“Can I get rid of my acne using skincare products?”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question.
Here’s the simple answer: Skincare alone cannot clear your skin for good.
Topicals are just a band-aid approach that help to manage the symptoms. They are not a “cure” and do not address the root causes of acne such as poor gut health, liver toxicity, hormonal imbalance, inflammation, chronic stress and nutrient deficiencies.
However, certain skincare habits can help with reducing the severity or, in some cases, make it worse.
Here are the skincare dos and don’ts that we share with our clients in my acne program, the Clear Skin Solution.
Overtime, bacteria and dirt will accumulate on cosmetic brushes if you don’t wash them frequently. This will spread bacteria on your face, which can trigger breakouts. On top of this, dead skin cells and oils buildup on your brushes leading to clogged pores and more acne. Make it a habit to clean your brushes at least once a week with soap and water or a natural cosmetic brush cleaner.
It can seriously feel like a chore taking off your makeup after a long and tiring day. But it’s SO important that you do, especially if you have acne-prone skin. If you don’t remove your makeup, it can clog your pores with dirt and dead skin cells resulting in breakouts.
Need another reason? Makeup residue can lead to a dull complexion because it prevents the natural skin cell turnover process and the development of new healthy skin cells. So make sure you wash your face before climbing into bed every night.
Similarly to your makeup brushes, bacteria can also buildup on your sheets, pillowcases and cellphone too. Think of it…your face is pressed up against your pillowcase and sheets every night for hours. Any bacteria and germs will transfer from your pillow to your skin as you sleep and contribute to acne. Be sure to wash your sheets once a week and change your pillowcase every night.
Your phone, on the other hand, is another story. Studies show that your smartphone carries over 25,000 bacteria per square inch, has 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom and is 10 times more dirtier than a toilet seat. I think those statistics alone are enough to get you to clean your phone with a natural disinfectant wipe at least once a day.
While there is no one “ideal diet” for everyone, eating certain foods and avoiding others can help clear your skin. Over in The Clear Skin Solution, the base we work off of for all clients is the anti-inflammatory diet. This includes a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables, good-quality protein, healthy fats, fibre and staying hydrated. Acne-triggering foods to avoid are dairy, gluten, grains, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
The path to clear skin doesn’t look the same for everyone. What worked for your friend or the random person in a blog you read may not work for you. That’s because we are all biochemically different. You need to address what’s causing YOUR acne in the first place. And that requires an expert approach like we offer in The Clear Skin Solution. That way you’ll have a therapeutic approach, including proper nutrition, correct supplementation, lifestyle changes and acne-safe skincare (our Holistic Aesthetician handles that part).
Cleansing your face too much can lead to dryness, inflammation and then more acne.
The reason why? Dehydrated skin = acne.
Usually, we only associate oily skin with breakouts. But dry skin also goes hand in hand with acne because the skin is still producing oil even if it’s dehydrated.
When your skin is not in homeostasis (aka out of balance), the pH level will be off. This means your acid mantle is disrupted and bacteria can easily wreak havoc on your skin. The acid mantle is a layer of sebum and sweat, which in layman’s terms are oil and water.
In a fight to achieve that homeostasis, dehydrated skin can lead to even more oil production to compensate for the missing water. This may cause the skin to feel both oily and dry at the same time with dry patches, pimples and irritation. So stick to washing your face twice a day and no more.
You should definitely avoid over-exfoliating and using harsh peels. Just like overwashing your face, exfoliating or using peels too often can irritate your skin resulting in dry, flaky skin.
As tempting as it may be, do not squeeze or try to pop the pimple. It’s deep under the skin and the more you touch it, the angrier and redder it will get. If you do pop it, bacteria in the pimple can spread to other areas under the skin causing more pimples to pop up. So do not touch it at all. Picking or squeezing can also increase swelling and the likelihood of scarring. If the swelling is causing physical pain, place an ice cube in a clean face cloth and apply to the pimple to help reduce the inflammation.
The majority of beauty products contain toxic chemicals, including known carcinogens (cancer-causing) and endocrine disruptors. These chemicals mimic hormones in the body and can lead to hormonal imbalances. An imbalance in hormones is a big contributing factor of acne. On top of this, harsh ingredients can overburden your liver and liver toxicity is another root cause of acne. Read this blog to find out what toxic ingredients to avoid and remember to use natural skincare products.
Many products formulated for acneic skin also contain harsh ingredients like benzyl peroxide and alcohols that over dry and irritate the skin. As mentioned above, over drying the skin leads to an increase in breakouts.
As many women know, stress can trigger breakouts. I actually have an entire module on it in my acne program. When you are stressed the eff out, your adrenal glands overproduce hormones like cortisol, androgen and DHEA. This increases oil production, which clogs pores and then results in additional acne. Stress also increases blood flow and expands your blood vessels, causing your skin to look more inflamed. On top of this, stress weakens your immune system and a properly functioning immune system is crucial to fighting acne.
To reduce stress, try meditation, tapping, light exercise, a candle-lit bath, getting eight hours of sleep and going to bed before 10 p.m.