~Understanding acne and ingredients that treat them~
Acne and breakouts is everyone’s best enemy who randomly pops around for a visit every once in a while, for some, too often for comfort. Face washes, creams and leave-on spot treatments seem to be our BFFs when it comes to fighting the enemy, however, this can be overwhelming to keep up with! Bear in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution; every person responds differently. Here’s the good news though – with the right tools and know-how, escaping these enemy visits could become easier, and maybe even less frequent.
Everything you need to know about breakouts
Kevin Khosa, Customer Service Manager at SKIN functional explained that about 85% of all people will have an acne breakout at some point in their lives, which includes 64% of adults in their 20s and 43% in their 30s. “We are here to provide you with the correct tools and weaponry to adequately equip to become the best breakout warrior you can be. After all, knowledge is power and identifying your specific type of acne and its causes is the first step in building a skincare regime to treat it effectively,” he added.
What is acne, anyway?
Our pores contain a hair follicle and a sebaceous gland, which produces a natural oil called sebum. The follicles are constantly regenerating and shedding dead skin cells, but sometimes these dead skin cells get trapped within the follicle. This acts as a plug preventing the sebum from escaping and forms what we know as a blackhead or non-inflammatory acne. The bacteria present on the follicles may cause an infection, known as inflammatory acne.
Here are some of the best pimple-busting active ingredients for occasional, mild and moderate acne:
Retinol ~ Retinoids cause skin cells to turn over at a faster rate, and help skin exfoliate. Best of all, using retinol based skincare products not only helps clear pimples, it also helps prevent them from forming in the first place along with other post-acne problems such as hyper-pigmentation and dark spot concerns.
Azelaic Acid ~ This is a naturally occurring acid found in grains like wheat, rye and barley. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it effective in soothing and treating inflammation and skin conditions like acne and rosacea. It also improves sunspots and melasma because it blocks the production of excess pigmentation. As with many other acne treatments, azelaic acid takes several weeks to work its magic, so be patient and don't give up after a few applications.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate ~ Vitamin C is one of the most important antioxidants found in the skin, along with vitamin E. Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP), an ester of vitamin C, has been shown to be effective in treating acne by acting both as an antioxidant and as an antimicrobial agent. Vitamin C can positively affect acne outbreaks by reducing inflammation by clearing skin of free radicals, reduces redness, prevents blackheads, and helps improve skin tone through increased production of collagen.
Salicylic Acid ~ This is the go-to fix for pimples. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that works by dissolving excess sebum and gently exfoliating dead skin cells. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to help with nodular breakouts that occur when blockages deep in the hair follicles rupture beneath the skin. Salicylic acid tends to dry out your skin if over-applied, so it’s a good idea to choose only one product with the ingredient to use every day.
Niacinamide ~ Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, is an all-round crowd-pleaser. Niacinamide is well known for its soothing and healing properties, and is suitable for almost every skin type. It works with the natural substances in skin to visibly improve the appearance of blemishes, enlarged pores and sebum production, and normalises skin cell turnover.
Mandelic Acid ~ Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from almonds and it has the largest molecule size making it one of the more gentle AHAs when compared to glycolic acid and lactic acid. This multi-tasking ingredient has anti-bacterial properties that are extremely helpful in treating acne. It also helps to regulate sebum production and in turn decrease the occurrence of breakouts. It’s also been shown to benefit those who suffer from nodular acne.
How to prevent breakouts
Even the best skin regimen can’t do its job effectively if you’re constantly repeating the same bad habits that are working against it. Here are a few fixes you can make to help prevent breakouts in the first place or at least keep at bay:
Wash your face with a mild facial cleanser.
Never go to bed with makeup on.
Use noncomedogenic products.
Avoid squeezing or picking at pimples.
Wash your pillowcase frequently.
Avoid touching your face with your hands, your phone, and your hair.
Maintain a healthy diet, avoid food products with high glycemic index.
Get enough sleep – it’s a time of rest and repair for your skin, and cortisol levels decrease.
Prevent maskne by switching your face mask to a breathable fabric. Be sure to wash it daily!
With these tools in your skincare kit, combatting and successfully overcoming those random acne and
breakout visits will become a lot more bearable. If your acne is nodular or more than occasional, it might
be a good idea to visit your dermatologist to discuss alternative treatment options.