June is Acne Awareness Month, and we’d like to take a deeper dive to help you treat patients as the summer heat turns up. Although acne is most common in adolescents, more than 40% of adults over 25 years old struggle with it to varying degrees. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the causes and potential treatments for acne.
Causes of Acne
Throughout the body, the skin contains millions of sebaceous glands which produce sebum, the skin’s most common natural oil. Sebaceous glands are connected with hair follicles under the skin surface, and when everything is operating properly, sebum travels down the follicle and is removed through the pores. Acne tends to occur when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum and it can’t drain properly through the pores.
Sebum production occurs for a few reasons. Generally, sebum helps the skin stay hydrated and soft, so patients with dry skin are often prone to excessive oils and acne. Oil production is also driven by hormones – part of why acne is more common in adolescents – and stress. Diet plays an additional role, where refined sugars and fatty foods can increase skin oils.
Skin oils become problematic and lead to acne when they clog pores. When excessive sebum or dead cells clog the pores, bacteria get trapped inside and begin to swell, causing whiteheads, blackheads, and breakouts.
Excessive oil production isn’t the only reason pores can get clogged. Skin irritation, such as redness, rosacea, or sunburn, can also cause inflammation that makes pores clog more easily. Some ingredients in popular beauty products, from shampoos to conditioners to makeup and even skincare, can also cause pore clogging.
Medical grade dermatologist formulated skincare is one of the most reliable ways to treat acne because of its high potency and avoidance of problematic, pore-clogging ingredients. Make sure patients are following these steps with non-comedogenic formulas, such as those provided by CosMedical:
- Cleanse twice daily. Cleansing products remove debris and excess oils from the skin, unclogging pores. Salicylic acid, like in Salicylic Face & Body Wash, is a gold-standard ingredient for penetrating and clearing pores that’s excellent in anti-acne regimens. For a gentler formula, Chamomile Facial Cleanser offers a soothing combination of hydration and cleansing. Patients should wash the skin as the first step in their morning and evening regimens to prevent oil and bacteria buildup. Exfoliation can also be helpful to remove dead cells, but make sure not to irritate or strip acneic skin while it heals.
- Nourishment and oil control. Oily skin often results from deficiencies in skin nutrients, which are used to build and fortify the skin barrier. Vitamins, in particular vitamins E and F, are essential for healthy skin, while antioxidants help protect skin further from environmental damage. Nourishing skin with a serum product like Vita Soothe replenishes the skin barrier, lowering sebum production and reducing swelling. Green Tea Antioxidant Serum is another serum loaded with skin nutrients that doubles as a mattifying moisturizer.
- Keep skin hydrated. Excessive oil production can occur because of skin dryness, and patients can avoid this by using a lightweight moisturizer. Oil-Free Moisturizer and Clarifying Moisturizer both help keep skin hydrated while avoiding heavy, thick ingredients that take longer to absorb into the skin. Oil-Free Moisturizer also contains vitamin E while Clarifying Moisturizer contains salicylic acid to further treat acne.
- Soothe and protect. Skin irritation and inflammation make it harder for acne to heal, so make sure acne patients wear a non-comedogenic SPF like our Ultra Replenishing SPF 40 or Radiant Shield SPF 40, which contain additional ingredients to calm, hydrate, protect, and replenish the skin.
- Spot treatments. High-potency spot treatments can be an effective way to curb persistent breakouts. A dab of Acne Spot Treatment or Overnight Spot Treatment dries out and shrinks the inflamed area, helping to remove the bacteria inside and reduce swelling.
- Lifestyle. Skin oils and nourishment aren’t the only causes of acne, so ask your patients questions to get to the root of the problem. Perhaps they started with a new beauty product recently that contains a comedogenic ingredient, or maybe they’re under a lot of stress. A healthy diet and consistent hygiene are also essential to keep oils down, especially in the hot, summer months.
Acne is one of the most common skin concerns in the world, and acne products are for both men and women of all ages. Severity can vary, but following the steps above will help all patients clarify and smooth their skin.
Acne products can also make great gifts for Father’s Day as it quickly approaches. Men’s skin is often more prone to acne since it has more oils and can get irritated from shaving, and fathers of all ages will enjoy a soothing, hydrating formula that looks and feels great.
Read this article next for more summer skincare recommendations.