Breakouts, everyone experiences breakouts for one reason or another but let’s face it, we could do without them! Thankfully, there are many different solutions to tackling breakouts. This might be a serum like Dermalogica Age Bright Clearing Serum or a spot treatment like Age Bright Spot Fader for mature skin or Breakout Clearing Booster for younger skin. Another solution to tackling breakouts is to use a chemical exfoliant.
Dermalogica recently launched a chemical exfoliant called Flashfoliant as an addition to their Clear Start range. Dermalogica Clear Start range is designed for teen, early 20s skin. This Gen-Z generation live life at a fast pace so they need products that will multitask and deliver results quickly and with minimal effort.
Having a couple of teens in my house, we have started trying out the Clear Start range. We recently bought the brand new Flashfoliant. Alongside my teens, I too have been using Flashfoliant and I have to say, we are loving it! Not only are my teens seeing results, but I am too. Being in my 40s, I know that I am not the target market for Clear Start but actually, Flashfoliant is making such a difference to the ‘maskne’ that I have been experiencing.
Flashfoliant is a no rinse chemical exfoliant so you apply it onto cleansed skin and simply leave it on to work its magic. It takes 30 seconds to apply which is perfect for those who are always on the go. Before we look at how it does what it does, it's helpful to understand why our skin breaks out…
What causes breakouts?
It's a fact that younger skin tends to be more oily and prone to breakouts. However younger skin is generally more resilient and will heal well from breakouts. As we age, our skin can still be prone to breakouts yet they can be less often. Cell turnover slows down as we age which can lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) - the marks we are left with once a spot has healed.
Leading a busy lifestyle, maybe not cleansing and exfoliating the skin regularly to get rid of dead skin cells and excess sebum, wearing comedogenic make-up and wearing masks that trap sweat and dirt can contribute to breakouts too. In addition, when we are under stress (which many of the population are!) whether that is psychological, physiological or environmental , the oil production in our skin is increased. An increase in oil production, increases the likelihood of our pores becoming blocked and clogged which contributes to breakouts.
For some, genetics may not be on their side. Many people have a genetic predisposition to acne. Their skin may produce more dead skin cells, may have more active oily producing glands, have thicker sebum and fewer tiny hairs that wick away oil from the follicles. All these factors can contribute to breakouts.
Some of these causes of breakouts can be controlled yet most of them are out of our control! There are products and solutions that most definitely help reduce the likelihood of your skin breaking out and can help control these breakouts when they happen. Chemical exfoliation is one of the most effective ways of preventing and clearing breakouts.
What happens when our skin breaks out?
Breakouts are generally caused by buildup of dead skin cells, excess sebum (oil), and bacteria on the skin. The combination of the dead skin cells and excess sebum can block pores and hair follicles. Once a follicle is blocked, it becomes the perfect breeding home for Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) which is a bacteria that happily lives on our skin. As the trapped bacteria breed in these clogged follicles, they cause breakouts, inflammation and redness.
So what is chemical exfoliation and how does it help?
Chemical exfoliation is basically a way to clear away excess skin cells and sebum that can clog your follicles, using chemicals. It also clears away debris that can obstruct moisturizing and breakout-clearing ingredients from penetrating the skin. Chemical exfoliation is also a great way to help give your skin a glow. Once dead cells and debris are gone, the newer more radiant skin cells surface which instantly improves the look of your complexion.
Chemicals that are typically used in exfoliants fall into 2 main categories: enzymes and acids. Here is the science bit! Chemical exfoliants work by breaking apart the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. Once the bonds are broken, dead skin cells can shed more easily and therefore improve the skin’s texture and overall appearance, essentially resurfacing the skin.
Enzymes used in chemical exfoliation helps to speed up our body’s natural process for shedding skin cells. They are generally mild exfoliants, and are found in ingredients like Rice Bran Extract and Papain. They are often combined with acids in chemical exfoliants to achieve full exfoliation.
Acids that are used in chemical exfoliation fall into 2 categories Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). The most common AHAs are Citric Acid, Malic Acid and Lactic Acid. They are water soluble and when used at low concentrations on a daily basis, they resurface the top layers of the skin. BHAs include Salicylic Acid. These are oil-soluble, making them a popular choice for oily and breakout-prone skin. BHAs penetrate the skin through the follicles and oil producing glands and helping to dissolve clogged pores.
Clearing pores and keeping them clear is the key to clearer skin. FlashFoliant contains AHAs and BHAs, which work together to gently slough away pore-clogging dead skin cells for a healthy-looking glow. In addition, Tangerine Peel Extract brightens dull skin giving you a flash glow after use.
If you have a teen in your life, you might want to introduce them to Flashfoliant. Clearer skin is definitely a confidence booster for a self conscious teen and it just might help any mask related breakouts that you might be having too!