Skin conditions are often very uncomfortable, or even painful and beyond simply troublesome ... acne is one of these conditions. About Acne

Most of us have our first experience in dealing with acne sometime around the age of twelve or thirteen to varying degrees and many continue to contend with it, even if only at times, throughout life.
Curbing Blemishes
Acne is usually accompanied by oily skin, but not always. It is believed that acne is caused by hormonal changes or fluctuations, but heredity, diet, and lifestyle can also play a role. In any event, whether you have acne for only a short period of time in life, either as recurring episodes, or "major breakout" periods to simply a few random blemishes that come to greet you now and again, it is something worth trying to curb ... we may not get it to go away entirely, but, learning how to get it to a minimum, or "managing it" in a sense, can make your skin healthier and your life more comfortable.
Why acne? Here is a brief description of what an acne condition is ... "Propionibacterium acnes" is a bacteria and "acne" is what the skin condition is called. Sebaceous glands produce skin oil called sebum and they lie just under the surface of the skin. Oils from our skin serves as a protectant and "waterproofing," flowing from the hair follicles to the skin. When too much oil is produced, an excess can build up within the follicle under the skin's surface layer, sometimes breaking through the wall of the follicle.

Types of acne The condition of blocked oil and dead skin cells becomes a place for bacteria to thrive, and it does, causing an infection ... swelling into a blemish. Some blemishes remain below the surface of the skin and are called "whiteheads," as the trapped sebum accumulates and forms a lump which appears as a white dot. Others may break the surface of the skin and become "blackheads" as they appear dark as a reaction to the air.

With proper cleansing, blemishes can be cleared up over a few days. In the case of an acne blemish, the acne bacteria builds up within the follicle so much that it bursts, spreading the bacteria. White blood cells are attracted to the area to fight off the infection. All of this leads to swelling within the inflamed, infected area, which can erupt onto the skin ...or, create a nodule or painful cyst.
Extra care for acne Keeping bacteria and excess oil at a minimum is very important. It is a common belief that only cleansers that contain no oils should be used for acne. Although many people now believe that the only way to absorb excess oil is to use natural oil-based soaps. This can be explained with the old saying, "Oil and water do not mix." Skin oils repel water, so if a soap has an oil content, then those oils will attract the skin oils, and wash them away. In any event, thorough cleansing and use of anti-bacterials are two of the most important steps to take.

Gentle is key Gently washing the skin in the morning and evening is only the first step in skin care, especially when you have acne. When using warm water to wash your face, the warmth helps to open the skin pores, so cleansing is easier. But, it's extremely important to close or seal those pores up afterward, so after a cool rinse, a skin toner is vital. The use of a skin toner, which should be a mild astringent, closes the pores, prevents further bacteria intrusion, rehydrates the skin, and adjusts the pH balance ... this is because most soaps are alkaline, and skin thrives better when acidic, so a slightly acidic toner makes the favorable adjustment. A light layer of aloe gel or a very light natural oil or lotion can help to hold moisture against the skin, helping to protect it; although, depending on your skin and the oil content of the cleanser used, or if aloe, for instance, is a component of your toner, a moisturizer may not be necessary.

You can further help your skin combat acne bacteria by using products that kill the bacteria ... chemically-derived ingredients can do this, and are often successful at it, but some can dry your skin ... and remember, your body absorbs what you put on it and some of these ingredients may be questionable as to their use over time. You'll find that there are many natural ingredients that do the job just as well, if not better, without the risks. Warm water should be used during washing and cool water when rinsing ... never hot and cold, which can be irritating to the skin, and not necessary. To dry your skin, gently pat your face with a towel or allow to air dry after cleansing.

In learning more about acne, most of us find all sorts of remedies available ... some of them work well and others do not. Most of the time, this has to do with the skin reactions from person to person, but, on occasion, some of the advice may be well-meant, but not necessarily helpful.

For instance, years ago, it was advised to "scrub" blemished skin ... and in some cases, with harsh chemicals, such as powdered cleanser (!) ... as you would use to scrub a sink! Now, we have come to understand that while doing things to help the acne condition, we must also take the rest of our skin into consideration, which means to not use anything abrasive on it that can likely serve to irritate it or dry it out, which can possibly make the situation worse. Eliminating excess oil is a good thing, but stripping the natural, protective oils of the skin can make the acne cycle worse, and it certainly makes the overall condition of the skin over-stressed.

Hopefully, you can discover natural ingredients that work for you and your skin, as there is the added benefit of knowing that what you are putting on your skin is not going to harm other areas of your body with long-term exposure. While blemishes go through their cycle and disappear, our skin and the rest of our body will remain with us for the long run, so it's important to be careful about what we put on our skin.

And, while it's important to curb the infection related to blemishes by keeping your skin clean and healthy, remember that many people have had to deal with acne and you are not alone. It's important to not allow yourself to become obsessed with blemishes, or think that you should do anything at all costs ... just take care of your skin the best you can and try to prevent scarring where you can. One thing you can do is to make sure your skin is being nourished, as the healthier your skin is, the less likely it is to scar. Taking care of it helps to give it the "edge" it needs to keep itself in top shape.

Also, diet and well-being affect your skin ... fast foods and stress can make matters worse, as your overall health is important to your skin. So, taking care of your body is also taking care of your skin. And, just as nourishment is vital to the body, it is also important to the skin. Products that offer nourishment to the skin in the form of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other natural components, can help your skin through the acne years, leaving you with a healthier skin and body in the long run.

You have probably heard the term "fatty acids" used in regard to oils in foods ... these are beneficial oils that our bodies derive important nutrients from and they can be found in some "fatty fish," such as salmon, mackeral, sardines, and herring, as well as other sources, such a variety of seeds and nuts, such as walnuts, and can also be purchased in gel cap form as dietary supplements. These oils help with the passage of nutrients into cells, are good for your skin, and can also serve as an anti-inflammatory. Inflammation can be part of the cause with acne, as it can trigger cells to clog pores, which can lead to blemishes. Other skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, can also benefit from the intake of these oils. Another benefit is that essential fatty acids also assist with metabolism and can help to burn body fat more effectively.

Colorful foods, rich in phytonutrients, are also helpful to your skin ... this means fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, some spices, such as turmeric, cumin, coriander and black pepper can help cleanse your system of impurities. And, eating foods such as papaya and pineapple, which include digestive enzymes, are beneficial, as they assist the digestive system, and the better it is running, the fewer toxins there are to affect your skin.

Papaya can also have beneficial effects upon the skin ... here's a tip on how to make a papaya vinegar spritz. Cut up a papaya, filling a glass jar (with a lid) a little over half full of the fruit pieces. Top the jar up with apple cider vinegar, covering the papaya. Place the lid on the jar and allow this to sit in a dark place for about a month. Then, remove the papaya pieces from the jar. Before use upon the skin, dilute this with distilled water at a ratio of about 1:2 or 1:3 (for instance, one part vinegar to two or three parts distilled water.)

Beyond watching what you eat, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough sleep ... don't forget to exercise, as this also helps to clear your skin, as a little perspiration goes a long way in clearing toxins from your pores!

Substances, such as caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes have a negative effect upon the skin.

Everyday habits matter ... so watch them closely. If they are bad for your body, then chances are they are bad for your skin.
To sum it all up ...
healthy choices and natural ingredients are very good for your skin.

To take care of your skin, you need to take care of yourself through making decisions that will bring about positive results.

And, learning what works best for YOU is also an important key.

Glossary Brief Glossary -

Aloe Vera - a succulent plant from which a gel is derived that offers many practical benefits to the skin, contains enzymes, amino acids, proteins, minerals and vitamins

Astringent - constricts or "draws together" body tissues, tightens up pores, such as found in skin toners

Antioxidant - neutralizes or reduces environmental toxins, such as ultraviolet rays from the sun, known as "free radicals"

Apple Cider Vinegar - a vinegar made from apples that has many useful purposes; normally diluted for skin care use; balances pH of the skin, making it more acidic, which can minimize bacteria

Benzoyl peroxide - an organic peroxide often used in treating acne with success; although may produce side effects in some people, such as dry spots, itching, tightness, and irritation

Castile Soap - a natural, oil-based soap primarily made with olive oil and other natural oils, making it a very gentle soap with a thorough cleansing action ... gentle on the skin and the environment

Comedogenic - substances that clog pores

Essential oil - fragrant natural plant extracts produced through distillation of certain plants which are highly concentrated; some of them hold properties which are beneficial to the skin, for instance, tea tree oil is known to kill bacteria, while others may help with oil control, or soothe troubled skin

Exfoliate - a thorough cleansing of the skin which uses friction to remove dead skin cells, making way for new ones

French Green Clay - a highly absorbant clay full of vital minerals that help to draw toxins from the skin, exfoliate, cleanse, and detoxify

Green Tea (Camellia sinesis) - a tea from which the leaves have antioxidant qualities, which can be beneficial to the skin and has been shown to be a beneficial acne tonic

Hydrosol - a fragrant fluid that is created from the steam distillation process during the creation of essential oils ... the oil from the plant becomes the essential oil, and the steam (fluid), the hydrosol; used on the skin to help balance the pH level (making it more acidic), which reduces bacteria growth (bacteria does not thrive in acidic environments); for instance, Witch Hazel in true hydrosol form (varies from the drug store source, which normally has isopropyl "rubbing" alcohol added) soothes and cleanses, without drying

Ionic Silver - silver ions in water which can be used topically to reduce bacteria growth; known to some as a way of helping to prevent blemishes

Natural oils - plant oils that beautify the skin through nourishment of vitamins and minerals; absorbed easily, unlike many synthetic oils, such as mineral oil (a petroleum-based product), which can clog pores and have no nutritive value

Witch Hazel - an astringent produced from the leaves and bark of the Witch Hazel shrub ... cools the skin, relieving inflammation; known for gentle cleansing properties

Color Up Your Diet

Statements on this page have not been evaluated
by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration.

Information regarding other skin types ...
Dry Skin
Our skin maintains a delicate moisture balance. We may lose this balance for a variety of reasons.
Read more ...
Oily Skin
Living with skin that produces more oil than it needs takes a bit of patience and understanding.
Read more ...
Normal (Balanced)
The skin type referred to as "normal" is actually skin that is "balanced" ... not dry or oily.
Read more ...
Combination Skin
Ideally, caring for combination skin requires a bit of knowledge about how to care for balanced, dry, and oily skin.
Read more ...

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Please note that the information shared within this website is not to be considered as any type of cure, diagnosis, prevention or medical treatment of skin conditions. We merely offer general guidelines and tips for maintaining healthy skin, as well as cleansing and beautifying.