Acne is a disease. I like to take it a step further and say that in some cases, it can be a totally manageable, if not completely preventable, disease. Some of us are born with better skin genes than others, for sure. But the same way the majority of the population can avoid obesity (a disease reaching epidemic levels across the globe right now) through exercise and healthy eating, acne can be managed and reversed, too. At Evolué, my natural beauty shop in Beverly Hills, Calif., I have helped many clients plagued by acne by teaching them daily exfoliating and balancing skin routines with natural products.
Here's the deal. Maybe it can help you, too.
Most moisturizers and concealers contain silicones that stick to the skin and block the pores, which can cause or exacerbate acne. Ingredients in common cleansers and exfoliants include sulfates, acids, and abrasive exfoliants that dry out the skin and cause micro tears, which causes more congestion that leads to acne. See the pattern? If you suffer from acne, the lastthing you need is a product that will show some immediate results, but end up making your skin worse in the long run.
I want to make clear that acne is not something that can be cured just through cosmetics. If you are born with genetics that tend to overproduce oils (you will most likely have acne around your forehead and nose), then you need to have a diet that is less oily than those who are not born with your same condition. Same with those of you with hormonal imbalances (you will most likely have acne around chin and cheeks), please take care of your hormones; acne is only one of the side effects. (Always consult with your primary care physician when battling persistent skin conditions.)
There are harsh topical medication that claim to “treat” acne. But I do not believe in such extreme measures, unless absolutely necessary. Salicylic acid, a popular harsh treatment, is a keratinocyte, which causes the cells that line the follicles to soften, preventing excessive build-up of skin cells (which can mix with oil and clog pores). Exfoliation relieves this greatly. Acne may be a result of genetics, hormones or dirty cosmetics, but these are things that exfoliating and balancing skin can help treat.
When my clients come in with unusual redness or acne, I always ask "How often do you exfoliate?" and "What are the ingredients in your exfoliant?" Clients with unusual redness and little bumps beneath the skin, and those with many blackheads and whiteheads with a few deep pimples, usually share the same answers. They don't exfoliate enough, or they are exfoliating with products that are drying or burning the skin, leading to more dead and damaged skin.
Some of the ingredients to watch out for are glycolic acid, AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), and plastic microbeads (recently banned in the U.S., finally). There are harsh treatments you should be careful with, such as acid-based peels, microdermabrasion, and laser. These products and treatments can be very damaging if they are too strong for your skin type. (If you have sensitive skin, you should test on your neck before getting them.)
Dead skin cells on top of your fresh cells are the ultimate culprit to the majority of your skin problems. You accumulate dead skin cells when you don't exfoliate. When you don't exfoliate and have dead skin, the oil you produce gets stuck in the dead skin causing whiteheads and blackheads. To make matters worse, the creams and serums you apply get stuck in the dead skin too and do not absorb into your actual skin underneath, leading to more dryness and congestion.
Even if you exfoliate, if the ingredients in your exfoliant are too abrasive or strong for your skin type, it can cause more damage and dry skin. For example, if you use an acid-based exfoliants or peels, the acid cannot tell the difference between your dead skin cells and your new skin, so it keeps going even when the dead skin cells are gone. This burns and causes dryness that leads to more dead skin cells. Have you ever come out of a facial thinking your face is glowing then a few days later it feels dryer than ever? It's much like a sunburn that looks good right after you leave the beach but causes unnecessary peeling a couple of days later.
How To Prevent Acne In 3 Easy Steps
Acne can be prevented with 3 easy steps. It is very important to understand what type of skin condition you have and treat it properly.
When I opened my first beauty boutique in 2007, many clients came to me with anti-aging concerns. With my Masters Degree in Library Science from UCLA, I used the school's massive database of information to create my signature anti-aging skincare products, Evolué, using the best ingredients on earth--some of which were not yet available on the market. This year, after many requests from clients (and their children who suffer from acne and have tried everything), I launched Lué by Jean, the first all-natural solution to acne.
I have seen the most beautiful women in the world without their makeup on and have consulted them on their imperfections. My goals is to make good skin available to everyone and to assuage suffering and insecurities caused by bad skin.
From the Organic Authority Files
The Skin Solution Set by Lué is an easy 3-step program made to make preventing acne simple for everyone.
Step 1: Exfoliate
If the acne is whitehead- or blackhead-related, but is not yet infected, use a gentle exfoliant such as ERASE by Lué. It is a recipe that uses only three ingredients: organic milk powder, oat flour, and magnesium--along with your elbow grease. Please don’t try making this at home, some clients have tried and I gave them free products. We test it for pH balance and stability, which is not a process you should do at home.
Step 2: Choose the Right Moisturizer
Most of us do not pay enough attention to the needs of our own skin. What works for one person does not work for another, and if you have a genetic tendency to be oily, you should use an oil-free moisturizer or serum such as BALANCE by Lué This formula uses sodium hyaluronate to moisturize and protect. It's a molecule produced naturally by our bodies, helps our tissue retain moisture. We use an extremely fine and high-quality version so it can be absorbed by the skin instead of sitting on the surface.
If your genetic makeup is dry skin, then use a deep hydrator such as our squalene-based EXOTIC OIL by Evolué. Whatever your skin type is, use products that absorb quickly without leaving a film or a greasy feel. When products don’t absorb, they can sit on top of your skin gathering pollution and bacteria that cause cystic acne. We always use low-molecular weight ingredients that absorb quickly into the skin.
Step 3: Treat Infections
If the acne hurts or is infected, make sure to use products that can penetrate the skin to kill the infection such as CLEAR by Lué. This product works the best if you apply before the acne breaks the skin. It has 11 herbs, including angelica root, witch hazel, and white turmeric that soothe and detoxify the skin along with many other benefits. For pimples that are deep and painful, please apply and leave on for 30 seconds multiple times a day as soon as you feel one forming.
You can read more about the Skin Solution set on lueskin.com.
Related on Organic Authority
Image of woman in grass via Shutterstock