Acne is a huge problem, affecting 85% of teenagers. It’s not rare in adults either, affecting 12% of women and 3% of men, according to one study.
Despite that, the skin condition remains widely misunderstood. Half of acne-free adults in a recent small study incorrectly said it was contagious and even more said, also incorrectly, that it is caused by poor hygiene.
Even some doctors may need an update. We find that most doctors are in the dark about acne and the treatments for it because the things they learned in training and university, is the same as it was 20-30 years ago and it’s fair to say a lot has changed with what we now know and understand.
Here are a few things we want you know:
You can’t simply wash acne away
Acne is not about dirt, it’s mostly about inflammation. While it’s good to regularly cleanse and wash your face, you don’t want to overdo it. Over exfoliating with strong cleansers or rough cloths can irritate the skin and sometimes even exacerbate acne symptoms, as well as cause other symptoms like increased sensitivity, so be careful.
But why is exfoliating bad for acne? Acne is a consequence of a hormonal triggered loss of the skins ability to control water loss. This means that when your skin becomes sensitive to hormones it starts to lose fats, lipids and oils. They leach out of the skin and fall off with your dead skin cells. These fats, lipids and oils help maintain the rate at which the skin loses water, so if they are reduced then water loss accelerates... If any living thing like cells lose water too fast, they die. So the skin - remember the skin is an organ - increases cell production, making the skin thicker. The thicker the skin, the better water retention is. It increases production of keratin in the skin, (keratin the same stuff that makes your nails hard), this makes the top layer of the skin harder and less permeable (doesn’t hold water as well). Lastly the skin increase production of oil (sebum) and creates an oily layer on the surface, yet again to slow down water loss. So if you exfoliate you thin the skin you remove the oil breakdown, the keratin and thereby causes water loss to increase.
The problem is that the thickened layer of the skin also is found down the insides of the hair follicle ducts and it behaves the same way; it thickens and it can actually thicken to the point of completely closing the duct opening, or close up to a point that the increased oil and dead skin cells can form a plug, effectively blocking it too. Now you have blackheads and whiteheads. The area under the blockage is a low-oxygen environment and bacteria that were living on the skin and feeding on the oils coming out of the duct, must seek out the food and so they migrate under the blockage. They prefer this low oxygen environment and start to reproduce as they feed on the oil in there - This leads to inflammation and the spot.
So basically if you don’t get the blockage you don’t get the spot, exfoliating seems to make sense but often the exfoliating solution just thins the surface of the skin. and cannot get into the duct opening to unblock it, just making the skins environment worse.
We strongly advise that you only exfoliate on an evening, around 3 to 5 times a week and at night. Sometimes, we even advise people with sensitive skin to take exfoliating out of their regimen altogether and use a gentle, calming and soothing wash that’s powerful enough to remove skin impurities, but won’t strip your skin, we have a product that does just that, check out the Aknicare Gentle Cleansing Gel.
Spots Don’t Appear Overnight
Sometimes you may wake up on the day of an interview or find that on the night of your date, a spot has ‘suddenly’ appeared. While it may certainly seem like it’s appeared out of nowhere, the skin blemishes you see, are the result of processes that can take a couple of months, as dead skin cells, oil and bacteria accumulate in your ‘pores’. To avoid these spots, we highly recommend incorporating an acne fighting and preventing solution into your regimen, the Aknicare Essential Core Acne Solution is an excellent place to start, in doing this you’re retraining your skin to act differently to spot forming situations. Although prevention is better than the cure (we understand this is not always practical), we supply the perfect product to fight these ‘surprise’ spots; The Aknicare Skin Roller. This fast acting spot zapper has the ability to reduce spots within hours. Great for use in emergencies, it gets to work instantly for fast results, so you can smash that interview or be on top form on your date - don’t worry, we have got you covered.
Common Treatments May work – but beware
Despite the many different products on the market, the vast majority of products are created with just two active ingredients; benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. They come in varying strengths and in many different formulations, including creams and cleansing cloths, but mostly are all variations on a theme. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing bacteria and Salicylic acid helps exfoliate dead skin cells. Although they do work to some extent for some people, they cannot promise results as most find these products are ineffective. Aknicare on the other hand, contains a number of highly researched and even some patented ingredients, which are guaranteed to fight acne, to name a few; Triethyl Citrate, Ethyl Linoleate and GT peptide-10. This is why Aknicare is different to so many other treatments. That’s why it gets the best results.
Oral Treatments - To Be Used With Care
If you have moderate to severe acne and seek further medical help, you may well be prescribed oral medicines in addition to topical treatments like Aknicare. Those oral medicines can include antibiotics — and, if you have been paying any attention to health news in recent years, you know there’s a lot of worry about overusing such drugs and creating drug-resistant strains of bacteria, known as "super-bacteria”. Antibiotics also can come with other deliberating side effects such as diarrhea, vaginal yeast infections and allergic reactions. It’s not uncommon now for doctors to limit use of antibiotics to 3 months at a time, whereas before they could have been used for years. Another widely-used treatment, isotretinoin (first sold as Accutane, a now discontinued brand), also comes with risks: It can cause birth defects, so female users are required to take steps to avoid pregnancy.
Diet might matter
Contrary to popular belief, greasy foods and chocolate do not cause acne. On the other hand some science does link acne with "high glycaemic” diets; those that include a lot of sugar, white bread, white rice and other highly processed foods. There have been several studies looking for a link between dairy foods and acne, with a puzzling finding: if there is a link, it might be strongest for skimmed milk, but currently as it stands there is not enough evidence to suggest consumption of dairy produce has any correlation with acne. It would be a very unwise suggestion to tell people to stop drinking milk, especially for teenagers. They need to build up their bone density, and milk is often a source of vitamin D and calcium. A diet lower in sugar and highly processed foods would be a much healthier suggestion for the vast majority of people.