Acne can be a challenging skin condition to treat especially during the summer months when your skin can becomeeven more prone to breakouts. With all the summer fun comes late night parties,rich food, exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays and increased sweating. This can result in congested pores and unexpected breakouts of acne.
The acne cycle
Step 1 in the occurrence of acne is the blockage of a hair follicle (sometimes called a pore). The cells of your skin are constantly renewed to replace old cells. But, if your skin is prone to acne, the dead skin cells mix with sebum, become sticky and clump inside the follicle. This traps the anaerobic acne-causing bacteria (Cutibacterium) inside the follicle.
Step 2 in the occurrence of acne is excessive production of sebum or a thicker, stickier sebum. The androgen hormone stimulates the secretion of sebum (oil) from the sebaceous glands of the skin. The levels of androgen may become increased during puberty, hormonal changes and for some, certain food groups. This may result in the production of more sebum production and result in congestion of the follicles.
At this point, the acne-contributing bacteria receives an abundant supply of dead skin cells and oil as a food source. Combine this with an anaerobic environment due to the blocked follicle and the bacteria starts to multiply. This is step 3 in the process of occurrence of acne.
During step 4, the byproducts released by the bacteria are recognised by your body as foreign and the body produces an immune response. WBCs (white blood cells) reach the area and cause inflammation, redness, and swelling. Once inflammation occurs it sets off a cascade of events that can further disrupt the skins microbiome and thus a vicious cycle continues. Our skins microbiome is key to protecting us from pathogens and bacteria. We will cover the microbiome of our skin in later articles.
Try the below-mentioned tips to keep your acne at bay this summer:
This kind of acne occurs due to using comedogenic (acne-causing) skin or hair care products. When these products accumulate in the follicle, it becomes blocked. There is build up of excess oil and the pore is clogged resulting in acne breakouts.
It is common knowledge that some hair oils, eye creams, makeup, and heavy moisturisers can all cause acne cosmetica but there are other products that increase in use over summer that you may not have considered. Bronzing powders, highlighting creams, fake tan and even makeup primers may result in breakouts.
It is important to identify the culprit that is congesting the follicle. Choose a non comodogenic make-up such as a mineral make up and minimise the frequency of use of comodogenic ingredients. If you can’t go makeup free the whole day, remove your makeup as soon as possible after reaching home.
Use a cleanser twice a week that contains salicylic acid to help to deep clean the skin. salicylic acid works like a tiny bottle brush within our pores. Exfoliating your skin regularly helps inclearing your acne cosmetica.
Choosean oil-free moisturiser and make it a rule that you remove all makeup from the face before going to sleep at night.
Visit your skin therapist or doctor if there is no improvement in your acne after six to eight weeks.
This is a kind of acne that occurs due to excess pressure, heat, rubbing or friction of the skin. It may occur anywhere on your body such as the face, back, buttocks or shoulders. Anything, which traps heat against your body for a long period of time, puts pressure on your skin or rubs against it can trigger this type of acne. Some of these things include headbands and hats, bra straps, tight-fitted clothing and sunglasses.
To treat acne mechanica wear cotton fabrics and avoid wearing synthetic fabrics for extended periods of time. Avoid wearing tight-fitting caps, hats, and headbands for a long duration. Wash hats and headbands regularly. Take a shower immediately after any sporting activity to remove the sweat. Wipe your sunglasses to remove a build up of bacteria. This means no more brunches and shopping trips in your active wear all day after a HIIT workout!
Visit your skin therapist or dermatologist if your acne doesn’t resolved after twelve weeks.
While studies state that acne is not caused by food, certain foods may aggravate acne for some individuals. Eating a diet highin sugar, protein and dairy products has been linked with spikes in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), which increases the levels of androgen, this may in turn increase the production of sebum. Excess sebum can lead to congestion and acne breakouts.
A diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids may improve your symptoms of acne. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods are fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel, pastured eggs, kale, spinach, soybeans, tofu, extra virgin olive oil, nuts like almonds and walnuts, flaxseeds, avocado, wild rice, and mustard seeds. Furthermore, foods rich in dietary fibre and antioxidants may also help in reducing acne.
Including a nutrient dense green smoothie daily and increasing fibre and water intake may be beneficial. Vita-sol Purity powder is the perfect daily addition to support your liver and gut whilst increasing nutrients and fibre, just take 2 tsps daily in water or a smoothie!
Exfoliation During the summer increased sweating and using sunscreen and extra makeup can all lead to congested follicles and breakouts of acne. Exfoliating your skin regularly helps in keeping the acne at bay during the summer months. Use enzyme exfoliants such as bromelain and papain to exfoliate your skin. They are gentler than scrubs and work by digesting the dead skin cells and producing a smoother, healthier, younger looking skin.
Summary During the summer months, your skin can become more prone to acne breakouts as your pores become congested due to increased sweat, dirt, debris, sebum and skin cells. The acne-causing bacteria multiply in the hair follicle leading to inflammation and acne. You can manage your acne by reducing the use of makeup, using noncomedogenic makeup, wearing cotton clothes, washing your hats regularly, taking regular showers after sporting activities, eating a diet rich in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids and exfoliating your skin regularly.