If you’ve experienced acne, you’ll know how frustrating and demoralizing it can be, especially if you’ve tried “every product on the market”.
At the most basic level, acne occurs when there’s an overproduction of oil (called sebum) mixed with an accumulation of dead skin cells that settle in a hair follicle. This combined with the presence of a bacteria called P. acnes leads to inflammation and causes an infection (hence the redness, fluid and puss in a pimple).
To find lasting relief from chronic acne, the following two steps are necessary. You’ll need to choose gentle topical skincare treatments and take time identify the root cause.
Choose Gentle Skincare
At the first sign of a breakout, we often go on the attack and use the strongest products we can find. This may temporarily dry out pimples, but harsh treatments can damage the skin by causing dehydration, flaking, more redness, and permanent scaring.
To treat breakouts, always think ‘love’, not ‘war’. A common problem among acne sufferers is dry, dehydrated skin. Often “acne specific” skin care uses ingredients like alcohol or benzoyl peroxide that target pimples but are also very drying and damaging. When pores are dehydrated, not only will skin produce more oil to help compensate, but pores become very tight and can easily clog.
Plant based oils can work wonders for treating acne, especially in adults who tend to have drier skin and are concerned with ‘anti-aging’. Oils help keep skin moisturized and reduce the risk of scarring, while calming inflammation and keeping pores clear.
Understandably, oil is often the last thing you want to use on your face when you have acne, but it’s just a matter of using the right ones. For example, coconut oil tends to cause clogged pores and increase breakouts in acne prone skin, but jojoba oil is like the skin’s own sebum and is tolerated well by most skin types. Here are three ways to use oil:
- Oil cleansing is uses an oil rather than a foaming or gel cleanser to remove makeup and cleanse the face. Oil attracts oil so an oil cleanser can help clear pores without over-drying the skin. To use, apply a few drops of oil on dry skin and massage in for 30 seconds before removing with a warm wash cloth. Try hemp seed oil or Province Apothecary’s Moisturzing Cleanser + Makeup Remover.
- Use cold pressed jojoba oil or Province Apotheary’s Clear Skin Advanced Face Serum to keep skin nourished and protected by adding a few drops to your skin after cleansing and toning. Just remember that oil on its own doesn’t impart any hydration to the skin; it only locks existing moisture in. If your skin tends to be dry or dehydrated, apply a water-soluble serum like Consonant’s HydrExtreme before applying the oil.
- Certain oils can be very anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, which helps to calm redness and soothe an infection. Instead of drying acne out, which can leave persistent scarring, oils can help prevent scarring and post-inflammatory marks. Try Odacite’s Black Cumin Cajeput Facial Serum Concentrate or Province Apothecary’s Advanced Spot Treatment.
If you need help navigating effective and gentle skincare solutions for acne, book a 1:1 consultation for personalized expert advice!
Get to the Root Cause
The root cause of chronic acne is often associated with hormones, which fluctuate depending on the stage of life, such as puberty, pregnancy, or menopause. They’re also affected by lifestyle such as stress and diet. Hormones can signal the body to increase oil production which gets stuck in pores allowing acne bacteria to grow and lead to inflammation.
It sounds simple, but identifying the root cause of hormonal imbalance can be tricky and treating it can take some time — often 3 months or more. While it’s not a quick fix, managing the root cause is a very important piece of the puzzle. It’s helpful to speak with a Naturopathic doctor who can holistically review lifestyle, diet, and internal factors!
There no “magic” remedy when it comes to acne, but there are many effective treatments that can make a lasting change for your skin’s health. Try this two-step holistic approach and find a plan that works for you!
Need more skin-specific assistance? Book an appointment with Seanna to discuss your condition and create a custom skin care routine just for you!
Seanna Cohen is a certified skin care therapist and founder of the Clean Beauty School, an online destination to learn skin care tips & tricks and get personalized advice. As a trusted skin care expert, she inspires others to take a holistic approach to beauty and find sustainable practices through her skin care coaching, webinars, and classes.