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Monday, February 25, 2013

Email Request: Acne Skin

I received the following email this past weekend from S:

I have been using the Moroccan face mask, and I absolutely love it.
I have pretty bad skin, I always seem to have a layer of dead skin which I scrub off nightly, and my acne is starting to come back. Eeek!  I was wondering if you have some sort of scrub or something else that will help me have smooth clear skin..... Minimizing my pores would be nice too :)
As this is a very common concern, I wanted to answer it publicly.

It seems that when someone is experiencing blemished skin they almost want to "punish" it by scrubbing it daily and/or using very drying cleansers (ie with various acids).  Whenever my fiance has a breakout he tells me "I need to dry it out so it will go away!".  Sound familiar?  This, however, is the exact opposite of what you want to do!  Blemished and acne skin needs to be treated very gently.

First, what causes acne?  For some it can be a case of over-drying the skin.  When we strip the skin of its natural sebum by using harsh cleansers, we dry out our skin causing it to go into overdrive, actually producing even more oil than before.  We need to keep in mind that acne is caused by bacteria infecting the skin, not by oil.  Additionally, when we use a facial scrub over a blemish, it runs the risk of breaking the blemish open and tracking the bacteria all over the face - making the acne spread.  For some the cause of acne is internal, we call this "hormonal acne".  This is the case for those who tend to break out when stressed or at that certain time of the month.

For those experiencing acne, I recommend:
  • A nightly regime of cleansing with a clear and gentle liquid cleanser.  After cleansing, remove any leftover residue and balance your skin's pH with a toner, and finish with a moisturizer.  Many people with oily or acne prone skin forgo this last step, but when you skip moisturizer completely, skin produces more oil to try to hydrate itself - leaving you with even slicker skin than before. The following morning simply rinse well with water, pat dry, and be on your way.
  • Every other day gently scrub with a gentle scrub like my Cleansing Grains.
  • Once a week or twice a month if you're short on time, do a full facial.  Start by cleansing and gently scrubbing, then do a facial steam, followed by a mask (the Cleansing Grains double as a clay mask, and we also offer a spa-quality Moroccan clay mask), use a toner and finish with a moisturizer.
The SkIndulgence shop offers all of these products in one set!  Click here for normal to dry skin and here for normal to oily and acne-prone skin.

Additionally, treat your skin from the inside out!  Vitamins A and C, zinc, and protein are all important for wound healing, which is what a breakout essentially is.  Load up on omega-3 fatty acids (found in flax seeds, walnuts, and avocados, among other foods), which will help reduce inflammation in the body and skin.  Try adding a pinch of thyme or oregano to your meals as well; they contain agents that help fend off the bad bacteria that can be a factor in skin irritations.  SkIndulgence offers an herbal tea that balances your hormones, and is awesome at preventing hormonal breakouts.

For more information on preventing acne, check out these other posts I've written on the subject:
Thank you, S, for the great question!  If you have a question about how to handle your particular skin care concern, please feel free to email me!  My contact info is available via that "Contact" tab up at the top!

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