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Acne: Complicated but Treatable

By Cora Ciaramello
L.E., C.P.E., LMT Aesthetician

It’s complicated. No, we don’t mean relationships. We mean facial acne. Really, it is complicated.

Complicated, because there are two types – hormonal and cystic – which make determining the acne type a bit tricky. When it comes to blemishes and spots, they might all look alike in the mirror.

But a mirror only reflects what is external, and both types of acne can involve internal as well as external factors. Often, the best person to uncomplicate determining acne type is the very person having the condition. Through thorough self-examination, inventory of symptoms and a personal lifestyle audit, an individual may be able to determine acne type, and seek appropriate treatment.   

Hormonal Acne: What is it?

As the name suggests, hormones are the demons in this acne type, and have no age or gender boundaries.

As the body’s “messengers,” hormones control most major bodily functions, from simple basic needs like hunger, to complex systems like reproduction, and even emotions and mood. The major acne culprits are hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.

Hormones are transmitted throughout the body via the bloodstream, including directly to skin cells. Excess hormones – mostly the male hormone testosterone, which increases sebum (skin oil) production – bind to receptors in our skin cells and remain there. That is, until the skin gets rid of them through an acne outbreak.

There are a few ways to determine if your acne is hormonal: breakouts occur at the same time each month, flareups are always in the same spot – like cheeks, forehead, chin – and pimples are deep and painful.

Cystic Acne: Even More Complication

Cystic acne is even more complex: It might be related to hormonal changes. On the other hand, it might also be linked to genetics, or triggered by humidity. Additionally, the culprit might be pore-clogging cosmetics, cleansers, and lotions.

And then there is the stress factor. Stress can kickstart an individual’s adrenal glands to produce excessive amounts of sebum-producing hormones that clog pores.

Cystic acne occurs when “acne bacteria inflame below the skin's surface, leading to the rupture of nearby hair follicles. This creates a chain reaction in the skin, triggering wider inflammation, spreading of more acne bacteria and more breakouts,” explains facialist Boldijarre Koronczay.

Nutritional Impacts

  • Sugar and simple carbohydrates: the inflammation caused by large consumption of either cannot be sustained by the body. The inflammation will show up on skin as various levels of congestion such as redness, acne, large pores, black heads and dry pigmentation patches.

  • Dairy products: contain components related to the hormone testosterone that may stimulate oil glands in the skin setting the stage for acne. 

  • Drink water! I usually tell clients to make sure they are drinking half their body weight of water a day.

  • Probiotics are helpful: probiotics or eating foods with probiotics – like kefir, fermented foods, and kombucha – are helpful in maintaining healthy skin. 
     

Keeping Acne in Check

If you are prone to facial acne flare-ups, or if you are having onset of the problem as an adult, regular attention by a certified and licensed aesthetician is helpful, even advisable. Here at Changes Spa & Aesthetics, we have a depth of experience in caring for clients – adolescents, women and men as well – with hormonal and problematic acne.

And we highly recommend that treatment begin at the first appearance of adolescent acne to jump start the good habits that will keep either type of acne at bay. It’s never too early to start procedures and use of appropriate products to keep skin problem free; and lessen the potential for scarring.

As skilled and experienced aestheticians, we evaluate our clients’ skin types and consult with them, suggesting a treatment regimen. We believe this is a critical step before treatment begins – and a step you cannot get from over the counter products.  

Acne care at Changes will likely include use of products with active ingredients to break down oil in clogged pores. Care may also include peels and exfoliation to remove dead skin cells inside pores and on the skin’s surface.

As reported in Medical Daily, “It's critical to be cautious, attentive and quick in being proactive … correct and control the active acne, and then maintain preventative measures to keep the skin balanced and healthy.”

And that’s just what we do. Call us at Changes Spa & Aesthetics to schedule a consultation to determine your special needs, and uncomplicate the complications of your acne.  

Please check out our website, www.changesskin.com for information about our services and specials.

Changes Spa & Aesthetics
420 Boulevard Suite 107
Mountain Lakes, New Jersey
(973) 588-3668