12 Ways You Can Improve Your Skin Health

perfect skin

12 Ways You Can Improve Your Skin Health

Are you looking for ways to improve your skin health? If you’re worried about your complexion, there are several changes you can implement in your life that will help to give it a boost. 

Lifestyle factors and daily habits can make a big difference to the health of your skin, so whether you’re worried about the signs of aging, acne or dryness, here are a few expert tips to help your complexion to return to its peak condition.

Water Is Important

Yes, you should definitely be drinking more water in your everyday life. Staying hydrated is key to improving your overall health and wellness, but especially to boosting the condition of your skin. However, water also has a key role to play in choosing the right skincare products.

If you’re washing your face with soft water, the soap won’t be removed as effectively. This can mean a residue builds up on your skin, spoiling its appearance and dulling its natural glow. Therefore, if you live in a soft water area, use body and face cleansers sparingly.

On the other hand, if you’re living in a hard water area, you’ll find that body washes don’t lather easily. This could encourage you to use too much cleanser and the result can be dry skin. Choose a non-soap, gentle formula which doesn’t lather to avoid this problem.

Drink Green Tea

Do you suffer from a blotchy, red complexion? Then try drinking green tea every day. It contains natural anti-inflammatory properties which soothe the skin. 

Iced green tea is best since hot drinks worsen rosacea and other redness issues. Green tea contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which helps to guard against collagen destruction. This, in turn, protects against premature wrinkling and guards against skin DNA damage caused by the sun.

Destress

Stress takes it toll on virtually all body parts, including the skin. If you’re stressed, you’re more likely to suffer from breakouts, since stress boosts your hormone production and causes the skin to become oilier as well as less capable of fighting off bacteria which causes acne. 

Stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga can therefore be helpful in guarding against psoriasis, rosacea and acne.

Choose Your Environment Wisely

If you avoid being in smoky environments, you’ll help to protect your skin from premature aging and damage. Indoor pollutants are known to have an adverse effect on the skin so make sure you change air filters in the home regularly and use an extractor fan in your kitchen. 

Dry air dehydrates the skin, making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable. Therefore, consider running a humidifier in your home to minimize such issues.

What Kind Of Toothpaste Do You Use?

One unusual factor which can cause problems for your skin is the type of toothpaste you use. If you’re using a product with an added flavor or tartar control ingredients, you may develop a skin condition known as perioral dermatitis. 

This appears in the form of scaling, redness and pimples around your mouth. Choose a plain toothpaste instead to minimize the chances of this occurring.

Guard Against Sun Exposure

We all know we need to take care when exposing our skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Putting on sunscreen and covering up when going outdoors is always important. However, many people fail to realize that they are at risk indoors too. 

UV rays come through windows and result in wrinkles and hyperpigmentation on exposed skin. While you may not want to wear sunscreen if you’ll be staying indoors all day, you can still protect your skin with an SPF-containing moisturizer.

Watch How Much Dairy You Eat

Teenage girls who drink lots of milk have a 30% higher chance of suffering from acne than those who consume less dairy. This research shows that dairy products have a link to breakouts. If you’re prone to acne, you should therefore consider minimizing the amount of dairy products you consume every day.

What Cleanser Do You Use?

If you’re suffering from dry skin, it’s important to choose the right cleanser for you. Cleansers can replace the skin’s moisture barrier, helping to prevent problems like psoriasis, eczema and dryness from occurring in the first place rather than treating them as they arise. 

Choose a natural cleanser which contains no irritating ingredients and wait 10 minutes after cleansing before you apply your regular moisturizer.

Choose The Right Hair Products

Some people don’t realize that the products they use on their hair can affect their skin health. Some conditions, volumizers, styling creams and pomades contain waxes or oils which clog up the pores causing breakouts on the back, hairline and forehead. 

Even when you take care to avoid getting any product on your skin, you may find they are transferred to your body and face when you sweat, shower or sleep. Therefore, choose formulas which are water based and which don’t contain beeswax, microcrystalline wax or mineral oil.

Which Medicines Are You Taking?

There are several medications which are known to cause breakouts. Oral contraceptives, fertility drugs, antiseizure medications and antibiotics may all result in spots, while antidepressants, diuretics and antihistamines could result in dry skin. 

Some diabetes treatments, antibiotics and diuretics also make sun damage more likely. If you’re finding that your skin health is worse since you began taking a specific medication, discuss it with your doctor.

Sleep More

When you’re asleep, the natural repair mechanisms in your skin start to act. If you’re sleep-deprived, however, your body is under stress. This causes more cortisol and adrenaline to be released and breakouts will be triggered. Try to get a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night to ensure better skin health.

Eat Healthily

You are what you eat. Make sure that you consume wholefoods rather than processed foods, and choose fruits and vegetables containing plenty of vitamins and minerals so your skin can have the best chance of getting the nutrients it needs for good health.

Follow these top tips, and you’ll find that your skin looks healthier than ever!

How Drinking Water And Staying Hydrated Benefits Your Skin

woman drinking water

How Drinking Water And Staying Hydrated Benefits Your Skin

woman drinking waterDrinking plenty of water every day couldn’t be more vital for your overall health since water helps to improve blood circulation, digestion, excretion and absorption. 

However, when it comes to good skin health, water is absolutely essential. Experts say that drinking water can give you the healthy, radiant and young-looking complexion you’ve been dreaming of. 

This is because the skin is the body’s largest organs. Organs are all made up from cells which are, in turn, composed of water. With too little water, organs are unable to properly function. This holds equally true for the skin.

When the skin doesn’t get enough water, the skin becomes flaky, tight and dry. When the skin is dry, it becomes less resilient and more likely to wrinkle. 

Since we lose large amounts of water from our skin every day, it must be replaced regularly. When you drink water, it reaches the other organs first before arriving at the skin. Therefore, water must be applied directly to the skin and kept there to ensure that wrinkles are prevented, and skin looks its best.

How To Apply More Water To Your Skin

One of the best ways to add more water to your skin is to apply a moisturizer with hydrating properties to the skin within a couple of minutes of getting out of the shower or bath. At this time, the skin is most porous and is better able to absorb products which are applied. 

When you apply a nourishing cream to the body straight away, more product will be absorbed into the skin and greater benefits will be experienced.

Before applying moisturizer to the skin, it’s also important to apply a product which contains hyaluronic acid. This is because hyaluronic acid can hold as much as a thousand times its own weight in water and this means it can attract more water to the skin and hold it there, offering a host of nourishing benefits.

Drink Water Too

Not only should you apply water directly to your skin, you should also try to drink plenty of water every day too. Drink a minimum of eight glasses daily to eradicate the maximum amount of toxins from the skin and body. This will help to give your skin a radiant glow and help to reduce acne.

How Does Water Help The Skin

There are several ways in which staying well hydrated can help to keep your skin looking its best every day. These include:

  • Less wrinkles – staying well hydrated means that you’ll see fewer fine lines and wrinkles on your skin. Water assists the skin in maintaining moisture and this, in turn, boosts the skin’s elasticity. If skin is more elastic, less wrinkles are visible so you’ll look younger.

  • A better complexion – if you drink sufficient water, you can reduce skin problems like eczema and psoriasis. Water can achieve this by helping to flush the toxins out of the body through the digestive system. As an added advantage, blood flow receives a boost from drinking more water, and this too helps to make your complexion and skin tone more even and attractive.

  • Less puffiness – skin can swell because of water retention. Drinking more water can relieve this problem. We retain water because of dehydration – the body tries to protect itself by saving water in the tissues. You can therefore smooth your skin and reduce swelling and puffiness by consuming more water to minimize dehydration.

  • Speedier healing – if you are experiencing skin problems like sunburn, staying well hydrated can help you to heal more rapidly. This will reduce the pain you experience and help you to return your skin to normal more quickly.

  • Clearing acne – around half of the adult population aged between 20 and 40 suffer from acne. This common skin problem can be relieved if you drink more water. Also, water flushes toxins out of the skin while shrinking the pores. This makes clogging less likely and minimizes the chance of breakouts.

  • Slowing the signs of aging – not only does water help to minimize wrinkles, it also helps to keep the skin looking plump. This, in turn, slows down the process of aging. The plumper the skin, the less signs of aging can be noticed, so any existing wrinkles are minimized.

  • Minimizing pores – pores can become enlarged and blocked during the day. If you drink more water, there will be a better balance of water and oil on the skin’s surface. This helps in reducing pore size, decreasing acne breakouts and reducing blemishes.

  • Less itching – if you suffer from dry skin, you’ll find that it begins to itch, flake and crack. By drinking more water and staying well hydrated, you’re less likely to suffer from itching and cracked skin.

  • Tighter skin – if your skin is sagging due to aging or weight loss, drinking more water can help to tighten up the skin around the stomach, legs, arms and jawline, since it improves the skin’s elasticity and makes it bounce quickly back from sagging.

  • Better pH balance – when you suffer from problem skin, it’s important to keep the pH balance of the skin at a healthy level if you want to enjoy having blemish-free, glowing skin. If you drink plenty of water, your pH levels will be better balanced and your skin will look healthier.

As you can see, there are lots of reasons why you should try to stay hydrated every day if you want to look and feel your best. 

By applying water directly to the skin and by also ensuring to drink lots of water on a daily basis, you can help to keep your complexion looking young and glowing. 

You can also minimize the tell-tale signs of aging likes puffiness and wrinkling and make your skin appear tighter even if it is sagging. 

With all of this in mind, it’s time to start drinking a lot more water and boosting your daily hydration so you can have the healthiest, most blemish-free and young-looking skin possible.

Getting To The Root Cause Of Acne

Getting To The Root Cause Of Acne

Although acne certainly isn’t a life-threatening condition, it nevertheless causes sufferers a lot of distress. Struggling to face the day with yet another outbreak of pimples can prove to be upsetting and self-confidence destroying, so it’s no wonder that so many people who have acne prone skin are looking for a solution to their issues.

Acne is a chronic medical condition which has a number of root causes. While covering up problem skin with makeup is a temporary solution, it isn’t going to address those root causes. This is why the only true solution to eradicating acne and enjoying better skin is to identify what is causing your breakouts and then to take action to eliminate those causes.

Whether you have compromised gut bacteria, micronutrient deficiencies, poor digestion or hormonal issues that are causing your skin to breakout, it’s essential to pinpoint the source of your problem skin and then to follow the right steps to treat that specific cause.

What are The Root Causes Of Acne?

There are several key issues at play when it comes to finding the root cause of acne. 

Firstly, hormone imbalances are one of the top factors to consider. During adolescence, testosterone and estrogen are flooding through the body for the very first time, so it’s no wonder that teenage breakouts are such a common feature. 

Also, when women are menstruating, their cycle results in fluctuating levels of estrogen which contribute to breakouts on a cyclical basis.

However, there are more hormones than simply testosterone and estrogen to consider when it comes to problem skin. 

Insulin is a major hormone in the body which aggravates acne breakouts. High insulin levels stimulate the oil glands in the skin, causing spots to appear. Each time we eat food, the pancreas produces insulin, however when we eat foods which contain a lot of sugar or refined carbohydrates, the body produces even more insulin. 

This stimulates even more oil to be produced. IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth factor) not only stimulates the oil glands, it also causes androstenedione and testosterone levels to increase which only serves to stimulate even more oil production and aggravate breakouts even further.

Another key cause of acne lies in gut health. Food sensitivities, an imbalance in the gut flora, exposure to foods which are inflammatory and insufficient digestive enzyme production can all lead to poor absorption of nutrients, inflammation within the body, leaky gut syndrome and high levels of harmful intestinal microbes. 

If your detoxification pathways are also compromised, skin problems are certain to develop, including acne.

Tackling Acne From the Inside

Experts know that the very best way of tackling acne is to treat it from the inside. While topical treatments are effective in calming breakouts for a short period of time, the internal ecosystem must be healed in order for the problem to be fully resolved. Since most medications usually make our gut microbiome even worse, this can be a problem.

Lots of women find that their doctor prescribes them hormonal birth control pills to reduce their acne however again, this isn’t a long-term solution to the problem since it cannot address the root cause. Even worse, these medications can cause more problems than they resolve due to the side effects they can produce. 

When coming off birth control pills, many women also suffer from rebound acne which is even worse than the breakouts that they had before starting the medication. This means that different strategies must be considered to address acne’s root causes. Here are some of the best.

Begin With Food

The best place to begin combating acne is to focus on food. No matter how many supplements you take, if your diet is poor in the first place you will never be able to eradicate breakouts. 

Anti-acne meals should be low glycemic and anti-inflammatory. Vegetables which are high in phytonutrients but low in GI content are the best options. Arugula, broccoli, dark leafy green vegetables and kale are all ideal additions to your diet. 

Also, you should try to include healthy proteins such as wild-caught fish, eggs, avocados, olive oil and lean meat as well as berries and other low glygemic fruits in your everyday diet while cutting out sugary and processed foods.

You may also consider avoiding eating dairy products since they are known to be very inflammatory as well as one of the most common food triggers to aggravate the gut lining and thus aggravate acne. Not only that, but dairy may increase the body’s IGF-1 and insulin levels and so may be better avoided by those with problem skin.

Some people also have sensitivities to gluten. It can result in aches and pains, brain fog and fatigue. Gluten may also increase zonulin levels which affect the gut lining’s permeability. Therefore, avoiding foods which contain gluten can prove helpful when trying to eliminate acne.

Introduce Supplements

Adding certain supplements to your diet can also have skin-clearing benefits. Adding flaxseed oil or ground flaxseed into your diet can be helpful as well as berberine – a herbal supplement with antimicrobial actions and which stabilizes blood sugar levels.

Optimize Your Micronutrient Levels

Trying to optimize your micronutrient levels is an effective solution to improving your skin. Carotenoids, E, C and B vitamins, essential fatty acids, zinc, probiotics and selenium can all help to improve acne.

Improve Your Body’s Detoxification Pathways

The body’s primary detoxification organ is the liver. Toxins which include used hormones are sent to the liver so they can be broken down and excreted. Therefore, supporting your body’s liver function is important. 

This can be achieved by eating more cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, by taking more exercise, by trying sweat therapies such as saunas, by adopting a high fiber diet and by staying well hydrated.

When you change your lifestyle, you can help to address acne’s root causes and improve your appearance and skin health quickly. This should, therefore, be your first course of action before resorting to taking medications.

Will Probiotics Help My Acne?

Can Probiotics Help You To Get Rid of Acne Forever?

The Bottom Line

People who suffer from acne do have a higher rate of gut problems than those who have clear skin. Often, these problems are due to bacterial imbalances in their gut. This weakens the lining of the gut so toxic substances can leak through. 

Although for some people probiotics may prove helpful, it’s unlikely that they are a miracle cure, and they won’t help everyone. All too often, bacterial imbalances in the gut isn’t the cause but the symptom. If the underlying causes aren’t addressing, probiotic supplements can only patch up the symptoms for a short term solution.

Probiotics and Acne

We’re all hearing a lot about probiotics at the moment. Websites and magazines are full of promises that they can help to cure acne. It’s said that probiotics can fix bacterial imbalances in the gut, helping to clear up skin problems. 

But is that actually true? Let’s take a closer look at some of the facts so we can make an informed decision.

Probiotics Won’t Change Your Gut Bacteria

We’re told to take probiotics to balance the gut microbiome. Apparently, if we have excessive amounts of bad bacteria in our gut when compared with the good bacteria we can develop gut problems as well as inflammation which, in turn, causes acne. 

Probiotics are supposed to resolve this imbalance. Unfortunately, there’s a problem. There’s virtually no evidence at all that probiotics can do anything to change the gut microbiome.

Danish researchers in 2016 reviewed all the studies which had been carried out into probiotic supplements and their effect on the gut microbiome. They concluded that there was no evidence to prove probiotics had an impact on microbiota composition at all. That suggests taking probiotics won’t balance the gut bacteria.

These results aren’t too surprising when we bear in mind the fact that there are thousands of bacterial types in the gut and the majority of those bacteria aren’t in probiotics. 

Therefore, it’s no wonder that taking a probiotic supplement which contains only a few of the bacterial strains will have minimal effect on your gut’s bacterial composition overall.

Probiotics May Actually Worsen Acne

Those who extol the virtues of probiotics as an acne treatment often fail to point out that in some cases they can worsen the problem, or even cause it in the first place. 

Some people suffering from acne have SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). This causes the good bacteria to migrate to the small intestine where it causes a host of issues, including acne. 

However, the bacteria which are found growing wild in the small intestine are frequently probiotics like Lactobacillus. If you take a probiotic supplement, you’re just going to worsen the problem.

Bacterial Imbalance Isn’t The Root Cause, It’s A Symptom

Usually, bacterial imbalances aren’t the cause of your gut problems, it’s actually a symptom of another underlying problem. There are a few potential underlying causes. These include:

  • Stress

  • SIBO

  • Gut irritants into the diet like gluten

  • Intolerance to FODMAP foods

  • Low levels of stomach acid

  • Using certain medications like painkillers, antacids and antibiotics

While probiotics may relieve symptoms temporarily, they almost certainly won’t resolve the problem completely. Studies on patients suffering from IBS have demonstrated this in the past. Therefore, probiotics aren’t going to resolve your acne issues in the long term.

Is There A Better Answer To Fixing My Acne And My Gut?

Unfortunately, balancing your gut bacteria and resolving the skin problems associated with it requires more than simply taking a probiotic supplement. You need to undertake a complete program which addresses the causes of bacterial imbalances and the imbalances themselves. 

There are several changes which are included in this type of program. They may include:

  • Making dietary changes to limit foods which are causing problems like FODMAPs, gluten and fermentable carbohydrates. This will help to balance bacterial levels in the gut.

  • Taking antimicrobials to kill bad bacteria quickly. These supplements will also support your digestive system, preventing problems from recurring.

  • Making appropriate dietary choices to support your gut’s core bacteria. This may including taking acacia gum and eating foods which contain resistant starch.

While probiotics may help in some cases, they won’t magically improve your skin overnight. If they do prove to be beneficial for you, it will only be as a small part of a comprehensive program of change.

Does Smoking Cause Acne?

Does Smoking Cause Acne?

We all know that smoking produces a host of negative effects from asthma to lung cancer. However, you may not be aware that smoking can also cause acne. Here, we take a closer look at this phenomenon.

What Is Smoker’s Acne?

Researchers now believe that smoking could cause acne. A study carried out by researchers in Italy’s San Gallicano Dermatological Institute in Rome indicated that non-smokers who suffer from acne generally have the inflammatory type. Meanwhile, acne-prone adults who smoke are more likely to have APAA (non-inflammatory post-adolescent acne). It is for this reason that the condition has been called “smoker’s acne”. 

A Greater Risk Of Developing Non-Inflammatory Acne

There is a difference between non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne types. Non-inflammatory acne breakouts aren’t the same inflamed, red pimples associated typically with acne. Instead, non-inflammatory acne will block the pores, appearing as comedones or skin-colored bumps across the skin. It may also appear in the form of non-inflamed blackheads. This type of acne may occur anywhere across the body, however it tends to appear most on the cheeks.

Not only that, but vitamin E levels are reduced and sebum peroxidation is increased by smoking. Sebum is the word used to describe the oily substance which is found in the pores. When sebum becomes blocked in the pores, comedones and non-inflamed blackheads appear across the skin. Vitamin E, meanwhile, is a vital antioxidant to keep your immune system healthy. When vitamin E levels are reduced, bacterial infections may increase which result in acne breakouts.

How Many Smokers Suffer From Acne?

Research has shown that 42% of smokers have acne when compared to 10% of those who don’t smoke. However, those who smoke cigarettes develop non-inflammatory acne at a greater rate than other types of adult acne sufferer. 75% of women taking part in the non-inflammatory acne study were smokers.

The amount of cigarettes that someone smokes has limited effect on acne breakout severity. Nevertheless, women who had had acne during their teenage years have a four time greater chance of having smoker’s acne when they reach adulthood.

Almost half of non-smokers suffering from non-inflammatory acne were exposed to specific environmental factors, such as being exposed constantly to smoke or working in steam-filled kitchens. These could have been contributing factors to acne development.

Is It Always Acne?

If you’re wondering whether you’ve developed smoker’s acne, it’s important to note that it may not be acne after all. There is a different skin condition known as Acne Inversa (hidradenitis supperativa) which is associated with smoking. This chronic disease leqaves scars and can most commonly be found in women who are middle aged.

Although acne inversa looks like acne, it only occurs on particular areas of the body. Adults who smoke may have true non-inflammatory acne on their face, but in other areas where there are sweat glands, skin problems may be due to acne inversa. This means that acne-like bumps in the groin, armpit or thighs may be acne inversa. It has a similar appearance to boils and if you spot it, you should see your doctor quickly to get treatment and mitigate the effects.

Is Sauna Good or Bad for Acne Prone Skin?

Is Sauna Good or Bad For Acne Prone Skin?

If you’re looking for natural ways to resolve your acne problem, you may be wondering whether a sauna could help. 

Unlike a steam room that heats up your body with hot, moist air, a sauna uses dry heat so you start to sweat. Saunas are excellent at soothing aching muscles, however this may not be their only benefit. 

Experts now believe that spending a short time in the sauna could help people with acne-prone skin. Others, however, say it makes acne worse. Which is true?

Bacteria And Sweating

Usually, your complexion will have both bad and good bacteria. Whenever excessive amounts of harmful bacteria accumulate, acne breakouts occur. Other factors can then exacerbate the problem. Sweating, however, isn’t one of those factors. In fact, it can help to relieve acne-prone skin.

Sweat contains large amounts of antimicrobial peptides which repell harmful bacteria. Dermcidin is a protein found in sweat which counteracts acne-causing bacteria, destroying it by preventing the bacteria from producing RNA and protein. 

Scientists have proven that there’s a direct link between sweating and acne. The less you sweat, the less dermicidin you produce and therefore the more outbreaks of acne you’ll experience. 

The reverse also holds true, and therefore going in the sauna is a great way to combat your acne.

Oil Reduction

When you sweat in the sauna, your skin’s oiliness decreases and its pH level is regulated. This reduces the chance of pimples forming on the skin. When you produce less sebum, your skin will look glowing and fresh. Also, acne-causing bacteria will struggle to survive on its surface.

Moisturizing From Sweat

If you sweat in the sauna, your skin will be intensely moisturized. When you spend time in the sauna, your body becomes twice as hydrated and this improves the condition of your skin. Sweating boosts your blood circulation, reducing acne outbreaks and helping to quickly heal existing breakouts.

Reduced Stress

One final reason why saunas can help with acne is because they reduce stress. Stress is a known aggravating factor in acne outbreaks.

Could Using A Sauna Be Harmful To My Acne-Prone Skin?

Not everybody believes saunas can help to cure acne. Sweating has been linked with unhealthy skin and some people think that the extra oil produced from sweat can aggravate acne. 

If you don’t wash off the sweat quickly, you could suffer more breakouts. When you skin cools down after your sauna, sebum an sweat can become trapped inside the pores. That can lead to more pimples. 

Sweat also produces certain particles like beta cytokines and interleukin-1 alpha which cause skin irritation. If cytokines enter the epithelial barrier, pimples can be the result.

If you spend too long in the sauna, your skin could also dry out. If you stay in the dry heat for over 15 minutes, your skin will become dehydrated, and this will only serve to you’re your spots look worse. 

Also, you should make sure that you never wear any cosmetics if you’re going in a sauna – sweating causes your makeup to melt and to clog the pores. After your sauna, always clean your skin using a mild acne cleanser and this will remove trapped debris and sweat, ensuring that they won’t remain on your skin where they could cause outbreaks.

Should I Try A Sauna For My Acne?

Since ancient times, saunas have been used to cure physical disorders and skin conditions like acne. However, everybody’s skin is very different. Therefore, you need to approach saunas with caution. 

You may find that your pimples respond well to the dry heat of the sauna or you may find your problem worsens. The sauna’s ability to improve your complex depends on the type of outbreak you’re experiencing and how frequently pimples appear. 

You should do your research to check how dry heat can impact on the type of breakouts you experience and always start slowly, only using the sauna for just a few minutes at first to make sure you can monitor its effects on your skin. 

If you’re concerned, you should consult your doctor or dermatologist as they will be able to give you expert information about how a sauna could impact on your acne-prone skin.

Do Comedogenic Ingredients Really Cause Acne?

Do Comedogenic Ingredients Really Cause Acne?

If you’re suffering from acne, you’re no doubt worried about which products to use on your skin. 

You probably spend hours reading labels and religiously check for the words “hypoallergenic”, “non-comedogenic” and “dermatologist-tested” on all your face care products. 

Do you know why you’re supposed to avoid comedogenic ingredients? What even are they anyway? Do they really cause acne? Since non-comedogenic products usually cost more, is it really worth our while to spend the extra money? 

Let’s find out more here.

What Does Non-Comedogenic Mean?

Acne’s least severe form is known as a comedo. It’s a pore blockage which results from excess sebum and which causes pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. The word “comedogenic” therefore means that an ingredient is likely to clog the pores and lead to acne development. 

Meanwhile, non-comedogenic ingredients don’t clog the pores. Therefore, they are less likely to cause acne or pimples. Most of us accept that when a product is labeled as non-comedogenic, it won’t give us acne. But is it really that simple?

The Limitations Of Non-Comedogenic Labeling

Unfortunately, just because a product has a label saying that it is non-comedogenic doesn’t mean that it won’t give you acne. 

For a start, there is no FDA regulation for non-comedogenic claims on skincare products. There is no defined list of ingredients which must be excluded from products in order for them to be labeled “non-comedogenic”.

Also, everyone has individualized skin. Therefore, standardizing comedogenicity is difficult. A product which can treat acne for me may not work for you and could even damage your skin. 

Skin health is dependent on many factors from environmental surroundings to biological processes. Hormone balances, nutrition, stress and skincare products all have a role to play. Therefore, you cannot guarantee any product can improve acne significantly. That means that even a non-comedogenic product could result in acne for some people.

No testing standard exists for comedogenicity. While there are some tests to describe relative comedogenicity, again they won’t apply to everybody for the reasons above. One method of testing, for example, the Rabbit Ear Model, may not be able to reflect cases of human acne accurately since rabbits’ ears are very sensitive to comedogenic ingredients.

Even human testing doesn’t reflect the way the product would be used in the real world. Individuals who are chosen for tests of this nature usually have large pores and are prone to acne. Also, the ingredients are usually exposed at a higher level than they would be in real life. This too makes testing unreliable.

Must I Use A Non-Comedogenic Product To Stay Acne Free?

Although comedogenicity ratings on products may give an insight as to whether the product is likely to cause acne or not, those ratings aren’t a hard and fast rule. Even products which contain comedogenic ingredients might not be comedogenic. 

Studies have been carried out on comedogenic ingredient-containing skin products to see the effect they would have on the skin. The result showed that no additional acne was caused even in products with comedogenic ingredients. 

Nevertheless, there are some comedogenic ingredients which should be avoided if you’re naturally prone to acne. These include:

  • Sodium salt sulfuric acid

  • Myristyl Myristate

  • Isopropyl Isostearate

  • Oleic acid

  • PPG-2 myristil propionate

  • Oleth-3

  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

  • Laureth-4

  • Myristyl lactate-4

So, Can I Use Any Skincare Product Or Should I Continue Looking For Non-Comedogenic Products?

If any of the ingredients listed above are on the label of a skincare product, it’s always best to avoid its use if you have acne-prone skin. However, you don’t need to rely on the comedogenicity rating. 

The study outlined above shows that many products containing so-called comedogenic ingredients have very little impact on acne progression. Although some people have a great sensitivity to certain comedogenic ingredients, other people have a greater tolerance level. 

It’s important to remember that your skin is completely unique and therefore your acne may be triggered by something that another person’s won’t be. There are many factors which contribute.

The best advice is to experiment and find out which ingredients and products are most suitable for your skin. You can then stick to those in the future to make sure your skin stays protected from future breakouts.

Can Coffee Be The Cause Of Acne?

Can Coffee Be The Cause Of Acne?

Almost 60% of people in the USA drink coffee every single day, and over 17 million Americans suffer from acne. If you fit into both demographics, you’ve probably wondered whether there was a link between them. You’ve probably met someone who said that quitting their daily caffeine habit cleared up their skin. So, can you believe what they say? Should you ditch your cup of java? Here we answer the key question “can coffee cause acne?”

Looking At The Research

It appears that there is a relationship between acne and coffee. However, it’s a fairly complicated one. Let’s make it quite clear from the start, coffee won’t give you acne. However, the downside is, it could make existing acne worse. There are several factors at play to determine the effect that coffee will have on your skin, including the amount you consume and what you put in it. Let’s take a look at some of those factors.

How Does Caffeine Affect Acne?

Coffee is full of caffeine, which gives you a stimulating boost but also increases your body’s natural stress response. A single large cup can increase your stress response two-fold. While stress won’t cause acne, it worsens any existing outbreaks. Cortisol and other stress hormones make your sebaceous glands produce more oil. This can lead to outbreaks.

Also, due to the stimulating effects of caffeine, drinking excessive amounts of coffee or drinking a cup at night could affect your sleep patterns. Poor quality sleep increases stress and this, in turn, worsens your acne. You could try reducing the amount of coffee you drink or stop drinking caffeine-containing beverages in the afternoon to guard against sleep issues.

Does Milk Affect Acne?

Many of us like to add a splash of milk to our cup of coffee. Some of us like a lot more milk in the form of a latte or cappuccino. However, milk has been linked to acne outbreaks. Once study examined the relationship between acne and milk and found that people who consume more milk are more likely to suffer from outbreaks. It’s believed that this is due to the hormones found in milk. Non-fat milk has a more severe impact that low-fat or full-fat milk. Women drinking at least 2 servings on non-fat milk per day have a 22% chance of developing severe acne and a 44% greater chance of developing nodular or cystic acne than women drinking just a single glass of non-fat milk per day.

Will Sugar Trigger A Breakout?

Do you add sugar to your cup of coffee? If so, this may be causing you a problem. Lots of research has been carried out into acne and sugar consumption and clear evidence shows that diets which contain a large sugar intake result in larger amounts of insulin being released as well as IGF-1. This hormone triggers acne development. If you then pair a sugary coffee with a sweet snack such as a pastry, you could be causing even more issues. Carbohydrate rich diets with a high GI value also increase IGF-1 levels, triggering breakouts.

Isn’t Coffee An Antioxidant? Shouldn’t That Help?

This is where it gets more complex. Coffee is, indeed, a rich source of antioxidants and antioxidants are known to improve skin condition. Unfortunately, there is only limited research available at the moment to determine the impact of antioxidants in coffee on acne.

Do I Need To Stop Drinking Coffee?

As we’ve already pointed out, coffee won’t give you acne. However, if you already suffer from acne breakouts and drink a lot of coffee, particularly if it’s full of sugar and milk, you could worsen your skin problems. That doesn’t mean you need to stop drinking coffee completely. You can try a few things to improve your skin without stopping your caffeine intake completely.

  • Don’t use sugary syrups or refined sugar in your coffee. Use a sweetener such as stevia instead.

  • Use non-dairy milks such as coconut or almond milk.

  • Avoid drinking caffeinated beverages during the afternoon and evening.

  • Try drinking decaffeinated coffee.

  • Avoid sugary pastries and snacks with your coffee.

Everybody has a different reaction to coffee. There’s only one true way of knowing whether coffee is worsening your acne, and that is to cut it out of your diet for a week or two to see if your skin gets better. Afterwards, you can reintroduce it slowly to monitor the effect on your acne.

If you’re still suffering from acne after you’ve tried our expert tips, it’s time to get help from a dermatologist. Acne can be treated, it’s just a matter of getting the right medical advice and treatment. With today’s medical advancements, there’s no need to go on suffering, so see your doctor today and get the help that you need to improve your skin condition.

Air Pollution – Can It Really Be The Cause Of Acne?

polluted city

Air Pollution - Can It Really Be The Cause Of Acne?

polluted city

Pollution has been blamed for many things in today’s society, from heart conditions to respiratory problems, however now it has been linked with acne too. 

Experts now believe that air pollution is prompting breakouts, causing those with acne-prone skin to experience ongoing problems. It’s a very interesting idea, and for those of us who live in the inner-city environment, it represents a problem that needs addressing.

Air Pollution In Today’s Cities

No matter where in the world you are, if you live or work in a major city, you’ll certainly be familiar with the gunk that can build up on your body simply by being outdoors in the urban environment. 

If you’ve ever looked at the grime that runs down the drain when you shower at the end of a long day, you will, no doubt, be well aware of the toll that pollution can take on your skin.

It should come as no surprise, then, that a recent review in the Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology journal pointed to evidence that acne cases are considerably more prevalent in areas that are known to have high levels of air pollution, and that flare-ups are especially connected with periods when air quality is at its worst.

Why Does Air Pollution Cause Acne?

Although a link has been spotted between air pollution and acne, the reason it causes breakouts is not yet fully understood by scientists. 

A study from China, however, has revealed that people who live in urban areas have sebum levels which are double those of people who live in less polluted, rural areas. This has corroborated the findings of a study from Mexico City which also revealed that people in polluted areas had higher sebum levels as well as reduced levels of squalene and vitamin E. 

Pollution particles are also believed to aggravate acne, and since pollution weakens the immunity of the skin and affects its ability to combat free radicals, it becomes even more susceptible to pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.

UV Rays Compound The Problem

The inflammation and oxidative stress caused by particles of pollution lies at the heart of the increased acne problem, and some studies have suggested that particles can even penetrate through the skin’s outer layers, depleting its natural antioxidants while compromising the skin’s natural defences. 

When the sun’s harmful UV rays are added into the mix, this disturbs the natural lipid level of the skin, sapping vitamin E – a vital antioxidant. The entire result is that your skin becomes more vulnerable to irritants and susceptible to damage. 

When this is combined with dust, sebum, bacteria and dirt build-up caused by city living and working, it makes sense that inflammatory acne cases are on the rise.

Taking Steps To Protect Your Acne-Prone Skin From Air Pollution

man with a protective mask

While all of this may sound quite alarming for any acne sufferer, the good news is that you don’t have to move away from the city to experience better skin. 

There are some steps that you can take to reduce the number of outbreaks you suffer, even when you spend most of your time in built-up, highly polluted areas.

  • Use products which contain ingredients which strengthen and restore your skin’s natural barrier. These include ceramides and niacinamide together with natural plant oils such as rosehip.

  • Eat lots of foods with antioxidant properties to combat the free radicals which break down the skin’s natural defenses. Apply skincare products which contain antioxidant ingredients too for a doubly impressive effect.

  • Make sure to keep your facial skin as clean as possible by putting in place a regular cleaning routine. Make sure you wash away the pollution of the day the minute you return home after being outdoors since the longer dirt and pollution particles remain on the skin, the more damaging the effects.

  • Use an oil-based cleanser which breaks down the pollution and cuts through grim build-up before using a cream cleanser that thoroughly removes the pollution particles from your skin.

  • Exfoliate your skin regularly, but avoid scrubbing your skin. This will only cause more damage to your skin barrier. Instead, use a liquid exfoliant designed for use on acne-prone, oily skin to clear away the dead skin cells, pollution particles and bacteria.

  • Make sure to consume plenty of foods that contain high levels of vitamins E and C to replace the amounts which have been depleted by pollution. This will protect your skin from a wide range of skin damage including age spots and blemishes.

  • Choose skincare products which contain squalene, an emollient that will build up your skin barrier and help to prevent the bacteria that causes acne from getting in.

  • Always use a sunscreen with at least SPF 20, but make sure that you choose a non-comedogenic sun care product. This will protect your skin from inflammation, UV rays, DNA damage and the elements themselves without clogging up your pores.

  • Give yourself a daily facial massage to remove the toxins and leave your skin looking radiant, glowing and well-hydrated.

  • Use regular face masks to restore your skin’s natural defense barriers and to leave it looking and feeling refreshed ready to face the challenges that city life will throw at it.

Coping With Your Acne Prone Skin In The City Environment

Although it can be difficult to cope with acne-prone skin at the best of times, if you live and work in the highly polluted environment of a city it can be especially challenging. 

Hopefully, when more pollution-reducing measures are adopted by worldwide governments, we should see a reduction in the level of pollution in the air and experience much clearer skin. 

However, until that time, if you take the time to choose the correct products, to clean your skin thoroughly and regularly, and to use an SPF sunscreen every time you leave the house, you’ll find that your skin will be well-protected from the harmful effects that air pollution can have on your skin, and you should experience far fewer acne breakouts in future.

Can Nuts Worsen My Acne?

mixed nuts

Can Nuts Worsen My Acne?

mixed nuts

While research has been carried out to show that some foods have been found to exacerbate acne, others may alleviate the symptoms. 

While foods with a high glucose content and dairy products have a tendency to worsen breakouts, fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables can reduce breakouts. 

But what about nuts? Could they make an acne problem worse?

Nuts – Giving Your Digestive System A Workout

One reason why nuts may exacerbate acne is because they require a lot of digestive system activity. Nuts contain large amounts of protein and fats and this takes your body a lot of effort and time  to turn them into components that it can use. 

Since this process is a very slow one, your body’s immune cells might start to produce antibodies to counteract the problem. Those antibodies can irritate the skin’s sebaceous glands, and cause them to over-produce sebum. Excess sebum clogs up the pores, resulting in acne breakouts.

So, what do you do if you want to eat nuts but don’t want to deal with increased acne? 

One way is to change how you eat nuts. If you soak them, it’s possible they may become more accessible to the digestive system. 

Alternatively, you could roast them. This will get rid of much of their protein content.

Nuts Have Nutritious Value

Nuts contain a wide variety of vitamins which can help to counteract pimple breakouts. Viamins A, B6 and B3, E and C all fight skin inflammation. They also contain selenium and chromium which can combat acne. 

Vitamin E is known for its hydrating properties and for its ability to refine the natural oils in the skin, while folic acid which is also in nuts fights free radicals, allowing your skin to recover effectively.

Chromium and selenium are also useful against acne. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant which improves the condition of your skin and reduces the appearance of old scars. It also gives your skin a boost against flare ups and irritation, tightening it successfully. 

Zinc is another mineral in nuts which stimulates the immune system so your complexion can fully rejuvenate. Nuts also contain omega 3 fatty acids which can combat inflammation.

This means that, although nuts may raise some problems for your skin, it isn’t all bad news. They also contain many beneficial properties which could improve the condition of your complexion in the long run.

Could Nuts Be Triggering An Allergic Reaction?

At the present time, scientists are still unsure of the precise correlation between acne and what you consume, but it is generally believed that fatty acids, minerals and vitamins have a role to play. 

In some cases, however, you may need to avoid eating nuts completely. Some people find that their acne is triggered by allergic reactions to nuts. You can work out if this is your problem by noting down every time you eat nuts, how much you consume and the way in which your skin reacted in the following days. You may then see a pattern emerging which indicates that you are experiencing an allergy.

Which Nuts Are Best For Acne?

If you love nuts and can’t bear the thought of avoiding them completely to protect your acne-prone skin, the good news is that there are certain types of nuts which may be more beneficial for your complexion than others. 

Here, we take a closer look at which ones you should opt for, given the choice.

Brazil Nuts

brazil nuts

Brazil nuts are good for your skin because they contain a high level of selenium. This mineral improves the elasticity of your skin while it also battles infections linked to pimples. 

Selenium also helps to reduce the redness which exists alongside acne and helps to create glutathione, a free radicals neutralizer. 

Free radicals deteriorate the healthy skin cells, while lowering your immune system which is instrumental in acne development. Therefore, glutathione has a key role to play in combating acne breakouts. 

Brazil nuts also contain vitamin E and fatty acids which hydrate your skin while allowing the natural skin oils to have an improved consistency. As a result, acne is reduced.

Pistachio Nuts

pistachios

Pistachio nuts contain vitamins E, C and A together with folic acid and zinc. 

Pistachios also have an influence on your insulin level which decreases the appearance of acne since it can control the blood sugar which circulates androgen, the hormone which causes acne. Shifts in blood sugar levels produce excess sebum which, in turn, triggers more pimples. If you add pistachios into your diet, your insulin levels can be better regulated and your skin can look healthier and blemish-free. 

Vitamins E, C and A, folic acid and zinc are also potent antioxidants which enhance the natural ability of pistachios to guard against the development of acne by safeguarding your skin from damage by free radicals.

Cashew Nuts

cashews

Cashew nuts contain both zinc and selenium – two minerals which are very helpful in reducing acne and preventing further breakouts. 

Selenium and Vitamin E work together as antioxidants to reduce inflammation in the skin, increase hydration and reduce the appearance of blemishes and scars. 

Meanwhile, zinc can give your immune system a boost, promoting better wound healing and the growth of new skin cells so that skin which has been damaged by infection and acne can be renewed more effectively and swiftly.

Should I Avoid Eating Nuts To Protect My Skin?

You can clearly see that there are both advantages and disadvantages to eating nuts if you suffer from acne-prone skin and breakouts. 

In general, however, unless you suffer from an acne as a result of an allergic reaction to nuts, you should be able to eat them in moderation without experiencing too many ill effects. 

If you soak or roast the nuts before eating them, you should find that you experience fewer breakouts after consuming nuts, and if you choose the right nuts such as cashews, pistachios and brazils, you should find that your skin actually benefits from the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants they supply.

Can Coconut Oil Help Me With My Acne Problem?

Can Coconut Oil Help Me With My Acne Problem?

Coconut oil has been the subject of a lot of hype recently, with many people claiming that it offers a host of health benefits. 

There are articles online and in the media linking this natural substance with everything from weight loss to healthier hair. However, unlike many other natural products which are promoted as being the latest miracle substance without any clear evidence, there are actual scientific reasons to back up coconut oil as a valuable healing product. 

The question then, is whether coconut oil can be helpful in treating acne. Let’s take a closer look at the evidence to find out more.

A Moisturizing Oil

When coconut oil is topically applied to the skin, it’s believed to moisturize more effectively than some treatments favored by dermatologists. Coconut can prevent the skin from drying out, and this makes coconut oil an effective moisturizer.

Your skin suffers from dryness when the water inside and between the cells evaporates. When the skin has its own layer of oil on it, known as sebum, a barrier is created which prevents water inside the skin from being able to evaporate. Coconut oil, applied to the skin, creates an extra layer on top of the natural sebum which provides extra protection from moisture loss.

We know that people who suffer from acne have a damaged skin barrier function. This means that the skin can become dry much more quickly and easily. Adding a layer of coconut oil to the skin can help to effectively retain the hydrating water that your skin needs to protect against dryness which can exacerbate acne.

Powerful Antibacterial Properties

Coconut oil also has strong antibacterial properties. This is another reason why it’s believed to reduce acne. 

Coconut oil’s main fatty acid is Lauric Acid (or LA). This accounts for around half of all of its fat content. Lauric Acid can kill the bacteria which causes acne 15 times more effectively than traditional treatments like benzoyl peroxide. 

Capric acid, another fatty acid found in coconut oil, has also been shown in a study to be effective in combating the P.Acnes bacteria, although its effect is weaker than that produced by lauric acid.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Coconut oil also contains a number of substances known for their anti-inflammatory properties. These include p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid and some other phenolic compounds. 

Many high-quality skincare products contain Ferulic acid which acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin from the damage caused by free radicals. Since inflammation has a role to play in triggering acne breakouts, coconut oil’s antioxidant properties are highly beneficial.

A study carried out in rats showed that when coconut oil was applied to their ears, they were protected from chemical exposure. A different study revealed that coconut oil applied topically to a wound accelerated healing. This shows that coconut oil can help to heal the skin and repair damage.

Sun Protection

Coconut oil also helps to protect your skin from UV rays. Although it is only a weak sunscreen, it can block around a fifth of UVB radiation. This equates to around SPF7. If you suffer from acne-prone skin, this is helpful to protect against the damage caused by occasional exposure to UV rays.

UV radiation damages sebum, and this triggers acne to develop. When your skin is exposed to UV rays, its squalene goes through a process of photodegradation. As a result, by-products are formed which have a harmful action on the skin. Squalene peroxide, one of these by-products, is comedogenic, causing pore blockages. When coconut oil is applied to the skin topically, its antioxidant properties can protect your natural sebum from oxidative damage, helping to guard against the formation of acne breakouts.

Does Coconut Oil Cause Acne?

There is one potential problem to bear in mind – coconut oil is comedogenic. It blocks the pores. That means it may result in acne breakouts. Therefore, it should be used with care. Nevertheless, it is a safe substance which is highly unlikely to cause any negative reactions of contact allergies.

Should I Use Coconut Oil For My Acne-Prone Skin?

Although many natural products are touted online as an effective cure for acne, there is very little, if any, evidence to show that they are effective. 

However, coconut oil is an exception to the rule. There are many science-based valid reasons to suggest that topical application of coconut oil onto acne-prone skin will offer benefits.

Since coconut oil is quite a heavy oil, it can form a barrier which prevents water in the skin from escaping. This helps to protect the skin and strengthen the skin barrier. In fact, it can even do this more effectively than mineral oils favored by dermatologists.

Not only that, but coconut oil is capable of killing the bacteria which can cause acne. The antioxidants in coconut oil also offer a limited amount of protection from UV rays to the equivalent of SPF 7. This is also helpful for those with acne since it helps to protect the skin’s natural sebum from damage by the UV radiation.

On the downside, however, coconut oil is a comedogenic substance which can block the pores and exacerbate an acne problem. While comedogenic ingredients don’t normally cause a problem, coconut oil has around a 50% lauric acid content which means that coconut oil could result in more acne breakouts in some cases. Therefore, it’s advised that if you want to experience the benefits of coconut oil on your acne-prone skin, you should start out slowly and carefully, only applying a small amount to a small part of your face to observe any reaction before applying it in larger amounts.

Coconut oil certainly is an interesting alternative for anyone who is keen to use a natural skincare solution rather than a harsh chemical treatment. If you use it in moderation, you may find that you reap the benefits of the natural antioxidants, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that it contains when it comes to treating the symptoms of your acne breakouts.

If I Swim In A Pool Will It Harm My Acne-Prone Skin?

pool

If I Swim In A Pool Will It Harm My Acne-Prone Skin?

pool

If you suffer from acne, you may be afraid of going swimming in a pool. 

However, there’s nothing to be too concerned about. Yes, the disinfectants and chlorine in the water could dry or irritate your skin, but those chemicals could have positive benefits too.

If your skin becomes too dry or irritate, the acne cycle can be perpetuated, so keeping your skin properly hydrated and balanced is important. 

You will need to take when drying yourself to be as gentle as possible, drying rather than rubbing your skin. You should also try to choose the right time to go swimming – try to fit it in before your evening or morning anti-acne regime after your swim. You should also always moisturize after going swimming.

Here is your guide to pool swimming without damaging your acne-prone skin.

Pool Chemicals – The Lowdown

Pool water contains a number of chemicals and compounds, although these will vary depending on how many people are in the pool, how they behave, and the environmental climate as well as the contaminants in the pool. 

Pool water will contain organic matter which comes from the bodies of the swimmers like sweat, saliva, body cells, personal care products, dirt and urine. 

This is why pools are disinfected with chemical disinfectants to destroy the microorganisms in the water and filtered to remove particles which drift in the water. These two methods together purify the pool water and remove unwanted substances.

In order to meet the required safety standards, chemical disinfection methods must remove at least 99.99% of the “indicator organism” within thirty seconds of the treatment being applied. 

Chemicals based on chlorine are usually used since they’re capable of achieving this kind of disinfection. Chlorine-based chemicals react in the water to form an acid called hypochlorous acid. This kills microorganisms. 

The disinfectants also react with the organic matter contained in the water. This results in several smaller compounds which are collectively known as DBPs or disinfection byproducts. 

Some common DBPs include nitrates, trihalomethanes, chloramines and chlorates. When these DBPs are found alongside chlorine-based chemicals, the skin’s barrier function can be damaged, resulting in irritation and dryness. Nevertheless, those chemicals could actually help you with your acne problem. 

The chemicals used in pools are designed to kill microorganisms and bacteria, and since acne is partially a bacterial condition, those chemicals may also help to kill the bacteria which causes acne, potentially relieving the symptoms. As yet, there is no research to prove this, but it is a possibility.

Be Aware Of Sun Protection

If you’re going to be swimming in an outdoor pool, make sure you use adequate sun protection to guard against excessive UV exposure. 

Choose a non-pore-clogging sunscreen to avoid sunburn, since sunburn leads to acne while the skin works to repair itself during the weeks after sun over-exposure.

woman sunbathing

Interestingly, though, if you’re swimming outdoors, your skin will be naturally exposed to sunlight. While UV rays are damaging, sunlight itself promotes vitamin D synthesis in the body, and this benefits skin health and therefore, in turn, acne. 

As long as you take care to avoid getting burned, sun exposure in this way could be helpful for your skin.

Will Pool Water Impede Skin Barrier Function?

The outer layer of your skin provides a barrier function, protecting your body from the external environment while keeping water inside your skin. The cell layers inside the skin barrier and the cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids (lipids), which surround those cells protect you from microorganisms and irritants.

If you spend a long time in a swimming pool, however, this structure may be eroded, reducing its protective abilities. If you have acne, your skin’s barrier function will already be impaired, and therefore swimming for extended periods could keep you trapped in an acne cycle pattern.

Although no direct research has been carried out on the effect of pool water on skin which is prone to acne, investigations have been carried out into the way in which swimming pool water impairs the barrier function of the skin. 

Therefore, you should always keep this in mind when swimming and avoid staying in the pool for extended periods. You should also always moisturize your skin thoroughly after swimming to restore your skin’s barrier function.

Dry Skin From Swimming

Many swimmers suffer from excessive skin dryness. This is officially known as “swimmer’s xerosis”. This is a particular problem for acne sufferers since people who suffer from acne already have impaired skin barrier function. 

Swimmer’s xerosis occurs when the stratum corneum, or outermost skin layer, is stripped of its natural oils. Pool water strips away the skin’s oils if you spend too long in the water. 

If you apply a good moisturizer after swimming, this will help to mitigate the problem. Applying it before and after swimming can be even more beneficial.

Another reason why swimming can be problematic for acne sufferers is because swimmers tend to shower after every swim. This can worsen symptoms associated with swimmer’s xerosis. 

Chlorinated water reduces your skin’s ability to retain moisture. This is also a problem for acne sufferers, since they naturally have drier skin in the first place.

What Is Aquagenic Acne?

There is a specific form of acne known as Aquagenic acne which specifically affects swimmers. Caused when the skin comes into contact with water, this disorder is really just another form of common acne and has the same treatments. 

People with usually clear skin may develop a case of aquagenic acne, but if you already suffer from acne, it could exacerbate the problem.

Aquagenic acne is caused by two processes. 

One is overcompensation of the skin oil sebum. When you swim, skin oil is lost from the skin’s top layer. The skin’s oil producing glands then overreact, producing more sebum at a faster rate in an attempt to replace the sebum which has been lost. More sebum tends to result in increased acne.

The other process which contributes to aquagenic acne is pore-clogging. When the skin barrier is damaged by pool water, the skin cells may begin to over-produce. This can cause clogging of the pores. Secondly, if you use a pore-clogging sunscreen before, after or during swimming, this could also clog the pores further.

In order to prevent the development of aquagenic acne, you should pay close attention to the condition of your skin every time you come out of the water. 

If necessary, you should apply a good quality moisturizer. You should also make sure that if you’re applying a sunscreen, you select one which is designed for use on sensitive skin and one which isn’t comedogenic.

Should I Go Swimming If I Have Acne?

Although there have been no direct studies carried out into whether acne-prone skin is damaged by swimming pool water, research has been carried out into how chlorinated swimming pools affect other skin conditions. 

These studies have revealed that the chemicals used to disinfect swimming pools can have a negative impact on the skin. 

Some people who swim frequently suffer from dermatitis – an inflamed, red and itchy rash which is evidence that the skin barrier is unhealthy. 

It’s important to remember that anything which causes damage to the skin barrier could potentially be very bad for your acne-prone skin.

Nevertheless, as long as you’re aware of the potential problems that a swimming pool could cause your skin, it’s perfectly fine to go in the water. You just need to make sure that you take appropriate precautions. 

Always make sure to moisturize well after swimming, and preferably before too. Wear a non pore-clogging sunscreen if you’ll be swimming outdoors. Avoid staying in the water too long and avoid over-washing when you get our of the water. Also, take care to stay gentle when you dry yourself after swimming, always patting the skin rather than rubbing it.

Follow this expert advice and you should be able to enjoy having fun in the swimming pool without worrying about your acne-prone skin. So, what are you waiting for? Get in the water and enjoy yourself!

DIY Acne Scar Treatments That Will Reduce The Appearance Of Blemishes

woman with clear skin

DIY Acne Scar Treatments That Will Reduce The Appearance Of Blemishes

woman with clear skin

Nobody likes acne scars, yet all too often they’re the result of a serious breakout. 

If you’re looking at your scarring in despair, you’re probably wondering how you can reduce the damage and speed up the healing process so your complexion can be restored to its flawless state. 

Here are a few home remedies which could help to eliminate your acne scars and give you your confidence back.

1. Aloe Vera

aloe vera

Soothing and moisturizing properties in a scar treatment are essential for healing. Aloe vera has both of these properties as well as a host of other benefits. 

Antioxidants contained in aloe vera reduces redness and swelling. Meanwhile, its natural astringent properties remove dead cells and excess oil. 

Aloe vera has a host of beneficial properties. It can treat sunburn and, when diluted properly, can be ingested. Even better, it’s super-simple to use. All you need to do is find an aloe vera leaf, scrape off the jelly and lather it onto your scar before covering it with plastic wrap. While it’ll feel sticky and uncomfortable, your skin will reap the benefits. 

2. Coconut Oil

Any type of oil can reduce scarring so long as it has plenty of omega fatty acids. These will moisturize and penetrate the skin, restoring its natural glow. 

Of all the different oils available, coconut oil is one of the best. It is packed with beneficial properties which will reduce the appearance of scars and make your face look naturally fresh.

3. Baking Soda

Although baking soda may sound like a harsh solution for removing acne scars, it can be very beneficial. It balances the natural pH of your skin while also acting as an exfoliator. It will eliminate the dead skin cells, leaving you fully refreshed without causing any damage to the skin surrounding the scar. 

All you need to do is make a paste using one part of baking soda to two parts of water. Scrub the paste onto the scar, leave on for one minute then rinse thoroughly.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

We’ve all heard how beneficial apple cider vinegar can be, not only for your skin but for a host of other medical issues too. It’s very good for treating acne scars. 

All you need to do is mix some with honey then leave on your skin for ten minutes before washing off. Repeat three times daily and you’ll see the best possible results.

5. Onion Extract

Although onion extract will sting your skin, it is very effective at reducing acne scarring. This is because onion extract is packed with bioflavonoids such as kaempferol and cepalin. This reduces scarring after just a couple of weeks as long as you use it daily. 

It can also combat existing acne outbreaks thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties which reduce soreness and redness.

5. Honey

Honey has natural moisturizing properties and can stimulate the regeneration of your skin tissues. This makes it an ideal addition to any skincare regime. 

When used in raw form, honey has a lot to offer. Choose the darkest type you can find to maximize its medicinal properties. 

If you mix cinnamon with honey, you’ll find that it’s an even more effective skin renewal treatment which keeps your complexion looking clear and smooth.

6. Lemon

lemon

Lightening scars is possible when you use lemon juice. Lemon contains AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) which have all the essential healing properties that your skin requires. Lemon is a natural type of bleach, aiding the growth of new skin cells and also giving your skin back its elasticity. 

Lemon couldn’t be easier to use. Just cut on in half then rub it over your acne scar, squeezing it gently as you rub so the scar can be thoroughly soaked. Leave for around 15 minutes before dabbing gently with cool water and rinsing away. 

As lemon makes the skin more sensitive to the sun’s rays, you should always use an SPF containing daily moisturizer before you go outdoors during the daytime when using this natural remedy.

7. Essential Oils

Various essential oils have healing properties that can improve the appearance of scarring from acne. 

Tea tree, carrot seed and lavender essential oils all have beneficial properties which can help depending on which kind of scar you are dealing with. It’s important to use an essential oil topically and to always use a carrier oil to avoid causing more damage to your skin. 

One useful remedy is to mix apricot essential oil with lavender, neroli and rose oils (use 1 to 2 drops of each). This will form an aromatic and gentle daily moisturizer which will help with healing.

8. Shea Butter

Shea butter has already been proven to eliminate and prevent stretch marks, and it is equally effective on acne scarring. 

If you apply shea butter daily to your skin, you will find that it looks brighter and is much more moisturized. 

Raw shea butter is the best option, although you could use the refined version if you’re unable to find the raw variety. Be aware of store-bought brands however, since they often have additives and added fragrances which can irritate your sensitive skin.

9. Turmeric Powder

turmeric

Turmeric is very beneficial in treating acne scars since it contains a compound called curcumin. This has natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which reduce excess melanin production which will make your scar appear darker due to the extra pigmentation which it adds. As a result, turmeric can treat discoloration, helping your skin to glow. 

As turmeric is also antiseptic, it can smooth the skin with no irritation. Add turmeric to honey (using 1 teaspoon of each). Apply to the skin and leave for 20 minutes. This will enable an exfoliating effect that removes all the dead skin cells. Finally, rinse away using cool water.

Treating Your Scarring The Natural Way

Although acne scars are unpleasant, it’s possible to eliminate them if you take the right action. These natural remedies can reduce the appearance of those lasting blemishes, making your complexion look brighter, fresher and clearer.

How To Effectively Prevent Acne Scars​

woman with freckles

How To Effectively Prevent Acne Scars

 

woman with freckles

Although acne is generally only a temporary issue, the scars that it leaves can last a long time, and may even be permanent. 

Even though scars are unwelcome, they’re a natural part of our skin’s healing process following damage from an injury or wound. 

Most wounds which are superficial heal with no scarring, however, when the dermis gets damaged, scars develop on your skin. Knowing the causes of acne scars and how to prevent them can help to restore your confidence and improve the condition of your complexion.

What Causes Acne Scars?

Usually, acne scars are caused when a lesion like a cyst, pustule or papule becomes inflamed. This happens when the pore or follicle becomes swollen with dead skin cells, bacteria and excess oil.

When the pore swells up, the wall of the follicle breaks. When that rupture happens close to the surface of the skin, the resulting lesion will usually be fairly minor and will heal quickly. 

However, when the break is deeper under the skin, the lesions which arise will be more serious. Infected material will spill out into the dermis layer, destroying the healthy skin tissues.

Your skin works to repair the damage caused to its dermis layer by forming fresh collagen fibers. Collagen is a fibrous protein which gives your skin its flexibility and strength. 

Although these collagen fibers will repair your dermis, the result will never look as flawless and smooth as it did before the damage occurred.

The more inflamed your skin, the greater the chance of scarring occurring. Deep breakouts which take longer to heal increase the chances of scars developing. 

Non-inflamed blemishes like whiteheads and blackheads don’t ususally result in scars since lesions like these don’t damage the skin tissue.

Acne Scar Types

When a wound heals, your body will sometimes produce excess collaged. As a result, raised tissue will appear on the surface of your skin. 

This is known as keloid or hypertrophic scarring. Usually, acne results in depressed or atrophic scars. These develop if tissue is lost.

woman with skin problems

Often, acne scarring isn’t really a scar at all. Instead, it is PIH or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This means that skin is temporarily discolored, however over time it will fade and return to its normal shade. 

You can speed up the time it takes for the discoloration to fade by using specific treatment medications.

Preventing Acne Scars

It’s impossible to prevent scarring completely, however there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of scars developing from your acne breakouts:

  • Treat your acne breakouts immediately. If you can get your acne under controll quickly, breakouts will be kept to a minimum and will be prevented from becoming more severe. As a result, scarring can be prevented.

  • Reduce inflammation. Blemishes which are large and inflamed have a greater chance of leaving a scar than blackheads and breakouts which aren’t inflamed. You should always try to calm down inflammation by avoiding doing anything that irritates the skin further. Harsh skincare products and aggressive scrubbing should certainly be avoided.

  • Never pop, pick or squeeze pimples. Although it’s tempting, this will only force the infection more deeply into your skin’s dermis layer, spreading it to other tissues and making inflammation worse. This is particularly true in the case of serious, deep blemishes such as cysts and nodules. It will also take longer to heal a popped pimple, and this also increases the chance of a scar becoming permanent. Leave spots to heal on their own and if you have already popped a pimple, work on healing it to minimize the damage.

  • Don’t pick scabs. It’s important to avoid picking scabs too. Scabbing forms a natural skin bandage to protect your wound while it heals. If you pick off the scab before the wound is fully repaired, the process of healing will take longer and the chances of a scar are higher.

  • Be aware of whether you’re likely to develop a scar. Some people have a greater tendency to scar than others. If you’re more prone to scarring, you should seek help from a dermatologist immediately to discuss your options for acne treatment.

  • Visit your doctor. If you’re getting deep, large breakouts or if you’re developing acne cysts, you should make an appointment to see your physician to get professional medical advice. Although small blemishes may scar your skin, it’s these larger breakouts which cause the most damage since they are deeper in the skin, destroying tissue and thus leaving more scarring. Acne products bought over the counter usually aren’t strong enough to help cystic or nodular breakouts, so seeing your doctor is the best option so you can get a prescription for an effective treatment which will reduce your scarring.

Coping With Acne Scars

Although acne scarring can be distressing, it’s important to remember that in many cases, the appearance of scars will reduce over time. Meanwhile, you can take all of the steps mentioned above to limit the possibility of scars occurring in the first place. 

After all, prevention is better than cure, so taking action before your problem worsens is always the best idea.

Why Is It So Important To Love Yourself When Dealing With Acne?

Self Love Woman

Why Is It So Important To Love Yourself When Dealing With Acne?

Self Love Woman

While most of us wouldn’t hesitate to reassure a friend or loved one who was struggling with an acne problem, when it comes to caring for ourselves when we’re in the same situation, the same simply cannot be said. 

Most of us beat ourselves up about our blemish prone skin, however this doesn’t help matters and could even be making the situation worse.

Dealing with acne isn’t just frustrating, it can also be embarrassing and distressing. The more negative you feel about your body image, the less self-confidence you’re likely to have and this can impact on every area of your life. 

In the worst cases, a lack of self-confidence can lead to increasing isolation, with fewer social activities and a narrow friendship group. It’s clear, then, that acne is an incredibly stressful condition but all that stress could actually be making your acne worse.

How Is Acne Linked To Stress?

Stress has a known connection with acne, and it’s well recognized that when you’re going through an extremely stressful period the chance of experiencing breakouts is much higher. 

The reason for this lies in a hormone known as cortisol. This impacts on your health in several ways, and one of those is the aggravation of skin problems like acne. Therefore, if you’re stressing out over your acne, you’re only going to experience more breakouts, and this causes the cycle to become even more embedded.

However, there is a way to break the cycle. 

All you need to do is change the way you feel about your blemish prone skin and learn how to cope with the stress that the condition causes in a more effective way. 

As a result, your skin will improve and you’ll feel more confident – a self-fulfilling positive loop which is much better than the negative cycle you are currently experiencing.

How Do You Show Yourself Some Compassion?

It might sound easy to say you should show yourself some compassion, but what does this actually look like? It means that you show the same level of care and empathy for yourself as you would show to another person in the same situation.

To be self-compassionate, you need to stop putting demands on yourself that you would never put on other people. Striving to achieve the unattainable goal of flawless skin is something which you must accept is impossible – after all, nobody has perfect skin. 

When you see photos of celebrities who appear to have beautifully smooth skin, in fact they’re wearing makeup that hides their flaws or the image has been photoshopped to make them look more attractive.

Showing yourself some self-compassion also means that you need to stop thinking that your acne is your own fault. 

Some people believe that if only they could do more to improve their skin everything would be better. 

However, this is rarely the case. In fact, trying increasingly extreme avenues to improve your skin could actually do more harm than good. 

For example, elimination diets may seem like the ideal solution to eliminating your acne, however they could result in malnutrition or even an eating disorder together with feelings of depression if your cure fails to achieve a result.

If you’re being compassionate to yourself, you will stop hiding away and refusing to socialize until you’ve attained your perfect ideal. Go out, enjoy yourself and have fun. When you feel happier in your life, you’ll feel more positive about yourself and this could help your skin to improve.

Top Tips For Loving Yourself

If you’re still struggling to get started with loving yourself when dealing with acne, here are some top tips:

  • Practice mindfulness. Be aware of all your emotions when you’re experiencing them and look at them objectively. This will help you become self-aware – the first step towards self-compassion.

  • Shift focus. Instead of focusing on self-improvement, shift the focus instead to self-growth. Don’t think about how you can fix yourself. Instead, think about how you can grow as an individual.

  • Remember you’re human. All humans are flawed. You need to embrace this and accept it.

  • Try meditating. This will help you to become more self-compassionate and less stressed. As a result, your skin breakouts may be reduced and your life, overall will be happier.

  • Don’t catastrophize. Acne may be inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it isn’t the end of the world. Having breakouts won’t prevent you from achieving any goal you set yourself and it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying life to the max.

  • What would you say to a friend? Think about how you’d talk to a friend or loved one who was upset about an acne breakout. Now talk in the same way to yourself.

  • Don’t allow acne to control your life. If you have clear skin but are still afraid of acne returning, you’ll never be free. This is why having self-compassion is really the only way to achieve true freedom.

Self Love Can Improve Your Breakouts

It’s only natural to have some concerns if you suffer from acne prone skin. However, it’s important not to allow that concern to overtake every element of your life. 

If worry about acne breakouts is foremost on your mind and is stopping you from socializing, having fun and enjoying yourself, it’s time to change your mindset. Instead of focusing on your flaws, focus on embracing yourself.

Practicing self-compassion may not be something that comes to you naturally but with practice it’s a skill that you’ll learn. You’ll then realize something truly special – that when you love yourself and accept yourself as you are, your acne problem won’t be the be-all and end-all in your life. 

When the stress of trying to deal with it is gone, you may even discover that your skin improves thanks to the reduced cortisol response which occurs once your stressors go away. 

In short, self-love could be the answer you’ve been seeking to your acne breakouts – so surely it’s worth a try!

Can Stress Make Acne Worse?

Can Stress Make Acne Worse?

Do you suffer from regular acne breakouts? Are you also stressed out a lot of the time? There could be a connection!

Evidence has shown that the more stressed you feel, the more prone to skin problems you are, with more acne cysts and pimples erupting as your stress levels rise. 

While emotional stress doesn’t trigger acne in someone who isn’t prone to the condition, someone already suffering from this skin disorder will often find that their problem gets worse in periods of severe stress.

The Evidence

For many years, experts have suspected a link between acne and stress, however most of the evidence at that time was anecdotal. Over the past ten years, though, more research has taken place which shows that the experts were right all alone.

A study from Stanford University in 2003 revealed that college students suffered from more acne flareups when they were taking exams – a time linked to excessive stress – compared to when they weren’t being tested.

Cells which produce sebum (an oily substance which mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells to clog up the hair follicles resulting in acne cysts or pimples) also have receptors for the stress hormones. 

If somebody who is already prone to acne goes through a stressful time, more sebum is produced naturally by the body. This clogs the hair follicles and allows more acne to develop.

Stress, Acne And A Dangerous Cycle

Often, when people are feeling stressed, they have a natural tendency to pick at their blemishes, making them worse overall. A condition called acne excoriee involves squeezing and picking at blemishes compulsively due to stress. 

Rather than having pimples on their skin, they pick at them until they turn into scabs, which in turn can lead to scars. Such patients often turn a mild case of acne into serious and lasting scars.

Treating Stress Related Acne

Although reducing stress won’t eliminate acne completely, it can help to make the problem more manageable. Taking measures to limit the amount of stress that you’re exposed to can make your skin calmer and fewer breakouts to occur.

So, how do you go about reducing your stress? Try stress management techniques like yoga, muscle relaxation, tai chi, hypnosis or a guided imagery relaxation program. 

When your stress levels return to normal, you’ll break out less frequently and any pimples which do develop will tend to be less red, less intense and smaller. Also, conventional treatments will work more effectively when you’re less stressed.

When you’re suffering less stress, you’ll also feel able to care for yourself more effectively and you’ll have a higher energy level. 

This means you’ll be more likely to use acne treatment products, remove your makeup fully and wash properly with a medicated facewash. All of these things will aid the appearance of your skin and will help to limit the number of acne breakouts you experience.

As you can see, there is a clear link between stress and the development of acne. However, by reducing the level of stress you’re under, the better your skin will look and the better you’ll feel.

How Skin pH Level Affects Acne

man washing his face with water

How Skin pH Level Affects Acne

man washing his face with water

If you’re struggling with acne, you should probably take the time to find out the pH level of your face wash products. There are numerous factors which influence your skin health, however skin pH is one of the least well known. 

While most people are worried about the effect that their diet or lifestyle habits have on their facial skin, they barely think about reading the labels on the skincare products they buy. 

Yet the pH of those products could be having a major impact on the health of your skin, so it’s time to find out more about skin health and pH are connected.

What Is The Acid Mantle And What Is Your Skin’s pH?

The potential of hydrogen (better known as pH) of any given substance indicates its alkalinity or acidity. The scale runs from 0 up to 14, with the most acidic substances having a lower number and the most alkaline substances have a higher number. 

A neutral pH is 7. While distilled water has a pH of 7 (or neutral), soap usually has an alkaline pH level of somewhere between 9 – 11. Meanwhile, your skin’s pH should normally range between 5.4 and 5.9 i.e., it’s slightly acidic. 

Your skin’s acid mantle is the pH of its outermost layer. This layer is responsible for strengthening the skin barrier, something which is vital for preventing excessive water loss from your skin while also limiting the amount of foreign substances and bacteria entering the skin. 

The acid mantle is also responsible for speeding up the skin barrier’s recovery when it is damaged, improving the integrity of your skin and helping to shed dead skin cells, which helps with age spots and wrinkles. It also creates an acid environment to guard against the growth of skin bugs which could be harmful.

Why Does Our Skin Have An Acidic pH?

Healthy skin has an acidic pH for a number of reasons:

  • The sweat glands are on the skin. They produce sweat which is around 80% sodiumchloride and 11% lactate. Lactate causes the skin’s pH to drop.
  • There are free fatty acids in the skin which is produced by breaking down the fat molecules on the skin, making it more acidic.

  • The sebaceous glands of the skin produce sebum to lubricate the skin. Sebum production increases the number of free fatty acids thus causing an acid pH.

  • The Na/H antiporter proton pump. This boosts the skin’s hydrogen ions concentration and this decreases the skin’s pH.

How Does pH Affect The Skin?

pH has a number of effects on the skin’s hydration, permeability, flora and integrity. The higher your facial pH, the more chance you have of experiencing acne. 

However, if your skin pH can be maintained in the 4 – 4.5 range, your skin flora can be maintained at normal levels while the skin stays well protected from bacteria. 

womans skincare

When the skin’s pH is acidic, fewer wrinkles form, and when you apply an acidic skin product, the barrier function of your skin improves while surface roughness is reduced. 

If your skin is alkaline, however, it will be poorly hydrated and have low lipid levels.

pH Levels And Acne

Acne affects around 50 million people in the USA alone, many of whom are younger than 25. Skin pH has a role to play in the development of acne. Skin which is prone to acne breakouts has a pH which is alkaline and this makes the chance of acne developing higher in a number of ways:

  • The skin’s outer layer has impaired barrier functionality and this makes it more vulnerable to bacteria which cause acne.

  • The natural substance called dermicidin which fights off bacteria can only work properly at a pH of 5.5. If your skin pH is higher than this, the dermicidin is less effective and this causes the acne causing bacteria to become more active.

  • Fewer free fatty acids are produced by the sebaceous glands. These are essential to achieve the perfect skin pH.

How Do Skin Treatments Affect pH?

If you only use water to wash your face, your skin’s pH will actually increase. This just goes to show how using soap could damage your skin even more. 

Your skin pH will increase if you use the wrong skincare products and this could result in skin problems like acne. 

It’s therefore best to choose skincare products which are acidic and which have a lower pH as this is more like your skin’s own natural pH level. Choosing products which contain ingredients such as lactic acid, retinol, glycolic acid, kojic acid or ascorbic acid is always a good idea to maintain your skin’s optimal pH balance. 

It’s important to avoid certain other ingredients which are known to potentially cause damage to your skin. Sodium lauryl sulfate, strong fragrances and alcohol can all be harmful, so you should take care to avoid any skincare products which have any of all of these ingredients named on the label.

Choosing The Right Products To Care For Your Skin

It’s clear to see that the pH balance of your skin can be affected by the acidity of the skincare products that you choose to use on it. Therefore, it’s important to make the right choices when buying products to use, especially if you have skin that is prone to acne and breakouts.

You should work towards keeping your facial skin at a slightly acidic pH level as this helps to replenish the skin and reduce the chance of skin conditions like acne from developing significantly.

You can maintain the right skin pH by using micellar water, soap-free cleansers and toners  with under 10% acidifying ingredients (including lactic acid, retinol, glycolic acid or ascorbic acid). 

Always avoid using products which contain ingredients like SLS which are known to cause irritations and breakouts. 

With this information in mind, you should now be well informed about the connection between your skin’s pH balance and the skincare products that you choose. If you have problem skin, the answer could lie in switching your skincare products to ones that give you a better pH balance.

The Link Between Dairy And Acne

dairy products

The Link Between Dairy And Acne

 

dairy products

Acne occurs when your pores get clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells. Cysts, whiteheads, pustules and blackheads result from those clogged pores. 

In the USA, acne is the most commonly seen skin problem with around 50 million people being affected every year. As the rates of acne have risen, the rate of processed and dairy foods being consumed has risen too. 

There are lots of reasons why people develop acne and we all have different types of skin, however significant evidence exists to suggest dairy may cause or aggravate acne in some people.

The Research

The majority of studies based on evidence agree acne may be aggravated by dairy. However, the underlying connection between acne and dairy remains unknown at the present time. 

Dairy cows receive artificial hormones which affect their supply of milk. It has been suggested by researchers that those artificial hormones could throw your own hormones out of balance whenever you have dairy products and this could cause acne to develop. 

A different theory suggests that growth hormones which are already naturally found in milk can aggravate acne regardless. 

There is also a 3rd theory which suggests that when dairy products are combined with a large amount of processed sugars and refined foods (which regularly occurs in those eating a standard American diet), insulin levels are disrupted and the skin becomes more susceptible to acne. 

However, not all types of dairy product have the same effect on acne. Some studies show that skimmed milk is most likely to trigger acne.

How Does Dairy Affect Your Skin?

Cows make milk with which to feed their calves and enable them to grow. Casein and whey, the proteins naturally found in milk, stimulates hormones and growth not only in calves but also in humans when they drink cows’ milk. 

When humans digest casein and whey, a hormone is released called IGF-1 which is similar to insulin. This hormone triggers breakouts. 

Also, the hormones naturally found in milk may interact with human hormones, confusing the body’s own endocrine system, signaling breakouts. 

Milk has its own natural sugar – lactose. After we grow out of infancy, it’s harder to break down lactose and to digest it. 65% of people have a lactose intolerance and they could develop acne as a result of sensitivity to lactose or an allergic reaction to it.

Is Dairy The Only Reason For My Breakouts?

If you think your breakouts are due to dairy products, trying an elimination diet could be the way forward for you. If you cut all dairy from your diet then observe the way in which your skin reacts, it’s easy to see whether dairy has been impacting on your skin condition. 

If you find that dairy isn’t the cause of your acne, don’t worry. There are several other causes which could be responsible. 

You may have an allergy to some of the ingredients found in specific hair products and cosmetics, or to some foods like coffee beans or cocoa which you’re including in your diet. This could be causing your breakouts. 

Also, your hormone levels could be at fault. They naturally fluctuate during pregnancy and after it, during puberty, and during and before menstrual cycles, and this could trigger acne. 

Acne is also linked to stress, so your lifestyle could be causing your breakouts. 

As one final factor to consider, acne could be genetic and inherited from family members. One or several of these could be to blame rather than dairy products for your blemishes.

Is Dairy Causing My Acne?

At the end of the day, there is research out there to show that some people find their acne problem is worsened or triggered by dairy. 

However everyone has different skin. Acne won’t always be connected to dairy products, but you may find it worthwhile to experiment with your dietary regime to discover just how dairy is affecting your skin. 

If you’ve got any questions about whether your dairy intake could be causing your acne, you should speak to a dermatologist. They will be able to offer you the expert information that you need and help you to find the most appropriate treatments to help you with your problem skin.

Top Myths About Acne

woman thinking

Top Acne Myths Explained

woman thinking

Acne is a very common problem among both males and females of all ages, yet countless myths still persist about this skin condition.

A lack of understanding about acne often leads to incorrect treatment which can actually make the problem worse. 

In an effort to dispel those misunderstandings, we’re going to take a look at which beliefs are true and which are false so you can gain a better knowledge about your skin issues.

Myth 1 – Acne And Spots Are Two Different Things – False

Lots of people think that acne and spots are two different things. This isn’t true. Acne is just a medical term which is used by physicians to describe spots which are especially severe and which can be treated medically.

Myth 2 – Only Teenagers Get Acne – False

 While teenagers often get acne, adults can get it too. When adults develop acne, it has two subtypes. 

Adults who have had ongoing acne since they were a teenager are said to have “persistent acne” while those who only develop acne after they’re 25 years old are said to have “late-onset acne”.

Myth 3 – More Women Get Acne Than Men – True 

Adult acne is more commonly seen in women when compared with men. Up to 22% of all women will experience acne during their adult years while only around 3% of adult men will develop this skin condition. 

The reason for this is because women have a greater sensitivity to hormones during their menstrual cycle. Many women find they have more problems with their skin before their period.

Myth 4 – Acne Is All In The Genes – True

Genetics does have a role to play in whether or not you’ll develop acne. Studies have been carried out to suggest almost 80% of cases of acne is because of specific inherited genes. 

Unfortunately, experts don’t yet understand how this can be reversed.

Myth 5 – Unclean Skin Causes Acne – False

Acne develops for many reasons. It is a disorder of the skin’s pilosebaceous unit which is made up of the hair, hair follicle and oil-producing gland. 

The activity of that gland and its size is affected by levels of hormones and, in some circumstances, it will become larger and produce more oil. This results in a bacteria called P.acnes multiplying. This causes spots.

Myth 6 – Acne Is Caused By Your Lifestyle – True

Evidence exists to prove that if you consume high GI-index foods and dairy products your acne can be aggravated. 

Also, stress aggravates acne, so finding ways to reduce your stress levels while also reducing your consumption of high GI and dairy foods could be beneficial for your skin.

Myth 7 – I Can Pass Acne On To Other People – False

Acne isn’t contagious so it can’t be spread between people. Although bacteria does have a role to play in developing acne, it isn’t transmitted like other bacterial infections. 

Nevertheless, you probably shouldn’t share your pillows or towels just for reasons of general hygiene.

Myth 8 – I Shouldn’t Moisturize My Acne Prone Skin – False

If you moisturize your skin, its barrier function will remain intact. Moisturizing is also essential to maintain good skin health. Even when your skin is oily it should be moisturized, since excess oil doesn’t equate to good skin hydration. 

You should have a good and consistent skincare route, washing twice daily in both the morning and the evening with cleansers that have been formulated specifically for acne prone skin. Once you’ve cleansed your skin, use a non-comedogenic moisturizer with a light gel base since this helps to prevent blackheads forming.

Myth 9 – I Shouldn’t Use Abrasive Products On My Acne Prone Skin False

One common myth which persists about acne is that you shouldn’t use any abrasive skincare products. People who have oily skin should actually exfoliate gently weekly since it will immediately remove dead skin cells to give your skin a much brighter appearance. 

Also, in the long term, less blackheads will develop. Don’t overdo the exfoliation however, since you’ll irritate your skin and worsen the problem.

Myth 10 – You Shouldn’t Squeeze Spots – True

You should never squeeze, scratch or pick at your spots as it causes damage and could cause permanent scarring or pigmentation marks. 

Salicylic acid spot treatments are useful for settling inflammation but if your spots are especially troublesome you should visit a dermatologist who can offer you advice about your skincare.

Myth 11 – I Can’t Wear Makeup When I Have Acne – False

You can still wear makeup when you’ve got acne. In fact, lots of sufferers use concealers to hide their blemishes and boost their self-confidence. You should always make sure to choose products designed for use on blemish-prone, oily skin.

Myth 12 – Steroids Cure Spots – True

Steroid injections treat large and stubborn acne cysts quickly. The cyst will flatten within 42 to 72 hours however a dermatologist must carry out this procedure since it can be risky.

Myth 13 – Spots Are A Sign Of Other Health Problems – False

There is virtually no evidence which suggests acne is a sign of any specific health problems like a gluten intolerance or poor digestion. However, there is evidence to show that acne in specific areas have particular causes. 

For example, acne on the forehead is often caused by hair styling products such as oils and waxes that block the pores. Sometimes it is also caused by hair, helmets, caps or hats rubbing on the skin of the forehead causing breakouts. 

Acne on the jawline and cheek could be caused by using your phone. Touchscreen phone surfaces contain vast amounts of bacteria so when you hold your phone on your cheek, pressure is created that activates the sebaceous glands. Meanwhile, acne around your mouth could be because of hormonal changes.

These are just 13 of the most common myths about acne. Now you know the truth about which ones are false and which ones are true. Armed with this knowledge, you should be better informed about your skin condition and how to care for it.

Why Is Moisturizing Your Skin so Important?

woman moisturizing her skin

Why Is Moisturizing Your Skin So Important?

woman moisturizing her skin

We all know that we should be moisturizing our skin every day, but when there’s so much to do in the morning before you head out of the door on the way to work, it’s no surprise that so many of us forget this key step in our routine.

Yet moisturizing is actually really important. It doesn’t just make your skin feel cared for and pampered, it also keeps it looking smooth, clear and free of wrinkles into the future.

Your skin is the biggest organ of your body and it must perform some key functions.It protects you from the harsh environment outdoors, regulates your body temperature, eliminates waste and provides a sensory input.

However, if you skin becomes damaged or compromised, it stops being able to carry out these functions properly.

The skin’s top layer, or epidermis, has its own outer layer – the stratum corneum. This is where the moisture levels are controlled.

There are two key components in this skin layer – phospholipids and keratin – which help this function. If your skin is well moisturized and healthy, the two components are working together to keep the moisture in and irritants out.

If the phospholipid bilayers are lost, dry skin will occur. This allows moisture to leave via the skin and irritants to enter it.

A moisturizer can help to prevent this from occurring and to restore your skin’s outermost layer to its normal function.

Are you not convinced yet?

Here are just five of the top reasons why moistuizing your skin is so important.

1. Reduce The Chance Of Developing Skin Conditions Such As Acne

If you use an appropriate moisturizer to suit your skin type it’ll help it to improve its balance.

If your skin is too oily or too dry, you will often begin to develop common skin complaints such as acne. If your skin is naturally very oily, you will need an exfoliating moisturizer and a lotion rather than a cream.

On the other hand, if your skin is naturally very dry, a cream with a high oil content is what you should be looking for.

2. Reduce The Appearance Of Blemishes

When your skin is freshly moisturized it will have a healthy-looking sheen which will even out blemishes. This is especially the case if you choose a moisturizer with some tint in it that works with all skin tones.

3. Protect Sensitive Skin

The areas of skin which are most sensitive – the ears, chest, neck and face – are replaced more frequently than any other part of your skin.

When the skin cells are lost each day, the areas are more vulnerable to the elements and dryness. They are also at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Choosing a moisturizer with an inbuilt SPF will help the sensitive skin in these areas to repair itself and remain healthy in the long term.

4. Fight The Signs Of Aging

When you moisturize your skin, it feels plumper and firmer. Moisturizer helps to combat the signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines so you will stay looking younger for longer.

Evidence has shown that people who properly moisturize their skin develop wrinkles at a much slower rate than people whose skin is dry and unmoisturized.

5. Protect From Daily Stresses

That hot shower that you enjoy every morning or evening may feel wonderfully invigorating, however it will strip a lot of the moisture from your skin.

If you apply moisturizer straight away afterwards your skin won’t just be clean, it’ll also be well protected from daily stresses so it will feel and look its best.

Going Vegetarian or Vegan to Clear Acne

Going Vegetarian or Vegan To Clear Acne

vegan food

If you believe everything  you see or read, a vegan or vegetarian diet is a natural and healthy way of clearing up acne. 

However, can switching to a plant based lifestyle prevent your acne breakouts? 

Well, there are some studies which suggest acne could be caused by having a lot of animal proteins in your diet.

See also – 10 Best Cruelty-free, Vegan Friendly Products That Treat Acne

Acne And Meat – What’s The Link?

In the body there’s a protein-complex known as mTORC1 (or mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1). This is responsible for the healthy function and growth of cells. 

It is believed by some researchers that mTORC1 can cause a chain reaction that triggers acne breakouts in the body. 

mTORC1 can be activated by certain nutrients and particularly amino acids such as leucine. Chicken, beef and other meets have a naturally high level of leucine.

mTORC1 may be overstimulated when subjected to very high levels of leucine. This, in turn, affects sebum production, inflammation and the growth of skin cells. 

Also, leucine is a building block from which our sebaceous glands can create sebum. The factors are all linked with the development of acne.

When mTORC1 is over-activated, androgen hormones are also increased. These are major players in the development of acne.

Although these factors are known, more studies will be needed to prove beyond doubt a link between eating meat and developing acne.

Will Becoming A Vegan Help Me To Control My Acne?

Like a vegetarian, a vegan won’t eat any meat but they also won’t eat any other foods which are derived from animals including eggs, dairy products and often honey. 

Evidence has shown that dairy can have a role to play in developing acne, with dairy having been demonstrated to trigger acne breakouts in those with a sensitivity. 

Cheese and skimmed milk appear to be the most problematic culprits. Like meat, both skimmed milk and cheese have a high level of leucine.

It has been suggested in other studies that hormones found in milk could also have a role to play. IGF-1 is an insulin-like growth factor found in high levels in milk and IGF-1 is also known to stimulate mTORC1.

It is important, however, to be aware that consuming dairy products hasn’t been demonstrated to result in acne breakouts in anyone with typically clear skin. 

However, for some, milk could worsen any existing breakouts. Other foods which are animal-based like honey, lard and eggs, haven’t been demonstrated to affect acne development at all.

Also, sticking to a vegan lifestyle has not yet been proven to eliminate acne. While reducing the amount of dairy you consume could reduce breakouts for some people, switching to an entirely vegan diet may not be necessary.

I Am Vegan/Vegetarian And I’m Still Suffering From Acne – Why?

It’s likely that diet does have a role to play in development of acne, but it is probably an attributing factor rather than a primary one. 

Some people can live a very healthy lifestyle with a vegan or vegetarian diet, no sugar or junk food and only organic produce and still suffer from acne. 

On the other hand, some people eat lots of dairy and meat and never develop spots.

The way in which diets affect the skin and body is complex. As yet, it isn’t fully understood. 

However, there is no direct link between specific foods and breakouts. You can’t simply say that meat causes acne or dairy causes breakouts. Having one glass of skimmed milk won’t necessarily cause pimples tomorrow! 

However, certain people may find that specific foods influence their acne development, making their existing breakouts more severe.

If you want to become a vegan or vegetarian for moral reasons or to improve your health, that’s great. However, if you’re a committed carnivore who is thinking about switching to a plant-based diet solely to improve your skin, you may end up being disappointed. While some sufferers may see improvements, others will experience no change.

If you are suffering from acne breakouts, the best thing to do is use a specific over the counter treatment for acne prone skin

If you experience no relief, visiting a doctor or dermatologist is then the best course of action so you can get professional help and advice.

Why Is Candida Spit Test So Unreliable?

test tube doctor

The Super Unreliable Candida Spit Test

test tube doctor

If you’re worried you may be suffering from candida, you may have heard about the candida spit test and be wondering whether it’s worth taking it. 

Is it a reliable test? Here, we look at this test a little more closely so you can decide whether it’s the right option for you.

What Is The Candida Spit Test?

This test can be performed in your own home. All you need to do is spit into a cup of water and then look for particular signs in the mix. 

While this DIY test is becoming increasingly popular, experts have challenged whether it is accurate or not, and at the present time it isn’t considered to be a valid form of testing for overgrowth of candida.

This test is very easy to carry out. Simply follow these steps:

  • Always carry out the test in the morning before eating, drinking, spitting or brushing your teeth.
  • Pour room temperature water into a clear glass.
  • Spit into the glass.
  • Keep looking in the glass at intervals of 10 to 20 minutes over the course of the next hour.

If you observe any of these signs, the test is positive:

  • Legs or strings coming from your saliva.
  • The saliva sinking down the glass.
  • Clouds forming in the water.

Is The Test Accurate?

The spit test for candida is a very controversial one. The majority of health authorities consider the test to be irrelevant and inaccurate.

The theory which drives this test is the belief that when saliva is healthy it floats on top of water. 

However, the candida spit test has proven to be unreliable and inconsistent. 

It therefore can’t be relied upon to offer accurate results about whether you’re suffering from a candida overgrowth whatever the saliva’s presentation is in the glass of water.

However, while this test may not prove a candida overgrowth, it could indicate a few other things. 

It could indicate you have a food allergy, that you are dehydrated or that you are producing too much mucus. 

It could encourage you to take a closer look at your daily diet and to make some changes before redoing the test to see if any changes can be observed. 

However, in any case, the indicators cannot be considered to be reliable or accurate.

What About Lab Saliva Tests For Candida?

Although the home candida spit test is notoriously unreliable, saliva tests taken for the presence of candida in a laboratory can be beneficial in diagnosing candida infections in your mouth. 

This is a very different test from the DIY version. It is supported by science and human studies. It involves the collection of a saliva sample which is then cultured and analyzed in a professional lab. 

This analysis is able to detect many factors which are critical in diagnosing a number of conditions, however none of the analytical processes involve observing the appearance of saliva in water.

How Will A Medical Professional Test For Candida?

There are several factors that healthcare professionals use to test for an overgrowth of candida. They include:

  • Symptoms of a yeast infection
  • The patient’s medical history
  • A physical examination
  • A laboratory test such as the saliva test, stool test, blood test, antibodies test, urine test, vaginal discharge test or skin test.

Although lab tests may identify candida in your body, it may not be sufficient to determine its severity. 

Candida is normally found in the body, however the response and tolerance to candida overgrowth could be very different in different individuals.

How Simplifying Your Skincare Routine Benefits Acne

woman applying face cream

How Simplifying Your Skincare Routine Benefits Acne

woman applying face cream

If you have acne prone skin, you might be tempted to add even more products into your skincare routine in an attempt to address the problem, however dermatologists have advised that, in fact, simplifying your routine could actually have more benefits.

Since we’re all looking for an easier life, the news that you can have a simpler skincare regime comes as good news. 

So, here are some expert secrets to help you to maximize your time and benefit your skin too.

Don’t Over Do It

If you use too many products and put too much time into your skin-beautifying effort, you may actually be having the opposite effect to the one you’re hoping for. 

Exfoliating and cleansing excessively actually damages, dries and irritates the skin rather than clearing it up.

Your skin, first and foremost, shows your inner health, so making sure that you stay well-hydrated and eat lots of nutritious skin-enhancing foods is important, however it’s also important to remember that your skin will react to anything you put on the surface. 

If you add lots of products into your routine, it’s almost impossible to work out which product could be causing your skin conditions and blemishes.

If you’re keen to try something new, it’s always best to go slowly. Introduce new products as gradually as possible and only in small amounts. 

This gives the skin enough time to adjust to the new product and you’ll be able to work out if it’s benefiting your skin or causing any harm. 

The Elimination Diet

If you’re experiencing irritation and redness of your skin, or are having acne breakouts, you should take a less-is-more approach to skincare. This will help you to determine what is upsetting your skin’s natural balance. 

Ingredients in your skincare and makeup products could be causing irritation resulting in your skin problems. Reducing your skincare regime is the best course of action. 

Choose a simple and gentle set of products including a cleanser and moisturizer to balance your skin with no strong chemical ingredients to see if this improves your skin condition.

Use Water If Necessary

If you are suffering from really severe irritation and breakouts, it could be time to eliminate skincare products from your routine altogether. 

Believe it or not, you can use just plain water to wash your skin without any ill effects. 

Make sure that the water you use is cool or lukewarm, since hot water is known to damage and irritate the skin even further. There is no need for a cleanser.

Not only is this an effortless method, it also benefits the skin since it leaves all the natural moisture intact in the skin, leaving a protective barrier. 

Your skin should have sebum (or oil) which seals in the moisture so it stays naturally hydrated. 

If you’re prone to very oily facial skin, all you need to do is splash some cool water onto your skin and pat it dry gently using a clean towel. This will freshen you up without damaging your skin any further.

Bear in mind, however, that this only works if you aren’t using skincare products or makeup which could get stuck inside the pores of your skin. 

Micellar water is a good choice for removing these products rather than a strong cleanser. You can use either a liquid version or a version which comes in wipe form. 

Using a cotton pad soaked in micellar water is sure to show you just how dirty your facial skin can become when you use products, and you’ll be able to see at a glance if all of the products have been removed or whether there is still some remaining in the pores.

Top Tips

Here are some tips for simplifying your skincare routine:

  • Avoid fragranced products whenever possible
  • Use acidic products to help your skin cells to function properly and grow more effectively
  • Avoid alcohol-based products. These could cause your pores to become enlarged, causing your skin to become more oily.

The Takeaway

Although it might sound counterintuitive to use fewer products to treat problem skin, in fact it makes sense. 

If you’re constantly using a wide range of skincare products on your face, it stands to reason that if your skin is prone to irritation and acne in the first place at least one of those products is going to result in inflammation, redness and breakouts. 

Simplicity is key when it comes to healthy skin, so minimize the number of products in your skincare routine – stick to a simple and gentle cleanser and moisturizer or even just plain lukewarm water – and this should give your inflamed skin the chance to settle down. 

Whether you’re addressing acne, pimples or dry skin, a simple routine is often the best one, so simplifying your skincare regime and your life today and see if you can spot the difference.

To Pop Or Not To Pop Pimples?

woman squeezing pimple

To pop or not to pop pimples?

woman squeezing pimple

We all get pimples from time to time, and the temptation to pop them can be very strong.

It might be tempting to squeeze pimples to get rid of them, however this approach is strongly discouraged by dermatologists. This is because if you pop a pimple in the wrong way the chances of scarring and infections are much higher.

Pimple Types

The majority of pimples develop because the skin cells surrounding the hair follicles become stuck together, creating a plug which clogs the pores.

There are a number of things which can cause this to happen including allergic reactions, natural skin oils, bacteria and hormones. As a result, the pores become clogged with sebum, oil or pus, causing the skin to be bumpy and inflamed.

There are three commonly seen blemishes:

  • Blemishes – these are open pores which become clogged by dead cells and oil. These go black when they’re exposed to the air and this gives blackheads a black appearance.
  • Whiteheads – similar to blackheads, whiteheads are covered with skin.
  • Pustules – these are deep acne blemishes which are difficult to extract and which are inflamed and red.

If a pimple begins to form under the skin or a pore is clogged, the hair follicles start to fill with sebum or pus. The hair follicle will eventually burst, causing the clog to come free from the pore, starting the process of healing. 

This is the way in which your body naturally deals with acne and clogged pores. If you pop the pimples yourself, the healing process may be triggered, but there are some risks involved.

Why Not Pop?

Dermatologists recommend that nobody pops pimples themselves. This is because breaking the skin barrier could cause permanent acne scars.

When a pimple contains pus that is infected, popping the pimple spreads the bacteria to the hair follicles and other pores, creating an even bigger outbreak of acne. 

Not only that, but popping pimples also delays the natural process of healing, so the blemish will last longer. 

When you try popping a pimple and find that you can’t, its contents get pushed even further under the skin’s layers. This clogs the pores even more, making acne even more noticeable and triggering inflammation under the skin.

How To Care For Pimples Properly

Since picking and popping pimples spreads infection, worsening the breakout, it makes sense to avoid poking at your skin. There are better ways to care for your pimples. These include:

  • Spot treatmentsover the counter acne treatments can be dabbed onto pimples, drying them out for a shorter healing time.
  • Safe extraction of blemishes – if you really need to squeeze the pimple, do it safely. Never use a hard object or your fingernails, and if the pimple doesn’t have a yellow or white head, it isn’t ready for squeezing.

The Safest Techniques

The right technique to pop a pimple varies depending on the blemish type.

pimple types


  • Blackheads – you can apply an over the counter spot treatment like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to loosen the clog in the pore before trying to pop the blackhead. Make sure you’ve thoroughly washed your hands then put pressure on each side of the pore with your fingertips. The blackhead will pop out with a small amount of pressure.
  • Whiteheads – use alcohol to sterilize a needle then prick the skin gently where the pore has been blocked. Apply pressure, just like with a blackhead, and extract the whitehead using the same technique, again making sure your hands are thoroughly washed.
  • Pustules – these are deep below your skin’s layers and are hard to extract. Use a warm compress to open the pores and encourage the clog to come closer to the surface of the skin. It isn’t advised to pop pustules on your own due to the risk of spreading the infection.

Other Options

Apart from using over the counter spot treatments, there are some other options available to you when it comes to getting rid of blemishes and pimples:

  • Cold compresses – these relieve swelling and pain from pustules, nodules and cysts
  • Warm compresses – these loosen bacteria and dirt, speeding up the healing of your clogged pores
  • Diluted alcohol or tea tree oil – these are natural clarifiers which work as astringents to dry and remove the clogs that are caused by the skin’s natural oils

Should I Pop My Pimples?

Although it’s tempting to pop your pimples, it really is something that you should avoid if you don’t want to run the risk of infection or scarring. 

There are better options when it comes to clearing up blemishes on your skin including using over the counter skin treatments, compresses and using natural clarifiers like tea tree oil or diluted alcohol. 

If you are suffering from a large number of pimples it’s always best to go and see a dermatologist for professional treatment rather than trying to handle your skin problem alone.

Carbs & Fats For Hormonal Acne

good fats

Carbs & Fats For Hormonal Acne

good fats

If you suffer from hormonal acne, you’ve probably turned to the internet for advice. However, there’s a lot of confusing information out there, some of which is highly unreliable. Nevertheless, one piece of advice which you may have seen repeatedly is to make dietary changes to reduce hormonal acne. 

However, how does your fats to carbohydrates ratio affect your hormone level? 

Here, we take a look at how to make the right dietary changes to benefit you.

Carbohydrates Vs Fat

Recently a paper was published in the Clinical Endocrinology journal which examined the results of dietary regimens on women suffering from PCOS. Since PCOS has a similar hormonal profile to adult acne, its results are very interesting to those who suffer from this skin condition.

One set of patients were put on a standard diet of 55% carbohydrates, 27% fats and 18% proteins. 

Meanwhile, the second group were put on a diet with reduced carbohydrates. This group only consumed 41% carbs along with 40% fat and 19% proteins. 

Both groups consumed the same amount of calories. Interestingly, the results at the end of the study showed that a lower carbohydrate diet could improve all of the hormones which relate to acne. 

Testosterone levels were reduced by 25%, insulin response levels increased by 23% and fasting insulin levels dropped by 26%. 

All of this evidence shows that by simply reducing your intake of carbohydrates, you can improve your acne.

Why Does Fat Reduce Hormonal Acne?

While this study showed that hormonal acne could be reduced by eating less carbs and more fats, it may not be clear why this should work. 

Other studies have shown that not only do the body’s natural testosterone levels drop after eating, but the composition of the meal will also affect testosterone levels. 

It’s been shown that a meal with a high level of fat will suppress testosterone levels for longer than a meal with a high amount of carbohydrates. 

Also, since eating fat won’t boost blood sugar or insulin levels, this has a beneficial effect. This is due to the fact that insulin stimulates the release of androgen hormones by the liver and this makes the skin more androgen-sensitive.

How Can My Diet Be Adapted To Reduce My Hormonal Acne?

The overall take-away from the most recent evidence is that if you replace some of the carbs in your meals with fats, the level of hormones which cause acne in your body will be reduced. 

A moderate restriction of dietary carbohydrates causes lower insulin levels and lower testosterone, helping to produce clearer skin. 

Also, by improve the quality of the fats and carbs in your diet, your hormone levels can be positively impacted even more.

Here are some top dietary tips to help you to minimize your acne:

  • Replace your high GI carbohydrates with fiber rich, low GI carbs.
  • Eradicate processed fats and trans-fats from your everyday diet.
  • Eat more unprocessed fats from plant sources like nuts, seeds and olive oils.
  • Restrict your carb intake to 40-45% of your total amount of caloric intake.

Follow this advice and you should see an improvement in your hormonal acne.

Does Candida Cause Acne?

woman with skin problems

Does Candida Cause Acne?

woman with skin problems

If you’re suffering from acne, you may be wondering about the cause. One possibility that you may not have considered is candida.

Candida causes gut problems and therefore aggravates acne via its gut-skin axis. As a yeast, it is found around the genitalia, inside the mouth, on the skin and in the intestines. While it isn’t actually a negative thing, it’s possible that it can cause adverse affects if it grows out of control.

When is this likely to happen? If you’re on antibiotics for extended periods, candida can get out of control. The results can be symptoms of a yeast infections including bumps, redness and itching – all signs of acne.

Which Symptoms Are Linked To Candida-Related Acne?

If you are experiencing stomach problems during your acne breakouts or feel as if a UTI might be setting in, this could be a sign of candida-related acne. 

If you’re also feeling achy and tired, this is another known symptom, as are sinus problems and continuous allergies. Irritation of the skin is another sign to look out for as well as a change of nail color.

How Does Candida Over-growth Occur?

There are several reasons why candida may occur in an overabundance in your system. They include:

  • An unhealthy lifestyle and diet – avoid sugary and acidic foods as well as simple carbohydrates as these help yeast to breed. Also avoid alcohol, sodas, dairy products, processed meat, mushrooms and iodized salt.
  • Long-term antibiotic use – since antibiotics counteract both bad and good bacteria, it can kill the beneficial bacteria which is required to balance your body’s yeast levels.
  • Genetics – some families have a genetic predisposition to suffering from candida.
  • Birth control – women using birth control often suffer from candida-related acne due to the high hormone levels that birth control contains. This is especially the case for women taking progestin only pills.
  • Stress – when the body responds to stress, it can result in breakouts as well as an overabundance of candida. Irritation in the body causes higher levels of the androgen hormone which, in turn, causes acne. The inflammation also allows the pores to become clogged with an overproduction of the skin’s natural oils. The result is a candida-related breakout.

Is Candida Easy To Treat?

Although you may be worried about candida causing your acne problem, the good news is that it is a relatively simple problem to diagnose and then treat. 

If you think that candida could be behind your skin condition, visit your doctor and ask for tests to be carried out. Some doctors are able to diagnose candida visually, but sometimes laboratory tests are required. These will give a definitive answer and then you can receive an effective antifungal treatment which will eradicate the problem.

If you suspect your acne may be related to candida, you should also try to eat more healthily and put more effort into living a healthy lifestyle. This will help you to combat the problem and restore your skin to its healthier state.

Bodybuilding and Acne – Causes & Treatments

bodybuilder

Bodybuilding and Acne - Causes & Treatments

bodybuilder

If you’re a keen bodybuilder, you may have noticed that your acne problem has become worse. Unfortunately, if you already have acne-prone skin, bodybuilding can aggravate the situation. So, why is this the case?

Does Bodybuilding Cause A Hormonal Response?

Although many people think that bodybuilding causes hormonal changes, this isn’t actually as much of a problem as people think. 

Weight training may cause a short-term increase in insulin, growth hormone and testosterone levels, but this is only for a brief period before returning to normal. Nevertheless, raised testosterone levels may result in acne. This is because the skin converts testosterone into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which is a hormone known to stimulate acne. DHT also increases sebum production which leads to the pores becoming clogged and even more acne. 

While training normally shouldn’t raise your testosterone levels so high that acne is the result, if you use steroids, acne can be a prevalent problem.

Which Supplements Should Bodybuilders Use To Avoid Acne?

Although steroids have a negative effect on acne, there are some supplements which won’t aggravate an acne problem and which can benefit bodybuilders when it comes to achieving their goals. These include:

  • Branch chain amino acids
  • Whey protein
  • Creatine
  • L-Glutamine
  • Zinc
  • Omega-3

What Should I Avoid If I Am To Prevent Bodybuilding Acne

There are a number of supplements and foods which you should avoid if you’re to guard against bodybuilding acne. These include:

  • B12
  • Biotin (B7)
  • Multivitamins with excess iodine

There are also several things you should do to prevent the problem of bodybuilding acne getting out of control. This includes:

  • Leaving them alone – even though you might want to pick your zits, they’ll just become inflamed and unsightly if you do so. Leave them alone and you’ll find that they will disappear more quickly.
  • Avoid overwashing – if you wash your face too frequently, you’ll find that acne can recur. You shouldn’t wash your face more than a couple of times daily as you need your body’s natural oils to work on your behalf. Washing too much dries out the skin and this means it’ll take much longer for the acne to heal up.
  • A small amount of sunshine is good for bodybuilding related acne. Avoid sunburn, of course, but getting outdoors on sunny days can be very beneficial.
  • Change your clothes regularly to avoid bacteria spreading and causing more breakouts.

How To Treat Your Bodybuilding Related Acne

If you’re a bodybuilder suffering from acne, you can try a number of home remedies to see if they resolve your problems. Applying diluted apple cider vinegar to the skin may prove helpful as may applying tea tree oil onto the affected areas. There are also a number of effective over-the-counter skincare treatments that you may wish to try. Should you fail to have any success in resolving your problem with any of these, you can visit your dermatologist or doctor to get a prescription for the most suitable medication for you to treat your acne problem. 

Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne – Does It Really Work?

apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne - Does It Really Work?

apple cider vinegar

These days, you might have heard a lot of things about apple cider vinegar. There are plenty of stories online and in magazines about how it can cure all kinds of conditions, so it’s no wonder that you’re probably wondering whether it could help treat your problematic acne.

Apple cider vinegar has a number of uses and its advocates say it offers a host of health benefits like lowered blood sugar levels, reduced cancer risks and even weight loss. So, could apple cider vinegar solve your acne problem?

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Kill The Bacteria That Causes Acne?

Vinegar is known to reduce some kids of bacteria and viruses by up to 95%. This includes the bacteria known to cause acne such as P.acnes (or Propionibacterium acnes). The citric, lactic, succinic and acetic acids in apple cider vinegar all kill the P.acnes bacteria. Although little research has been carried out into this, it does suggest that it could be beneficial in treating problem skin.

Reducing Scarring

When acne has healed, the result can be scarring and skin discoloration. 

If you apply apple cider vinegar to the skin directly, it’s possible its organic acids could help to reduce these. The acid removes the outer damaged skin layers to promote regeneration. Succinic acid chemical peels suppress the inflammation caused by the P.acnes bacteria while lactic acid improves pigmentation and texture of scarred skin. 

Therefore, it’s possible that apple cider vinegar, which contains these acids, could be helpful. It is important, however, to take great care when applying apple cider vinegar to the skin. It is very acidic and can therefore cause burns if allowed to stay in contact with the skin for any length of time. 

Avoid its use on very sensitive skin or open wounds and dilute with water to reduce its acidity.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar On Acne

Follow these easy steps to treat your acne-prone skin with apple cider vinegar:

  • Mix 3 parts water with 1 part apple cider vinegar
  • Wash your face
  • Pat dry
  • Dip a cotton ball into the apple cider vinegar solution and apply gently to the affected area.
  • Allow to rest on the skin for up to 20 seconds.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  • Pat dry.
  • Repeat once or twice per day.

Only use organic apple cider vinegar as this contains a cloudy substance known as “the mother” which usually sinks down to the bottom. This contains all the beneficial bacteria, enzymes and proteins which give apple cider vinegar all its proposed health benefits.

Should I Use Apple Cider Vinegar For My Acne?

If you use organic apple cider vinegar, you may find that the bacteria which causes acne is killed effectively. 

Scars may also be reduced in their appearance. 

Although the studies which currently exist have been inconclusive, many people have reported that their acne was cleared up by using apple cider vinegar. 

As long as you dilute it before applying to your skin and avoid leaving it in contact for too long, it will cause you no harm and could be beneficial.

Using Birth Control as Acne Treatment

woman holding pills

Using Birth Control as Acne Treatment

woman holding pills

If you’re suffering from persistent acne, there’s a chance you may be prescribed birth control pills in an attempt to combat the problem. 

However, is birth control an effective solution to acne? 

While some women find that it works wonders, others have discovered that birth control actually causes acne instead of solving it. 

So, how do hormonal birth control pills work and how do they affect acne? 

How Does Hormonal Birth Control Affect Acne?

Often, acne occurs due to hormonal imbalances. The male sex hormones, androgens, have a vital role to play in your body whether you’re male or female. 

Testosterone, among other androgens, boost the growth of skin cells, stimulating oil production. 

As a result, pores can get blocked and cause acne. 

Most hormones are opposed by counterregulatory hormones which limit their negative effects. Estrogen is testosterone’s counterregulatory hormone and this is often found in birth control pills. 

This explains why birth control is believed to be an effective treatment for acne since estrogen counterracts testosterone’s ability to increase oil production in the skin.

Which Birth Control Options Can Be Used To Control Acne?

Not all birth control options are effective in eliminating acne. Some methods only contain progestin while others contain both estrogen and progestin. 

There are also several delivery methods to choose from including:

  • Pills
  • Patches
  • Implants
  • Shots
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Vaginal rings

In terms of acne treatment, the delivery method has no relevance. Instead, the only thing which is important is the amount and type of hormone which the birth control method delivers.

It’s important to note that progestin-only delivery methods such as the IUD, the implant, the mini-pill and the Depo-shot are unlikely to work to control acne since they have no estrogen in them. 

Actually, progestin-only delivery options may actually aggravate acne.

Are There Downsides To Using Birth Control To Treat Acne?

Although estrogen-containing birth control methods can counteract acne, they won’t suit everyone. 

Standard birth control pills can result in problems such as weight gain, headaches, hair loss and depression among other side effects. 

There is a solution, however, in the form of low-dose pills which have been proven to be effective in controlling acne. 

Standard pills have around 35mcg of estrogen in them, but there are pills available today with as low an amount of 20mcg of estrogen. This helps to counteract any unwanted side effects. Also, of course, if you accidentally use a progestin-only birth control method you could find that your acne problem becomes much worse.

Can I Stop Using The Pill?

The majority of women don’t use birth control pills forever. Some stop for a whole so they can have a family while others just want to take a break from taking those synthetic hormones. 

Birth control methods don’t cure acne – they only treat it temporarily. So long as you carry on taking your pill, your acne will usually improve but once you stop taking it, you’re likely to see your acne returning. This can be worse than it was before you started taking the pill. 

Although you can stop using birth control pills at any time, remember your hormones take time to get back to normal. This could take several months and your skin will be more likely to suffer from breakouts during this time.

Should I Consider Using Birth Control To Treat My Acne?

If you’re already looking for a contraception method, using birth control as a way of treating your acne at the same time is a good idea. 

If you don’t need to use birth control, however, you may want to consider one of the other options out there for acne treatment. 

Although serious medical problems are unlikely to occur, hormonal contraceptives have been associated with certain health risks including:

  • An increased chance of certain cancers
  • Hypertension
  • Migraine
  • Low bone density
  • Yeast infections
  • Blood clotting
  • Benign liver tumors

If you are a smoker and are aged over 35 years, you shouldn’t use birth control pills at all since the chance of blood clots in your lungs or legs becomes much higher.

Where Can I Get Birth Control To Treat My Acne?

At present, the FDA have approved three types of birth control pill to treat acne – Estrostep, Yaz and Ortho Tri-Cyclen. 

Although your dermatologist can prescribe you birth control to treat your acne, patients are usually referred to their gynecologist or doctor since pap smears and check-ups are necessary before beginning to take birth control.

Is Birth Control A Good Choice For Acne Treatment?

For many women, a progestin/estrogen birth control method is a good way to treat their problematic acne as long as they were looking for an effective contraceptive too. 

For those women who have no need of contraception or who are smokers over 35 years old, there are other options out there for treating acne which are a better choice.

Best Foods To Include In Your Diet If You Have Acne Prone Skin

superfoods for skin

Best Foods To Include In Your Diet If You Have Acne Prone Skin

superfoods for skin

If you’re an acne sufferer, you’re probably desperate to find any kind of treatment that will resolve your problems and improve your skin. If so, the key could lie in what you eat. 

There are numerous foods which have been heralded for generations for their ability to clear the skin, and if you add these into your regular diet, you could well find that your complexion improves.

When paired with exercise, good hydration and an effective cleaning regime, these foods could improve your skin quality exponentially.

So, which foods should you add into your regime?

Kefir

If your gut is unhappy, it can show up in your skin. Kefir is known to be very rich in probiotics which are vital to aid digestive problems. 

Since poor digestion can result in skin inflammation, it’s definitely worth seeking out some kefir and eating some daily.

Moringa

Not only does moringa contain minerals and vitamin C, it also contains carotenoids which accumulate in the skin to protect it from UV damage. 

Moringa powder is able to be added to juices and smoothies or used as a baking ingredient.

Nettles

You may not like the idea of eating nettles however they can be taken in capsule or tea form. 

They have an anti-inflammatory effect, calming down the skin to improve acne. Also, they have detoxifying effects due to their high antioxidant levels.

Dark Berries

Berries don’t just contain antioxidants which clear the skin, they’re also full of fiber which staves off hunger and regulates insulin production. 

This helps to reduce acne which is aggravated by excess insulin.

Peppermint

Peppermint tea doesn’t just have calming and healing properties, it is know for its digestion-improving and stress-relieving properties. 

Since stress and digestive problems are linked to acne, it’s worth drinking a cup a day.

Nuts

A selenium or zinc deficiency could cause acne in some people, so eating Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds can help. 

Selenium increases white blood cells, strengthening their ability to combat infection while vitamin E, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, iron and potassium all have beneficial properties for the skin.

Tomatoes

Vitamin C, in which tomatoes are rich, keeps the skin taut and firm by boosting collagen production. Also, they contain lycopene which boosts blood circulation to improve the skin.

Watercress

Leafy watercress is packed with antioxidants, potassium, carotene and manganese which help to nourish the skin and flush out excess fluids and toxins.

Water

Clear skin begins inside the body, so hydrating yourself with plenty of water is always a good idea. Try to drink 8 glasses every day and more if you’re exercising.

Fennel

Fennel aids digestion, flushes out excess toxins and fluids and reduces swelling. This helps your hair and skin.

Oat Milk

Some people find that if they eliminate dairy from their diet, their acne is improved. Try oat milk instead of cow’s milk to see if it makes any difference. 

Oat milk is lactose free, high in fiber, folic acid and vitamin E which support healthy skin.

Red Grapes

Red grapes have natural antioxidants and chemicals which treat inflammation in the skin. Grapes are also natural antihistamines which control allergic reactions.

Beetroot

Beetroots have excellent skin-clearing properties and are packed with vitamin A, sodium, potassium, vitamin E, magnesium and calcium, all of which help skin health. 

They also make a very powerful cleanser to eliminate toxins from your body.

Tofu

Tofu is made from the soya bean and is an ideal source of calcium, vegetable protein and unsaturated fats. All of which combat skin problems. 

Tofu is also rich in antioxidants, copper, manganese and iron, all of which can improve the skin.

Brown Rice

Having steady levels of blood sugar helps to improve skin health. Brown rice has a low glycemic index so it can help to stabilize your blood sugars. 

Brown rice also provides B vitamins, selenium, magnesium and protein together with antioxidants which all benefit your skin.

Legumes

Legumes like lentils, beans and peas are packed with minerals and vitamins as well as fiber which assists detoxification and improves the natural digestive processes. All of these combine to clear your skin.

Kale

Kale is packed with vitamins K, E, C, B and A together with phosphorus, folate, protein, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium and manganese. All of these can benefit your skin.

Avocado

Avocados are full of vitamin E which can boost the luminosity and vitality of the skin. 

They also have plenty vitamin C which can reduce inflammation in the skin. Avocado oil stimulates collagen production which improves the texture and tone of the skin.

women posing with avocados

Garlic

Every garlic clove contains allicin, a natural chemical which reacts with blood to kill viruses and bacteria in the body. 

This includes bacteria and viruses which cause acne. Garlic also contains antioxidants which improve skin health.

Alfalfa Sprouts

Alfalfa sprouts contain skin-clearing nutrients like folic acid, calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, silicon, zinc and sodium as well as vitam A, B, C, E and K.

Broccoli

Broccoli is full of antioxidants such as vitamin A, B, C, E and K which improve the skin’s luminosity while reviving damaged tissues. 

It also contains folate, calcium and omega 3 fatty acid which improves the process of skin healing.

Artichoke

Artichokes improve the luminosity of the skin thanks to their high antioxidant levels. They also aid digestion, lower cholesterol and aid the immune system.

Eggs

Egg yolk is full of selenium, protein, vitamins and zinc which clear the skin.

Burdock

Burdock boasts impressive antifungal and antibacterial properties to protect against the spread of acne. It also improves digestion.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a selenium packed, high-protein food which clears the skin.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants which improve the skin. (For more on the effects of green tea on acne read here)

Sweet Potato

High levels of cortisone in the body could cause breakouts so regulating blood sugar could be beneficial in reducing acne. 

Sweet potato releases sugar slowly, so stabilizes the blood sugar levels. Also, sweet potato contains beta-carotene. This converts into vitamin A during digestion to improve oxygen circulation in the blood.

Acai

Acai berries are potent antioxidants which improve skin help by eliminating free radicals and toxins from the body.

Mackerel/Salmon

Oily fish such as mackerel and salmon helps to reduce acne and improve the complexion thanks to their DHA and EPA content . Their high protein content also speeds up healing of the skin.

Oysters

Thanks to the skin-clearing nutrients that oysters contain, they are excellent for combating acne. They are also full of vitamin A, selenium and zinc, which are all good for the skin.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds have a high level of vitamin E, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and zinc. These are all beneficial in clearing the skin.

Spinach

Like kale, spinach is packed with iron, protein and vitamin E for better blood flow, reduced inflammation and boosted collagen levels for a fresh and youthful glow. 

Spinach is also full of iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamins for healthy, beautiful skin as well as beta-carotene which combats the signs of aging.

Cucumber

As cucumbers are 95% water, they contain excellent hydrating benefits as well as anti-inflammatory flavonols, phytonutrients and polyphenols and antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin C. 

Cucumber skin contains silica to keep the skin looking youthful and healthy while also keeping it free from acne.

Bell Pepper

Bell peppers in all colors are great for the skin thanks to their vitamin C content which boosts collagen to keep the skin healthy and growing well.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin is packed with beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A inside the body. Vitamin A helps skin cells to grow, leaving the skin wrinkle-free and soft.

Coconut

Coconut oil is very beneficial for the skin since it moisturizes it well. Packed with vitamins K and E as well as minerals and healthy fats, it improves skin health while coconut water contains potassium while also boosting hydration.

Oats

Wholegrain oatmeal has plenty of zinc in it as well as biotin, magnesium and potassium – all nutrients which promote healthy skin.

Kiwi

Kiwi fruits may be small but they are full of antioxidants and vitamin C to prevent skin aging through collagen synthesis.

Carrots

Carrots are full of vitamin A which is known to promote healthy skin.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains calcium, but it is also packed with protein as well as vitamins B2, B6 and B12. All of these detoxify the skin and keep it healthy. Plain yogurt contains no sugar and is therefore best for the skin.

Adding these foods to your daily diet is a great way to improve the condition and health of your skin. With their high mineral and vitamin content as well as their powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, they are the ideal way to boost your overall health and wellness while allowing your skin to be the very best it can be. Combine these foods with plenty of water and a healthy lifestyle and enjoy all the benefits of beautiful skin. Your acne problems could be a thing of the past.