Natural acne skincare guide

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This is about Natural Acne Skincare. We know the frustration and embarrassment this causes and so often, we would do almost anything to hide.

It does not always have to be like this. Understanding what causes acne is the first step of trying to control it.

One of the biggest reasons for acne is the accumulation of dead skin cells and excess oil. Once the oils (called sebum and produced by your sebaceous glands) of your skin combine with these skin cells, your skin pores block up.

Acne Lesion (© 1998-2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved.)

Acne Lesion

How acne works

Step 1 - Sebaceous glands produce too much oil.

Step 2 - This excess oil drains from the pores and starts to build-up on the surface of the skin.

Step 3 - Dead skin cells** then combine with the excess oil and trap themselves with the hair follicle and pores thereby blocking them. Once the pore is blocked, it cannot drain any oil out. This is known as a blackhead.

Step 4 - As the oil in the pore accumulates, naturally occurring skin bacteria starts to feed on this oil which then results in an infection. Your skin becomes red and swollen. The result of this infection is a pimple or an acne lesion.

** Dead skin cells normally shed with basic hygiene  But when the body produces too much keratin, it binds the dead skin cells together reducing the natural shedding process.

Natural acne skincare controls the sebaceous glands by limiting your diet

Diet control is the simplest form of natural acne skincare. Before rushing into the pharmacy to buy acne medication, first consider natural options like changing your diet.

Avoid Acne Cleansers

Whenever possible, use acne medication as a last resort. Acne medications are often powerful pharmaceutical formulations that may have a negative effect on your body in other ways. 

Change your diet to reduce acne stimulants before dousing your skin with chemical formulations.

Diet plays an important role in keeping your sebaceous glands in check. Foods with too much sugar can stimulate an increase in adrenalin. When this happens, your glands will produce more oil.

Avoid Hidden Sugars

Sugar is hidden in many of our modern day to day meals. Not only should you look out for the obvious sugary foods like sweets, chocolates and cakes, but also bear in mind that there are large quantities of sugar in sauces, processed foods, fruit juices and  cereal.

As a rule of thumb, try and keep your sugar content less than 50 grams per day.

While some foods, like sugar, are indirect causes of increased sebaceous gland activity, there are others that reduce their activity.

Nutrients that limit oil secretion from the sebaceous glands are Vitamin A and Zinc. Focusing on these foods will increase these nutrients in your body and help to combat excess oil production.

Foods like sweet potato's,  pumpkin seeds and spinach are powerful anti-acne nutrient packed foods that will help to build up your defence.

Sweet potato will also help to reduce the amount of keratin production.

Other causes of acne

To name the most common causes, acne is associated with growing up, hormonal changes, stress, skin irritation and hyperactive sebaceous glands.

Natural acne skincare focuses on the following topics :

Acne terminology

Some explanations so that we are all synchronised

  • Blackheads - Clogged pores that haven’t yet become swollen
  • Whiteheads - Acne filled with puss that may be about to burst
  • Comedones - Blackheads or whiteheads
  • Papules - Pinhead size pimples
  • Pustules - Larger pimples with inflammation
  • Nodules - Large pustules which have the ability to burst internally, causing hard bumps
  • Sebaceous Gland - Oil secreting gland in the skin. Keeps skin moisturised
  • Seborrhea - Skin condition caused by acne (inflammation, red and irritated skin)

Treating acne

There are generally 3 main requirements :

  • Killing the bacteria
  • Removing excessive oil from the skin
  • Removing excessive dead skin cells

Do not pop or squeeze acne pimples unnecessarily. Doing so will irritate the skin even more, spread more bacteria and increases the risk of acne scarring.

Dealing with permanent acne scars is expensive, painful and the results are usually below expectations. Prevention is better than cure.

With effective natural acne treatment, you should be able to keep your acne well under control and with minimal interruption of your daily life.

Cystic acne (large nodules) may be the only exception. In these situations, it would be a good idea to see a dermatologist who may suggest draining them if they are serious. If large cystic nodules are left untreated, they may leave pigment scars indefinitely.

Acne scars

Box Car Scars - Angular scars that generally appear on cheeks (similar to chickenpox scarring)

Rolling Scars - Rolling scars give the skin the appearance of a rolling wave.

Hypertrophic Scars - These scars cause a thickening of the skin and can be very difficult to remove.

Acne cosmetica

This is a term used when referring to acne caused by or aggravated by cosmetics. This was caused by the makeup plugging the skin glands.

This problem was significant during the 1970s and 1980s. Improvements in makeup have dramatically reduced Acne Cosmetica.

The terms "non-comedogenic" and "non-acnegenic" were introduced on products to claim that the makeup did not cause acne. These terms were also used to claim that the products were oil-free or water-based.

What is interesting to note is that the exact comedogenicity of an ingredient cannot be ascertained on its own or by its chemical data. The comedogenicity of makeup ingredients can only be determined by using the finished product.

Even today, regardless of the brand that you use, it is still very important to consider that skin irritations may develop or worsen after using makeup, sunblock or lip products.

Think of natural acne skincare as an ongoing partnership between you and your skin. As you experiment with different natural formulations, your skin will respond accordingly. Take note of these changes, however subtle they may. With little practice and with some patience, you will see positive results.

As you see these positive results, maintain this routine and you will be well on your way to a successful natural acne skincare program without having to use damaging synthetic chemicals to achieve the same objective.

Train yourself to resist instant results - natural processes do not work this way and you will become frustrated and lose faith. Be determined and patient and you will succeed.

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