We have been looking at acne and breakouts over the last few days, and I wanted to jot a few things down as we have had a lot of interest in some of our posts. If you want to know more, why not start with our Date at 8 post? Every morning Sally is waking up just to talk to you guys about different things, even if she isn’t completely awake! We get the question ‘What products and treatments should I use for Acne and breakouts’ very regularly, so if this sounds like you, read on and see how we can help!
Acne can come in different forms, from early, teenage onset, to hormonal breakouts and then adult onset acne which can be particularly upsetting.
What causes Acne?
Excessive sebum (oil) production. One thing that most people seem to have in common is excessive oil production in the skin – and the oil itself can tend to be thicker than normal, which can lead to blocking of the hair follicles.
Altered skin shedding (keratinisation).
Normally, your skin cells shed naturally, but in acne this process can be affected. Inside the hair follicles, cells should shed, and be expelled out of the pore to be removed from the surface of the skin. In Acne this doesn’t happen as well, with dead cells getting caught in hair follicles, and mix with the excess sebum to cause blockages in pores.
P.Acnes Bacteria (Propionibacterium Acnes)
This bacteria feeds from the plentiful supply of oil in your hair follicles, and the low-oxygen that is created due to blockages is the perfect environment for this bacteria to thrive. Each bacteria can double in just 6 minutes, so that ‘have I got a spot’ can become your new friend in just a few hours – you know how that feels right?! That rapid growth can be painful and upsetting – particularly if it is across your face or chin, and not just the odd spot.
Pressure inside the spot grows, forcing the contents out into the surrounding skin, leading to redness, inflammation and pain. This is a typical inflammatory-acne type pustule or papule. Basic whiteheads are not painful, as they are not inflammatory.
Grades of Acne:
Grade 1 – Minor breakouts, a few open and closed comedones (blackheads and whiteheads)
Grade 2 – Many closed comedones, more open comedones and some papules and pustules (so more inflammation) Scarring is possible in this type of acne.
Grade 3 – Numerous comedones, papules and pustules, spreading to the back, chest and shoulders, which occasional cysts or nodules. Scarring more common.
Grade 4 – All of the aove lesions plus cysts/nodules (spots under the skin that don’t surface).
What type of acne can we treat or control at Xodos?
Grades 1-2 can be treated relatively easily with homecare and the occasional treatment.
Grade 3 can be treated with a structured regime of treatments and strict homecare. May need some input from a doctor or dermatologist.
Grade 4 must be seen and initially treated by a doctor or dermatologist. Once this type of acne is under control, we can help maintain results and control further outbreaks with a strict regime of treatments and homecare.
What are the key signs of acne? What will you see with acne on the skin?
Comedones (open – blackheads, closed – whiteheads)
Papules/pustules (sore, inflamed spots that can be felt under the skin but do not necessarily have a head)
Pigmentation – this can be caused once the spot surfaces and can scar, leading to pigmentation on the skin. More common with darker skin tones.
Overproduction of sebum – i.e. oily skin
Degraded texture and tone – this can be in part due to over-treatment with medicalised products that do not prioritise skin condition, over-treating or exfoliating with over-the-counter products, and harsh skin care routines.
Essential ingredients to help acne and keep your skin great:
Salicylic Acid – this ingredient that is a relative of aspirin (so must not be used with aspirin allergy) is an exfoliant that can be anti-inflammatory, making it an essential ingredient in the treatment of acne and breakouts.
Hinokitiol – anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal properties all help targeting redness, helping with both acne and rosacea, and helps target P/Acnes bacteria.
Peptides – Oligopeptide-10 is an antimicrobial peptide that works with salicylic acid to decrease the signs of acne, by helping to reduce P.Acnes bacteria.
Retinol – derived from Vitamin A, this essential skin care ingredient has been used in the treatment of acne for many years. It just so happens that it is a great anti-ageing ingredient too, so a happy side-effect for your skin!
Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) – helps boost hydration, and anti-inflammatory. Improves tolerance to retinol, and helps with pigmentation issues.
Sun screen – our zinc oxide, anti-oxidant hydrating sun screen, Clear Shield is ideally designed to protect the skin without clogging pores.
What products and treatments should I use for Acne and breakouts?
DO NOT TOUCH YOUR SKIN
If you must touch your face, make sure you use clean hands.
Regularly clean your skin with face washes/exfoliants
Use proper medical grade skin care products, following a strict home care routine.
Do not squeeze or pick spots – this can increase and spread infection, and lead to scarring and pigmentation
Use a clean pillow case every night* See top tip!
Clean your phone or anything else that touches your face regularly (head sets, chin straps on workwear etc)
Look at possible food associations – many people notice that a particular food may trigger acne, dairy is a common culprit. Do an elimination test – take it completely out of your diet for 2 weeks, then reintroduce and notice what happens.
If it becomes severe, with inflamed papules or pustules widespread on the face, you must consult your doctor. We can help with products alongside medical treatment, but your doctor must be informed that you are following this course of action.
What will you do to help my acne?
Initially we can have a face-to-face or online/facetime consultation to discuss the following:
Your skin concerns
Your current situation with acne/breakouts
Current skincare routine/medical products
Budgetary and time constraints
Put together a full homecare prescription that we can order for you, or you can take more time looking at on our personalised area on the portal.
Put together a treatment routine for you, to start when you feel you are ready. It is usually worth treating acne
Arrange a follow up in 1-2 weeks depending on what we need to do.
How do I arrange a consultation for advice, products and treatments for acne and breakouts?
Put 4-5 pillow-cases on your pillow at once – use it at night, the next night turn it over to the clean side, the following night take that one off etc. This saves having to change your pillow case too often and makes it more likely that you will do it!