Posts Tagged ‘pimples’
Your skin is the biggest organ of your body. If it is unhappy, there is a reason for it. If you have ever heard the saying “Treating the symptom, not the problem”, that is exactly what most acne treatments do today. Acne is a symptom of a problem within your body that is being expressed by your skin. What we really need to know is what causes acne.
If you want to clear up your acne, you need to solve the problem. Despite what all the face washes and infomercials on TV try and tell you, a dirty face is not the problem!
Acne is a problem of western civilization. It did not occur to our great ancestors who ate a more natural diet and lived in a more natural way. It still does not occur in ‘hunter-gatherer’ populations to this day who live and eat in a more natural way than we do, not even to their teenagers!
There are a few well-researched cases of this. One of the populations is the Kitavans of Papua New Guinea. 1200 Kitavans were examined, 300 of which were between the ages of 15 and 25, and absolutely no signs of acne were found. Not a single papule, pustule or open comedone was found!
Similar results can be found with some African tribes and South American tribes still living in their natural ways, not exposed to Western ways and foods. Some may say this is genetics, however, once these people leave their natural environments and move to the cities, acne (as well as all diseases of civilization such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) becomes common.
All of the studies and reports show that acne is getting worse in North America and around the world. Where it used to be a ‘teenage problem’ it is now common well into our 20s and even 30s and 40s for some people.
While what causes acne isn’t exactly known there are some conditions that need to be present for acne to occur.
There are five main contributors to acne. For acne to occur, however, your sebum (oil) must oxidize. If your sebum does not oxidize you won’t get acne. We’ll look more into that later, for now let’s look at the main contributors to acne.
The five main contributors to acne are: genetics, bacteria, hormone irregularities, toxins, and deficiencies.
Your genetics definitely play a role in whether you will have acne or not. If one of your parents suffered from bad acne, chances are increased that you will too. Sensitive oil gland receptors are genetic. However, your genes can be influenced by diet and lifestyle so it is possible to keep acne at bay, even cystic acne, when it’s ‘in the family’.
Many assume that bacteria are the only factor that causes acne, but it actually plays less of a role than most people think. All traditional treatments for acne, whether they are face washes, cream, antibiotics etc. try to deal with the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes for short.
However, it is a fact that that a large percentage of the population have this bacteria on their face/skin and do not get acne. In addition to having the P. acnes bacteria on your skin, you must have favorable conditions for the P. acnes to become an acne breakout. That is the key that is not addressed by common acne treatments.
Hormones play a big part in the development of acne. Just ask any teenager! Higher levels of androgens (so called male hormones) can lead to increased acne in both males and females. During puberty androgen production is increased to help us grow and develop, this is why acne is so common in puberty.
The results of androgens on acne becomes obvious in anyone who has ever taken steroids, their acne usually flares up quite bad, especially on their back and shoulders.
Estrogen levels also affect acne, which becomes obvious when females have their menstrual cycles and get acne flare ups. This is also why many doctors prescribe birth control pills to treat acne in females. We do not recommend birth control pills as they really mess around with your natural hormones. There have also been many reports of cystic acne and scarring being much worse after going off birth control pills.
Stress is a known cause of acne, however it doesn’t actually cause the acne. Stress causes your hormones to overreact to things and those elevated hormones can cause acne.
Toxins and toxic buildup
These are mainly external forces.
-Diet (the food you eat)
-Toxins in the environment
The toxins can come from processed food that includes ingredients toxic to our bodies, or good foods that have been sprayed with pesticides and still retain some of that poison on them when you eat them. The toxin could also be a piece of bread or glass of milk that your friend can eat with no reaction, but when you eat it your body reacts to it. Things like casein and whey found in milk, or gluten from wheat and grains can be toxins to some people.
Toxins can be a laundry detergent or fabric softener that irritates your skin or cleaning chemicals, makeup, hair products, sunscreen, etc. Everyone is different and our bodies can handle different things, some experimentation is required to figure out what is toxic to you. Many people also find that when they quit eating a low fat diet and start adding lots of quality fats to their diet their skin becomes a lot less sensitive to outside toxins.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause acne. Some of the common deficiencies are vitamin A, C, D, E, zinc and magnesium. By supplementing with the proper amounts and ratios of vitamins and minerals you can have a dramatic effect on your acne and overall skin health.
After reading hundreds of reviews about apple cider vinegar toners for acne, we decided to put it to the test and see if what people were saying rings true. Apple cider vinegar is said to improve your overall complexion and reduce irritations to the skin due to it containing malic and lactic acids that are found in vinegar. These acids help soften and exfoliate the skin’s tissue, tone your skin to the proper pH level, and treat acne on the face and body. But isn’t that what most toners are said to do? We will explain why this unusual ingredient that’s often found in your kitchen pantry is a beauty secret used around the world to help maintain glowing, blemish free skin.
Why Apple Cider Vinegar Works
ACV not only has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, but it’s main benefit for acne prone skin is that it helps balance a person’s pH levels. Like we described in our acid mantle article, the protective acid mantle is the most important component to keeping your skin clear. The skin’s surface is made up of a thin layer of oil, which if stripped with harsh oil fighting cleansers or over cleansing, can disrupt the acid mantle and cause the pH levels of your skin to be disturbed. Under normal circumstances, healthy skin will revert back and rebalance on its own, but when your acid mantle is disturbed regularly, your skin becomes vulnerable to infections and other irritations, causing redness, blemishes, and dryness. This is where the ACV toner comes into play. ACV has a pH level of 3 and when diluted with water, the acidity from the toner helps restore your skin’s pH level back to normal. By restoring your skin’s levels, ACV helps your skin function optimally, warding off bacteria and shedding dead skin cells at the proper rate so pores are unblocked and skin remains healthy.
Here Are Some Pros and Cons to ACV toner for acne:
Pros:Decreases the amount of pimples on the skin Give your body and hair a natural shine Regulates the pH balance of your face Encourages hair growth Targets age spots Soothes sunburns
Cons:The less diluted the vinegar is, the stronger the smell ACV can burn if used in strong concentrations People may experience purging-aka, your skin can get worse before it gets better
How To Make An Apple Cider Vinegar Toner At HomePurchase your apple cider vinegar. Make sure it’s unfiltered, organic, and unpasteurized. We recommend Bragg’s. Depending on your skin, you will then need to dilute the ACV. A ratio of one part apple cider vinegar to two or three parts water is most common but, if you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to use a little more water. To use your apple cider vinegar toner, pour some onto a cotton pad and apply it to your skin after cleansing. Wait until the toner has dried and then use any moisturizers or creams that you have in your routine. Do this once a day.
Apple cider vinegar works for clearing acne because it returns the acidity to your skin and revitalizes the acid mantle. It also kills bacteria, removes excess dirt, oil and makeup and dissolves dead skin cells. If you’re looking for a cheap, easy to make acne treatment, apple cider vinegar is one of the better at-home remedies out there.
Understanding your skin’s basic needs can be confusing when you often see phrases like “the acid mantle” or “pH balance” being thrown around, making it seem like a firm grasp of chemistry is necessary to obtaining clear skin. However, having a basic understanding of the acid mantle is crucial when determining what to treat your skin with and how it can react to different environments. One of the worst things you can do for your skin is upsetting the pH balance of your acid mantle when using products that are too alkaline for the healthy function of the skin. Lathering up with these foamy, oil fighting cleansers weakens the skin’s immune system and increases dryness, leading to the dreaded dry skin and acne combo. Drying out the skin with these products only makes the sebaceous glands produce more oil. This works in a counter productive way, leading to a vicious cycle of drying out the skin, treating it with harsh topicals, and adding moisture back onto the surface. Re-evaluating your skins daily regimen and following the proper skin chemistry is the first step in achieving a healthier, blemish free complexion that can protect your acid mantle from bacteria and restore it to it’s natural form.What Is The Acid Mantle?
The acid mantle is essentially our skin’s protective barrier made up of an acidic film that keeps bacteria out of our skin cells and contains a mixture of secretions and inoffensive bacteria. These secretions of bacteria work together to provide a number of essential roles in the breakdown of the skin that guard the skin from adverse environments such as pollutants, UV rays, or temperature changes. Many include protecting the outer layer, boosting the immune system, adding moisture that helps skin elasticity, and most importantly, secreting enzymes to help break down oil. Sebum is also an important factor that contributes to the acid mantle. It is an oily secretion that spreads over the hair and skin. Sebum’s main role is to waterproof the skin and hair, but when combined with sweat, excess sebum can lead to oily, acne prone skin and lack of sebum can lead to dryness and wrinkle formation.Why Should You Care About Your Acid Mantle?
Stripping the skin of its natural oils with drying agents and oil fighting cleansers does the opposite of reducing oil and preventing irritation. If the skins outer layer, or acid mantle, is temporarily removed by harsh soaps, the skin then becomes susceptible to breakouts, dryness, and infection. In order for the acid mantle to protect the skin and kill bacteria before it gets inside the body and provide moisture to the skin, natural sweat and oils must be allowed to occur. Sometimes excess sweating can alter the acid mantle and pH levels, throwing them off balance. This combined with the tendency to use oil-fighting soaps can worsen pH levels. That’s why focusing on certain acne treatments that restore the skin’s pH to acidic levels can help prevent breakouts and irritation.How To Protect Your Acid Mantle?
There are a few things that can be done to protect your acid mantle and it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to fully restore the acid mantle after using harsh cleansers.Steps Taken To Protect Your Acid Mantle: Avoiding the use of foaming soaps high in alkaline, shampoo running down the face, and oil stripping toners are effective ways in protecting the skin against unbalanced pH levels. Focus on using oil cleansers that restore the skins moisture and balance its oil production at the same time. Don’t over cleanse. There should be no need for deep cleansing in the morning if you’re waking up with skin cleansed the night before. We don’t want to over cleanse our skin as this will only irritate the skin and cause more oil production. Deep cleaning while balancing our skins oil production at the same time is the objective to cleansing our skin properly.
These preventative steps are necessary in balancing pH levels, protecting the acid mantle, and restoring your skins barrier to fight off unwanted bacteria from entering the top layer of your skin.Sources:
http://www.smartskincare.com/skinbiology/sebum.html http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/audrey-kunin-md/chemistry-lesson-healthy-skin http://thenakedchemist.com/understanding-the-acid-mantle/ http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-acid-mantle.htm http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com
Pimples, zits, whatever. Does it really matter what I call the pulsing monster on my forehead, or the endless spots on my nose? Maybe not, but then again, it couldn’t hurt to know what acne types you’re dealing with if you’re serious about treating it as soon as possible. In general, acne and all of its variations are caused by oxidized sebum and clogged pores. Here is a list of the main acne types and a little bit of information on what causes them.
Whiteheads: Whiteheads, also known as closed comedones, appear in the form of slightly whitish, flesh-colored bumps or dots. They form when oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria get trapped in your pores— they’re basically clogged pores that aren’t inflamed. Because whiteheads are clogged below the surface of the skin, they remain closed and flesh-colored, the top looking more white, thus called a whitehead. They look just like little bumps under the skin, sometimes a little more whitish than your skin color. Whiteheads are a fairly mild form of acne, and can be easily treated, though they can be stubborn sometimes.
Blackheads: Blackheads are another acne type and are almost identical to whiteheads in that they are non-inflamed clogged pores. The only difference is that with blackheads, the blocked pore remains open instead of closed. If a blocked pore’s top is open, the pore is exposed to air where the lodged sebum and keratin are oxidized, turning the whole thing black. Like whiteheads, blackheads are caused by trapped oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria in pores.
Papules: Papules are clogged pores that are inflamed. They appear as tender red bumps, but they’re hard when you touch them. They’re usually fairly small and are somewhat raised. Papules form when a clogged pore (so a blackhead or whitehead) gets irritated, swelling up, turning red, and becoming painful. This is what inflammation is. The defining factor of papules is that they are not filled with pus, though they may get filled up with pus later. To avoid getting papules, leave blackheads and whiteheads alone — fingers off! You should also avoid irritating or harsh cleansers.
Pustules: Pustules are what we’ve come to know as zits. Like papules, they are inflamed clogged pores with the exception of the pus that fills their centers. You can tell if you have pustules if you can see yellowy or whitish heads on your pimples, which feel like blisters. Pustules are essentially even more irritated papules.
Nodules / Cysts: Nodules and cysts are severe forms of acne and are much larger than papules and pustules. When blocked pores get even more irritated, they get even bigger, and can go deeper into your skin, too. Nodules and cysts appear in the form of painful bumps under the skin. They’re usually really stubborn and can take forever to go away, possibly leaving behind scars in the process. Nodules are the hard ones which aren’t usually filled with pus, whereas cysts are filled with pus and are softer, feeling like fluid-filled sacs underneath the skin. You can tell if your acne is nodules or cysts by the size and severity of inflammation. Nodules and cysts are very painful, large, and protruding. You couldn’t mistake ‘em.
There are other types of acne as well, but this covers the most common types you are likely to encounter. Most acne can be helped if not completely cleared up using more natural approach than your doctor or dermatologist would recommend. Despite common belief, diet does play a big role in acne. So does genetics, stress and hormones. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and if it is unhappy, there is a reason for it. Most acne treatments today try and treat the symptom (the actual pimple) and not the problem that is causing the acne. Acne is not caused by a dirty face! Many acne sufferers have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Some of the common deficiencies are vitamin A, C, D, E, zinc and magnesium. By supplementing with the proper amounts and ratios of vitamins and minerals you can have a dramatic effect on your acne and overall skin health. If you think deficiencies of vitamins or minerals could be causing your acne, please visit our website at www.innateskin.com and check out the Clear Skin Vitamin Pack™.