What Causes Acne?

June is National Acne Awareness Month, and typically it coincides with the start of summer travel season and the associated challenges with keeping skin clear during summer vacations. In 2020, however, we have an entirely different challenge that sadly likely does not include fun adventures to new places.

How is your skin coping with COVID-19? Is COVID-19 making your skin worse, or better?

Some people who have suffered with a lifetime of chronic acne outbreaks are reporting massive improvements in skin clarity. Yet others who have never experienced chronic acne are suddenly faced with stubborn – and severe – breakouts. 

The interconnectedness of your body’s systems is impossible to separate, so treating acne with a singular approach rarely yields long-term success. COVID-19 is causing changes and disruptions to routines never seen before.

We know that stress increases cortisol levels and inflammation. Acne is an inflammatory condition.

We also know that COVID-related stress has been uneven – some of us are experiencing much higher levels of stress than in the past, and others are enjoying the slower pace. Ask yourself:

  • Are you following the same skincare routine as you had been pre-COVID? Are you using the same products, or have you modified your routine?

  • Are you experiencing higher levels of emotional and financial stress?

  • Are you wearing less makeup on a daily basis? Or, maybe more or different makeup for daily Zoom calls?!

  • Are you traveling less?

  • Are you exercising (and sweating) more or less? 

  • How has your diet changed? Are you eating at home more often? What is the difference in the food you are consuming?

All of these factors are just the tip of the iceberg for your body’s largest organ. 

The good news is that acne is easier to cure than people think. The problem is people are looking for the answers in the wrong places. Chronic acne is rarely eliminated permanently by topical solutions and prescription medications alone. It can be difficult to pinpoint the winning combination of acne products, and the right solution can differ from person to person. What is usually overlooked is how diet, lifestyle, and stress affect our body’s balance and health that contribute to and exacerbate acne.

Is There A Cure For Acne?

According to conventional western medicine, there is no cure for acne.

Maybe that is because many of the standard protocols do not work for everyone long-term. However, just because standard westernized medicine does not have the cure for acne does not mean there is no cure for acne. Many physicians tell patients that the food they eat does not contribute to their acne. This is totally incorrect. For years doctors have been taught there is no connection between diet and acne. Unfortunately, nutritional training in medical school is very limited.

The authors of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found only 14% of resident physicians believed they were adequately trained to provide nutritional counseling. This shocking fact, combined with the influence and profitable growth of the pharmaceutical industry, has dictated which acne treatments are prescribed. Topical and oral drugs are the only treatment options acne dermatologists are qualified to offer.

How We Educate Our Acne Clients

At Celebrity Skin, we always start by educating our acne clients. The importance of using the right skincare products, and more importantly, avoiding the wrong ones, are critical tools in our arsenal. We have a variety of methods to help educate our clients on proper care of sensitive, acne-prone skin. We always start with an acne consultation where we learn what has worked and what hasn’t, in order to develop a customized acne treatment regimen that includes recommendations on the clinical products and treatments that are best for YOUR unique skin.

Typically, chronic acne sufferers have tried it all with little to no long-term success. There are literally thousands of acne skincare products, prescriptions and procedures that promise to clear your skin. Acne advice is everywhere – from department stores, YouTube, the internet, television, magazines, and your best friend, all claiming their way is the solution. You would think acne would be decreasing with all of this expert advice.

Instead, acne is on the rise globally. As more countries have become westernized, the incidence of acne has increased exponentially. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates 50 million Americans suffer from acne. Acne is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The potential for revenue is virtually unlimited, and this has led to a marketing frenzy by opportunistic companies, at the expense of acne sufferers everywhere.

My goal as a professional is to help you Get Clear on what is causing your acne so you can cure it at its source. Accomplishing this will require an integrative approach that addresses all the underlying causes at the same time. The key to healing your acne is to attack it at root level, holistically, not solely with superficial solutions like topical products, or prescription medication like birth control pills or antibiotics.

Top 19 Tips To Clear Your Acne

Acne Cure ChecklistDownload and print for easy reference: Top 19 Tips To Eliminate Acne

  1. No products with artificial fragrances, dyes, sulfates, phthalates or parabens.
  2. No oil cleansing. It is just too risky, skip it.
  3. No to face wipes and makeup removers. Makeup removers should only be needed to take off waterproof mascara. No waterproof mascara.
  4. Don’t overwash your skin! Wash no more than two times per day on average and never go to bed without washing your makeup off.
  5. No picking pimples.
  6. No picking dry skin or flakes.
  7. No electronic scrub brushes, as they stimulate oil production and drive already stripping/dehydrating acne products further into the follicles causing increased inflammation.
  8. Don’t use too many stripping ingredients and products. Use only one or two stripping products in your home routine (at most), depending on all the previously mentioned variables.
  9. Don’t use too many layers of products on the face. Less is more no matter how good the quality of products
  10. Don’t overmoisturize!
  11. No primers. No heavy foundations.
  12. No chemical sunscreens and be discerning of physical sunscreens. Last month, we discussed how sunscreens contribute to acne and since we published that article, the Journal of the American Medical Association published the results of its study on the absorption of sunscreen, and the FDA launched an investigation into the safety of sunscreens.
  13. No waxing or shaving the face (if you’re a woman). If you are a man, do not shave if you do not have to. If you can, choose an electric razor over a double-edged razor. If you have to use a razor, use a single blade.
  14. No dermaplaning. It irritates acne prone skin and can cause breakouts
  15. No department store advice and self-prescribing. Do not rely on your local department store, your best friend, the internet, a magazine or television for your skincare advice.
  16. No spa facials. They usually cause breakouts. Only get clinical facials that are specifically customized for your acne-prone skin.
  17. No cortisone injections for cystic acne. The potential for scarring is devastating and usually doesn’t show up until a year or so later. Avoid it if you can.
  18. Do not get microneedling if you have active acne. Microneedling causes too much inflammation and trauma to your skin, increasing risk for breakouts. You must wait to be acne-free. No homerollers/home microneedling, as you can tear your skin easily.
  19. No laser treatments if you have active acne. Light therapy is ok, but no laser resurfacing or fraxel! They cause too much inflammation and trauma. The potential for hyperpigmentation and more break-outs is way too high. Darker skin tones should never have laser therapy.

The Definitive Guide To Clearing Your Acne

Jennifer Swink has written a comprehensive resource with advice how to permanently clear your acne. Getting Clear: Everything You Need To Know To Cure Acne Quickly, Easily, and Naturally condenses decades of Jennifer’s experience treating acne into a single amazing book!

amazon book