Thought acne was just for teens? Think again! Latest statistics reveal that 50% of adult women will suffer from acne, with the condition becoming more and more common in women in the 20s, 30s and even 40s!
This week is my birthday, and I bet you can guess what my birthday wish was for the majority of my teen and adult life to date? Every birthday I’d close my eyes, take a deep breath and say to myself over and over again;
“Come on face, this year is going to be the year that you’re going to stop getting spots!”
It never did, but looking back, I’m not surprised! For 13 ½ years my diet was been atrocious. I was a complete veg-phobe with an addiction to Dairy Milk chocolate that left me with a digestive system that refused to co-operate meaning my skin became my body’s primary method of eliminating toxins. Yuck!
Now, I don’t know about you – but until 2 weeks ago I thought spots came under 3 categories: blackheads, whiteheads and cystic.
I was wrong.
There are also pustules and papules, and I discovered whiteheads aren’t actually whiteheads! Confused? I was too, so let me explain…
How many of you thought whiteheads were the zits with the white pussy heads that are just too tempting not to pop?! I did! In fact, whiteheads are the small bumps that sit just under the skin, with no head, and no redness. These types of spots are clogged pores that aren’t inflamed (yet!). Whiteheads can occur at any age. However, they’re most common alongside hormonal changes such as puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause.
This one’s an easy one! I’m sure we’re all familiar with these guys. Probably the most common type of acne as even those of us lucky to have beautifully smooth skin will often suffer with blackheads on their nose. Why on the nose? Your nose can be oilier than the rest of your face because it has a high concentration of oil glands meaning excess sebum on your nose makes for a perfect breeding ground for clog pores. The reason blackheads look like they’re full of dirt is because the keratin and sebum, which has caused a hardened plug in your pore, oxidises and turns black when exposed to air. Blackheads and whiteheads, which are the two types of non-inflammatory acne, are also called comedones. These types of blemishes are caused by dirt, oil and bacteria getting clogged in the pores, which is why you will see beauty products saying ‘non-comedogenic’ which essentially means non-pore clogging. Read more about blackheads here and find out if those dark dots on your nose really are blackheads!
So it turns out whiteheads are actually pustules! These are your classic pimples which are all too easy to pick and pop – although you really should refrain from this! When you squeeze a spot you’re doing two things which can cause damage. Firstly, when you put pressure round the blemish and cause the spot to pop, you’re causing the pus to burst out through the top layer of your skin which basically leaves an open wound which could potentially scar. Secondly, that same pressure you apply to the spot can cause some of the bacteria to be push deeper into the layers of skin, causing prolonged inflammation and healing of the spot as well as potentially cause new spots to form in the same area.
These spots look like a cross between a cystic blemish and a pustule. They’re red, inflamed and hard to touch, but unlike cystic acne – they’re not as painful and much much smaller. They’re similar to pustules except they aren’t filled with white or yellow pus.
Cystic acne is the most severe type of acne and is by far the most difficult type of acne to treat. Cystic acne occurs when the infection goes deeper into the layers of skin. These spots are tender, swollen and very painful (emotionally and physically). There’s absolutely no way of popping these bad boys unless you want to do your skin some serious damage. These blighters often take weeks, even months to full heal! Cystic acne general tends to be due to an excess amount of hormones called androgens. Androgens are what controls our sebum secretion so if these, along with other hormones, are out of whack, then there’s a high risk that this will cause an overproduction of oil which in turn with cause severely clogged pores.
As you can see, acne comes in all shapes, sizes and severity, but in my experience, when acne gets bad. It’s not a sign for you to slap on the benzoyl peroxide and dry the hell out of your complexion. Acne is usually a symptom of an under-lying health problem – whether it be hormonal, digestive or simply, the type of make-up you’re wearing. The best chance you have of beating your acne for good is to address the root cause and heal yourself from within. Pretty much all types of acne can be remedied using a simple, natural skin care routine and a healthy diet.
No sure where to start in your acne clearing journey? Make a small change today and begin incorporating a green smoothie into your daily routine! Try my delicious low-sugar smoothies to set you on the right path to beautifully clear skin.
Peace, Love & Clear Skin