Acne Basics – Take clear action for your skin

What is acne?

Acne is a skin condition where hair follicles become plugged with excess oil and dead skin cells. Bacteria can grow in this mixture. The ‘oil’ is called sebum and it is released from glands in your hair follicles. Hormone activity can cause too much sebum to be released, so it often affects teens, and women during their periods. Acne is most common in the areas with the largest number of oil glands. There are a few types: Whiteheads and blackheads (also called comedones) happen when follicles are simply blocked. Whiteheads are closed at the skin surface and blackheads are open. Pimples, nodules and cysts are all names for bacteria-infected, blocked follicles, with pimples being smaller bumps with white pus at the tip and nodules or cysts being solid, painful lumps below the skin. Cysts are more likely to cause scars.

Who gets it?

Everybody! But it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. About 80% of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point. Some people in their forties and fifties still get acne. And if your parents had severe acne, chances are you will too. It’s not something you can ‘cure’, but you can do a lot to control it.

What can you do?

Be gentle with your skin. Use a mild, non drying soap or cleanser and make sure you remove all dirt and make-up. Wash no more than twice a day and avoid scrubbing, which can irritate your skin and make the acne worse. Avoid using oily or greasy sunscreens, cosmetics or hairstyling products and instead look for products that are water-based, non-clogging or “non- comedogenic”. Keep your hair clean and off your face. And, it may be tempting to pick or squeeze blemishes to remove them but this usually causes more problems, spreading the infected oils and causing scarring.

Life Brand Clear Action Oil Absorbing Sheets instantly remove excess oil. Other products in the Life Brand Clear Action range include washes, cleansers and moisturizers specially formulated for acne prone skin. Many contain proven acne fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These ingredients can penetrate pores, helping to clear up acne pimples and prevent new ones forming. Be sure to follow label directions carefully and if your acne doesn’t respond to these treatments, you might want to talk to a Dermatologist.

And, if you are not sure which products are right for you, just ask your pharmacist.

Acne Myths:

  • Eating chocolate, nuts or greasy foods causes acne.
    Not true. But a healthy diet can help you have healthier skin in general.
  • Acne is caused by stress.
    No direct link has been found.
  • You get acne from not washing enough.
    Dirty skin doesn’t cause acne.
  • Washing more helps get rid of acne.
    In fact, washing too much irritates the skin and can worsen acne. If your skin gets too dry, the skin’s sebum (oil) production will go up.
  • The sun helps clear up acne.
    For some people, it may help but for others it makes the acne worse. And, acne treatments can make your skin more sensitive to UV light.
  • Tanning beds help clear up acne.
    UV light does nothing to help acne and the World Health Organization has found that tanning beds are a risk factor for skin cancer.
  • Pimples go away faster if you pop them.
    Not true. Popping a pimple allows the bacteria in the pus to spread across the skin to other follicles and possibly to be driven deeper into the follicle.