Can you treat acne with natural ingredients?
If you think only teenagers suffer from acne, think again. Your chance of developing acne rises as you approach menopause. You can thank your hormones if you start breaking out in your forties. If you have not dealt with acne since your teens, your experience is likely to be different at 40 than it was at 14.
Let's get personal. I am in my 40s and going through perimenopause. A couple of mornings ago, I work up with a massive zit. The next day, another one appeared on my chin. I was lucky. I really have never had acne until now. It's hormones. And do you know what? It stinks.
I have been in the skin care industry for more than half my life. The #1 complaint and concern of clients was acne. Battling acne can have such a profound effect on a person's self esteem. I sometimes think people do not realize that. Acne is visible and if it is severe (or when it leads to acne scars), it can drive people to want to seek hope in every "miracle" product and treatment out there. I want you to know that I understand and want to help you.
Acne is not just for teenagers.
In fact, the number of cases of women with adult acne is on the rise. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 25% of women in their forties and fifties struggle with acne.
Let's first talk about what causes acne.
First of all, let's dispel some myths about acne. Do you remember being a teenager and being told that chocolate and greasy foods trigger acne? That is not true. People also would be given the advice that if you had acne, your face wasn't clean enough. So many people over-cleanse in the attempt to remove the "dirty" oils that people often think cause breakouts. Just because you have acne doesn't mean your face isn't clean. That is another myth.
Blocked pores + bacteria = acne
People with acne have pores that become blocked with sebum. This trapped oil eventually develops bacteria and results in breakouts. One can have different kinds of acne from the sore red pimples (inflammatory) to blackheads and whiteheads (non-inflammatory and AKA comedones) and the little white dots called milia.
Stress can make it worse.
While stress does not cause new cases of acne, it can certainly aggravates existing ones. This is because stress makes the body produce excess levels of cortisol, which is an adrenal steroid. Finding ways to manage your stress more effectively may help reduce flare ups of acne. Take a walk by the ocean, meditate, take up painting or any other activity that makes you feel calm. Yoga is particularly helpful, as it not only can help reduce your levels of stress, but it involves physical activity.
Aromatherapy may be of some benefit to you as well. Consider our Stress Relief Beneficial Blend to help you feel calm and relaxed. I like to wind down in the evening, use my Calm app (yes, it is a thing, and I swear that it works for me -- I found it in the Appstore), and sip of cup of tea.
Some things that seem so benign actually can aggravate acne.
- I know most of us use cell phones these days, but if you hold a phone up to your ear and touch your face, the bacteria from your phone will transfer to your skin.
- Think about your pillowcases. They are actually a big culprit. Every night that you rest your face against your pillowcase is another night of bacteria collecting. Wash your bedding frequently.
- Washing makeup brushes regularly is also crucial. Bacteria from your face lingers on the bristles. Each time you use the brush again, you are transferring bacteria back onto your skin, making acne breakouts more likely.
- We often do this without thinking or even realizing it -- touch our faces. If you can stop doing so, your skin will thank you.
Many holistic health practitioners believe that exercise is the key to balancing your hormones. It would make sense to believe that hormonal acne is much less likely to occur without a hormonal imbalance. Regular physical activity is advised for weight management, lowering blood pressure, easing mood disorders and more. So lace up those sneakers and get moving. It may prevent some of those pesky hormonal breakouts!
Wash your face before bed.
This should already be a must, but I know that so many people believe this is an unnecessary step if they do not wear makeup. This is not true. You still will have environmental contaminants, dirt and other types of grime present on the skin even if you cannot see them. If you go to bed with these on your skin, they will contribute to the likelihood that you will develop more acne, especially if you are already prone to the condition. The fact is that everyone needs to wash their face with a gentle facial cleanser before hitting the sheets. I recommend Seed Advanced Botanicals Cleanser with Rosemary & Lemongrass for Oily & Combination skin.
Did you know that Lemongrass Essential Oil and Rosemary Essential Oil are both beneficial to acne-prone skin? It's true!
Soothe irritated skin with anti-inflammatory cucumber.
Use our Advanced Botanicals Cucumber Toner to cool and soothe the redness associated with acne breakouts. Simply press down on the applicator with a cotton pad or cotton ball to dispense just the right amount.
The cooling cucumber is idea for calming inflammation, plus it will help restore skin pH and remove any last traces of bacteria in the pores.
One of the biggest skin care myths is that people with acne breakouts don't need to moisturize. This is untrue. Acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide can dry your skin so much that your oil glands work overtime to produce more oil. It is quite a cycle. After toning with a gentle toner, apply Seed Advanced Botanicals Daily Moisturizer with Rosemary and Lemongrass.
At the first sign of acne breakouts, there are some natural ingredients that you may find helpful. Tomatoes, for example, contains lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to help care for acne and acne scars. If you are not vegan, honey is a great antibacterial spot treatment to apply and leave on overnight. Strawberries are a natural source of salicylic acid. This acid is oil soluble, meaning it can penetrate the pores and help "de-gunk" your skin. If you are not particularly sensitive, you may find that a small amount of cinnamon or lemon juice helps. Always spot test first.
For more severe cases, or if you are unsure, consult a well-respected dermatologist.
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Also in Lately I've been paying more attention
Today is Earth Day and here at Seed, we'd like to share five of our favorite ways to do your part for the environment.
1. Still have old lightbulbs? Make the switch to LED or compact fluorescent bulbs. These bulbs last, on average, up to 15 times longer and consume 1/5 to 1/3 of the electricity.
2. Eliminate junk mail. There are apps now that can actually help you reduce your carbon footprint. How? With these apps, you snap a photo of the junk mail you do not wish and it removes you from the mailing list.
We wanted to create an easy guide that is basic for those of you who feel intimidated by the wide range of products on store shelves. I have been in the skin care industry for more than half my life. It is my job to know the ins and outs of products - but it should be easy for everyone else who is NOT in the skin care field. Skin care should be simple -- not frustrating.