Nov 21, 2011

Everything you need to know about your breakouts!

Let's talk about skin. I've had issues with my skin for years now. You name it I've had it ; blackheads,whiteheads,pimples,and of course the dreaded cystic acne. Thankfully I don't get them all at the same time! I figure I would share with you exactly what these are and how to get rid of them. I also will deal with the issue of scarring that can occur from having acne. Firstly lets start with what creates healthy skin and go into blackheads and whiteheads.

Healthy skin has:
Balance of surface water and oil 
  • Dry skin will feel tight and uncomfortable without a healthy balance 
  • Dry skin should use lotions with proper hydration and oils
  • Oily skin will feel slick and appear shiny without a healthy balance
  • Oily skin should use lotion with proper hydration and no oils. Oily skin doesn't need excess oil.
A good way to tell what your skin needs is to see what your skin feels like if you were to not use a moisturizer. If your skin is tight or dry anywhere you have drier areas in your skin that will need a lotion with oils and hydration. If your skin is comfortable without a moisturizer then you have oilier skin that needs lotion without oils. Oily skin benefits from using an oil free moisturizer and will produce less oil if you hydrate it properly. It will produce less oil because you are providing the hydration the skin needs so it will not produce excess oil to make up for the lack of hydration.
(Try Clinique's basic moisturizers; Dramatically different lotion for drier skin types or Dramatically different gel for oilier skin types)

Consistent cell turnover:
When skin doesn't have excess buildup of dead skin cells it will appear more radiant and smooth. With all the buildup it can look dull,rough and sometimes flaky. Flaky skin doesn't necessarily mean it is dry. Oily skin can have flaky skin as well. Flaky skin just means you need better cell turnover. So start incorporating a better exfoliation routine. Whether that be a physical or chemical exfoliant or sometimes both.

Intact moisture barrier: 
The moisture barrier holds hydration in and keeps out external aggressors. Helping the skin to feel more comfortable and less irritated. Basically you need to be incorporating a moisturizer into your routine that not only hydrates the skin for instant moisture gratification but long term moisture. When shopping for a moisturizer make sure it also repairs the moisture barrier.
 (Many clinique moisturizing boosters repair skins moisture barriers and have added antioxidants to protect the skin)

Strong support structure:
Skin's support structure of collagen and elastin helps skin to resist signs of premature aging like lines, wrinkles and sagging. Taking good care of your skin by adding proper hydration and oils and adding creams and lotions that help support the skins structure and protect the skin from free radicals will help from wearing the support structure down.

Now that we talked about what healthy skin actually is. Let's talk about the issues many of us are having and how to deal with them.

Blackheads / Whiteheads:
The reason I am pairing these two together is because they are basically the same thing.
What they are: Clogged pores at or just below the surface of the skin.
Why this happens: Excess oil and dead skin cells clog pores. Clogs at the surface oxidize and darken, creating blackheads; sub-surface clogs appear as bumps under the skin or as whiteheads near the suface.
Treatment: Unclog your pores with targeted, multi-prolonged exfoliaton while also cleansing skin of excess oil and debris from the surface. So basically get a good face wash to help cut out excess oil and debris while also using a good exfoliant such as a clarifying lotion with salicylic acid. A chemical exfoliant such as salicylic acid is perfect for something like this because it gets deep down in the pore and cleans out all of the oil and dead skin cells blocking that follicle.
(Clinique's 3 step is perfect for something like this)

What they are: Red, irritated and sometimes painful bumps at the surface of the skin.
Why this happens: Clogged pores cut off oxygen supply which causes Acne bacteria to thrive resulting in irritation, redness and inflammation.
Treatment: Unclog pores with multi-prolonged exfoliation while cleansing excess oil and debris from the surface. Fight the acne bacteria to reduce breakout with benzoyl peroxide. Pretty much you need a routine that incorporates salicylic acid for exfoliation and to unclog pores but also the benzoyl peroxide to kill bacteria. Use something mild and not  irritating while still maintaining healthy balance of oil and hydration.Please do not over dry the skin this could result in irritation and cause more breakouts.  
(Clinique's emergency gel/lotion with benzoyl peroxide is amazing it clears up all my pimples in less than a week)

Cystic Acne: 
 Acne bacteria infects the actual oil gland deep in the surface of the skin. Normally these do not come to a head and cannot be popped.
Treatment: If you have the luxury of being able to see a dermatologist please do! Because these are so deep and cannot normally be treated topically the dermatologist will give you a cortisone shot and creams to prevent these from forming. However I do not have this luxury and have treated mine and made them go away in about a week to a week in a half. First I absolutely DO NOT TOUCH OR TRY TO POP THESE. They are so deep it will result in alot of pain and scarring as well. If you mess with these it can result in longer healing time sometimes taking up to a month to heal. I first use my clinique 3 step I like the clarifying lotions they have salicylic acid which you want to unclog the pore. Their Mild clarifying lotion with salicylic acid is perfect for someone who has sensitive skin. I of course then balance out my hydration with their lotion. Now here's the important part I add the emergency gel / lotion to the area because you need benzoyl peroxide to kill the bacteria. I then add cortisone cream. Yes I said it the cortisone 10 plus anti-itch cream you can get from any drug store. This really helps with inflammation. Then lastly I add zinc oxide cream. Yes this is baby rash cream! But it has about 40% zinc oxide which significantly helps with my acne scarring. I usually do this for about a week and a half. I normally see the size of my cyst diminish in about 2 days and then completely diminish in about a week and a half.
This routine for my cysts has changed my life. I literally had cysts that would last months now that I incorporated these creams my cysts are completely gone in a week in most cases. Please do see your dermatologist however if you have the luxury of doing so!

Acne scarring: You can of course go to a dermatologist and they will have various treatments to get rid of your acne scarring. But for those like me and prefer the at home treatments I would recommend zinc oxide this helps fade acne scarring. Also Clinique's Even better clinical  helps with vitamin c to brighten skin and it uses yeast extracts to break down the darks spots. It also is very gentle and can be used for long term use.
Of course exfoliation both physical and chemical help fade scarring and using a cream with vitamin e significantly helps heal skin and fade scarring. If you yourself have used a treatment that has helped with acne scarring please share what worked for you. I would love to hear feed back. But more importantly than anything DO NOT PICK OR POP YOUR ZITS! This will cause major scarring and can be prevented.

Remember: Please always be gentle to your skin. Never over scrub. If you feel a product is to abrasive please stop using it. Over washing your face can result in drying it out and stripping it of its essential oils. Only wash your face morning and night. Never wash it more than 2x a day.

I hope this helped some of you that experience the same skin issues as me!!!!!
Have a fabulous day and take care 

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