This was a difficult article to get started on, mainly do to my personal experience. I had acne when I was young, and for many years it was untreated and just got worse and worse.
I used all my savings to buy skincare that promised to clear up acne spots, that was supposed to be non-comedogenic, specifically formulated for oily skin and a bunch of other things it promised to do. To my disappointment none of them worked. As a result of this, I became an expert in covering up my acne. I got so good at it, people kept commenting on my skin telling me how flawless it looked.
THE IMPORTANCE OF RIGHT INGREDIENTS
Anyways, after years of struggling with acne, it finally cleared up when I started using products that were not specifically formulated for acne skin. I got curious to what had happened, and studied hard almost every ingredient that was used in skincare products. You can say that my obsession for flawless skin, and the beauty industry in general, started there. With this new knowledge, I knew exactly what products to buy, try, and more importantly, avoid. I also knew, that I needed to learn more. I was thirsty for knowledge, and I was looking at different education programs trying to figure out, how I could learn more about the skin. (while studying law at the university in Iceland)
Finally, I figured out what I needed to do. I needed to become an aesthetician. So I dropped out of the university, worked for a year, saved up enough money and moved to France to start studying. Don’t ask me how, but I ended up getting my medical aesthetician degree in Denmark. And now we are getting back to acne, I promise. After almost 5 years treating my acne with different products and trying to choose the right ingredients, I realized, or should I say learned, that acne is a disease, and you can’t treat a disease with cosmetics. You can certainly help keeping it down with the right ingredients, but if you don’t treat it right, it will just be underneath your skin, waiting to explode, and one day it will. Now, that’s what happened to me. The lesson here is, that if you have acne, or if you are not sure you have acne, just a lot of break outs, don’t try to treat it yourself, go see a dermatologist and get the appropriate medicine to fix your skin. I went on a Accutane treatment 10 years ago, that helped clear my skin (took 6 months, and those month were like living hell) but I still get breakouts every now and then and have excepted that it is normal to break out with daily stress and hormones catching up on you, but occasional break out is not the same as acne and should not be looked at, as such. Acne is a bacteria, and when you are sick and have some kind of bacteria, not virus, you go on penicillin to treat it, right? The same is applicable to acne. You need the appropriate medicine to kill the bacteria, but that does not mean you can’t do a lot yourself, to both speed up the process and make sure you don’t get deep, brown, and permanent scars on your skin.
WHAT IS ACNE?
Acne is a skin condition or skin disease that occurs when your hair follicles are clogged by oil, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria. Both hormone and stress play a huge role in acne, this is one of the reasons we see most acne on teenagers, and for us ladies a week before our menstruation. I’m not a dermatologist, so I’m not going to elaborate on the medical side of this topic, but I certainly know a thing or two about acne and believe there are plenty of things you can do, to prevent acne. So read on to learn how to prevent and treat acne from whiteheads to blackheads to unwanted cysts, and why you should NEVER attack a pimple with pus inside.
HOW TO PREVENT ACNE, FOLLOW NOT ONE, BUT ALL OF THE THESE ADVICES:
- Clean your skin every day & night, and choose a cleanser that does not make your skin alkaline. When your skin is alkaline, bacteria thrives, so make sure there are no harsh surfactants in your cleanser. Want a full master class on skin cleansing, read more here.
- Wash your pillow case at least every week, as your skin works the most during night time leaving residue of sweat, oil, dirt and excess product on your pillow case that can lead to breakouts on your skin.
- Wipe the screen off your phone every morning. Your hands are basically just a living bacteria… yawk! And you pick up your phone 100 times a day, scroll with your dirty fingers, and residue of oil, pollution and most likely makeup gets on your phone after each phone call. Trust me, your skin will get instantly clearer if you are used to being on the phone a lot.
- Don’t touch your face. Seriously, treat your face like a temple, no one, not even your kids are allowed to touch your face.
- Never pick at your pimple, you will regret it, and it will bite back, trust me, nothing good will come out of it.
- Wash your hands regularly, or at least carry a hand sanitizer in your bag.
- Limit your sugar and dairy intake, I know it’s hard, just remember balance.
HOW TO TREAT ACNE, AFTER YOU HAVE GOTTEN PRESCRIPTION FROM A DERMATOLOGIST.
- Find a good product with salicylic and or glycolic acid. Salicylic is an excellent ingredient that has an exfoliating effect, removes dead skin cells and excess oil from the skin surface. Glycolic acid works wonders on your skin tone, making your skin more even and reduces any pigment spots that might appear on the skin after a cyst. My favourite pick is Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant with salicylic acid & Sunday Riley Good Genes, a glycolic acid treatment, that I can’t get enough of. (my old acne scars have basically disappeared, since I started using this product)
- Change it up with a good quality retinoid – a prescription of Vitamin A would be my advice, but another solid bet is this retinoid cream, A313 a French pharmacy favourite of mine.
- USE SPF, besides the obvious reason why you should use SPF every day (take a masterclass on SPF here) The UV rays can leave a permanent pigmentation on any red or brown spots after your acne, and it can take months, sometimes years to recover and repair those pigment spots.
- Use few but effective products. Layering when you have acne is no good. Choose your products wisely, and let them do their job.
- As I said, if you have acne you need antibiotics, be it a cream, some pills or in severe cases Accutane treatment. But that’s not enough. You still need to do your part and follow the preventive steps.
- Don’t stress. Stress is acnes best friend.
- Calm the cyst down with Mario Badescu pink drying lotion. It’s a miracle treatment I’ve used for years, (ok, not miracle, but it has a simple and effective formula and contains salicylic acid) as soon as I feel a cyst is on the way to the surface, I apply a pink cloud on top, leave it overnight, and it’s basically gone the next day.
- Biggest acne myth is to avoid oils… Oil is not the same as oil. You should avoid mineral oil, coconut oil and any other oils that will clog your pores, meaning the molecules are too big to penetrate the skin. All skin types need oil, usually oily skin are producing excess oil because they are actually lacking oil, so they are overcompensating. Try this facial oil, the best one I’ve come across so far.
As always, would love to hear your thoughts, comments or your own story of dealing with acne.