Don’t Spot Treat Your Pimples!

spottreatcover1 One of the biggest mistakes you can make when using acne products is to EXCLUSIVELY spot treat individual pimples. Now before I go on, please understand that I am not talking about using products specifically designed for spot treating, but rather I am talking about your general acne care products that are meant to be applied all over such as your exfoliating serums and benzoyl peroxide.

To understand why this is ineffective, first you need to know that every single pore on your skin has the ability to create a micro-comedone which is the beginning mass of dead skin cells and oil that later turns in to a pimple. It typically takes 1-3 months for that micro-comedone to grow into an actual pimple that surfaces on your skin.

The goal of your acne product routine is to PREVENT new pimples from forming in the first place and the only way to achieve that is to apply your products all over your face. All of your pores must receive your products because you don’t know where that next pimple will want to surface.

You are missing a big opportunity to PREVENT new pimples from forming if you are only spot treating.

One reason why so many people spot treat is because they want to avoid drying out their skin. Unfortunately, when it comes to successfully treating acne, dry skin is going to occur for most of us to some extent. Keep in mind though that your skin won’t be dry forever, just during the clearing process.

At Luminosity Acne Skincare, we take an approach that I call “starting low and  slow.” This approach helps your skin slowly adjust to your acne products so that you skin can tolerate them without getting excessively dry. Yes, some dryness may still occur but it will be manageable.

So remember that when you are using your general acne products, the key is to apply them all over your face in order to prevent new pimples from forming later on. Only spot treat with products that are specifically designed for that.

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Can You Outgrow Acne?

outgrowacnecover1If you are suffering from acne, it is important to know that eventually you will outgrow it! The bad news is that there is no way to know exactly when you will outgrow the acne. Even within the same family, some members may outgrow it years or even decades before others do. For example, in my family my brother out grew his acne around age 20…meanwhile I am 31 years old now and still very much acne-prone so I have not grown out of mine yet. I’ve even been on Accutane, while my brother never really did much for his skin, but in the end, just giving his skin time is what ultimately cleared him up, while for me I had to and still have to use acne products daily because I haven’t outgrown my acne yet.

Now generally speaking, most men will outgrow their acne much earlier than women will. Men most times outgrow it in their early 20s, while women can continue to breakout well into their adult years. In fact, have you ever noticed it is much easier to see an adult woman with acne, rather than an adult man? I see this all of the time when I am out and about.

So what exactly does it mean to outgrow your acne?

Well simply put, your pores give out. To understand, it’s important to first know that acne is a genetic condition of the pores which causes an over production of dead skin cells to form. These cells mix with excess oil and bacteria and eventually pimples form. To learn more about the cause of acne make sure that you read my previous post. Click here to read.

Once your pores “give out” like I mentioned earlier, they are no longer creating excess dead skin cells, they are back down to a regular production. Once these cells are no longer an issues then then oil production and bacteria do not become a nuisance.

If you breakout on multiple areas of your body, for example the face, chest and back, not all areas will outgrow the acne at the same time. Sometimes you will notice one area clearing up years before the others. So maybe you continue to have severe breakouts on your face, but your chest is now clear and no longer a problem.

When you reach the outgrowth phase, you don’t have to rely on acne products again, but you should continue to care for your skin with a general product routine.

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Microdermabrasion VS. Chemical Peels For Acne

micropeelcover1Many acne sufferers are turning to professional treatments in hopes of clearing up their skin. Two very popular choices are chemical peels and microdermabrasion.

At the end of this post I will let you know which method I prefer for my clients and why.

Let’s first talk about Microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion is a form of mechanical exfoliation that removes the outermost layer of dead skin. Originally microdermabrasion sprayed aluminum oxide crystals onto the skin while simultaneously vacuuming them up. Newer machines known as diamond microdermabrasion, use a wand that abrades the skin, while at the same time vacuuming up the dead skin cells. As an esthetician, I’ve used both types of machines and prefer diamond tip because you don’t have to worry about ingesting the crystals. If you are an esthetician and performing a lot of crystal microdermabrasion treatments, I highly recommend wearing a mask over your mouth and nose for protection or investing in a diamond tip machine if possible.

As far as using microdermabrasion as a means for acne clearing, I would only recommend it for non-inflamed acne. The abrasion is great for exfoliating the build up of dead skin cells which play the biggest role in this type of acne.

I would however completely steer clear of this treatment if you have combination or inflamed acne. You do not want to use anything abrasive when dealing with inflammation because it will promote MORE inflammation and irritation. And also the abrasive nature of microdermabrasion would just really hurt when used on cysts.

Now let’s talk about chemical peels.

Chemical peels most commonly contain acids that exfoliate layers of dead skin cells. Unlike microdermabrasion, which just exfoliates the outer layer of skin, peels can penetrate deeper into the layers of skin depending on the strength of peel that is used.

Besides exfoliation, which is very important when clearing up acne, peels can also provide much needed anti-bacterial and hyperpigmentation lightening depending on the acids or other added ingredients in the peel formula. There are so many peel combinations and I love that you can target multiple conditions based on the ingredients.

So which method do I use to clear up my clients?

Hands down, I prefer chemical peels to microdermabrasion. I like that I can use peels on both inflamed and non-inflamed acne, especially since most people tend to have a combination of both types. I also like that I can get more benefits besides just exfoliation, such as anti-bacterial action and hyperpigmentation lightening.

The bottom line though is that that whether you pick chemical peels or microdermabrasion, these methods will only be effective if you have the proper homecare routine to use in between your treatment sessions. So make sure that you are following the recommendations of your esthetician in between each treatment to get the best results.

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How To Check Your Makeup for Pore Clogging Ingredients

Noncomedogenic Makeup How to Clear Skin Fast | Acne Tips Not sure if your makeup is clogging your pores? The truth? It most likely is. Ensuring  your makeup is acne-sage  is NOT as easy as selecting a product with the non-comedogenic claim. As an esthetician that specializes in acne, I cannot tell you how many times I see the word non-comedogenic on a product that is in fact pore clogging.

Do not trust what the manufacturer says. Just because they claim their product is oil-free or non-comedogenic does not mean that it will not break you out. The word non-comedogenic is used so much that it’s virtually lost its meaning.

The Only Way To Ensure Products Aren’t Pore Clogging Is By Doing Your Own Homework

At our office we give all of our clients a list of pore clogging ingredients to avoid. Because our clients are required to only use our products while on our acne program, we mainly use this list as a tool for selecting makeup, but this list does apply to skincare products as well.

We’ve seen situations at our office where some clients didn’t do their homework to check their current makeup for pore clogging ingredients and their skin didn’t improve until they finally eliminated the bad makeup. So my best advice to you is to be willing to part with any pore clogging product no matter how much you love it. Just remember that product was actually contributing to your acne severity.

I am more than happy to share my list of pore clogging ingredients with you so that you can make the best choice for your skin. There’s no charge for the list and you should receive it within a few minutes.

Don’t Let Ingredient Lists Overwhelm You

I will warn you though that the list may be a bit overwhelming at first glance, but it is such a valuable tool to have when you are dealing with acne. That’s because acne prone pores clog themselves up daily, so the last thing that you want to do is to add to the clogging of your pores by using the wrong products.

Speaking of pores clogging themselves daily, if you haven’t seen my previous post about the real cause of acne, click here to read it!

How To Use The List of Pore Clogging Ingredients

First you’ll want to know what these 3 stars  (***) mean.

If you see an ingredient with this symbol it means that any form of this ingredient is pore clogging. For example take a look at Chlorella, it has the 3 stars. Whether your product contains just Chlorella or Chlorella Extract or if there’s a Chlorella Oil, it would all be pore clogging and you’d want to stay away from it.

For all the other ingredients that do not have the 3 stars by their names, you want to make sure that they match exactly as written on the list in order for it to be pore clogging. So for example let’s look at Glyceryl Stearate SE. If your product just contains Glyceryl Stearate, without SE then it is not pore clogging and ok to use. Remember that it must match exactly as written on the list for you to want to stay away from it.

Re-check Ingredients Often

Now, as if you didn’t have enough to worry about, another thing to keep in mind is that companies can reformulate their products so a previously acne safe product can later become pore clogging. I recommend that you re-read ingredient labels every so often to make sure your products are still non-comedogenic.

I hope that you’ve find this list helpful. If you haven’t downloaded your copy yet, make sure that you visit my website to do so. Also if I discover other pore clogging ingredients or make any changes to the list, I will be sure to email you an updated version.

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  • Have you discovered that your makeup or acne products are pore clogging after checking my List of Pore Clogging Ingredients to Avoid?
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What Causes Acne?

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For my first blog post I think it’s important to go over the real cause of acne because there is so much misinformation out there and it’s no wonder that many people are confused by their acne condition.

Believe it or not, acne is a genetic condition that effects the way the pores function. So I know some of you may be thinking, “but my parents didn’t have acne” or “none of my siblings have acne, it’s just me.”

The thing you have to realize is that there is no set pattern with acne. It doesn’t always skip a generation nor does it always effect every generation. In some cases you may be the only person in your immediate family with acne, but try to look outside of your immediate family. Do you see acne in your cousins or aunts and uncles on one particular side? For example, in my family, neither one of my parents ever had acne, but both my brother and I did. When I looked outside of my immediate family, I noticed that a good amount of those on my mom’s side had acne, but no one on my dad’s side did. So for me, I can pinpoint that I inherited acne from my mom, even though she never had it herself.

Now that you know acne is genetic, let’s talk about how this effects the functioning of the pores.

Our pores are constantly shedding skin cells and replacing them with newer ones. The average person that is not acne-prone can shed 1 layer of dead skin cells per day. Someone who is acneic however, can shed up to 5 layers of dead skin cells per day! That is a huge difference! These cells also do not slough off easily so they start to build up or clog the inside of the pore. The technical term for this process is called Retention Hyperkeratosis.

The second component to acne is sebum or oil. Most acne prone individuals tend to be more on the oily side of things, but I will say that sometimes we do see clients in our office that are acne prone but naturally more dry skinned, so you can still be dry and have acne. This is because whether you produce a lot of oil or a little bit, the quality of the oil in acne prone individuals will be slightly thicker than what it should be, so this thickened oil ends up mixing with the buildup of dead skin cells and just further clogs the pores.

Finally, the 3rd component to acne is bacteria. There is a special type of acne causing bacteria that lives within the skin, known as Propionibacterium acnes, or p. acnes for short. It’s important to know though that everyone on earth has this bacteria, even those that don’t break out, however us acne prone people have a much higher population of this bacteria. And it’s specifically this bacteria that is responsible for inflamed acne lesions such as pustules and cysts.

The reason why acneic skin has a higher population of this bacteria is because of retention hyperkeratosis or the excess buildup of the dead skin cells that I mentioned earlier. This bacteria is anaerobic meaning that it survives in an environment without oxygen, so because the pore gets clogged by the buildup of excess dead skin cells, oxygen cannot reach inside to kill off the bacteria. Furthermore, the bacteria feeds itself on the fatty acids of sebum and because most acne prone individuals produce a lot of oil, the bacteria has an endless supply of nutrients to keep it going.

So to quickly recap, acne is a genetic condition that effects the functioning of the pores. The 3 components are excess build up of dead skin cells, oil and bacteria.

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Acne Advice by an Acne Specialist

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