As many as 40% of women aged 25+ suffer from a low grade, persistent acne. Blackheads, whiteheads and pimples are common amongst South Africans, some learn to live with it, others try their best to get rid of it.
What is the difference between Acne and just a breakout?
Acne is genetic whereas breakouts can occur at any time, but is not normally persistent and is triggered either by hormones or external stimuli. Any skin type can suffer from an occasional breakout at times.
Genetically the following happens in an Acne skin:
Produce thicker, stickier sebum (oil) than a normal skin due to excess male hormone, testosterone.
An Acne skin produces 5 times more skin cells, but contains less Lamellar Granules which secretes enzymes to loosen the skin cells for desquamation. This condition is called Retention Hyper Keratosis (holding onto too many skin cells).
With the above mentioned the follicle opening (pore) is closed off (blackhead formation) and with the lack of oxygen present the Propioni Bacterium (P-Acne) becomes active digesting certain parts of the sebum, leading to irritation and inflammation, this is now a pustule (pussy pimple).
Every follicle should contain a hair to wick out the oil and dead skin cells. However in a Acne skin this is not always the case, sometimes there is no follicle in which case we call that a sebaceous follicle, or other times the follicle contains a very weak hair which cannot perform this function.
Products and ingredients to avoid when you are prone to breakouts or suffer with Acne:
Lanolin: Irritates the skin lining the follicle leading to an increase in oil production and dead cell build-up resulting in a blackhead.
Mineral Oil: Occlusive on the skin, leading to congestion (fine bumps which
are whiteheads and blackheads).
Artificial Colour: Irritates the skin lining the follicle leading to blackheads. Often women wearing orange, red and bright pinks might get blackheads on the lip line or on the cheeks where they apply their orange or pink blusher.
Invest in the following products or ingredients:
Bentonite and Kaolin Clays: Absorbs the excess oil without dehydrating the skin.
Salicylic Acid: Exfoliates the excess dead skin cells and is anti-inflammatory making it ideal for the inflamed breakouts.
Glycolic Acid: Removes the excess dead skin cells and rejuvenates the skin, preventing scar tissue as well as removing dark discolourations.