What do Cameron Diaz, Bill Murray, Britney Spears and Brad Pitt have in common? Believe it or not, they’re all acne sufferers.Gone are the days when acne was associated only with teenagers. Nowadays more and more adults are suffering from the condition. East Coast Radio Life has asked Durban skin expert Shana Sandri for the lowdown:
Know the facts
Shana says that one of the fundamental areas of acne treatment is understanding what’s going wrong in your skin. This can help with prevention. She points out that if you have problem skin:
- You have more sebaceous follicles producing more oil
- You have more dead skin cell buildup (4-5 times more than the average person).
- You have overactive androgens (male hormones that stimulate the sebaceous follicle.
- You have more P-Acnes which create havoc in the skin follicle.
So, on the average you have five times the amount of all the above mentioned points.
Shana says now that you understand the triggers and how your skin functions, treatment can begin.
- You’ll need something to mop up the excess oil. Ingredients like microsponges that have the ability to hold up to four times their weight in oil and keep your skin matt for up to eight hours are key. Oil absorbing Kaolin clays , Bentonite clay are also fantastic at absorbing excess oil.
- Next we’re going to need an exfoliant to remove excess dead skin build-up. If your lesions are inflamed, avoid any granular scrubs. Opt for a hydroxy acid (Salycilic acid, lactic acid) or fruit enzyme(Papain, Bromelain exctract) exfoliant. Possibly utilize a serum or concentrate that will help increase cell turnover during the day.
- Balance the hormones and stress factors to help with the androgen stimulation and avoid stimulants altogether! Do something makes you happy everyday!
- Get your hands on anti-bacteria working agents are the likes of Tee tree, Zinc Gluconate, Balm mint, Rosemary, Sulphur. These work hand in hand with anti-inflammatories to prevent the inflammatory pathway from starting. Remember that inflammation in a lession will result in scarring if you press/pick it! Ingredients to look out for are oat extract, Zinc Sulphate, Green Tea, Panthenol, Spirea and Menthol.
Seek medical help!
Shana says: “When we asses who treats what grade of acne skin, many of us skin experts use a basic rule. Any lesions that fall into grade 3 and 4 acnes i.e. (cyctic, nodular inflammatory lesions) we prefer to refer out to the dermatologists.”
“Anything that would be classified as a grade 1 and 2 acne lesion (non-inflammatory lesions is more than treatable with your skin expert. I have had incredible results with the professional line of skin products that we use and recommend. So don’t get depressed about your skin, know the facts and line yourself up with a skin expert that can change your life! “
You’re not alone
Suffering from acne, especially if you’re well into your 20’s and 30’s, can be very trying. Your confidence takes a dent and you sometimes feel oh so helpless. But, remember, you’re not alone. In fact…
- 17 million adults around the world are diagnosed with Acne.
- 50% of them are adult woman and 25% are adult men.
- In the past years the average age of an acne sufferer was 20.5 years. Nowadays it’s 26.5 years.
- It’s also been noted that adult acne is more persistent than teen acne and scarring is more prevalent due to the skin loosing its ability to repair itself because of aging!
- Clinical studies indicate that 40-55 % of the adult population in the 20-40 age group are diagnosed with low grade, persistent acne and oily skin.
Wow, what scary stats, yet they are so very true. Shana says not a day goes by where they don’t deal with an inquiry about problematic or acne skins. She points out that with spring and summer knocking on our door, you’ll find that the area of your skin that has enlarged pores will start to shine somewhat more as the temperatures rise! This will spell trouble for the acne skin sufferers.
Choose your products wisely
Shana, a long acne sufferer herself, says her skin’s been brought under control by the skin line she uses but she always has to change her routine when summer arrives. That’s because her winter skin moisturizer simply becomes far to rich and she feels feel like she’s dripping with oil all day long!
So, what triggers it?
- Mankind and stress: triggered by hormones acne can occur at any stage of our lifespan! The primary aggravating factor is chronic stress. We all know that acute stress or temporary stress can aggravate a breakout from time to time. But Shana says chronic, continued stress increased hormone levels and this will result in more oil production.
- Internal factors : The psychological effects of adult acne can contribute to continued flare ups and breakouts. When we’re frustrated by the sight of the flare-ups , it causes additional emotional stress, which will lead to increased oil production and an ever ongoing cycle of breakouts. Medications (discontinuation of the contraceptive pill, diet pills, anti-depressants, epileptic meds) may also play a role.
- External factors: These include:
– Picking or squeezing breakouts places even more acne causing bacteria on the skin.
– Cosmetics are the primary culprits in adult acne. Especially those that contain fragrance and plastics. Beware hair sprays, hair gels and hair waxes as many contain plastics that block the pores and cause breakouts Beware PVP, CVP and copolymer ingredients. Waterproof/smudge proof cosmetics and sunscreens contain these plastics!
– Your environment : UV rays, seasons, climate, poor diet nutrition and pollution all play a role ( humidity increases oil productions, as does heat over a stove-chef, Laundromat workers).
– Friction: synthetic fibers , areas of friction from phones and clothing
* Shana Sandri is owner of and therapist at M.E.G (Men’s Executive Grooming.) She has a SAAHSP(SA national Diploma) in Somatology and Cidesco (International) diploma in Somatology. Shana is also a postgraduate in Sports Injury Massage, trigger point therapy and Facilitated stretching techniques (Dr. Sean Lewis); Aromatherapy and Reflexology. Shana can be contacted on 031 5665895.