Acne FAQ: How to Get and Sustain Clear Skin
Goodbye acne, hello clear skin: How to beat your biology and behavior to put your best face forward — fresh and acne-free.
Many who have suffered from acne issues, wish they could put an end to skin problems. Carly Pilar, founder of Austin Skin+, actually did. Her experiences with acne as a teen propelled her to become a licensed esthetician in order to help her clients beat their acne issues without the use of prescription medications. Pilar created the Skin+ method, which has a 98 percent success rate clearing skin, and a signature line of acne-friendly makeup and skin care products. To Pilar, clearing skin is just the beginning of her most important mission. Her goal is to help people recover the self-esteem necessary to put their best face forward.
What causes acne?
Often you’ll hear things like a bad diet, hormones or using the wrong products — but these are all just triggers, not causes. The real culprit and root cause of acne is your genetics.
As you approach or reach puberty, if you have the “acne gene,” then the lining of your pores starts to hyper-shed dead skin cells that then get stuck in your pores. This creates acne. It can either be inflamed with pus-like pimples, pustules, cystic or hormonal — or not, for example, blackheads and clogged pores.
In normally functioning skin, this process is fairly self-regulating. People that don’t have the acne gene can go days without washing their faces and still have clear, blemish-free skin.
Don’t panic, though! Just because you have the acne gene, doesn’t mean you can’t have beautiful clear skin. And you also don’t need to employ harsh, toxic prescriptions to attack your acne issue, either.
What can I do to get rid of it?
While you can’t change your genetics, you can improve your skin by taking care of it effectively and consistently.
The first step if you suffer from acne is to make sure that nothing you put on your face or body contains pore-clogging ingredients, including (and maybe especially) makeup. A starting place is to look for the word “non-comedogenic,” which means it shouldn’t clog your pores. But beware, because some marketers will try to make this wording sound like it will clear a breakout. Not clogging your pores is not the same thing as actually getting rid of your acne. Furthermore, a lot of products, including the ones labeled non-comedogenic and even some that you need a prescription for, contain pore-clogging ingredients.
To come up with the right regimen to get and maintain a clear complexion, it’s worthwhile to work with a professional who can take all necessary steps to get your skin in the best possible condition. This not only involves extractions, exfoliation and other pro skin care techniques, but also education. Everyone’s acne is different, and your unique biology and behavior has everything to do with clearing your skin and keeping it that way. A professional will tell you up front how long it’s going to take to get the results you want, as well as what diet, products, at-home skin care routine and lifestyle changes you need to introduce to get rid of your acne — and keep it from coming back.
How is it possible I still have pimples — and I’m old enough to also worry about wrinkles?
It’s just not fair to those of us who fight the injustice of experiencing skin problems from both ends of the problem skin spectrum: acne and aging skin. Onset and lifespan of acne in women can vary, some get hit the hardest with acne in their early 20s, which can continue into their 40s. Acne onset and the triggering of the genetically defective pores is caused by hormones.
So it’s a delicate balancing act to successfully address the oily excess of acne while not drying out the skin — especially as we age when we lose moisture and fine lines and wrinkles are more apparent. Some triggers for adult acne to look out for include stress, digestion issues, a diet high in sugar and hormonal fluctuations caused by pregnancy, birth control, childbirth or menopause. It is, however, possible to battle skin issues on both fronts with the right products. For example, I developed CytoClear+ with ingredients including Azelaic, L-Mandelic, and L-lactic acids that fight both acne and signs of aging.
Is birth control good or bad for acne? I’ve heard both.
Birth control pills are widely used today as a way to combat acne, and unfortunately, many can actually make your acne much worse and harder to clear. Typically the pills are divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone-like) effects.
As a general rule of thumb, pills with the higher potency of androgen should be avoided if you’re prone to acne because they promote breakouts. As an acne sufferer, it is important to speak with your doctor about selecting a pill that is higher in estrogen and lower in androgen potency.
Only you and your doctor can determine what pill is right for you. The above is just a basic guideline that should be used to initiate a conversation with your physician.
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