Don’t know about you, but there's a few words that strike fear in the soul + acne's one of them 🙈 It's a THING. Which is why a bio molecular scientist’s someone handy to have in your back pocket.
Here to defend against the drama in the nick of time is Hannah, our resident SKIN HEALTH GURU.
Keep calm + read on beauties… We've got this.
I have chosen acne as my first skin type topic as it holds a place close to my heart.
I had moderate to severe acne from the age of 13-25, it was difficult to manage at that time and it did knock my confidence, however I also know that it got me my job at Loreal, it got me my future job being a mumpreneur with skin care and it has given me a more youthful complexion than my fellow tweens that had a drier skin later on.
Every cloud really does have a silver lining!
There are about 4 different kinds of acne and to work out how to treat it you really need to know which one or which ones (you can have more than one) you have.
1. Blackheads and whiteheads:
You can have what I would called mild acne, which is where a hair follicle has clogged itself with oil , dead skin cells and developed into a comedo ( a basic acne lesion) it will either stay closed at the surface (which means it stays white) or come into contact with the air oxidise and therefore turn black.
Treatments for both of these are usually the same.
Easier said then done but try not to squeeze them, or it can lead to inflammation, scaring and just a larger (literally) problem.
Some clinics do extractions which you can get if you wish, or a topical treatment containing salicylic acid which exfoliates the dead skin cells and some sort of a retanoid to increase cell turn over, mopping up the clogged pores if you like.
A great OTC product is la Roche Posays effaclar range which contains salicylic or paulas choice which does a daily pore refining product that contains BHA (beta hydroxy acid) and again sloughs away at dead skin cells.
If you want to visit your GP first then something like differin gel might be for you.
2. Inflamed acne:
Sometimes the above situation can get inflamed due to bacteria or just your classic tweendom flood of hormones. This creates a typical red or green spot (papules and pustules)
Again. Do not squeeze. The urge is huge especially if you have an annoying sibling and wish to pebble dash them with the green goo, but for the sake of your beautiful little face... resist 😂
This tends to be a chronic condition although some people (especially girls) may only get a couple of these at certain times during the month.
Because there is bacteria here you can use topical or oral antibiotics. Some practitioners also prescribe the birth control pill in order to retune hormonal surges but again this is not for everyone and you MUST have serious discussions with a medical professional first.
Cerave face wash is really good as an OTC option here. It contains something called 'Nicacinamide' which is a wonder ingredient for inflammation. It won’t strip the skin of oil too, which is really bad if you do have poker skin as nature always wins and it will over-compensate by producing even more oil.
Duac cream contains clindomycin and benzoyl peroxide (which stains sheets and towels so please be careful kids... my mother used to give me my own special old towel!!) which can help fight the bacteria, again this involves a GP visit.
3. Cystic or nodular acne:
This is what I had as a teenager.
They tend to look like spots with no centre and can be quite painful and linger around for a long time.
At this point I would go and see a dermatologist.
The thing is, just because you are a tween does not mean you have to live with acne. It’s not 1300 it’s 2020 and there are medical professionals, derma professionals and incredible products that can help. It’s just no longer a right of passage.
If it’s making you miserable then go and talk to a dermatologist.
I did (eventually... it took ages unfortunately) it changed my life for the better.
For this acne type you really do need to use a retanoid to keep your cell turnover strong. Retinol has some cautions. It doesn’t get on well with the sun so you MUST use a sunscreen with it, la Roche Posay sunscreen for oily skin is non comedogenic and will not cause pore clogging.
If you can, try and use skinceuticals retinol. To my mind this is the best. It’s readily available online and comes in different strengths. Start slow and use every two days until your skin can tolerate it. It will cause your skin to become flaky because it’s increasing cell turnover but just get through those first few weeks and I promise it will stop and your skin will thank you for it. Don’t forget to moisturise!
It doesn't stop there. Beyond topical treatments you will most likely have to try something oral too, an antibiotic, hormone regulator or if you decide, roaccutane/ isotrerinoin. There’s a lot of information good and bad on this drug but for me it completely cleared my skin up. Cannot emphasise this enough: seek professional advice.
For those that use roaccutane/ isotrerinoin:
The first few months are terrifying. You can get dry flaky irritated skin and spots at the same time, which is very depressing. But it's just a phase and passes. Again skinceuticals do a great vitamin b hydrating serum that can really help with any skin agitation.
Talk thoroughly to your GP about it before making a decision.
4. Localised acne
Bearing in mind all of the above you can also get acne simply by doing sport and wearing a hat (acne on your head. it's real) or playing the violin (acne on your chin). This is localised acne and or comedones and can be kept in check through basic hygiene and a mild salicylic wash.
If you want to have a bit of coverage on active acne then Vichy Dermablend cover up sticks have incredible pigment and are made for scars, tattoos and acne in mind. It won’t clog pores and goes on thick without being cakey.
I hope this helps peeps. Like I said, acne doesn’t need to be a part of your tween journey if you don’t want it too!
See you for more top tips in the next zine.