I have been treating acne for nearly 25 as a beauty therapist. This all too common skin condition although not life treating can have an enormous affect on the sufferer and their confidence levels. Often acne starts to present itself in early teens due to hormonal changes, however it is a condition that can become a problem at many different stages of life. Increasingly I see adults in their 30’s and 40’s looking for answers as to why all of a sudden their skin has started to break out.
Unfortunately there is no quick answer and different approaches work for different people. In the case of mild acne looking at diet, nutrition and skin care routine can be all that is required to rectify the situation. In more sever cases antibiotics, the pill or acne medications such as Roaccutane combined with a the right routine can be the most effective avenue to take. It is important to discuss all options with your GP in advance to starting any program if your condition is acute.

The acne process can be triggered by a number of different factors.
1. Due to a change in hormone levels, the skin starts to produce excess oil.
2. A build up of dead cells.
3. A slow turnover of dead cells and lazy oil glands.
4. Certain medications such as steroids can cause acne to worsen.
5. Diet. Dairy and high GI foods can be a contributing factor, more on that later.

Acne is caused by excess oil being produced by the skin, causing the Propionibacterium Acne (P-Acne) bacteria to thrive, this bacteria is a normal part of the skins flora and is what is responcible for acne breakouts. When there is excess oil being produced this bacteria thrives and in turn it can then trigger an inflammatory process in the sebaceous gland (where oil is produced). The pore becomes blocked with excess dead cells as well as bacteria, forming an inflamed lump under the skin surface.
Dealing with acne should be something that is done by coming at it from a number of angles, I have a few simple but effective tips for you that can help in your treatment of acne and breakouts.

1. Stop over exfoliating.
Our skin’s outer layer has an acid mantel that is made up of complex fluids, along with lipids (oils), that are secreted from the oil glands, it is the end result of the skins metabolism. The normal bacteria that is found naturally occurring on the skins surface actually helps to maintain a healthy skin. This layer acts as a protector to the underlying layers of the skin, it also works at fighting any harmful bacteria on the skin. When we exfoliate with harsh products or cleansers, we can upset that balance and take away some of that protection that the acid mantle has in place. A skin that has an impaired acid mantle will be more vulnerable to damage, inflammation and acne.
Acne sufferers often over exfoliate or over cleans because they feel that their skin feels greasy, when in fact they can be doing more harm than good. It is important to get the balance right.

Here are a few of our favourite exfoliating products:

Image Skin Care Clear Cell Exfoliating Pads SHOP HERE: https://www.akina.ie/product/clear-cell-clarifying-pads/

Environ Clay Masque https://www.akina.ie/product/clear-cell-clarifying-pads/

2. Cut out refined sugar.
Sugar has a very negative affect on our system it causes our bodies to have an inflammatory response, which in turn can trigger flare ups on the skin. Sugar causes spikes in insulin levels, a hormone that is thought to have a direct effect on oil production in the skin. A natural process in the body known as glycation is where sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules known as advanced glycation end products or AGEs for short. The more sugar you eat the more of these AGEs are produced in your body. This is bad news because the body does not recognise AGEs as normal and will produce antibodies to fight them, that in turn causes inflammation in the skin. Sugar is in all foods, even whole grains and vegetables turn to glucose when digested. The key here is to limit added sugar, watch on food labels for added sugar and avoid refined sugars. Don’t eat any more than 2 portions of fruit per day. Don’t be fooled that you are eating healthy when you drink a fruit smoothie, it is basically liquid sugar and will cause spikes in your hormones levels. Even though fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals and is good for you, keep it to a minimum in your diet.

3. Eat a Low GI diet.
Foods that have a high glycemic index will also cause spikes in hormonal levels. The Glycemic index is a number that is given to carbohydrates based on how quickly the foods are absorbed into the bloodstream. The body works at its best when there is a relatively constant blood sugar level. If we eat too little our blood sugar drops and we become tired and lethargic, if we eat too much our body releases more insulin to bring our blood sugar back down. These increased hormonal levels can cause inflammation in the skin, resulting in breakouts. Typically foods that are High GI are sugars and starches for a list of foods and their GI scores go to www.holforddiet.com

4. Cut Milk from your Diet.
For years the link between diet and acne has been unclear, with medics regularly dismissing any connection. However, in recent studies it has been shown that there is a direct link between those who drink milk regularly and suffer with acne. It is thought that this is due in part to the hormones that milk contains. Try alternatives such as oat milk, rice milk or almond milk instead.

5. Start Using Creams that contain Retinoids.
Retinoids are products that are derived from Vitamin A that can be used topically or orally to help deal with acne. There are four main forms of Vitamin A but they all essentially have the same action. Retinol is the basic form of vitamin A, the other forms are Retinaldehyde(retinal), Retinoic Acid (Retin A) and Retinyl Palmitate. Retinoids help in the normalisation of skin, they regulate the build up of dead cells, which can cause pores to clog and increase acne. They also stimulate collagen production, this is important because collagen is what we need to assist in the healing and repair of scarring left from spots on the skin. Your skin cells have receptors that Vitamin A binds to in order to help the cell function. When you initially start to use Vitamin A it is important to start with small doses to allow your skin build up these Vitamin A receptors. As you increase your dose of Vitamin A you are also increasing your Vitamin A receptors and allowing your skin to tolerate higher doses of Vitamin A. Starting on a high dose of Vitamin A will mean that you are more likely to have a retinoic reaction, which can manifest itself as redness, inflammation, dryness, breakouts and irritated skin. However by building up your vitamin A levels slowly you can avoid such a reaction. Taking Vitamin A orally can help to reduce the inflammation that is associated with acne, it will help with those sore pimples and pustules that are tender to touch. It can take time to see results with Vitamin A so perseverance is the key.

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If you would like to book a free consultation with Eavanna contact the clinic on 016766411 for an appointment.