Adult acne is no different from juvenile acne; and it should be treated the same way.
Acne may be attributed to genetics or hormonal imbalance. Contributing factors, or acne triggers, include lifestyle choices such as diet, sleep pattern, hygiene, and stress. When skin does not exfoliate as it should, dead cells build up on the skin surface and inside the pore. Dead cells mix with trapped oil and pores become clogged, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads. Some forms of acne require medical supportive treatment, such as oral medication. Recommendations for acne skin care are based upon the severity of acne, presence of discoloration, age of the patient, and probability of scarring with acne.
Here are a few rules and tips for acne-prone skin:
- Cleanse. Skin should be cleansed both in the morning and in the evening with a suitable cleanser that removes sebum and thoroughly cleanses skin, without stripping the skin. Hot water should be avoided, as it dries the skin and increases oil gland activity. Skin should be washed for one full minute, as it takes this long to reduce surface sebum and remove dirt and debris. A toner or astrigent should follow washing to restore the pH and reduce surface bacteria. We recommend the ZO Skin Health Exfoliating Cleanser for oily and acne-prone skin.
- Unclog the pores. A build up of dead cells, oil, and debris results in clogged pores. When oil and debris mix with bacteria inside the clogged pore, the pore can become inflamed and result in papules (small bumps) or cysts. It’s important to keep your pores open, allowing oil and dead cells to exit the pore naturally. Exfoliation is one way to keep the pores clean and skin smooth and can be achieved by use of a scrub, one time daily, AM or PM. To be effective, a scrub should not be too gentle, or too harsh. Harsh scrubs may result in microtears on the skin surface, allowing bacteria to enter and creating further problems. Magnesium crystals (such as those found in Exfoliating Polish by ZO Skin Health) are perfect for exfoliating the skin as they are round, so they do not tear the skin, yet they do the job in clearing off dead skin cells and removing surface debris.
- Control oil. Oil-producing glands tend to be more prominent in the t-zone (around the nose, forehead, and chin), so oily skin is more problematic there. ZO Skin Health TE pads are soaked in salicylic acid and glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin cells and reduce oiliness. It’s the combination of these two—a mechanical exfoliant and a chemical one—that work together to control oiliness and breakouts. Generally, having one without the other just isn’t enough for acne prone individuals.
- Have a facial. Tea tree oil is well known for it’s anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial properties. Apply a tea tree mask once or twice a week to help control acne break-outs. Additionally, you can use this mask to spot treat pimples, leaving the mask on overnight. If you wish, ask a good and trusted aesthetician for an acne mask.
- Manage your diet. Rumor has it that chocolate causes acne, but there has never been any proof of that. There is general agreement, however, that fatty, oily foods, and diets high in refined sugar and carbohydrates can trigger acne flare-ups. Salty, iodized, or spicy foods can also be a problem for some people. Water is essential to good health and necessary to keep the skin hydrated and looking its best. Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out toxins from the body.
- Be careful with cosmetics. Beware of the term “oil-free.” Many manufacturers use synthetic oils, rather than natural oils (like animal, vegetable ,or mineral oil), because these oils technically can be called oil-free. But the synthetic oils can still cause or aggravate acne. Acne caused by cosmetics will frequently appear as whiteheads over the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Mineral make-up is generally recommended, as it contains natural ingredients that do not cause irritation or harm the skin.
- Use moisturizers carefully. Similar to cosmetics, some moisturizers will provoke acne and therefore are not recommended for acne-prone skin. Moisturizers result in a build-up of dead cells, decreased cellular exfoliation, and damage to the skin. Moisturizers are only recommended under certain circumstances, and only a functional moisturizer (one with active ingredients that stimulate cellular activity) is recommended, like Ommerse Daily Renewal or Ommerse Overnight Recovery, from ZO Skin Health.
- De-stress. When you are stressed, stress hormones become imbalanced and a variety of health problems may occur. You may not be able to avoid stress, but you can manage it with exercise, meditation, and personal down-time.
If acne problems persist, it’s important to get medical treatment, as acne can cause scars. See a dermatologist for a recommendation, treatment, and/or prescription.