <- Click to shop
Not only should you keep your hands off your face, you should also make sure everything you use on the face is clean. Things like makeup blushes, makeup sponges, towels, and pillow cases accumulate bacteria very quickly. So unless you keep them washed and clean, you’re basically introducing bacteria back on your face straight after cleansing.
The natural response for acne-prone skin is to cleanse thoroughly. While cleansing is the first step to beautiful skin, you should never over cleanse, because by stripping the skin of its natural oil with harsh and drying ingredients, such as a foaming cleanser, not only will the skin struggle to balance its water/oil protective structure, and as a result, produce excess oil that will clog the pores causing congestion and breakouts, the skin's lipid barrier may also be damaged, leading to irritations, inflammations and acne. Instead, use a gentle cleanser that can help with clogged pores.
Smooth Operator Purifying Cleansing Gel <- Click to shop
While it is an ingredient used in most acne products to kill acne-causing bacteria, this substance by nature increases the skin's oxidative stress and dries the skin, which leads to even worse inflammation, scarring, as well as premature aging.
On the other hand, salicylic acid, a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), is an oil-soluble ingredient that penetrate into the lipid skin layers and pores more readily, to exfoliate dead skin cells on the skin surface, unclog pores, decrease oil and sebum, and fight inflammations. These excellent properties make it a powerful ingredient in preventing blackheads, whiteheads, and subsequent acne breakouts, as well as clear active ones.
No. 9 Exfoliant <- Click to shop
As mentioned above, stress can influence the 4 direct factors that lead to acne. The truth is, when you keep looking at the mirror because of your acne, not only will you not be able to resist picking the skin, you will also get more stressed out and unhappy, causing a rise in cortisol that can worsen the condition. Therefore, avoid the mirror except when you’re cleansing, put on a probiotic mask to balance the skin's microbiome, sleep more, drink more water, follow the above recommendations, and trust that your skin will become healthy again in no time.
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Restore <- Click to shop
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