I've spent the better part of my life treating acne.
Treating problem skin can be terribly complicated; there are many different types of blemishes with lots and lots of different root causes.
I often feel like a little beauty detective, trying to crack the code of my clients' skin condition.
This is why it's so frustrating when I see people doing things that are aggravating their skin.
Our skin is influenced by an interplay of hormones, gut health, liver dysfunction, immune responses, blood markers and stress. But it's also affected by our own beautycare habits.
Unfortunately, many of us have bad habits without realizing it.
This is understandable... there is SO much skincare misinformation out there. I should know, when I had acne I was doing it too.
So, my friends, let's right some beauty wrongs and avoid these five things for happier, clearer complexions.
1. Going Dry
So many people with acne stop using moisturizer. I personally stopped using everything, including sunblock, for fear of all skincare.
While you may think that this will help reduce oil but it simply throws your skin off balance and encourages pores to secrete more oil.
Yes, more oil.
It also makes your skin a lot drier than it naturally would be, leading to pore-congestion (clogging).
Instead of your sebum moisturizing your skin's surface, it gets so dried out that it forms little oil plugs that accumulate as clogged pores.
2. Misunderstanding Alcohol
Alcohol is drying and inflaming. It's a bit more complicated than that but more on that in a bit.
While many believe that you need alcohol to dry out blemishes, all it does is irritate the skin and impede it's barrier function. This means bacteria can permeate easily and red, angry blemishes get even more red and angry.
Saying this, there are some alcohols that are actually emollient. Like cetearyl alcohol. So before you judge a label, just make sure that you're not looking at a fatty alcohol.
This is why having a pro that understands ingredients assist you is so important.
3. Petroleum-Based Skincare
Petroleum goes by many names: Paraffinum, Propylene glycol, mineral oil... But hidden petroleum in your skincare will block your pores.
So many of my clients clear up after eliminating this synthetic ingredient from their regimen - what an easy fix!
Because of its many names, if you don't have a professional sorting this out with you, I suggest looking up your skincare ingredients online to make sure that you are aren't using petroleum under another name in your skincare.
4. Picking Your Face
Picking your face is hard to resist.
Unfortunately, if you don't know how to do it properly, you risk spreading bacteria or pushing it deeper into your skin tissue.
Furthermore, you can easily damage and scar, leading to permanent skin marks along with blemishes.
Now, I realize it's not realistic to tell everyone to never pick a zit. So, here is a guide to picking it properly, if you must.
5. Avoiding Oil
This is one I was guilty of for years.
The misconception that oil leads to breakouts is why so many people opt for oil-free products or to not use skincare at all.
This is especially dangerous when it includes avoiding sun protection products for fear that oil content with exacerbate acne.
Natural plant oils are one of the best therapies for acne-prone skin as explained in my article in the Huffington Post.
Oils help to protect, rebalance and heal our skin - all important factors in warding off bouts of acne.
Image by Alesia Kazantceva via Unsplash