Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CSI: Natural Beauty Edition. Episode 1 of 10-Acne

It's here!  It's here!!

CSI:  Natural Beauty Edition
Episode 1 of 10- Acne

This is me at one point when my acne had
gotten particularly bad.  

I think that acne is the thing that troubles most of our population when it comes to their looks.  No matter how high or low maintenance we are, I don't know anyone who's ever said "I appreciate these ugly oozing bumps on my face".  (Ewww....)  Not only are they ugly, but a lot of times they're painful, and sometimes they are filled with puss and blood, or they get really dry and flaky, and they just draw more attention!  Acne is usually associated with teenagers... "It's hormones, your skin will clear up in a couple years".  But unfortunately, that's not the case for everyone.  Take me for example:  I had decently clear skin when I was in high school.. The occassional breakout that got worse around "that time of the month", but nothing that really made me self conscious.  But then about 3 years ago, when I was 20, it hit... Acne.  Horrible acne that just won't go away for the life of me!  And if that's not the worse part, but now, my face is speckled with scars... Oh, and its reoccuring (it settles down for awhile and then comes back in the exact same spot.  From what I've read about, this is hormonal acne, which is hard to treat without a prescription.)  What's the point of this story?  ACNE SUCKS!

...moving on...

There are a ton of companies that specialize in acne treatment.  In fact, while I'm typing this up, I'm watching a commercial with Hayden Panetierre for Clean & Clear.  People spend tons of money trying to achieve clear skin!  I know that I'll try something, it won't work, and then I'll try something else... just wasting my money.  So, if we're willing to spend all this money on commercial products that may or may not work, then why not try something things around the house and see if it works? 

Okay, so before I move on, let me just say this. 
  1. I'm not a doctor.  These are only suggestions and if they work, great!  And if they don't, then try something else.  Everyone is different.  But if you are seeing a doctor for your skin, definitely take his/her advice above mine, because (s)he is the professional. 
  2. Just like I just mentioned... Everyone's skin is different and what may work for one person, may not work for you.  Use your best judgement, based upon your personal experience.
First thing first... in order to treat your acne, you need to learn about it.  It's not going to do any good for you to use one treatment, if it wasn't the right one! 
Here are the different types of acne according to who else, but acne.com

Acne Vulgars in mild/moderate form
This type is the most common and will probably be the most beneficial for you to read.  There are 4 forms of acne vulgaris: whiteheads, blackheads, papules, and pustules.  Sound familiar, right?  Let's learn more.

Whiteheads occur when a pore is blocked, therefore trapping oil, bacteria, and skin cells inside of it.  (Hey!  Now there's a proactive commercial on tv!)  So, to treat these, you definitely want to clean the skin and get rid of the clogging agent (your skin oil).  Then you would want to use an anti bacterial to kill the bacteria being trapped in the pore.  Now acne.com recommends benzoyl peroxide, but this is a very harsh chemical that will likely dry out your skin, and from what I hear, leave a ton of free radicals in it's path.  Salicylic Acid is a gentler option, but later on, we're going to explore even more natural anti-bacterial agents.

Blackheads are similar to whiteheads, except they are only partially blocked.  The black that you see is not dirt, but your own melanin (so its not use trying to dig out that black stuff!)  Because whiteheads and blackheads are so similar, the skin clearing regimin would be the same.

Papules are red painful bumps with no head.  Don't squeeze these, since there's no head, you're doing nothing but irritating it (which can result in scarring).  And according the acne.com, the suggested regimine would be the same as the first two.

Pastules are inflamed bumps with a white/yellow head.  These are the one's people typically pop that ooze who-knows-what.  I had always thought these were whiteheads, but apparently not!  Anyways... the regimine is the same.

Acne Vulgaris in severe form
This type would be the above four with the addition of nodules and cysts.
Nodules are large, painful, hard bumps under the skin and they can last for months. 
Cysts are similiar to the above, but are filled with pus. 
(They are painful... because I get both of these.)

Other types of acne includes rosacea, conglobata, fulminans, gram-negative folliculitis, and pyoderma faciale (or rosacea fulminans).  If you have any of these conditions, I would definitely advice that you seek a doctor for treatment.  The suggestions that I will be giving will be for Acne Vulgaris only.
Check out Acne.com for further detailed descriptions and pictures of everything mentioned above.

Ingredients That are Supposed to Help Acne
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is an essential oil that I've been seeing all over in the natural beauty world.  I know The Body Shop has an entire acne line that is made with tea tree oil.  This would be my suggestion to replace those harsh chemicals, like benzoyl perxide, because it is an anti-bacterial.  I'm reading an article on about.com (I love that website, don't you?) and they're talking about a study that was done awhile ago, comparing benzoylabout.com recommends 5 parts oil to 95 parts water.

Some other ingredients that are anti-bacterial include:  Mint, Garlic, Olive Leaf Extract, and Honey.  The good thing about honey is that its both anti-bacterial and also moisturizing, so it will also heal your skin. 
There are also some ingredients that act as an anti-inflamatory.  This would include: Green Tea, Licorice Root Extract, and Aloe Vera.  Your anti-bacterials are best used for the mild/moderate forms of acne, but if your's is more severe (like mine), you'll want to introduce these anti-inflammatories.  From my understanding, these are most effective toward the nodules and cysts.

There's one ingredient, that I think has been well hidden until recently, that from my understanding is your miracle remedy for acne, and it is Sea Buckthorn Oil.  Sea Buckthorn oil is so amazing because it has properties to heal all causes of acne, even the hormonal ones.  It's also your anti-inflammatory and consists of a lot of nutrients that have proven to be beneficial in treating acne.  But this isn't all!  Its also a mild analgesic (pain-killer) and is anti-microbial.  (While an anti-bacterial inhibits the growth of bacteria, anti-microbials also inhibit the growth of viruses and fungi, so its better!)

The Role of Exfoliation for Acne
Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.  (And there are many different ways you can achieve this)  Now, if you can think back all the way to my description of whiteheads, one of the things that clogs your pores are these dead skin cells.  For whatever reason, they're not falling away from your skin like they should are getting caught in the pore.  By exfoliating the skin, we're manually removing these, therefore, preventing the pores from being clogged in the first place.  Its not recommended to exfoliate everyday, because you could irritate the skin.

Onto the Fun Stuff.... The Recipes & Remedies!
  • One popular remedy is using the anti-bacterial properties of mint.  What's the mintiest thing that you use everyday?  Toothpaste!  Take a paste (not gel) toothpaste, and you can use it as a spot treatment for your breakouts.  You can put this one before going to bed, and then just wash your face upon waking up! 
  • You can use Tea Tree Oil as a spot treatment.  Just apply oil directly to your breakout.  Depending on how sensitive your skin is, depends on whether or not the oil should be diluted.  You can use undiluted oil, but if you have any negative reactions, then try diluting it with distilled water.
  • In an earlier post, I talked about using garlic as a spot treatment.  Just cut the clove of garlic in half and then rub the juice over your breakout!
  • I've used an egg white mask to remove the excess oils.  These oils could potentially clog up my pores.  the mask is as simple as breaking open an egg, removing the yolk, and applying the whites to your face.  And then rinse after about 20 minutes.  You can also add a teaspoon of lemon juice, for its exfoliation and skin whitening properties.
  • Mashed strawberries are good reducing the swelling of breakouts.  Just mash a couple up with a fork, and apply, and then rinse off about a half hour later. 
  • Tomato pulp is another effective treatment, and its even simpler than the above remedies.  You can cut the tomato in half and rub over your skin, and then rinse after an hour.  Use the other half for a sandwich!  (preferably veggie!)
  • Mix 3 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  This will create a nightly spot treatment that you apply before going to bed and rinsing off in the morning upon waking up.
  • Mix equal parts lemon juice and rose water (which you can make at home with rose petals from your garden).  Apply to face and rinse after 30 minutes. 
  • You can create a paste with baking soda and water, leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse.  The baking soda is good for whitening skin (reducing redness) and drying up the breakouts.  You can adjust how often you do this by how sensitive your skin is, but I don't recommend it for sensitive skin at all.
  • You can put aloe vera gel on your face after cleansing, to help with redness and inflammation.  This has been found to work well for many people.
  • You can also rub your face with a wet green tea bag.  I wouldn't recommend steeping it, just enough to get it wet, so you can get the most of the nutrients from the green tea.

Preventative Measures for Acne
  • First and foremost... DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE!  Your hands pick up large amounts of bacteria, and when you touch your face, this bacteria can clog up your pores (& Yes, I know.  It's easier said than done.  I'm horrible about touching my face!)
  • Wash your make-up off every night, so you skin can breath.   
  • Eating a diet high in raw foods can do wonders for your skin.  Other foods that are good for your skin include green tea, wheatgrass, and yogurt (with live cultures).
  • Some sources will tell you not to wear make-up, but I think that it's okay to continue wearing make-up, as long as you're smart about your make-up choices... Choose Oil-Free, Hypo-allergenic, and non-comedogenic.
  • I've heard that drinking small amounts of apple cider vinegar diluted with water, everyday, will do wonders for your skin.  I would recommend a tablespoon to 16 ounces of water, to start.
  • Try to drink at least 8 8-ounce glasses of water a day to flush toxins out of your system.
So this was my crash course on Acne.  I hope your learned all that you needed and more.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me. 

    Acne.com: Types of Acne
    About.com:  Alternative Medicine; Tea Tree Oil for Acne
    Natural Acne Treatment
    Sea Buckthorn: Treating Acne Naturally


    1. Hello!

      I am visiting from Follow Me Back Tuesday. I love my beauty and fashionista sister blogs! I am your newest follower through Google Connect.

      Stop by and visit my blog at www.styleingenuity.com.

      I look forward to your posts!
      Shelli :)

    2. Wow you've got some nice tips going on in here.. Yup, I hate acne. Following you too.

    3. [color=#666666]Awesome post! thank you for sharing this information. yourworkistodiscoveryourworld.blogspot.com really got under my
      [/color] [url=http://nuscin-online.info]skin,[/url] [color=#666666]bookmarked... Keep up the great site...[/color]

    4. Thank you for sharing this piece of information! I thought this is a good reference. I like that you've showed your readers what they are dealing with before proceeding to the actual treatment. I hope that they will always be reminded that it's not for everyone. Before you do it, make sure you are aware and have a good understanding of what you are doing with your face, or your acne will just get worse.

      Stone Dermatology



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