We are super excited to have the Clear Start range from renowned skincare brand, Dermalogica available in the bellabox online store for a limited time. So, we chatted to their Education Manager Emma Hobson about all things - dum, dum, DUMMM... acne.
But guess what? Armed with the right info, you can help turn yours around. Here's what you need to know...
What is the difference between adult acne and teens?
"Teens rank their appearance and the condition of their facial skin as one of their top life's priorities. They rate their skin as either being 'bad', meaning they believe they have acne, or 'good', meaning they don’t have any breakouts, so their skin is clear.
Teens breakouts are different to adult breakouts. Hormones during puberty are different to the ones secreted through stress. Both can lead to increased breakouts, but they tend to be in different places on the face and body.
Adult acne is more persistent than teen acne and scarring is more prevalent due to skin losing its ability to repair itself because of ageing. Adult acne is common on the neck and under the jaw, also running along the hairline of the forehead and additionally randomly dispersed over the face. In adult acne there tends to be more skin sensitisation, more lesions and less blackheads present. Adult acne does not have the severity of pubescent acne which includes more cystic lesions and blackheads.
"Acne vulgaris (puberty) can be found on the face where it forms mainly on the 'plumb’ of the cheeks and the middle of the forehead, as well as the upper back, and chest. Teen acne, unlike adult, acne does heal much quicker, hangs around for less time and doesn’t scar as badly as for adults.
Clogged pores and a shiny t-zone are the common complaints for younger skin. The best way to address oily shine is to use products that either a) actively reduce the oil flow b) have an oil absorbing/matiffying action. It is important to distinguish between something that mattifys Vs. something that dries out the skin. A product that creates a matte finish absorbs excess oils, where as something drying, strips the skin of oil, leading the skin to respond by producing more oil and increasing skin sensitisation.
In order to avoid breakouts teens, like adults, need to use products that are designed for their specific skin concerns, formulated with ingredients that address oiliness and congestion, and that contain a high volume of anti inflammatories helping to heal lesions and reduce the incidence of pigmented scars".
What are the key things to remember when treating acne at home, yourself?
a. Be diligent with your cleansing routine both a.m. and p.m. It is as important as brushing your teeth! The majority of teens in particular don’t cleanse their skin thoroughly enough to help reduce skin congestion. Clay based cleansers are fantastic at removing excess skin oil and deep cleansing the skin, they can also be used as a mini masque. Alternatively use a soap free facial wash that is balanced to the pH of the skin.
b. Exfoliation helps keep the skin from becoming congested. Exfoliate 2 to 3 times per week to remove dirt, debris, excess sebum and dead skin to prevent blockages. Salicylic acid is a fantastic ingredient to look out for if you’re prone to blackheads and congestion. It works by releasing congestion in the follicles. Never over exfoliate though - 2 to 3 times a week is sufficient.
c. A bit of extra help; Try using a topical skin clearing (matiffying) product during the day or a night time lotion that works hard to decongest the skin whilst you sleep. Sebum clearing masques are also great to apply once or twice a week.
d. Often acne sufferers think because their skin is so oily they should avoid using a moisturiser…wrong! Use a protective moisturiser that has sebum regulating ingredients and antibacterial ingredients so your skin is protected, allowing the ingredients to get to work on improving the condition of your skin.
e. Avoid aggressive oil stripping products; teens in particular often mistakenly opt for aggressive products that strip the skin of its facial oil - they use toners and lotions that often contain alcohol e.g. SD alcohol, which will certainly strip the oil away, BUT will also deprive the skin of much needed protection, causing it to become more dehydrated and sensitised. But worst of all, doing this actually causes the skin to respond by producing even more oil to compensate! Instead, use an anti-bacterial, oil free, matiffying moisturiser designed for oily congested skin that regulates the oil flow. Make sure it also contains a sun block to protect and keep skin hydrated and glowing.
f. Even if you just love to squeeze a spot, you must avoid it! An inflamed lesion is filled with bacteria and if you squeeze it you can spread the infection, cause damage to the very delicate skin and end up having not only more spots but a scar as a result.
Can you give us some ingredient advice?
There are some fantastic ingredients to address acne, which include;
- Sebum regulating ingredients such as Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Niacinamide, Zinc Gluconate and Sarcosine.
- Antibacterial ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide, Tea Tree Oil, Zinc Gluconate and Sulphate, Balm Mint and Rosemary Extract, Sulfur.
- Enantia Chlorantha Bark is known to reduce pore size, sebum flow and excess shine.
- Salicylic acid is a great ingredient to prevent skin congestion.
Try the Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing All Over Toner, with 2-strong botanicals, Salicylic Acid and Sesame Seed Extract to refresh and protect
Learn to read labels and avoid ingredients in products that;
- Cause congestion leading to breakouts. Sadly many teen products contain comedogenic ingredients which are unsuitable for acne prone skin. Look for products that clearly state they are non-comedogenic and are free of SD alcohol
- Free of SD alcohol (found in products such as lotions, toners and gels) which can irritate, strip and dry out the skin.
- Fragrance free, thus preventing sensitisation and hyper pigmentation.
And what about dietary advice?
- Apart from eating a healthy well balanced diet, avoid processed sugars as they trigger skin breakouts e.g milk chocolate. Caroline Caperton, MD, MSPH, senior clinical research fellow in dermatology at the University of Miami states that, “Some of the ingredients in pure chocolate that might exacerbate acne are caffeine and its cousin theobromine, which are known to have pore-clogging properties.”
- Avoid eating too much dairy as it is also linked to stimulating increased breakouts
- There is anecdotal evidence to support this theory that a reduced-grain diet may curb acne
- Take a supplement of Zinc which aids skin healing
How about makeups tips for acne prone skin?
Lastly, can we get some info about what your skin says about you with a Facial Diagnosis Zone by Zone?
"As a result of the hundreds of years of skilled observations of medical practitioners we have the ability to see how the face can tell us so much about ourselves and how it is a clear reflection of our inner wellness. A slight adjustment in diet and lifestyle can make all the difference in how we can bring our body back into harmony and balance".
Breakouts on the Forehead
"The forehead overall links with the process of digestion. The upper part of the forehead is associated with the bladder, the middle with the stomach digestion and the lower with the small intestines. Therefore possible sensitivity and breakouts on the middle of the forehead for example, could relate to poor diet or sluggish digestion which may be a result of eating too late at night".
Breakouts between the eyes
"This zone is known as the ‘wine and dine area’ , a breakout could possibly be reflecting intolerance to food such as dairy products, wheat or processed sugars or simply poor eating habits or over consumption of alcohol".
Breakouts on the Cheeks
"The cheek zone relates to the lungs you may have had a recent cold/flu, or have inhaled something disagreeable. If you can’t get rid of those persistent breakouts on your lower cheeks, this may be because this area relates to the gums and back teeth. The breakouts in this area that can’t be explained may be related to dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, gingivitis or possibly irritated wisdom teeth. A trip to the dentist may just be the solution!"
"Do you get reoccurring monthly breakouts on the sides of your chin? Not surprisingly in Chinese Face Reading, this area relates to the ovaries. The middle of the chin however relates to elimination process of the bowel, if you have a breakout or irritation this would relate to a current imbalance where as those people with a permanent dimple may have a hereditary weakness in this area".
WOW! So much insighful info to help beat those dreaded blemishes! Do you suffer, or have you suffered through persistant acne? Have you tried any of the Clear Start products, or Dermalogica range before? Which products are your top picks? Do let us know! - Lauren