Skincare Issues :: Spots & Acne






Skincare Issues: Spots & Acne

I’m not sure how everyone else’s skin acted during their teen years but mine just didn’t want to play nice. I either suffered from dull lifeless skin or spotty, red and angry looking pimples. I wasn’t one of those who just had the odd one or two, oh no heaven forbid it! I was one of those girls who either had none at all or were literally covered on my face and back and at times chest.

My spots lead partly to my lack of confidence growing up and I wouldn’t wear anything that showed my back (swimming lessons were a killer) or chest area when I was mid flare. I always felt like the unlucky one compared to my friends whose skin always glowed.

Growing up my skin did improve and I definitely saw a link between my skin misbehaving and my hormones going wild. Prior to my female cycles I would break out and during times of stress my skin would become oilier and at times spotty.

Now that I am close to hitting my thirties I am still going through the dreaded hormonal issues and spots are most definitely still alive and kicking and really starting to bug the life out of me. Having studied health and completed my honours degree I am happy that I now understand what the causes are, and how the skin works. I wanted to really just publish this post so that you can also be more informed on the causes and treatments of spots and acne if you, like me are being bullied by the little pests.



The skin & how a spot is formed.

The skin is covered in thousands of teeny hair follicles which have a gland at the base called the sebaceous gland. This gland produces oil called sebum which can go haywire when testosterone levels become imbalanced in both men and women.

Hormonal changes also cause the epidermis (top layer of skin) to grow quicker than normal which leads to blockages and obstruction, mix these extra skin cells with an over production of sebum and you have the right conditions for a pimple.


The truth

♥  Black heads
Blackheads turn black due to a chemical reaction (oxidisation) which turns the melanin in the plug black. The black colour is not caused by dirt as some tall tales tell you. 

White heads
White heads are similar to black heads and are produced in the same way. The only difference is that the opening to the follicle is smaller and air cannot reach the plug making it oxidised.

Boils and red spots
Again just like white heads and black heads these are formed in the same way as whiteheads. These type of spots due to the smaller opening can become inflamed and sore, with no way to release the plug and the bacteria these can become angry and if treated incorrectly can result in scarring and pitting.


Causes

♥ Stress – Again any condition that puts stress and strain on the workings of your body can affect another. Stress puts extra strain

♥ Poor Health – Certain conditions can cause a snowball effect, thyroid disorders, and bowel conditions, mental health conditions can all affect your hormones by directly putting one system out of whack it makes another work harder causing the flora to become imbalanced.

♥ Medications – Of course any medication can cause your hormones to become out of whack. Especially hormonal based medications such as fertility, menopausal, depression and contraceptives.

♥ Lack of Exercise – This can lead to your body becoming sluggish, bowel habits may decrease and you may eat more as a result.

♥ Diet – The body must have a balanced amount of vitamins and minerals to function with ease, some people may not make enough of one or maybe intolerant of another vitamin, realising which ones you don’t get enough of will really help you in the long run.  Also some food groups contain hormones such as meats, eggs and cheese so adding these ‘extra’ hormones to your body will of course imbalance you if you are eating them regularly, drinking water and eating a balanced diet should help you get rid of any surplus hormones.



Treatments

♥ Firstly the best way to treat anything is to find the root cause. While it may be easier to simply head to the doctors for lotions and medications this treatment may only work as a temporary measure. Normally spots and acne is caused by hormonal imbalances, finding some form of pattern in your breakouts and life events will help you find what the cause is.

I know for sure my breakouts are caused by hormonal imbalances and poor health as well as diet. While I eat a boastfully good diet I also suffer from a variety of immune disorders that make my body work quite poorly. Due to daily medications my body no longer utilises vitamins and minerals as it should and when reaching certain levels of hormonal imbalances my skin does break out.I know the signs now so tend to try and nip it in the bud, making changes to what I eat and supplement with before a bad break out happens does for the most part help.

♥ Lotions and potions that reduce the amount of bacteria are always a winner, try looking for benzoyl peroxide in the ingredient list as this ingredient sloughs away dead skin cells and has antibacterial properties.

♥ Silica Acid gel masks also work by removing extra grease from the follicles and removing the dead skin cells which partly make up the plugs in pimples. Use these masks daily to ensure build up doesn’t happen.

♥ Retinoids (Vitamin A) reduce the increasing skin cells and reduce inflammation so products that contain this ingredient will help. Brands such as Neutrogena, REN and Roc have products that contain retinoids so they are readily available on the net and the high street. 

♥ Prescriptive lotions and antibiotics should always be prescribed by a doctor and used as instructed on the packaging. These work by reducing the bacteria and reducing inflammation on the skin but should only be used as a short term treatment as they can impact on your intestinal flora and liver function. 

♥ Drink more water, water flushes out the toxins and promotes healthy growth. Try drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day for healthy skin.

♥ Don’t use strong stripping lotions as they can increase the skins sebum production and make your skin oilier. Try cleansing your skin thoroughly twice a day and applying antibacterial products directly to each spot with a clean cotton bud.

♥ Even when you have oily skin you still need to moisturise. Try using a light moisturiser or one that is made for combination skin types, this will stop the top layer of skin from becoming dehydrated and making more plugs.


How I battled the boils & spots.

Growing up my mum gave me a bottle of 4711 and told me to apply the strong smelling liquid to my spots with a cotton bud. I never once doubted her as her skin was and still is amazing for her age. The 4711 dried up the excess oil and really helped to heal up the blockage and reducing the redness. I suffered from plenty of big boils that really should have left scars and pits in my skin but never did. You may know about 4711 nowadays as a fragrance and it is definitely marked as a fragrance but each little bottle packs a punch with its alcohol content being 85%.

I was also scared of moisturising and definitely saw an increase in pimples around the time of my moisturiser fears and once I started using a lotion it died down. I also made sure that I removed my make-up as soon as I was in for the night and as soon as my t-zone started to grease up again I washed it with water and patted it dry to stop the infection spreading.

While it’s advisable to slough away dead skin cells please however, many exfoliators can spread infection so only use one once or twice a week and ensure that you use toner or astringent after use and before moisturising.


Here are my top product choices for treating your skin.
Clinique Anti-Blemish Cleansing Foam
Murad Clarifying Cleanser
4711 Eau de Cologne 
Glamglow Youth Mud Mask <-- I reviewed this HERE 
Centrum Multi-Vitamins A to Zinc 



What tips and tricks do you use to get rid of spots and pimples? I would love to hear about any tips you might have.





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