Acne 101

Acne is the most frequently diagnosed condition by dermatologist.

It affects nearly 85% of people at some point in their lives.  Whatever your age, the psychological impact can be significant. People with acne can suffer from embarrassment and low self-esteem. 

The Cause?

To put it simply, acne occurs when the oil glands (pores) in the skin become blocked with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria.

Our sebaceous glands are meant to produce sebum, which is an ‘oil’ designed to keep the skin lubricated and soft. However, when hormonal changes and other factors cause the gland to produce an excess of sebum (OR thicker than normal sebum) the problem arises. The pore becomes blocked and there is a higher chance that bacteria will multiply, leading to inflammation and acne.

Acne usually starts at puberty when increased levels of certain sex hormones (known as androgens) create an increase in the size and oil production of glands.

Hormonal acne can return again in our 30’s, as our levels of androgen hormones increase. Testosterone (an androgen hormone) stimulates sebaceous glands in women to secrete ‘thicker’ sebum. This can cause clogged pores and an increase the likeliness of ‘adult Acne’.

ACNE CYCLE

One of the most common misconceptions is that breakouts form overnight. However, the acne cycle begins days or even weeks before blemishes reach the skin’s surface. The acne cycle starts when hormones trigger sebum production. The sebum combines with dead skin cells, which leads to clogged pores. When pores are clogged, acne bacteria can quickly multiply, resulting in inflamed acne blemishes.

What can contribute?

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  • Hormones! Especially during the teenage years and then again during perimenopause.
  • A high G.I diet – studies have shown that a high-glycemic index (GI) diet (refined carbohydrates like those found in white bread and also sugar) can increase Acne. It’s suspected that raised insulin levels from high GI foods may trigger a release of hormones that inflame follicles and increase oil production. Also ….sugar feeds bacteria!
  • Stress hormones – such as cortisol can increase inflammation and stimulate oil glands.
  • Family history.
  • Poor gut health.
  • Too much unfermented dairy, gluten and sugar – which can all cause inflammation.
  • Using the wrong skincare products – commonly ones that are too harsh and can breakdown our protective lipid barrier
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies (Zinc & Vitamin A).
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – This is due to increased levels of androgen (or ‘male’) hormones – testosterone and DHEA. Acne caused by PCOS tends to flare up in ‘hormonal sensitive’ areas around the lower part of the face.
  • Wearing heavy foundation. Some makeup can clog your pores. So while you might be tempted to cover your acne with lots of base and concealer, try to resist. Instead, consider a more breathable tinted moisturiser or foundation like Radiant Defense Perfecting Liquid which is non-acnegenic (so it won’t cause breakouts).
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Common Problem:- Why do I have dry skin yet still get breakouts??

It’s a common misconception that breakout prone skin ‘must be oily and therefore needs to be dried out’. When in fact dehydrated skin (common in adults more than teens) is often part of the problem, particularly with ADULT acne. A lot of the products on the market are in fact too drying and add to the problem!

So it’s important to understand the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Skin that becomes dehydrated from over use of harsh products becomes more prone to bacteria getting in. This is due to a compromised skin barrier.

The key is to use products that will help prevent pores becoming clogged (with bacteria, dead skin cells and sebum), whilst keeping the skin hydrated at the same time. 

What can be done to help?

  • Topical Retinoids such as Retinol : which helps with the skins natural cellular renewal process. This can then help with acne and also wrinkles. Retinoids can be either prescription strength or OTC.
  • Suplementation with Zinc and Vitamin A.
  • Omega 3 supplementation – found in fish oil, Sea Buckthorn & flaxseeds clear acne by inhibiting two inflammatory chemicals that are responsible for acne breakouts, they are called PGE2 and LTB4. Omega-3’s do wonders for all inflammatory skin conditions.
  • Improving gut health.
  • Oral prescription medication such as short term antibiotics (and I stress ‘short term’ due to the disruption in gut health’) or in severe cases Accutane (a synthetic vitamin A derivative). Note Accutane can have irritating side effects and must not be taken when pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Stress management
  • Gently Cleanse your face and body as soon as you can after exercise.
  • Dietary adjustments. Cut out unfermented dairy which worsens acne because it spikes the acne-causing hormone IGF-1 & can increase inflammation.A low GI diet (ditch the white carbs and sugar).
  • LED Light Therapy & Kleresca
  • R+F Unblemish & Spotless  – see below 

TEEN VS. ADULT ACNE

 

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R+F Unblemish

WHO IS IT FOR?

For adults who have acne and ageing concerns like dullness, uneven skin tone and texture, and loss of firmness.

WHAT IS IT?

UNBLEMISH addresses adult acne by drying and exfoliating, and reduces visible signs of ageing.

Clears current blemishes, unclog pores and reduce visible redness caused by acne, while preventing new breakouts from forming. 

The skin-clarifying four product pack is based on a philosophy of Multi-Med Therapy. This is all about using the right ingredients and active cosmetics, in the right formulations, in the right order. It’s a systematic approach and the results are guaranteed. Each regimen is designed to last 60 days and they’re backed by a 60-day money back guarantee – that’s how confident the company is that you’ll see results.

R+F Spotless

WHO IS IT FOR?


For teens and young adults, to help dry out and clear existing acne and prevent new blemishes from forming.

WHAT IS IT?


SPOTLESS is an easy-to-use 2-step Regimen that helps dry out and eliminate current breakouts and prevent future breakouts.

You can’t put a value on a boosted self esteem/ confidence. 

To purchase click here

 

Note:- If you sign up for PC Perks (Preferred Customer Perks) you will receive insider information, access to specials, enhanced customer service, 10% off all Rodan and Fields products, and FREE shipping. 

 

See here for more tips to control acne

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Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse / Dermatology)

What Might Be Causing Your Breakouts

To put it simply, acne occurs when the oil glands (pores) in the skin become blocked with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria.

Our sebaceous glands are meant to produce sebum, which is an ‘oil’ designed to keep the skin lubricated and soft. However, when hormonal changes and other factors cause the gland to produce an excess of sebum (OR thicker than normal sebum) the problem arises. The pore becomes blocked and there is a higher chance that bacteria will multiply, leading to inflammation and acne.

Acne usually starts at puberty when increased levels of certain sex hormones (known as androgens) create an increase in the size and oil production of glands.

Hormonal acne can return again in our 30’s, as our levels of androgen hormones increase. Testosterone (an androgen hormone) stimulates sebaceous glands in women to secrete ‘thicker’ sebum. This can cause clogged pores and an increase the likeliness of ‘adult Acne’.

1FFFF33B-BD2C-4E86-96C4-136F24F81D42Underlying acne factors

What else might be going on??

1) Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

What is PCOS?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. The condition usually effects women between the ages of 15 to 44.

Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones (androgens). This hormonal imbalance causes menstrual cycle irregularities (including missed periods) and leads to other unwanted side effects.

The facts-

In PCOS; many small, fluid-filled sacs grow inside the ovaries. The word “polycystic” means “many cysts.” These sacs are actually follicles, each one containing an immature egg. The eggs rarely mature enough to trigger ovulation (making getting pregnant more difficult).

The lack of ovulation results in estrogen and progesterone levels being lower than usual, while androgen levels (masculine hormones) become higher than usual. This causes a disruption of the menstrual cycle and other side effects.

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The increase in testosterone triggers excess oil production in the sebaceous glands, which creates the perfect breeding ground for infection and acne.

PCOS-related acne tends to flare in areas that are usually considered ‘hormonally sensitive’ -especially the lower third of the face. This includes the cheeks, jawline, chin, and upper neck.

Those with PCOS tend to get acne that involves tender knots under the skin, rather than fine surface bumps. Breakouts commonly flare up before menstruation and can take several days to go away.

Other common PCOS symptoms are:

• Unwanted Hair growth: Due to excess testosterone, more than 70 percent of women with this condition grow excess hair on their face and body.

• Thinking of hair on the head – Due to excess testosterone women can also experience male pattern baldness.

• Weight gain

• Darkening of the skin: Dark patches of skin can form in body creases like those on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.

• Headaches: Hormone changes can trigger headaches in some women.

What causes it?

Doctors aren’t 100% sure what causes PCOS. They believe that high levels of male hormones prevent the ovaries from producing hormones and making eggs normally.

Genes, insulin resistance, and inflammation have all been linked to excess androgen production.

Women with PCOS often have increased levels of inflammation in their body. Being overweight can also contribute to inflammation. Studies have linked excess inflammation to higher androgen levels.

Treatment

Treatment for PCOS usually starts with lifestyle changes like weight loss, diet, and exercise.

https://www.healthline.com/health/pcos-diet

2) Rosacea

For some, Rosacea is actually the problem NOT acne. Click here to find out wether you may actually have rosacea.

3) Hormonal fluctuations

As previously discussed, certain hormones rise during puberty. These hormones cause an increase in the production of sebum. This results in hair follicles becoming blocked, forming comedones or “clogged pores.” These clogged pores then commonly become infected and inflamed – AKA acne!

Hormonal adult acne tends to flare up at predictable times during our menstrual cycle. For many women, this occurs the week leading up to menstruation or during. However the menstrual cycle is the time when symptoms peak. Some women may also experience a breakout during ovulation.

Perimenopause is the period (which can last for several years) prior to menopause. During this time, hormonal fluctuations are increased which can lead to acne.

Acne located on the Lower third of the face and along the jawline is often more likely to be related to hormonal issues than acne across the forehead or the bridge of the nose.

Hormonal adult acne is often deep, cystic, and sensitive to touch.

See link to find out what you can do to help

4) Poor Gut Health

see Gut Article

5) Stress

During times of stress, cortisol (the stress hormone) increases oil production which can stimulate acne. The Skin-Gut connection has been scientifically proven.

6) An Inflammatory diet

A high glycemic (GI) diet

Foods that increase insulin levels have a high ‘glycaemic index’ (GI). The glycaemic index is a measurement of how carbohydrates have an effect on our blood sugar levels. Foods with a high glycaemic index break down super fast in our body causing a rise in blood sugar levels. This then causes a spike in the amount of insulin our body produces (in hope to re balance the blood sugar level). This spike in blood sugar and insulin then leads to inflammation.

High GI foods include white carbohydrates (eg white bread, chips, pasta, white rice, potatoes, processed biscuits etc) and of course sugar.

High GI food and acne

SO ….instead switch to low GI food such as non starchy vegetables (swop potato for sweet potato), some fruit, whole grains, nuts, fermented dairy such as yogurt, meat, poultry, fish and eggs.

Non fermented diary (milk) and gluten also cause inflammation in most people.

Treatment

See adult acne article

See gut health

USA or Canadian readers can click here for clinically proven anti-acne skincare products. Australian readers …check back soon as this great product will be available soon here in Auz.

For severe cases of acne or hormonal imbalances please see your healthcare professional or Dermatologist.

🙂 Victoria Isherwood (Registered Nurse -Dermatology)