23 August 2018

Why Do I Have Acne? And What To Do About It...

Let's talk about acne. Acne is something I am so used to talking about. I used to be so scared to talk about it out of fear that people would see beyond my layers of foundation and realize "this girl struggles from acne!" But now I realize SO many people have the same struggles as me, so why not talk about it?!

At different life stages acne can be caused by different reasons. I talk a lot about adult and hormone-related acne but I haven’t touched on teen acne, which unfortunately many school-aged children have to suffer with. During your teen years your body starts to change, your hormones start raging and you begin to enter “adulthood”. (Lame! Can’t we stay kids forever?)

Similar to adult-acne and hormone-related acne, as teens when your hormone levels become elevated they cause excess sebum (oil) production which can clog pores, eventually becoming infected causing a pimple / pimples to form. Pimples can come in the form of white heads, black heads or cysts. It’s a myth that if you scrub your face with harsh cleansers or wash clothes that you’ll clear your skin. What you’re actually doing is drying your skin out more, which tells your skin to produce more oil (because natural oil is the skins way of creating a protective barrier) so your skin starts to create even MORE oil, and as a result you have full blown ACNE. How annoying?!

Suffering with acne is so frustrating, and I so wish I was one of those people who woke up and didn’t have to put on makeup before I left the house. One day I'll get there. As a teen, I definitely made the mistake in listening to everyone's skincare suggestions. Product after product was recommended to me, when in reality I should have just been patient, ate well, moisturized often and drank LOTS of water to detox the excess hormones. Eventually it would have gone away. Instead, I used harsh cleansers with TONS of chemicals, which dried and irritated my skin. Terrible! The top layer of my skin was definitely damaged.

Over the past year I have been working to STOP using harsh cleansers, and instead nourish my skin with hydrating and calming oils to help rebuild it's protective layer. I always want to help others who have the same struggles as me, so if you suffer with acne, STOP what you're doing and listen to some of my tips. They are tips I wish someone would have to me when I first started getting pimples. Here are a few tips and tricks to clearing acne GENTLY without compromising your skins natural, protective oil barrier. No brands mentioned, just genuine suggestions from someone who knows what you're going through.

Use a gentle washcloth
I do use a lot of face masks (I am careful to choose which ones as many can be overdrying! Ask me if you want some suggestions on gentle ones. They can be great to detox your pores.) and I find some of them wash off most effectively with a towel. The problem is that towels are not made of the most gentle fibres, so to avoid irritating your skin use a warm muslin face cloth to remove your face wash or mask. Muslin is gentle enough that it won't irritate your skin. The bonus? They are quite cheap to buy! I always ensure I buy organic muslin to avoid any bleach that they sometimes use to make fabric white.

Embrace an evening face oil
I used to think that adding oil to my face would make it even more oily, but face oils are not just for dry skin. All skin types can benefit from face oils, you just need to find the right oil type for your skin. For dry skin, oils like Argan and Almond are good for obtaining deep moisture, and for oily or combination skin, use oils such as Jojoba and Rosehip. These are lighter oils that won’t clog pores and will encourage your skin to stop overproducing acne-causing sebum. Many natural skincare companies make oil blends specifically targeted for your skin type. Need some suggestions? This is my forte, just ask!

Tea Tree Oil
Used in moderation, Tea Tree Oil (or Maleleuca) can help kill bacteria. It is however extremely drying so make sure you mix it with a carrier oil or dip a cotton swab in it and gently dab the affected spot. I find Tea Tree toners to be too drying, even for my excessively oily skin, so avoid products containing Tea Tree and use it strictly as a spot treatment! Note: Buy good quality essential oils to ensure they are pure and organic. Cheap essential oils are often diluted and may cause more harm than good.

Use a gentle cleanser
I will never encourage a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, even though doctor's often recommend these products to teens suffering with acne. The only time MAYBE salicylic acid is okay, is in a spot treatment. Otherwise these products can over-dry and irritate skin causing more than just acne - think Rosacea. Yikes! Instead, cleanse your skin with oil. I know... I am back to the oil cleansing method. It's so effective and really affordable. In fact, lately I have been cleansing with pure coconut oil with a few drops of lavender oil. Why? Because oil binds with oil and balances the skin's natural oils. If you don't believe me, try it. I was skeptical at first too but am so glad I stopped using the harsh cleansers. A bonus? It also removes my eye make up so that's one less product I have to buy :) Note: Lavender oil is calming and reduces inflammation and redness.

At the end of the day, remember that no one else notices your acne and that you are your own worst critic. The more you fuss and pick and touch your skin, the worse it will get. So remember to eat a clean diet, drinks LOTS of water, don’t pick, and be patient. Your skin will clear up and you’ll laugh about the days when you thought your acne defined you. And remember to message me if you’d like product suggestions! I may have tried a few good ones ;)
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