Blackheads - where the follicle is open but impacted with no inflammation. Blackheads are small, dark and common in the T-Zone. There’s no redness or pain, they’re easily extracted, coming out in a plug like shape.
10 Things Every Teen and Twenty-Something Should Know About Breakouts and Acne Prone Skin
Do you suffer from breakouts or have acne prone skin? Would you like to have a clear complexion? When it comes to treating breakouts and acne prone skin, knowledge is power! Understanding the what’s, why’s, how’s and which’s of treating acne and breakout skin in your teens and twenties is how you will get a whole lot closer to clearing your skin of those issues. So here’s 10 things you should know - to get you started.
1. Everyone gets spots
Yep, that’s everyone - even that friend of yours who always seems to have ‘perfect’ skin.
Why? Because everyone has sebaceous glands that can get clogged up. It doesn’t matter what your skin type, every skin has the ability to overproduce oil - which is what leads to the clogging of pores, making the ideal condition for bacteria to grow and break out into spots. This can be more obvious at certain ages - so when someone is in their late teens and puberty hits, sex hormones surge and this can cause oil production to increase which can lead to breakouts. The same goes for women who are pregnant and menopausal. Some of us also have naturally oily skin, making us more prone to breakouts.. But no-one is totally immune to spots.
2. Blackheads and acne are actually 2 different things
Ok, so it might not feel that way when you have both but blackheads are not acne. And that’s good news! You can get blackheads and clogged pores under control so they don’t turn into live breakouts. To get this, we need to go a bit into the science of blackheads and acne.
So we already know that our skin produces oil from the sebaceous glands in our hair follicles, that covers the skin. At the same time, your skin is constantly shedding dead cells - about 35,000 an hour in fact, minimum. So what does this have to do with blackheads?
Dermalogica explain it in their Clear Start guide like this:
“any of those dead skin cells collect and remain in a sebaceous follicle, there is a chance that they can mix with excess oil and clump together. This can form low-grade acne such as blackheads, whiteheads and milia, as well as set the stage for higher-grade acne such as papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.”
So we’re really interested in that last sentence - blackheads can set the stage for higher-grade breakouts. As our friends at Dermalogica explain in the Clear Start guide that’s because inside the pores are also all kinds of natural bacteria - in the skin’s microbiome, or natural environment. There are both good bacteria like S.epidermis, that helps to keep skin healthy, and bad bacteria like P.Acnes, which can lead to breakouts. The thing is this bad bacteria lies dormant most of the time - it’s only when it’s trapped in clogged pores, with no oxygen that it become activated and can cause problems.
So, the thing is, treating blackheads can actually stop future breakouts.
What can you use to treat blackheads?
Try Dermalogica Blackhead Clearing Fizz Mask - this mask with a unique fizzing technology works to open up pores so the active ingredients can get to work. Sulfur is a natural antimicrobial, going to work on the bad bacteria, while kaolin clay is a natural absorbent and so soaks up the excess oil and dirt. Finally an apple fruit extract gives the skin some much needed hydration.
3. There are 7 types of breakouts
Let’s have a quick look at at each type, thanks to our friends at Dermalogica who outline them in their Clear Start guide.
Whiteheads - the follicle is closed but impacted with no inflammation. They’re normally white or yellow and small. Again no redness or pain and easily extracted, coming out a bit like toothpaste.
Milia - the follicle is closed, but also hard and capped with no inflammation. They’re normally small, white and like a hard bump. No redness or pain, but you can’t extract them without lancing. They come out like a sesame seed.
Papules - the follicle is closed but inflammation or infection. They are often flat and red. Some pain and redness and you can’t extract them.
Pustules - the follicle is closed, inflammation and infection has grown and there is a break in the follicle wall. They are pink or red, swollen, raised with red or white top. You may mistake them for a whitehead but they’re red and sore and you shouldn’t extract them. This is high-grade acne that may require medical attention.
Nodules - the inflammation and infection has started to spread to multiple follicles. There will be clusters of papules and pustules and it could be swollen and red. This will be painful and also needs medical attention as acne.
Cysts - inflammation and infection has spread into the dermis due to a deep break in the follicle wall. It could be a large spread area, with no visible pus. This is high grade acne and needs medical attention.
Understanding the different stages of breakouts makes it easier to know how to treat your breakout prone skin.
4. You can control acne by diet to some degree - but it won’t solve the whole problem.
So you may have seen videos and blog posts telling you it’s all about what you eat… and well, yes, eating well and getting foods high in antioxidants and vitamins and minerals can only help your skin…BUT when those hormones are raging, your skin will overproduce oil. So eating a healthy, balanced diet is definitely a good plan - but don't think that slice of pizza is the reason for your blackheads!
5. Everyone needs a unique skin routine
We’re really passionate about this at Jersey Beauty. Your skin is as unique as you are! So you need a skin care routine that addresses your unique skin concerns. Your skin will probably roughly fall into one of four skin types - oily, sensitive, dry and combination. That’s a good place to start when it comes to finding the right skin care routine for your unique skin. Dermalogica Clear Start range has products specially formulated for different skin types.
6. Using too much product can do more harm than good
this is a really important point! Double underline it! Your skin is typically more sensitive during breakouts - that’s because it’s busy fighting bacteria. So your skin’s lipid barrier could be weak and may need a bit of help. When you use harsh products during breakouts, you will likely dry out your skin and further weaken your lipid barrier. Using a gentle and specially formulated moisturiser like Dermalogica Clear Start Hydrating Lotion or Dermalogica Clear Start Matte Moisturiser can help to heal and repair skin
7. Makeup is NOT the answer - even non-comedogenic makeup!
This is a big one that might surprise you but the truth is, sometimes our skin needs a break from concealer. If you want to give your breakouts a faster chance of clearing up, you need to ditch the heavy makeup - even those products that promise to not clog up pores! So you’re saying go totally bare?! Well not exactly - Dermalogica do a great primer that is like an instagram filter for your face! Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer won’t clog your pores and isn’t heavy on your skin. But it will give your skin an even glow and best of all, it’s packed full of active ingredients that hydrate and soothe your skin while you wear it.
8. Don’t POP
We know it can feel really tempting but popping spots is not the answer. When you pop a spot, you can do one of a few things. As you pop you are spreading bacteria from inside your pores across uninfected skin, which can create the conditions for further spots. You can also risk pushing bacteria further into the pores, which can lead to greater inflammation and infection. You can also cause acne scarring and damage to the pores when you squeeze spots. Instead you should regularly cleanse using a specially formulated cleanser like Dermalogica Breakout Clearing Foaming Wash.
9. You need to balance good bacteria with bad
Your skin is its own microbiome, like an ecosystem, with its own good and bad bacteria. Beware of harsh spot treatments that kill all bacteria. You need a skincare solution that targets the bad bacteria but protects the rest of the microbiome of your skin. Dermalogica Clear Start Breakout Clearing Booster has unique TT Technology - thymol and terpineol work to penetrate the pores attacking the bad bacteria but protecting the good stuff. And treating spots in just fifteen minutes!
It won’t stop as you get older
we hate to say it but if you read articles that say out of your teen years you won’t have breakouts, they’re not giving you the whole picture. Your hormones are constantly changing - through your monthly cycle, as you age, with pregnancy and menopause in later life… that’s not even starting on how when you and get older your estrogen levels will naturally drop and testosterone will rear it’s pimple-giving head! That’s not to say you have to suffer with breakouts - but that finding the skincare routine that works for your skin is vital in keeping breakouts at bay!