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Acne

Problematic skin (acne) goes hand-in-hand with the teenage years, thanks to the body’s fluctuating hormone levels as it finds its feet on the way to adulthood. Unfortunately, pimples are no longer the preserve of teens. Men and women of all ages find themselves in their 30s and beyond with spots cohabiting unhappily with lines and wrinkles.

Besides a genetic predisposition to skin problems and hormonal fluctuations, stress can play a serious role. Once there’s a boost in sebum production, the cascade of events leading to breakouts begins: oil spills onto skin’s surface and acts as a binder, creating a mixture of oil and cells that blocks oxygen from entering the pores. The lack of oxygen creates the ultimate breeding ground for bacteria, which leads to the swelling, redness and inflammation around the follicle, resulting in acne or acne rosacea.

Adult acne problems are often more persistent and more inflammatory than teenage cases. Adult acne is also often accompanied by skin sensitisation, or a combination of skin conditions, which makes acne and acne scar treatment more challenging. To successfully treat, clear and prevent acne, the events leading to acne development must be controlled; but don’t turn to popular teen-centric treatments that may be too harsh and irritating.

Your Questions:

Q: What’s causing my breakouts?

A: There are many causes behind the formation of breakouts.
Stress, excess oil, excess skin cells, bacteria, hormonal fluctuations, and genetics are all factors that can contribute to acne.

Q: Does milk cause acne?

A: This is another misinterpretation. Milk doesn’t trigger acne or breakouts. It’s the hormones produced by cows that are found in milk that can actually over-stimulate oil glands and cause overproduction of oil. As cows that give milk are pregnant most of their lives, the natural hormones that occur during pregnancy are found in the milk you drink. The reason that milk products cause acne is because milk contains hormones that turn on oil glands. It is not yet known if hormones injected into cows cause any difference in the level of natural hormones in milk.

Q: Does toothpaste really dry breakouts?

A: Quite the contrary. New information actually reveals that toothpaste can stimulate breakouts on your chin and around the mouth. Dermatologists say that heavily flavoured toothpaste, or toothpaste with high levels of fluoride, can cause breakouts to arise.

Q: I have oily skin. Why do I need a moisturiser?

A: Moisturisers are vital to every skin care regimen, regardless of skin condition. An oily skin can be dehydrated, and will need hydration from a moisturizer; this is because dehydration is a lack of water in the skin layers, not lack of oil. The activity of oil glands can still be normal, or even overactive, in a dehydrated skin. Often, dehydration in oily skin can also lead to higher production of oil, so keeping skin hydrated with an oil-free moisturizer can help control overactive sebaceous glands.

Q: I have a breakout right now and want it gone fast. What can I do?

A: Breakouts always tend to pop up when we need to put our best face forward. If you can, make an appointment with your professional skin therapist, who can determine if your breakout is a blackhead, and can subsequently extract it. If you have a non-blackhead breakout, your professional skin therapist can treat it with professional treatment room tools.

If you can’t get to a professional, treat the breakout with a tropical treatment product containing Benzoyl Peroxide. If you’re allergic or hypersensitive to Benzoyl Peroxide, try a product containing Sulfur. A product containing a natural tint will also help conceal the breakout as it heals.

Q: What’s the difference between a whitehead and a blackhead?

A: Whiteheads and blackheads are considered non-inflammatory lesions when discussing the various stages of breakouts. A blackhead is a clogged follicle opening containing oil and dead cells. It is not a sign of dirty or unclean skin. Blackheads are blocked follicles that have an opening to the skin’s surface, making them exposed to air, triggering oxidization which makes it change in color (think how an apple turns brown after it’s been cut/exposed to oxygen). A whitehead, also known as a closed comedone, is not open and has barely any or no exposure to air. Because air cannot reach the follicle, the debris inside the pore does not oxidize and change color.

Q: Does tanning help clear oily skin and breakouts?

A: Tanning is never good for skin. Baking in the sun to clear breakouts can worsen the problem and intensify your chances of long-term scarring and hyperpigmentation (dark spots). They may clear momentarily, but there is an increase in cells when the skin exposed to UV and this further clogs follicle openings.