Do you ever ask yourself, "Why do I still have acne but use good products?" Maybe you even have a good skin care routine down or followed Proactive's directions perfectly and expected clear skin. Maybe you feel lost with products because you feel you tried everything and nothing seems to help.
This blog post is going to give you a harsh dose of reality, but will also give tips and advice. We will be touching on lifestyle changes you need to do, how makeup causes your breakouts, and how the different types of acne should be treated in different ways.
LOWER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
Acne is a complicated skin condition that is not yet "cured". Most advice on acne and how to treat it are statements not facts. There isn't one solution for it, and different methods work for different people. You can only maintain it. Even if your skin has cleared, you are not out of the woods yet because you have to continue your treatments or else it will come back.
It is unrealistic to expect results in a week or even a month from a new product or method. Our skin cells naturally renews itself by regenerating new healthy skin cells and shedding off old dead skin cells. This is called the cell renewal system or skin turn-over rate which averagely takes 28 days to complete the life-cycle, but as we age this process slows down. If your skin cell life-cycle takes about a month, you need to give your products more time to work then that. Lower your expectations and you need to be more patient with your products and methods.
"HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE THEN?"
Give your new products and methods a good three months. Listen to your skin though. If your skin feels extremely dry and tight, lessen the usage and/or add in more hydrating products to your routine. I know you want to follow the directions and advice from professional's perfectly, but skin care directions should be taken as a guide. Everyone's skin is so different so adjust accordingly to how your skin is feeling and reacting. You are the best judge for your skin. If your skin feels irritated and uncomfortable, stop use immediately. Since acne causes redness and inflammation, you will make it worse by using irritating products. Any inflammation in your skin causes your skin to create and send MMP enzymes to fight it. Unfortunately these enzymes also eat away collagen and elastin. This why in severe cases of acne, "pitted" scars are formed.
Some people with acne, in my experience, don't use one acne related product even though that have acneic skin. Some use ONLY acne related products. Either or is nor good or bad, but the best way to treat acne is to find a balance. Balance of exfoliation, anti-bacterial products, and hydration. You skin can't heal itself from anything if its dehydrated because it can't function properly without water. Your skin contains 64% water.
LIFE STYLE HACKS FOR CLEAR SKIN
-You need to wash your pillow cases at LEAST weekly. If you have severe cystic acne, I recommend you to do this everyday. Buy a bunch of pillow cases and change them every morning or night so that you aren't reintroducing your skin to bacteria from the night before.
-Use a clean towel after EVERY cleanse. For the same reason you need to change your pillow case, you need to change your face towels everyday so you don't reintroduce your skin to bacteria from the day before.
- You have to clean your daily makeup brushes everyday.
-NEVER sleep in makeup or go to bed without cleaning your skin. Makeup can cause premature aging, clogs pores and can stretch pores. Keep reading to the end of this post for what ingredients to avoid.
- Try different diets. Chocolate itself doesn't cause bad skin or breakouts, but sugar does. Meat and dairy naturally have hormones in it even if it's considered "Organic Chicken" and claims, "no added hormones". Your eating animals and animal products that naturally have hormones like us. Gluten causes poor gut health and inflammation in the body. Some causes of acne are due to hormonal imbalances and inflammation in the body.
-Don't touch your face. I'm guilty of this too because sometimes it is out of habit. Bring some self awareness to this issue and get better everyday. Eventually it will become a habit to not touch your face.
-If your prone to black heads, don't skip out on facials. You need to get them extracted regularly because the longer a black head is in the pore, the larger the pore will get and at some point, a pore cant ever go back to how it used to be.
-Don't pick your face. I think WE ALL KNOW this one and still do it, but I am going to tell you WHEN to pick your face and how to do it. I know it is tempting but if you pick a pimple before its ready, the bacteria can spread under the skin and around the area making things worse, more inflamed and/or can cause more breakouts.
*I don't recommend extractions at home. I recommend getting them professionally extracted when you can.* BUT if you have a giant white head that NEEDS to be extracted, here is how to handle it..
1) Wash your hands.
2) Get gloves to keep your bacteria filled hands out of the open wound area.
3) Wrap Facial Tissues around your fingers over the gloves to avoid nails breaking open the surrounding skin.
4) Stretch the skin around the pimple to test if its ready. If it is, things will start oozing out.
5) Keep your fingers parallel from each other never facing each other, and gently push them closer and under the pimple without pushing down in any way. Blood not puss usually indicates everything is out.
6) Make sure you don't wear any makeup in this area for the rest of the day.
7) End off your extraction with something anti-bacterial like tea-tree oil as a spot treatment.
MAKEUP IS MAKING YOUR ACNE WORSE!
You know whats funny about most makeup and skincare sold at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Ulta? It is usually the exact same sh*t sold at the drug store! So this actually isn't funny and you are wasting your money. High prices don't always mean quality skin care. Its all about ingredients. This is why I highly suggest that you switch to natural, vegan, and organic makeup (and skin care) as much as possible.
SOME INGREDIENTS TO AVOID
-mineral oil / petroleum based products
-wheat germ oil
I highly suggest that you check the full ingredient list of all your makeup for these ingredients listed above. If your makeup has any of these ingredients, throw it away. Otherwise, why would you invest in skin care and your skin? You will be wasting your money further and your skin care problems will never go away.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ACNE
Acne isn't universal. There are different types, different methods, and different causes.
Black heads are open comedones, white heads are closed comedones. Usually exfoliation helps maintain black heads and white heads. This acne is more simple because at home treatments can fix/ prevent this type of acne. AHA's, BHA's, masking, and scrubs can maintain these conditions. These don't form inflamed, but can get inflamed if they aren't treated.
Hard clogged pores that are painful to touch but still remain on the epidermis. NEVER try to pop these. Just let them live their life cycle, spot treatments wont help much.
The traditional giant pimple that seems to come around the time of school pictures or family photos. Pustules are usually raised with puss inside and surrounded by inflammation.
Deeper then papules and are in the dermis later of the skin (deepest layer). Painful.
Extremely painful, inflamed and infected. Usually never have or will form a "white" head. This is the most difficult acne to treat because topical treatments do little-to-nothing. This acne is deep in the dermis and can only be treated by a dermatologist. The best bet with at home skin care is to use an oil-free, antibacterial, and non-comedongenic face lotion and keep your other face products gentle and anti-inflammatory.
I personally think its important to be educated on your own skin if you want to improve it. Although this post was more informative then solution oriented, and you may feel overwhelmed, I think this information is important before continuing along with your skincare journey. I want to bring awareness to the cosmetic/skin care industry, education on defining skin types and problems, and how most makeup damages your skin. You deserve this education. Not spending/wasting money on products that are damaging can cause a beauty industry revolution. Everyone deserves great skin.