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Abolishing Acne: Part 1
What is (and isn't) Acne?
Oh, I’ve been waiting for this one!
Acne is one of the most common problems I see people running into when it comes to skin.
It’s something I deal with personally, and it was the impetus for me to really dig deep into the science of skincare a few years ago.
Like many of you, I went through the “pick whatever’s on the shelf that says it’s oil-free and hope it fixes my skin” phase.
Also like many of you, it took me a while to figure out that doesn’t fix everything!
In this series, I’m going to teach you about what acne is, why it occurs, potential methods for treatment, and more.
Stick with me over the next few weeks (months?) because ya girl’s got a lot to say.
Let’s start by talking about what acne is:
Acne is a common skin disorder characterized by
the blockage of hair follicles (read: pores) by oil and dead skin cells. We’ll commonly see this broken down into three categories:
Mild: mostly whiteheads and blackheads
Moderate: mostly whiteheads, blackheads, papules
Severe: mostly papules, pustules, and nodules
You may hear the words “non-inflammatory” acne to describe blackheads and occasional pimples or “inflammatory acne” to describe pus-filled pimples that occur in clusters and are often accompanied by reddish, irritated skin. What you commonly see referred to as acne is really acne vulgaris. The more intense version of this is cystic acne which presents as severe acne with deep cysts forming under the skin. It is painful and will often require professional intervention like cortisone shots or running courses of Accutane. Beyond general best practices for skin and potential methods of over the counter treatment, it is unlikely that my knowledge will be suitable to treat cystic acne. Further, you’ll likely need medication that is only possible to obtain via prescription (or a sketchy website, iykyk).
Now let’s talk about what acne is not:
Acne is not “wet”. You should not attempt to clear up your acne by “drying it out”. I see quite a bit of misinformation spread around Twitter about using toothpaste or mouthwash to clear up acne. If it worked for you, that’s great, but n=1. Understand that sebum is protective (we’ll talk about this in part 2), and that by overstripping your skin, your body may respond by overproducing it to compensate which will result in more pimples
Acne is not entirely correlated with diet. I am glad that all of my reply guys decided to cut out seed oils and become skin experts in the last week, but a clean diet will not always translate to clear skin (nor will drinking gallons of water for that matter). Cleaning up your diet is essential for reducing inflammation and maintaining holistic health, but if it doesn’t solve your acne issues, don’t worry - it didn’t solve mine, and there is still hope
Acne is not entirely hormonal. I’ve cleared up plenty of cases of acne that were due to lifestyle issues (looking at you, sweaty gym bros)
Alright, thanks for reading! Stay tuned for future installments in which we will discuss why acne occurs, potential methods for treatment, and more.
That’s all for now! Happy skincare!
Note: you can now book consultations with me! Check it out here or DM me on Twitter to book with ETH