Introducing The 4 Blocks That Prevent Clear Skin
Don’t know how to prevent breakouts? Don't worry, you will soon!
Most people don’t actually know how.
And, I'll admit: it’s kind of complicated!
At least until you’ve studied acne skin for a couple of years.
The good news is, even though I’m not a certified esthetician or dermatologist, I've figured it out. Keep reading to read more about the 4 blocks that may be the missing link between where you are now, and the skin you'd like to see.
So let’s boil some of what I’ve learned down into an “introduction” of sorts, shall we?
That way, you can begin thinking about some things that may hold you back from seeing the skin you’d like.
What you read today is not based on my opinion. My opinion doesn’t matter here. This is about science. About what’s been proven to work.
Let’s first quickly touch on a previous love affair of mine…
Natural-Only Skin Care
Can you prevent breakouts with natural-only products?
Short term? Maybe.
Long term? Usually, no.
I’ll surely write a detailed post about this, but in short, natural-only skin care is ineffective because it doesn’t exfoliate the pores properly.
And inside your pores, you have 3 things you’d want exfoliated
- Excess sebum
- Dead skin cells
- Acne bacteria
What happens when you use a physical scrub with sugar, oats, coffee or anything similar…
Is you actually only clean and exfoliate the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. Which is still good. But not enough, since that’s not where the problem really is. It’s deeper.
Again, I won’t go into detail about this because it’s beyond the scope of today’s topic. Just wanted to mention it.
Lastly, before we move on. Besides scrubs being ineffective, many people run into trouble with their skin barrier after a while of using these scrubs.
And with skin barrier issues, you now have another beast to deal with.
So how can you prevent breakouts?
By removing the blocks that’s causing them.
And after being mentored by people much smarter and me, I noticed that you could group everything into 4 areas.
I call these areas “blocks” because if not dealt with, they block clear skin.
Let’s look at an introduction to the 4 blocks:
Block #1 Genetics
This is the main block.
And luckily, in my experience also the easiest to remove. Yay!
But what is genetics about?
Most people have acne-prone skin are actually born with two specific traits.
The first of which is oiliness. Increased sebum production.
Sticky dead skin cells
The second is sticky skin cells. And when sebum and sticky skin cells get mixed (and stuck) inside the hair follicles (pores)…
You have the perfect environment for acne to thrive.
No air? The acne party is on!
Why? Because once your pore is clogged, there’s no air coming through. And when there’s no air, acne multiplies.
That’s why it’s important to always have a skin care ritual that flushes your pores daily, without overwhelming the skin of course.
What products does this?
A breath of fresh air
Depending on your skin type and sensitivity, you can safely use products like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, azelaic acid, and others to exfoliate deeper.
I'll be on the safe side and be cautious about recommending any specific products because I don’t know how your skin looks, and what strength you’re ready for at this moment.
If you’d like more information on it, be sure to leave a comment at the end 🙂
Block #2 Hormones
It can be difficult to tell the difference between regular breakouts from breakouts that are caused by hormones.
To make it simple, let’s start by clarifying how hormones cause acne. Simply said, hormonal acne happens when changes in hormone levels increase the production of oils that clog the pores.
This happens for various reasons, meaning various hormones might have gone out of balance.
Common reasons for hormonal dis-balances:
- Menstrual cycle
- Stopping or starting birth control
If you fall within one of the categories, you are most likely aware.
For example, if you have never experienced acne breakouts but now when you are pregnant pimples appear out of the blue, be almost certain this is because of the increased hormone levels in your body.
Same applies to those in their puberty and menopause -- the changes the happen within the body show on the skin in form of inflammation, pimples and redness.
And if you experience pimples about 7 to 10 days prior to their menstrual period, this is usually because we produce a lot of progesterone during the second part of the 28-day menstrual cycle.
This hormone affects the sebaceous glands, so they produce more sebum.
The result is inflammation in the follicles and acne breakouts.
With stress, though, most of us underestimate its effect on our over-all health. However, we should often be reminded that stress is to blame for many problems with the body.
And while stress doesn’t cause you to breakout directly, you are still right to blame it for your acne flaring up.
Here is how it happens:
- Stress stimulates the adrenal gland--the gland that produces the stress hormone called cortisol.
- In women, when the adrenal gland is stimulated, along with cortisol, the body produces and releases androgens.
- Androgens in return stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum.
- This eventually leads to inflammation in the follicle, redness and breakouts.
How to know your acne is hormonal?
- Do you fall within some categories listed above (e.g. in puberty, pregnant, around your menstrual cycle, in menopause, stressed, etc.)?
- Do you live under great emotional stress?
- If you can’t identify this on your own, you can consult with your GP or dermatologist. You can also get your hormone levels tested. That is by far the most accurate way to figure out if your acne is hormonal.
What to do if your acne is hormonal?
If yes, then make sure you take measures accordingly. It is difficult to give a one-size-fit-all advice because every hormonal reason requires a different treatment.
But I can give you one tip it will be to cleanse your face properly.
And by properly I mean:
- Use the right cleanser for your skin
- If your skin is oily, normal or combination type, cleanse twice a day
- If your skin type is dry or sensitive, cleanse in the evening with a gentle cleanser.
In the morning you can use only lukewarm water, or the same cleanser. It will depend on the level of sensitivity.
And lastly, if you think you’re experiencing stress-related breakouts, consider stress-reducing exercises like yoga, meditation or hobbies. Reducing the stress in your life is something we should all strive for, regardless of what causes our hormonal acne.
Block #3 Cosmetics and skin care
This block is probably the most obvious offender, don’t you think?
And also, a topic which can be fleshed out into many, many articles.
In fact, this topic is so vast and confusing that one of our most requested things is a step-by-step skin care system of sorts. One that removes the confusion and instead provides clear directions based on science.
I’m working on it. It should be ready in February.
Until then, here’s the basics:
- Use a mild cleanser (not soap) that fits your skin type
- Use a non-comedogenic moisturizer
- Use a non-comedogenic sunscreen
These are the bare minimum fundamentals.
Don’t have them in place, yet? Now is the time 🙂
Just make sure you don’t use any comedogenic products. This can be in your creams, serums, moisturizers, sunscreens, makeup, etc.
I have a list somewhere I can give you with ingredients to look out for. But always see if you can find products that are non-comedogenic. That’s a quick tip that will go a long way.
Block #4 Lifestyle
If you’ve removed the 3 other blocks and you still experience breakouts, now is the time to look at your lifestyle.
Just ten years ago, it was unheard of that what you eat could have any effect on your acne.
Today? With all the new studies being published, it’s almost just a given at this point that things like sleep, exercise and diet affects your skin.
Ohh, The Dairy
Most people at this point know that dairy, especially skimmed milk, can have a negative effect on your skin.
So if you still eat dairy and you struggle with your skin, consider a period of no dairy.
High GI foods. Say whuut?
Candy and white bread, and many other food items shoot your blood sugar through the roof.
If you have active acne and this happens, breakouts tend to get worse. That’s because eating these foods causes a chain reaction in the body that ultimately leads to more breakouts.
Let's wrap it up, shall we?
When we break it down into 4 manageable chunks, do you feel like it's easier to grasp? Let me know your honest opinion in the comments.
And one last thing...
I recommend focusing on one block at a time...
Why? Because all of them require you to change your habits...
And changing a habit isn't always easy.
But if you’re motivated to clear up your skin so you can move on with your life...
Focusing on one block — should make this process more manageable.
Here's what's next...
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