Synonymous with teenage years, youth and awkward phases, acne has never been a welcomed part of our lives. You would think that as you mature, its presence on your skin would slowly fade away. While this is true for some, many of us still experience acne even as adults. Plus, it does not help when you are unsure about how to deal with your acne. Fret not, Porcelain Skin here to help clear out your acne in no time with our top 5 tips for acne-free skin.
What is Acne?
Knowing thy enemy is an extremely (but often overlooked) aspect of dealing with all skincare issues – acne included. Thus, it is important for us to understand the inner workings and root causes of acne. First to note, there are 5 main types of acne: Blackheads, whiteheads, Papules, Pustules and Cysts/Nodules.
Each of these forms of acne start out as sebum (the oil your skin naturally produces to keep the skin moisturised and protected) and dead skin cells clogging a pore. As you move along the stages, the acne increases in severity. This is often due to the presence of p.acne bacteria that causes the pore to produce more oils and skin to be irritated and inflammed.
Blackheads are open comedones – pores clogged with sebum that is exposed to air, causing it to oxidise and turn “black”.
Whiteheads are closed comedones – pores clogged with sebum but are not exposed to air.
Papules are closed comedones, often appearing as red bumps on the skin with no visible pus head. They are pores clogged with sebum that have experienced irritation and inflammation from p.acne bacteria. Additionally, the presence of p.acne bacteria causes the pore to produce more oils, leading to greater pus build-up.
Pustules are the form of acne that are identified as pimples – the iconic pus head with a ring of redness and inflammation surrounding the pore. Pustules are usually formed when papules are left alone for too long and have experienced greater inflammation and irritation – both from p.acne bacteria and from wandering fingers that pick and attempt to pop them.
Nodules/Cysts are a severe form of acne, with pus completely overflowing the walls of the pore, causing damage to the pore and leaving behind a scar when expressed.
Credit: Shiny Diamond
Our Top 5 Tips for Acne-Free Skin:
1. Keep it all Clean
Though it may seem obvious, many do not realise the effects of a proper cleanse AND exfoliation regime. Double cleansing has been around for age – starting in 14th Century Asia (particularly japan & Korea) as a method to thoroughly cleanse the skin of white paint that women wore. While we may no longer be wearing white paint, the method is still paramount to acne-free skin.
Starting the double cleanse with an oil or makeup cleanser helps to free the skin surface of any dirt, oils, make up and sunscreen. Once the surface is cleared, it allows the second cleanse (typically done with a deep pore gel cleanser) to penetrate deeper into the skin and clear the pores of any oil build-ups, bacteria and dirt.
On top of clearing the pores sufficiently of oils and bacteria (two main culprits to acne), it is important to exfoliate the skin regularly (once to twice a week) to remove dead skin cells that contribute to congestion.
For an effective exfoliation, switch out your physical exfoliants (like sugar scrubs, microbeads and walnut scrubs) for chemical or enzyme-based exfoliants that are effective at removing dead skin cells without leaving behind micro-tears.
2. Block Oil Blotters
As we mentioned earlier, sebum is the oil your skin produces to keep it moisturised and protected from external aggressors. Though the mid-day sheen may be an eyesore or uncomfortable, it is important to remember that removing it can cause your skin to produce even more oil than before! This removal signals to your skin that there is a potential for moisture loss since the protective layer of oil has been removed. To retain as much moisture as possible, your skin produces more oils which add to the congestion within pores.
3. You Face is a Work of Art, So Don’t Touch it!
With one of the main factors of severe acne like Papules, Pustules and Cyst/Nodules being the presence of p.acne bacteria, it is important to minimise its presence on your skin. Imagine all the bacteria wandering around on common surfaces that you touch on the daily being on your skin. Simple steps like avoiding pimple picking/popping and minimising touching your face all work towards minimising p.acne bacteria and other types of bacteria that act to irritate the skin.
4. Find your inner balance
Here’s another tip that will help strengthen your skin against the bacteria – find you pH and balance it!
Your skin pH is its natural barrier against irritants, environmental aggressors like pollutants and bacteria. When your skin pH is unbalanced, you are more prone to breakouts as your skin is now more susceptible to the effects of bacteria, irritants etc. Not sure if you have pH imbalance? Head over here to discover your skin type, pH imbalance and how you can rebalance it!
5. Invest in your Skin
With all the tips above, you can rest assured that your skin will clear up in a jiffy. But, for more severe cases of acne like Papules, Pustules and Nodules/Cysts, an expert hand may be required. These forms of acne can often result in scarring or more breakouts if they are not tended to correctly. In the hands of an expert, treatments like ZitZap, Quintessential and OxyZap use medical grade technology to help treat acneic skin at cellular levels that products are unable to reach. Regular acne facial treatment in Singapore is essential as well to maintain a healthy skin.
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