If you're dealing with acne right now in any form, I am sending you all the love and patience in the world. It's not easy but you will get through it and healing your skin is possible.
The dreaded acne... some people are lucky enough to have what I refer to as "unicorn" skin and other people deal with acne on and off for years (I am one of those people!). Whether you have a minor breakout or Grade 4 acne, dealing with skin imbalances is never fun. The hardest part of it all is knowing it will take time to heal, but just remember healing your skin is possible and this is all temporary! You will get through this!
What is acne?
Scientifically known as acne vulgaris or acne simplex. Generally acne is looked at as a inflammatory disease of the skin, and there are varying degrees of acne that require different types of treatment. There are open comedones (blackheads), closed comedones (white heads), papules (red inflamed lesions), pustules (painful and infected), and cysts (also known as nodules, which are pockets of infection). For a more detailed breakdown on acne, check out The Different Types of Acne blog here.
Right now there is a "Acne Positivity" movement spreading like wildfire across social media, and I really like to see it. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, "Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually." Meaning, 1/6 of the population is dealing with acne at any given time, so you are not alone in this! Another statistic states that, "Acne occurring in adults is increasing, affecting up to 15 percent of women." This is not a surprise to me, since women are dealing with constant hormonal fluctuations throughout the month, on top of the added stress of daily life.
We don't have to be excited about acne, let's be real, but we have to stop shaming ourselves over our skin. Social media can be a very toxic place when you are dealing with acne, because you see filter-smoothed complexions with barely any pores, but that is a fake-reality! At the end of the day, we all have pores and texture and that is normal! Remember, no one is judging you as much as you are so make it a habit to show yourself some love!
We have this narrative presented to us through mainstream skin care, that if you are dealing with acne, you need to dry it out with harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and high strength retinols. I have the opposite approach to treating acne, although there is a time and place for acids (like salicylic) and retinols, it is beyond important to still nourish and hydrate acneic skin. Our skin barrier is already depleted and inflamed, when we put other stripping agents on the skin like alcohol saturated toners, drying spot treatments and tea tree oil masks, we are only adding fuel to the fire. There has to be a healthy balance of oil and water on the skin, and so by using nutrient rich skin care, we can limit the acne and help the skin to repair itself at the same time.
Steps to Healing
My approach to acne as an esthetician is personal, because I have dealt with it myself and know the mental and emotional toll having skin issues can have on all aspects of your life. My goal with clients is to help them understand their skin and mitigate inflammation, allowing them to bring their skin into a stable state and limit new breakouts from occurring. During this process, their skin routine becomes very simple and minimalistic, so that we don't overwhelm the skin. Once we have the acne under control for at least 2 months, then we can start to tackle different issues, like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is the residual scarring left over from the acne itself and damage done to the skin through skin picking. We have to take it one step at a time, when we overwhelm the skin it will not be happy!
This whole process is done through virtual Skin Coaching Sessions, which my clients have seen incredible results from. As soon as its safe for me to do hands on work, I'll be able to work on clients skin on a deeper level, using massage, skin tools and Customized Skin Care to encourage skin cell renewal and overall skin health. But for now... the virtual Skin Coaching Sessions have been so transformative and supportive to my client's skin. Skin issues may be seen as an outward issue, but they can impact our lives on a much deeper level.
Remember, skin healing is possible, our skin is resilient and just needs to proper support to do what it's meant to do!
Take care, xo
The Holistica Hive