aCNE 101

Acne is definitely a four-letter word for people who suffer with it.   It is an inherited disorder of the pores – pores that want to sludge up with dead skin cells much like a clogged drain in your sink. Normal pores shed about one layer of dead skin cells per day inside the pore. The acne-prone pore sheds up to five layers of dead skin cells per day and the body just can’t keep up. Technically, this is called “retention hyperkeratosis” — dead skin cells shedding more quickly than the pore can expel them. This forms congestion under the skin which are noninflamed acne lesions (blackheads and/or whiteheads; and if bacteria are present (which just loves to feed on the dead skin cells and oil), you will get inflamed pimples, pustules and/or cysts.

 

There are two main types of acne as we see it – noninflamed acne and inflamed acne. Most people have a combination of the two.

 

What is Noninflamed Acne?

Dead skin cells and oil (plus other debris) form a plug inside the pore. If this plug does not become inflamed, it can become a whitehead — a non-inflamed lesion under the skin, also called a “closed comedone”. This is also called “maturation arrest” acne, as it has not “matured” into a blackhead yet.

 

This is another non-inflamed acne lesion called a blackhead, where the pore remains open, also known as an “open comedone.”  In the case of a blackhead, the tip of the plug darkens as it is exposed to oxygen in the environment.

What is Inflamed Acne?

As the oil and the dead skin cells build up, they put pressure on the cells surrounding the pore. With enough pressure, the sides of the pore rupture and the contents of the pore leak into the surrounding skin.  Because this material contains a lot of P. acnes bacteria, the surrounding skin now becomes infected, creating a red bump that we know as a pimple. The medical term for this red bump is an inflammatory papule.

This is a pustule which is different from a pimple only in that it contains white blood cells. When the immune system fights off the P. acnes infection, white blood cells, which are soldiers of the immune system — pile up, creating pus in the pore.

 

A nodule is a solid dome-shaped lesion that extends below the surface, deep into the layers of the skin. Scarring is common with nodules and  can sometimes leave an impaction behind, which can flare again and again.

When a group of pustules cluster together under the skin, they form a cyst. An acne cyst can appear similar to a nodule, but is pus-filled, and can have a diameter of 5mm or more across. They are usually very painful and scarring is common with cysts.

Acne is a mysterious disorder, but one thing IS for sure – it can be controlled with the right combination of products used in the correct way. Just as in a clogged drain, the pore must be treated with products that unclog it, keep it unclogged and kill the acne bacteria. E SKIN Forté  Acne Clinic has what you need to do just this.

E SKIN Forté has a clear-skin system that will have your acne under control in about three to four months depending on your type of acne. We combine the power of clinical-grade homecare products that are customized for your type of acne and skin with a series of bi-monthly treatments that facilitate the clearing of your skin. We also teach you about other aggravating factors that make you break out – foods, medications, cosmetics, stress, and common ingredients in skin care formulations that might be clogging your pores(even professional and prescription products!).

Acne contributing factors:

  • Stress- Stress stimulates the adrenal gland and in the acne-prone individual, the adrenal gland promotes oil production which leads to clogged pores.

  • Hormones- Women have about one-tenth the androgens (“male” hormones including testosterone and DHEA-S) men have, but these androgens contribute to the acne problem. When estrogen levels drop approximately two weeks after menstruation, testosterone, an androgen, stimulates the oil glands. Oil production increases, making an acne flare-up much more likely. So likely, in fact, that over 60% of acne-prone women get premenstrual acne, hormonal acne flares which occur about 7-10 days before their periods.

     ***Some Hormonal flactuations caused by:

  1. Birth control

  2. Pregnancy

  3. Premenstrual syndrome

  4. Medication

  5. Menopause

  • Environmental- 

  • Diet-  Food contains high iodides. Iodized salt, seafood, fish, seaweed, fast foods and dairy products. Milk and cheese is another BIG culprit – not only does it have iodides, it also has hormones in it that contribute to acne. Many teenage boys love to drink gallons of milk which is contributing to their cystic acne.) Contrary to popular notion, chocolate and greasy foods (unless they contain salt, which most do) do not aggravate acne.Stay away from “High androgen" foods. These are found in peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, corn oil, wheat germ, shellfish, organ meats (i.e. liver, sweetbreads and heart). These contain hormones that exacerbate acne.

  • Lifestyle- Smoking can be a culprit when it comes to acne. According to German researchers from Technical University of Munich, report the results of a study which found that smoking is a clinically important contributory factor to acne prevalence and severity.

  • Medications/Supplements- Vitamin supplements and sports drinks/bars that again high in Iodides and especially kelp tablets (some people take these for thyroid support) are a part of this list. Vitamins almost always contain some form of iodide – it could be in the form of iodine, iodide, potassium iodide or kelp. Also, vitamins contain biotin and B-12 both of which make acne worse. Be careful with protein bars – they often have potassium iodides in them. Whey and soy protein powders for smoothies can be bad for problematic skin.

 

  • Birth Control - Birth control pills, IUDs, implants and shots are widely used today and prescribed often as a means to control acne. Most forms of birth control can have the potential to cause acne and weight gain in those susceptible. Typically birth control is divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone like) effects. As a general rule of thumb, those with the potential for higher androgenic symptoms should be avoided for people prone to acne because they promote breakouts

  • Pore Clogging skincare ingredients- Do not ever put anything on your skin or your hair without checking the ingredients first, even if it says “Won’t Clog Pores” or “Non-Comedogenic” on the bottle. No government agency oversees this, so skincare companies can claim their products promote clear skin and have pore cloggers in their formulas. Click here for list of ingredients to avoid in all of your products; skin care, acne care, makeup, clothing and hair. Take a look at your current set of products from your shampoo to your laundry detergent and see if they contain any cloggers. If they do, it’s time to look for something acne safe. 

 

 

 

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