Acne Care for Sensitive Skin
So what exactly is Acne and what causes it?
Acne commonly occurs in adolescence and affects an estimated 80-90% of teenagers in the Western world. Although acne becomes less common in adulthood, it persists in nearly half of affected people into their 20s and 30s and for a smaller group beyond that.
This long-term skin disease occurs when hair follicles are clogged with dead skin cells and oil from the skin. It is characterised by blackheads or whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and can in many cases result in scarring. It primarily affects areas of the skin with a relatively high number of oil glands, such as the face, upper part of the chest, and back.
Genetics is thought to be the primary cause of acne in 80% of cases. The role of diet and cigarettes remains unclear, and neither cleanliness nor exposure to sunlight appear to play a part. Trying to 'dry out' acne using harsh astringent products or by excessive exposure to sunlight is likely to simply irritate the condition and could have the detrimental affect of increasing post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation resulting in long term marks and/or premature ageing of the skin.
In both sexes, hormones called androgens appear to be part of the underlying mechanism, by causing an increased production of sebum. Another frequent factor is excessive growth of the bacterium propionibacterium acnes, which is normally present on the skin.
Types of Acne
The diagram above shows the many forms acne can take
How can acne be treated?
Many treatment options for acne are available, including lifestyle changes, medications and medical procedures. Eating fewer simple carbohydrates such as sugar may help.
We would always recommend seeking advice from a Doctor or Dermatologist as there are a number of treatments they may well ask affected people to consider. Treatments applied directly to the affected skin, such as azelaic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid are commonly used and in more extreme cases antibiotics and retinoids are available in formulations that are applied to the skin or taken by mouth.
Many people struggle to find products to put together acne care for sensitive skin or to supplement stronger/ prescribed products. Given the characteristics of acne you should look to put together a routine with products which as a group have the following qualities:
Lightweight and non-Commedogenic (doesn't clog pores)
Higher in Linoleic Acid
Exfoliating with either gentle physical or chemical such as Salicylic Acid