Acne And How To Get Rid Of It For Good – Seriously!
Because you just don't need to put up with that
Acne. Even the word is a downer. And no wonder. If you’ve ever experienced it (and hell – who hasn’t) you’ll know how much it can affect you. Acne means feeling badly about yourself. It means feeling feeling self-conscious. While generally just a minor skin condition, it can and often does affect your self esteem and deeply. Have acne and you never want to look in a mirror – ever. And that’s awful because frankly, we should all be able to catch a glimpse of our reflections and feel pretty good, if not downright elated.
I clearly remember being mortified by acne when I was a teen. I even borrowed a book from my school library to learn how to deal with it – and by deal I mean get rid of it of course. I tried everything. I remember squeezing and picking and poking. Of course that only made my teenage acne worse. I applied lotions and potions. I ordered them from doctors, bought them in the pharmacy and the supermarket too. I was willing to do anything! At one point I even applied methylated spirits in a bit to burn those bastards right off my face. It’s a long time back now but surely that can’t have been good?
I used concealer. Tinted pimple cream. Skin-toned Zinc cream. None of it worked of course. Eventually my acne cleared, but for no reason other than I grew up. Unfortunately not everyone is that lucky. Some of us suffer from acne for years. And some of us grow out of it only to find we develop acne again at middle-age. Pimples, spots, blackheads. Acne. None of it is fun and none of us want it. But it’s a fact of life. Recently when I began to develop the odd pimple or two I decided to skip the squeezing and instead, get some advice from respected expert Dr Vivian Tam, creator of Zilch Acne Formula. And well – get this … she not only explained why it was happening, she damn well fixed it. #WINNING. Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk causes and also, treatment. And then you too can say goodbye to acne.
First, a little background. What causes acne?
The most commonly accepted answers are hormones and toxins or overgrowth of bacteria in the skin … or it may be that it’s due to excess production of oil and sebum causing congestion. In Chinese Medicine, it can be due to a number of different dis-harmonies in the body. The main ones are:
1. Heat and toxins in the body: these toxins have to find a way out, so they vent through the skin and present as pimples. More than likely, the acne sufferer will have poor digestion. With poor digestion, the body does not clear toxins the way a healthy digestive system would. An imbalance of heat in the body can also cause skin breakouts. A perfect analogy is the Earth’s core getting too hot, resulting in eruptions on the surface (volcanoes!).
2. Blood circulation in Chinese Medicine is integral to the optimum wellbeing of one’s health, and promoting healthy blood circulation for skin health is no exception. When there is blood stagnation (blockages) in the body, swelling and inflammation and build-up of toxicity can occur. To better understand this concept, imagine a blockage in a car engine – eventually this blockage will cause the car to overheat, and “blow up”, similar to the body accumulating inflammation and toxicity, causing breakouts.
Are there different types and if so, what are they and how do we recognise them?
Acne can come in so many different forms, but the ones that people commonly complain about are:
Whiteheads – red lumps that forms a head that is “white” – usually wet and productive.
Congestion bumps (closed comedones) – these are like small bumps under the skin that don’t necessarily look red or inflamed – they are usually just clogged with sebum and dead skin cells.
Cystic acne – this type of acne is usually the type that leaves scarring. They are usually very large and deep, and feel like hard sore bumps under the skin. They don’t usually form a head.
What do we tend to do wrong when dealing with acne?
Picking and squeezing is definitely a big one, because you are not allowing your skin to following its natural healing processes, exposing the bumps to more bacteria and risk of infection. Also, you are creating the chance for your skin to scar as well which can be a longer term problem than the pimple itself! Another thing we tend to do “wrong” is focus ONLY on the outside … acne is not just an external skin problem, and therefore we should look beyond skincare and topical creams and treatments.
What are the ground rules for acne?
First, you need to look at your health overall. Then you can consider making simple lifestyle changes like cleaning up your diet and reassessing your sleep patterns. That can help a lot. Sleeping enough, and at regular times, will promote overall body health that can play a big role in keeping hormones balanced and regulated. Changing your diet to cut out dairy and sugar, and focusing on plant-based foods can help reduce inflammation and encourage skin healing as well. Other simple things like trying not to touch your face too much, ALWAYS removing makeup and cleansing your skin properly, and keeping your skin hydrated with moisturiser (yes, even if your skin is oily!).
Okay, now back to me. I adjusted my diet – nothing major but I did commit to eating more healthfully. I ensured I slept eight or nine hours a night and went to bed at the same time. Mainly. And I took Dr Tam’s Zilch Acne Formula too. Today, not a single breakout. Not one! And I have Dr Tam to think. In a nutshell – you need to identify the type of acne you’re suffering.
Then you can look at what’s causing it. And this will help you to choose a treatment. Dr Tam likes facial acupuncture and obviously her supplement range. There’s also some research showing that light treatments can ease acne too. Check in with your GP and / or a dermatologist and see what he or she recommends. But most of all, know this – acne is a skin condition – not who you are. And also, it can be eased greatly and in many cases, cured altogether.