You’re in your mid-thirties to early forties and just when you thought you were done with blemishes, you begin to notice the dreaded signs of an impending acne outbreak. One sensitive spot develops into a lone pimple and is now spreading to that dreaded full-blown breakout. Out comes the concealer and unavoidable anxiety of future outbreaks. Adult acne and most forms of adolescent acne can range from blackheads and whiteheads as a result of pores being blocked and unable to release natural skin oils. Your body tries to combat this trapped oil by developing an inflammatory response resulting in redness, swelling and skin sensitivity. The most severe form of acne (and thankfully the less common type) is cystic acne. Cystic acne is more painful and related to a deeper bacterial infection and may lead to disfigurement and eventual scarring.
I will not bore you with some new acne wonder cure because you can easily find these miracle remedies in commercials while viewing Breaking Bad. I will, however, share with you an approach to acne control that my patients have found extremely helpful over a 20 year period. If you take anything from this post take this: The secret to controlling mild to moderate acne is reducing the amount of oil that your skin produces and reducing buildup of that oil beneath your skin. My thoughts on acne control are as follows:
1. Find the Triggers that may be causing your acne outbreaks. In my opinion, the 3 most common triggers are:
- Diet. The rise in the frequency of acne in the USA may relate to the high glycemic load diet which is rich in dairy and refined sugars. To put it simply: avoid High-GI foods. Such as white rice, white bread, white potatoes, crackers, sugar sweetened beverages, cheese and milk. I recommend, Low GI foods are oatmeal, peanuts, carrots, beans, skim milk and most fruits. Also, be on the outlook for specific foods that may cause your outbreaks.
- Hormonal changes that can occur during your teenage years or early during your pregnancy. Not much we can do about these.
- Stress. Consider what going on in your life and if you suspect stress may be a factor do those things that you find may help to reduce it. A long walk or a night out with friends.
2. Be Proactive in Your Skin Care (Establish a Routine). Cleanse, tone and moisturize daily with products that promote oil reduction and pore cleansing. The most common excuse that I hear is “I am too tired to cleanse and tone at night so I go to bed with makeup on but I do shower and cleanse in the morning.” Once I explain the rationale for a good nightly cleansing routine, they understand and change their habits. Nightly cleansing is important because.. Our body cleanses internally while we sleep by releasing toxins and oils through our skin. So you can see that improper cleansing results in a build- up of these toxins and oils that is further magnified if your make-up is not removed before turning in.
My Recommended Oil Reduction Skin Care Plan: The Extraction System
- Cleanse: Adopt a strict facial cleansing routine every morning and night. Milder, natural-based facial cleansers containing plant extracts can help unplug the oily pores. Use an astringent to remove any remaining oil and a natural, non-inflammatory toner.
- Exfoliate: Use a product formulated with gentle ingredients 3-4 times weekly on moist skin after cleansing. Work in a circular motion using fingertips. Products containing natural rice bran to absorb oil and papain (papaya enzyme) to exfoliate work well on oily/sensitive skin.
- Moisturize: Avoid heavy, cream based moisturizers. Utilize a mild, oil free moisturizer that will not clog your pores.
- To stop that erupting pimple in its tracks: I highly recommend a Spot Treatment Product and keep in your bag.
- Cosmetics (Cover Make-up): Excessive use of cosmetics can cause excessive oil production in the skin during a period when oil is already a problem. Clogged pores lead to oily cysts beneath the skin leading to further inflammation. We recommend the use of mineral-based products, but sparingly.
3. Prescription Acne Skin Care is beyond the scope of this post but several products that I have found to be helpful are. A topical Azelaic Acid solution can be useful in treating mild comedonal acne. Topical Antibiotics such as clindamycin and erythromycin can be helpful. Most importantly consult with your physician before altering his recommended prescription skin care program.
4. Recommended Spa Treatments: I highly recommend routine microdermabrasions to help remove skin impurities and to open those pores and allow that unwanted oil to be released. Our younger patients have found that Lite Chemical Peels (Glycolic, Salicylic) are extremely helpful in combating the frequency and duration of their acne outbreaks.
Well there you have it. I hope these suggestions were helpful. For any questions you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other sites that I have found interesting about the treatment and prevention of adult acne are listed below.