A Natural Approach to Acne
What Is Acne?
Acne is the medical term for pimples. It appears on the skin as blackheads (opencomedones), white heads (closed comedones), pimples, papules (bumps under the skin with no ‘head’) and cysts (deep seated infection). Acne can be a mild condition (odd pimple) or severe and occurs most often on the face, but may include the neck, chest, back and upper arms.
Who Gets Acne?
Acne usually begins mildly in the early teens, gradually becomes worse, and then after time usually improves. Genetic background, diet, environmental factors and lifestyle can effect how long the condition will last. In women, it may be more troublesome just before periods and occasionally persist until menopause.
What Causes Acne?
It occurs when the oil glands of the skin (sebaceous glands) are out of balance. At puberty, because of hormonal factors, these glands start producing an oily material called sebum, which is discharged onto the skin’s surface. Sometimes the wall of the duct carrying the oil (sebum) to the surface breaks, this in turn, irritates the tissue causing redness, swelling and pus, resulting in a pimple.
Bacteria, which live on sebum, appear in large numbers in acne lesions causing further irritation. The ducts may also become plugged with sebum and dead skin cells (keratin), forming blackheads and whiteheads.
The combination of oil and sweat on our skin, keep our skin healthy and elastic, however the continuous cleansing of the skin with alkaline products like soap, create a seesaw effect on the bodies hormonal system resulting in an unbalanced skin condition. In order to correct an alkaline skin condition, the body will have to produce much more oil. Therefore the simplest way to prevent an imbalance with teenage skins is to use acid (pH) balancedprotectionproducts (toning gel & moisturiser).
What is the ‘Acid Mantle’ (pH) of the Skin?
- Sweat and sebum combine on the skin’s surface, creating an acidic film.
- This is known as the acid mantle.
- Acidity and alkalinity are measured by a number called the pH.
- A perfect pH of 5.5 discourages the growth of bacteria and fungi.
- An acidic solution has a pH of 0-7, i.e. lemon juice, vinegar.
- A neutral solution has a pH of 7, i.e. blood.
- An alkaline solution has a pH of 7 – 14, i.e. soap, depilatories.
Juice SKIN Water SOAP Soda
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Acid Neutral Alkaline
The ACID MANTLE is our body’s first defence mechanism against bacteria. Bacteria dislike the slight acid conditions. The acid mantle develops at puberty. Children do not have an acid mantle and this is the reason children are more susceptible to diseases, virus and fungal infections.
What healthy skincare and beauty tips will help my condition?
The first step is to avoid substances that clog the pores like mineral oils, oily make-up and incorrect cleansing. Be aware of the environment you work in like a café or garage, this will also cause clogging of the pores. Ensure that the face or acne area is cleaned morning and evening.
The second step would be to exfoliate the skin (remove the dead skin cells) twice a week. Make sure you avoid using very coarse scrubs. These rough substances cause small cuts on the skin surface and this sensitises the skin, pushing oil deeper into the skin tissue, and creating possible openings for bacteria to spread, as well as creating unsightly and permanent red veins.
We recommend a gentle exfoliant that removes the dead skin cells and draws the debris out and away from the skin in a gentle manner.
Using a cleansing mask once or twice a week, after exfoliating, will also be extremely beneficial, drawing out any deep-seated impurities and blockages, and helping to refine the pores. A spot treatment on specific inflamed pimples can be applied overnight to help reduce the inflammation and draw the pimple to a head, to ensure more rapid healing.
How can I protect my skin and help to reduce further outbreaks?
Once the skin has been gently cleansed of debris and dead cells, you need to balance the bacteria on the skin (many different bacteria exist on the skin at all times, some are beneficial and some are harmful) and restore the correct pH balance.
The key is to put hydration into the skin, without adding rich oil products, thereby helping to balance and control the body’s oil output. Toning flax based gels are the ideal medium to achieve this function. They are nutrient rich, healing, soothing and gentle on the skin, while adding vital hydration. Toning Gels should be used morning and night after cleansing.
To obtain the perfect skin balance, our skin requires protection during the day and nourishment at night. Our product recommendations have all been formulated with this specific purpose in mind. Light moisturising products will help ‘lock-in’ the hydration. Moisturising (day and night) should always be applied over the toning gel (wait approximately 30 seconds for the toning gel to be absorbed into the skin).
Avoid ‘touching’ and ‘picking’ at pimples throughout the day. This not only brings harmful bacteria onto the area, but also spreads the infection.
Gentle exposure to the sun can be very helpful for acne sufferers, but this must be monitored carefully – early in the day or late afternoon is recommended.
Can I prevent getting scars?
Picking or squeezing pimples can result in scarring.
Avoid ‘picking’ and touching pimples as this may create more acne, spreading the infection and making the problem worse. When a pimple has an unsightly ‘head’ on it, we suggest you wash your hands well and cleanse your face. Do not ‘squeeze’ the pimple until it ‘pops’ as this bruises the skin and causes scarring. Rather take a new sharp pin, dip the tip into pure Manuka oil to sterilise it and gently prick the top of the pimple to open it. Discard the pin into the rubbish bin (do not reuse on other pimples as this will spread the infection). Wrap some tissue paper around each finger and gentle pull the skin away from the pimple site and slightly ‘twist’ the skin. This will ensure that the infection will all come to the top, allowing it to be removed with a tissue, making sure no skin tissue is bruised and damaged and no re-infection can occur. Re-infection often comes about with squeezing due to the debris being forced down, rather than up onto the skin surface. It is important to apply Manuka Honey Gel to the area.
How important is diet?
Whatever the condition of the body, a balanced diet including plenty of fresh vegetable and fruit, high in roughage and essential fatty acids, sufficient minerals and vitamins, creates a far healthier metabolism and has much stronger healing power. One of the best ways to make an impact on the skin is by supporting the health of the body.
Drinking at least 8 glasses of purified water a day will help to maintain good skin health, as will regular exercise, increasing blood circulation, bringing essential nutrients to the skin and helping to remove waste. Exercising outdoors in the fresh air will help to create a general feeling of well-being and help to eliminate stress.