Spots, whiteheads, blackheads, and congestion are all unwanted presentations of acne. It is likely that all of us will experience mild acne symptoms at some point in our lifetime. Congestion such as spots and blackheads can be stubborn and it can be difficult to know what really works, and what will make it worse!
What causes the problem?
When we think of acne, we think of the archetypal spotty teenager. But the truth is acne can rear its ugly whitehead at any time of life. And in fact, adult acne is becoming a more common skin concern raised in clinical consultations. Acne and congestion can be hormonal, it can also occur due to environmental aggressions and poor skin care. Treating the skin with good quality skincare is THE most important step of tackling congestion. As is bacteria management to prevent spots spreading and becoming infected.
What happens in the skin?
We all have five layers of skin. As the body makes new skin cells, previous cells that were freshly made are pushed up through the layers of the skin towards the very surface, where they become dead skin cells. The skin looks a bit like a brick wall, the skin cells are the bricks and there is a fluid similar to the cement sitting in-between our skin cells called the intra-cellular matrix. This fluid is essential for our skin. It keeps our skin lubricated (scaly animals don’t have this fluid), it also keeps us protected from external damage, it’s what makes our skin waterproof. This fluid is made up of water and oil. The oil in our skin comes from our sebaceous gland, which is attached to our hair follicle.
Two things can cause congestion such as a spot in the skin; –
- The dead skin cell layer can become thick and cause a blockage preventing the oil from escaping the hair follicle.
- The sebaceous gland can make too much oil and cause a backlog of oil that builds up.
When either, or both, of these things happens it causes a ‘micro-Comedone’, a mini spot. If the oil in this spot is exposed to the air, it oxidises, turns black and becomes a blackhead. If the oil is not exposed to the air, it’s because there is a lot of dead skin covering the build-up of oil and it will continue to build under the skin causing a raised spot that can have a whitehead.
How can a product help?
In order to correct these things happening, we must look at using ingredients that target them directly. Glycolic acid works as an exfoliator. It cuts through the glue like bonds that keep excessive dead skin cells attached to the skin. This works against dead skin blocking the hair follicle.
Salicylic acid is another exfoliator but it targets oil in the skin. It cuts through oil on the surface on the skin and in the hair follicle, when used regularly it can control and regulate the amount of oil our body produces.
All this exfoliation MUST be rebalanced with a moisturiser to avoid over drying the skin. Over exfoliating can strip away the oils and hydration your skin needs. This can result in the body responding to the absence of essential oils in the skin and trigger a repair response to replace it by producing even more. This can make spots worse. To avoid this, you must rebuild and strengthen your skin with an oil free serum or moisturiser.
Cosmeceutical grade cleansers, serums and moisturisers contain very small, delicate ingredients that are delivered into the lower layers of the skin, via liposomes and vectorise technology. They do not clog the skin and the ingredients are selected specifically to work with the skin.
Products you can buy over the counter don’t contain such ingredients. They try to reduce oil in the skin with the use of alcohols, which can dry the skin and potentially make spots worse. OTC moisturisers contain large particles, which cannot reach the lower layers and could clog the skin. So, high quality skin care is worth investing in!
You will only get cosmeceutical grade products on the recommendation of a qualified skin specialist in a clinic or salon. Your skin specialist will complete a thorough consultation and skin analysis before giving you a prescriptive recommendation of a cleanser, serum and sun protector for you to use at home every day.
Image skin care have a number of products that correct oil production and support the skin in making it’s own hydration to balance the skin. The IMAGE Clear Cell range contains both Glycolic and Salicylic acid to target and reduce spots, blackheads and oily skin.
Investing in a good quality, home skincare is the first action in tackling acne. Remember – It is what you do for your skin every day that makes a difference.
These results in correction can be dramatically boosted and improved with a course of chemical peels.
If your acne is inflamed and tender to the touch you might need to treat your skin as a sensitive skin to rebuild and strengthen the skin before embarking on a course of chemical peels. Your skin specialist will advise you on the best treatment plan for your skin.
It is essential that you manage the bacteria in your skin whilst trying to clear your skin of spots and blackheads. For tip on reducing bacteria spreading, click here.
To find your nearest IMAGE skin care stockist and start your journey to clear skin today, click here.