Ever since I was 13 years old, I’ve known that my skin is very sensitive and acne prone. It runs in the family, but I definitely got the short end of the stick on this one. For years I would try new products, facials, lasers, and nothing seemed to work. I tried Accutane twice, and things only got worse. As someone whose mother owned a medical spa and whose father was a doctor, I had access to EVERYTHING and absolutely nothing was working for me, and even after graduating from esthetics school I still didn’t have my answer. I was doing all the things good for my skin, why was there no solution? I was so hopeless until I finally did some deeper research and realized that there’s not just one solution, but that healing my acne would be a lifestyle change. These pieces of information are now the tips I share with every client I see struggling with acne.
ACNE IS GENETIC
The rate at which our skin cells reproduce determines if we are acne prone or if you’ll be one of those people that can rub their face in dirt and still never get a pimple (count your blessings, you lucky people). When our cells reproduce at a higher than normal rate, oil and other debris gets trapped and we develop deeper cystic acne. If our dead skin is not exfoliated off our skin quick enough as our cells keep reproducing, that’s when the dead skin gets trapped on more of the surface as smaller surface pimples. The key for my fellow friends with extremely high cell reproduction is making sure you use a chemical exfoliant regularly to keep your cell turnover at the rate that it wants to be at. Our cells can really be high maintenance like that.
SUNSCREEN ISN’T JUST TO KEEP YOU PALE
Believe it or not, it’s not just to keep your wrinkles away either! For my sensitive skin friends and my acne-prone friends, we tend to hold that red pigment from a pimple for quite some time, even after the acne is gone. This is why we use a chemical exfoliant to gracefully remove it, but also, sunscreen. The Sun will try and pull any pigment towards the surface (hence getting tan) and that includes red pigment. Protect your healing skin from the sun, or it won’t look clear till much, much later.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
I could go into this topic forever, especially because I’m such a foodie! Our gut is known as the brain of our body, because it helps to regulate our hormones and keep the rest of our body systems running smoothly. When we eat dairy or fast food, we are intaking oils and unnatural particles that our gut has a harder time digesting, and that can cause inflammation. Our gut then gets backed up with its work, which clogs everything including our skin. Essentially if your gut can’t work smoothly, nothing can. In general I always tell my clients to stay away from dairy, sugar, fast food, vegetable and canola oil, soy, whey, seafood and seaweed, and white carbs. Some of these things may not be a trigger for you, but it’s better to stay clear of them untill you can slowly try bringing them back into your diet one at a time.
CLEAN SKIN IS HAPPY SKIN
This one is a bit more obvious, but it’s the little things that make all the difference and that we sometimes forget! Always wash your pillowcase and towels at least weekly and have a separate clean towel just for your face. If you sweat or workout, use a toner and cotton round immediately after sweating and finish with moisturizer and sunscreen. Keep your hair out of your face with its oil production, and of course, don’t touch your face! Don’t use a cleansing scrubber unless it’s silicone and washed regularly because they can hold a lot of bacteria. Our face is exposed to enough throughout the day, so let’s keep it clean the best we can!
Of course I had to touch on this topic! Unfortunately with media and advertising today, you really can’t trust product labels when they say they’re “acne products”. There are many hidden ingredients even in “acne products” that can clog our pores and keep you from being 100% clear. These same ingredients exist in makeup and hair products that can mess with your skin. Ask me or another esthetician and we can offer that list of pore-clogging ingredients for you. It’s SO important to reach out to your esthetician to get a personalized product plan because everyone’s cell turnover rate, oil levels, and sensitivities are unique.
Now I know what you’re thinking, this is a LOT. And you’re right! One thing I learned way too late in my acne journey is that there’s no one magic solution. There’s not even two or three magic solutions if you’re one of my acne-prone friends. If you truly want to get clear, it takes tuning up your lifestyle and products to fit your skin’s needs. It can be an investment, but I can happily say I haven’t sat in front of the mirror and cried about my bumpy inflamed skin for quite some time. I finally feel like myself, and I’m happy with the beautiful face I see in the mirror. Everyone deserves that! I promise you that these adjustments can change your life like they have for mine, and it will be well worth it.
Nouveau Med Spa and Salon