Make sure your skin care plan is working 24 hours for you to achieve smooth, clear and flawless skin…
Treating adult acne is tricky. It’s a balancing act to reduce the excessive oil that causes acne but without drying it out too much which can cause wrinkles instead.
Adult acne is caused in part by hormonal fluctuations, stress, diet, medications, genetics, cosmetics or environmental irritants. Most cases of acne are mild to moderate, and can be treated by following a specially formulated skin care regime. More severe cases may require clinic treatments e.g. light therapy or chemical peels or even a course of medication e.g. antibiotics or roaccutane.
Preventing and treating acne will avoid problems e.g. large pores, scars and pigmentation. It is also important to balance your hormones and optimise your nutrition while going through an acne treatment program to enhance and improve the results.
According to reknown dermatologist, Dr Zein Obagi, there are 3 MAGIC WORDS when it comes to proper acne treatment!
The most successful treatments focus on cleansing the skin regularly so you limit the build up of oil, dirt and dead skin cells which can easily clog pores and create an inflamed spot. This will also help to restore your skin’s natural balance over time.
Choose a cleanser specially formulated for acne. These products often contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which help to reduce excess oil and clear acne sores.
I recommend using ZO Offects Exfoliating Cleanser which gently exfoliates and cleanses the skin, reducing excess oil and neutralising free radicals. It also has encapsulated vitamin E which provides antioxidant protection and hydration for healthy skin.
Believe it or not, there’s a trick to skillful face washing. To start, try to keep your face clean during the day e.g. avoid hair products, hair bangs, mobile phone surfaces and thick makeup and foundation on the face. Wash your face twice daily with the cleanser. Use only luke-warm water (hot water is drying and can exacerbate post-inflammatory pigmentation). Wash for about 40-60s (more can irritate your skin). Use your hands instead of a rough washcloth. You can also use a soft muslin-cloth or a Clarisonic device which acts like an electric toothbrush but designed for the face. I would recommend using the Professional version which can only be purchased in clinics. This allows a better cleaning routine.
Avoid too-strong gels and products containing beads or granules, which are abrasive and can irritate and worsen sensitive skin.
Scrubbing helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and increase epidermal turnover for a cleaner, smoother, more even-toned complexion.
You can start with scrubs once or twice a week, slowly building it up to once a day if tolerated. I would recommend ZO Offects Exfoliating Polish which has ultra-fine magnesium crystals to stimulate rather than scratch the skin. It also contains Vitamins A, C and E to provide anti-oxidant benefits to help maintain the skin barrier function.
Make sure you scrub across the T-zone to clean those blackheads and pores. Best step to add before shaving to avoid shavers bump e.g. on the chin, legs or chest area which can lead to acne and scarring.
A crucial step as excessive oil is the start of an acne forming. This can be done by:-
- Medicated Pads – commonly contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide which helps to kill bacteria and dry the spots. I use ZO TE-Pads Acne Pore Treatment. It reduces sebum production, removes dead skin cells and deep-cleans congested pores using 2% salicylic acid. It also has botanical extracts that calm inflammation and soothe irritation.
- Creams and Lotions that contain an effective concentration of retinol which cleans the pores and also reduces lines and wrinkles. Stronger concentrations of retinol will need to be prescribed by a doctor and effects monitored.
- Topical antibiotic clindamycin helps fight bacteria in the skin; so does tetracycline, another antibiotic, taken orally. I would recommend taking antibiotics for a maximum of 1 week only. It is only a temporary relief and the long term effects of antibiotics on the integrity of the gut is not worth it.
- If excessive oil is caused by hormonal imbalance, oral contraceptives or spironolactone, a blood pressure drug, can also help balance hormones.
These 3 magic words are crucial steps to preventing and treating acne. If you would like some extra help, I would recommend adding these products below into your regimen, only after you’ve mastered the first 3.
- Mask and Clays
Applying masks and clays to the skin helps draw out oils and cleanses pores, but there is also concern for over drying. My advice is to apply them only to problem areas and use them only occasionally. Limiting masks and clays to really big events such as a wedding, a birthday dinner, or a big presentation.
Use mask that contains sulphur to reduce oil, zinc and tea tree extracts to reduce inflammation and repair the skin. I recommend my patients to have a medicated mask as part of an acne facial treatment once a month. This will further increase the effectiveness of your home care regimen.
- Anti-Oxidant Creams
This is another balancing act as majority of moisturiser molecules are too large for absorption, hence “clogging” the pores and worsening the acne. Worst still, these moisturisers “congest” the top layer of the skin, making it plump and smooth but sends the wrong message to our cells deeper within.
Our dermal layer which contains our collagen, elastin and natural hydrating producing cells continuously communicate with the top layer of the skin. When the top layer of the skin is well “hydrated” by large moisturisor molecules, it sends a signal down below, rendering the dermal cells lazy and they stop producing it’s natural hydrating molecules. Hence, many moisturisors after 3 weeks causes the skin to dry out and we become addicted to the moisturisor because we feel our skin needs it. This then clogs up more pores and the vicious cycle continues.
I recommend using light-based lotions e.g. ZO Daily Power Defence which is so light that it’s almost a serum. It contains time-released retinol, antioxidants, and specialised DNA repairing enzymes that work around-the-clock to help minimize UV oxidative damage and uneven pigmentation, while restoring skin function and elasticity. This only works if you have religiously followed the first 3 steps – Wash, Scrub and Oil Control!
- SunScreen Protection
Whether you suffer from acne or not, sun protection is a MUST! Sunshine has been known to improve acne, hence it’s important to ensure you have sufficient sun protection. This will protect you from pigmentation, sun damage and skin cancer. Avoid thick sunscreens which is mostly oil-based and can worsen acne.
I LOVE ZO Oclipse Sunscreen SPF 30 which use natural melanin, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide to provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection. If you still need to put makeup on, the ZO sunscreen also acts as a primer to allow smoother application.
Oil production is influenced by hormones, mood, even by the weather. How oily your skin appears can vary season by season, week by week, even day by day.
For example, some people have problems with oily skin in the summer when they’re sweating. It is important to be aware of how your skin varies so that you can adjust your regimen accordingly. You can use a cleanser with salicylic acid or glycolic acid every day during the summer but only now and then during the winter. You may also want to have a facial treatment more often during the summer months to keep acne at bay or during the winter times to ensure your skin maintains it’s moisture and hydration.
It’s important to know your skin as well as your products to ensure both work in your favour.
Work with a Skin Care Specialist
Treating acne takes time – sometimes up to 18 weeks. It is easy to lose hope, tempted in trying all the products on the market which can worsen things.
I recommend working with a skin specialist who will be able to educate, guide and motivate you through the change. On occasions, products with higher concentration of active ingredients or chemical peels may be needed to reduce the oil and improve the overall look of your skin. These can be irritating so it is best to use them on a strict follow up protocol.
Once your acne is cleared and your breakouts are controlled by a tailored skin care regime, you can then treat the effects of acne e.g. scars, broken veins and pigmentation.
It is worth remembering that people with naturally oily skin tend to have fewer wrinkles and healthier looking skin. So don’t go overboard in your efforts. Remove excess oiliness when you need to look your best, but be careful to preserve your skin’s natural anti-aging mechanism.
Are you having trouble finding the best skin care products for you? Are you frustrated by failed attempts to treat your acne? Are you avoiding showing your beautiful and handsome face to the world, embarassed by the way it looks?
Would love to hear your comments, feedback and any questions you may have!