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If you’ve ever had a pimple — and who among us hasn’t! — you know what a blow it can be to your self esteem. Those with persistent acne might become masters of camouflage, hiding it as best they can. Acne is the most common complexion concern that Americans experience, with approximately 50 million of us trying to deal with it. June is #AcneAwarenessMonth, so now is the perfect time to get a handle on your complexion. Without treatment, your pimples can leave dark spots and scars so don’t let acne run its course in the hope that your blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts will disappear on their own.
Beverly Hills, CA, dermatologist Zein Obagi, MD., says certain factors affect the condition of your skin and there’s a lot you can do to keep things in check:
CLEANSE: Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to help remove sebum. Avoid hot water as it dries out the skin and increases oil gland activity. Wash your skin for one full minute and follow it up with a toner or astringent to restore the pH and reduce surface bacteria.
EXFOLIATE: A buildup of dead cells, oil and debris results in clogged pores. When oil and debris mix with bacteria inside the pores, the pore becomes inflamed and results in papules or cysts. Keep your pores open, allowing oil and dead cells to exit the pore naturally. The best way to keep the pores clean is to exfoliate. Gentle exfoliants like magnesium crystals are perfect for exfoliating the skin as they are round, so they do not tear the skin, yet they do the job in clearing off dead skin cells and removing surface debris.
OIL CONTROL: Control oiliness and breakouts by using a product with salicylic acid and glycolic acid to exfoliate the skin cells and reduce oiliness. Generally, having one without the other just isn’t enough for acne prone individuals.
DIET: Avoid Fatty, oily foods and diets high in refined sugar and carbohydrates as they can trigger acne flare-ups. Salty, iodized, or spicy foods can also be a problem for some people.
WATER: Drink plenty of water as it’s necessary to keep the skin hydrated. It also helps flush out toxins from the body.
COSMETICS: Synthetic oils can still cause or aggravate acne. Acne caused by cosmetics will frequently appear as whiteheads over the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Mineral makeup is generally recommended, as it contains natural ingredients that do not cause irritation or harm the skin.
MOISTURIZER: Moisturizers result in a build-up of dead cells, decreased cellular exfoliation, and damage to the skin. Moisturizers are only recommended under certain circumstances, and only a functional moisturizer (one with active ingredients that stimulate cellular activity) is recommended.
STRESS: De-stress. When you are stressed, stress hormones become imbalanced and a variety of health problems may occur. You may not be able to avoid stress, but you can manage it with exercise, meditation, and personal down-time.
3 products to help you combat acne and keep it in check:
Cane + Austin Acne Retexture Pads ($60) can be used twice a day to treat and prevent acne, even out and brighten your complexion, and reduce signs of aging. Five percent pharmaceutical grade glycolic acid and two percent salicylic acid helps get the job done.
bareMinerals bareSkin™ Perfecting Veil ($26) utilizes minerals to absorb excess oil, light-reflecting optics to diffuse the look of imperfections and a combo of lilac plant stems cells and vitamin C to brighten your complexion.
Zo Skin Health Ommerse Daily Renewal Crème ($102), a lightweight, high-performance moisturizer does so much more than hydrate, though it does that thanks to Hyaluronic acid and jojoba ester. It also soothes with Oat and Canadian willow herb extracts, repairs with Photosomes, protects against oxidative dame with vitamins C and E and coenzyme-Q10, and stimulates collagen production with Retinol.
*NOTE: Products were sampled in store. Opinions are my own.