June is acne awareness month. Here’s your opportunity to learn about acne and how to fight back. Let’s face it - acne is no fun, dealing with it is no fun and fighting it is no fun. Let’s dive deeper into the facts and what can be done to prevent, manage and treat it. The most important thing to remember is: do not give up! Acne can take months (and months) to improve and resolve. The best advice we can give you is to seek professional advice from a skin care expert and then commit, be patient and be consistent.
Here are a few interesting facts about acne:
- In Canada over 5.5 million people (15% of the population) suffer from acne;
- Acne is not only common among teenagers. Approximately 80% of acne sufferers are between the ages of 12 and 24 (90% are adolescents) and 20% are adults between the ages of 24 and 40;
- There is no known way to prevent the development of acne;
- Stress does not cause acne, however, it can make it worse;
- Cosmetic products don’t cause acne, however, using the wrong ones can make it worse. Products that are oily, greasy, pore clogging and/or not correctly recommended for your skin type can exacerbate the issue;
- Popping pimples does not make them go away faster, in fact, it makes them worse and can cause additional inflammation, infection and potential scarring;
- Acne is not caused by poor hygiene, sweating or not washing. In fact, washing too often and/or exfoliating too frequently (vigorously) causes excess irritation which can stimulate acne to worsen;
- There is no proven scientific connection that acne is caused by a greasy diet (such as pizza, french fries and cheeseburgers). With that in mind, research has indicated a correlation between acne and sugar, dairy products and carbohydrate-rich foods;
- Exposure to sun or getting a tan will not clear up acne and in fact, it can irritate and make it worse. A little sun exposure won’t hurt (use SPF30+ of course), however, it’s not recommended as an option for treatment;
- Acne will not go away on its own and does not need to run its course. It is very treatable and depending on the type of acne you have, a professional skin care expert will recommend a personalized programme to include treatments and home-care products.
Let’s get a little more scientific to understand acne and what causes it:
Acne is a skin condition that occurs when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It affects the oil glands of the skin. Each pore in your skin connects to oil glands that produce an oily substance called sebum. Through a connective canal called the hair follicle, the oil glands carry dead skin cells to the skin’s surface. When the hair follicles of the pores get clogged, a pimple forms (whiteheads, blackheads, pustules etc.).
Acne is caused by:
- Excess oil production;
- Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells;
- Bacteria (AKA Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes));
- Excess activity of a type of hormone (androgens);
Other causes include:
- Some medications that contain androgen and lithium;
- Greasy or oily cosmetic products;
- Hormonal changes;
- Menstrual cycle.
Acne can occur on different areas of the body, including: back, face, forehead, chest, shoulders and neck. It is not considered a serious health threat, however, depending on severity, if left untreated, acne can cause permanent scarring as well as emotional distress and low self-esteem.
How does acne present itself?
- Blackheads (open plugged pores);
- Whiteheads (closed plugged pores);
- Papules (small red and tender bumps);
- Nodules (large, solid and painful lumps underneath the skin surface);
- Pustules or pimples (papules with pus at their tips);
- Cystic lesions (painful and pus-filled lumps underneath the skin surface);
- Acne Mechanica (common among athletes, triggered by excess heat, pressure, friction and/or rubbing of the skin).
Let’s discover what you can do to improve acne with treatments and home-care products. It’s important to mention that these recommendations are most effective when working in conjunction with your unique skin type, type and severity of acne and with a professional skin care expert (doctor, nurse, aesthetician) who will determine the best course of action, personalized for you:
- Lasers and photodynamic therapy: light-based therapies have been used with success. A professional skin care expert will determine the ideal method, light source, dose and frequency for you.
- Chemical peels: this type of treatment uses repeated applications of a chemical solution, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid or retinoic acid. It can only be applied by a professional skin care expert who will most likely recommend a series of treatments over an extended period of time.
- Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads: a professional skin care expert may use special tools to gently remove whiteheads and blackheads (comedones) that haven't cleared up with topical solutions. This technique may cause scarring, therefore, caution and expertise is a must.
- Product: it is not recommended to mix and match products. It is much better to focus on one system (one brand) to help you achieve results. When working with one system, the products work together and synergistically, rather than a little of this and a little of that, which often leads to disappointment without improvement.
Boutique Skin Envie offers an incredible variety of specialty and very effective acne solutions. We have provided our expert advice, with much success, throughout the years. As Acne is fickle and very personal to each individual, rather than listing the different and generalized brand and product solutions, we would like to schedule a free virtual appointment with you. Prior to booking your appointment, we will send you an email to ask a few relevant questions related to you, your skin, your challenges, what your current skin care regime includes and your overall skin care goals. Once we have all this information on hand, we schedule your virtual appointment. Ready to book? Please contact us!
We cannot wait to hear from you,