While acne is expected during teenage years, it can often follow us well into adulthood – frustrating, we know! Acne is one of the most common skin disorders in the United States affecting as many as 50 million Americans annually. While it does typically affect adolescents during puberty due to hormones, it can occur at any age.
Acne occurs when pores become clogged with dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria. Acne can show up on the face, back, shoulders, and chest as inflamed red papules, pimples, pustules, blackheads, and whiteheads.
What Are The Main Causes Of Acne?
Often times what we see on our skin is actually a reflection of what is going on internally. While excessive oil production and congestion are a common cause of acne, there are other factors that trigger breakouts. Hormonal changes (like during adolescence or pregnancy) and excess stress can also cause acne flare ups. Stress affects our hormones causing us to produce an unbalanced level of androgens. This can result in stickier sebum (oil!) and more congestion and breakouts.
Stomach issues and diet also play a major role in the appearance of our skin. When your body is unbalanced inside, those impurities tend to surface on our skin. Gut-healthy and anti-inflammatory foods can have a critical impact on your skin’s health and appearance. There should be a holistic approach that includes proper professional skin care treatments, clean products for home use, proper diet and consideration to lifestyle.
Remember – it’s important to not only treat the surface acne condition, but also to be mindful of the root cause of the acne. Diet and nutrition are very important things to consider along with stress and lifestyle.
In order to treat acne, we recommend starting with a professional consultation. Meeting with an experienced esthetician who is also knowledgeable in nutritional skin care and gut health will help you develop a clear path to achieving beautiful skin. Acne needs to be treated with knowledge and caution – inflamed acne can lead to hyperpigmentation. It is best to leave it alone and have it professionally treated for quicker healing and reduced risk of developing dark spots.
Professional deep cleansing facials combined with chemical and/or physical exfoliation have proven to be very beneficial in treating acne, when combined with consistent home care. Professional facials target, dissolve, and remove hardened sebum in the follicle which would ultimately lead to inflammation and potential hyperpigmentation. After meeting with an esthetician, you will be recommended products to support your professional treatments. Being consistent with your skincare regimen at home is just as important as professional treatments!
Acne on other parts of the body in addition to the face–such as on the chest and back–is usually a sign of a more systemic condition. Looking at diet and lifestyle can help determine a proper approach.
Home Care Tips
- Do not squeeze or try to extract impurities yourself
- Reduce inflammation with warm compresses can lesson the potential for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) and soften blemishes
- Use proper skin care at home and gentle exfoliation
- Drink a lot of water, and eat nutritious food including fruits and vegetables. Test how reducing or cutting out sugar, dairy, alcohol, and/or meat and shellfish can help reduce breakouts
- Keep a food diary to see any patterns you may notice that could be triggers