Let's talk about Acne.
For many of us acne is not just an annoying skin problem, it can be a lifelong struggle. Trying to clear your skin of acne can feel like an uphill battle, with so many products and ingredients all claiming to be effective and safe. Research shows that many acne-treating products might be effective in decreasing the amount of acne visible on your skin, but actually arm your delicate microbiome in the process. The truth is, if you have acne, you have an unbalanced microbiome. There are safe and effective ways to treat your microbiome and see improvements with your acne, without harming your skin in the process.
What is Acne?
In the simplest terms, acne occurs when your hair follicles are clogged. Oil and dead skin cells are the main culprits in clogging your pores and can create those annoying zits and pimples. Many factors such as age, diet & stress levels contribute to acne and worsen its severity.
How does the Microbiome play into Acne?
Skin conditions from psoriasis to acne have long been associated with an unbalanced microbiome. There is no denying the intrinsic role your microbiome plays in the overall health of your skin. Trillions of organisms live on your face - but don’t let that freak you out. Think of these organisms as friendly little neighbors, working hard to keep you + your skin healthy. The microorganisms on your face have a host of jobs, and they do them quite well. Some bacteria signal the skin to produce lipids, like ceramides, to keep the barrier strong and seal in internal hydration.
Some feed off sebum, the skin’s natural moisturizer, to keep your oil levels in check. (In Clean, Dr. Hamblin proposes that oily skin may not be a product of oil overproduction at all, but of microbial imbalance: The skin is missing the microorganisms that “eat” the oil, making the skin appear overly oily.) Others feed off dead skin cells, essentially taking care of all your exfoliation needs, and still others produce potent antifungal and antimicrobial compounds. As you can see, the bacteria & fungi on your skin are incredibly important to your body’s ecosystem. If unbalanced, acne can arise.
Traditional Acne Cures Aren’t Working
One of the first lines of defense when it comes to problem-acne is benzoyl peroxide. This is a powerful antiseptic which works by drastically reducing the amount of bacteria on your skin. Although benzoyl peroxide might “clear up” the visible acne on your face, studies show that the long term use of benzoyl peroxide is damaging to your microbiome, and could lead to other skin issues down the road. Continued use of benzoyl peroxide, and other antiseptic treatments can lead to skin redness, dryness, itchiness, and a severely damaged microbiome.
So, Certain Acne Treatments Might be Bad for my skin?
Unfortunately, this is correct. The world of microbiome research is so new, that we are only beginning to understand what an important role your microbiome plays in your life-long health. From the moment you are born, this invisible layer works in epic cohesion to keep your body healthy. Sacrificing your microbiome for a chance at acne-free skin is not a long-term solution and will lead to various skin issues down the road. See here to discover what an unbalanced microbiome means.
How can I cure acne without damaging my microbiome?
Getting rid of acne means finding your microbiome balance. In order to do that we recommend taking a look at your skincare routine and the ingredients you are putting on your skin. There could be ingredients that are harmful to your microbiome, for more information see our blog here. Simplifying your skincare routine is also a great place to start, your microbiome is an expert at balancing on its own, and the more gentle & microbiome-friendly products you can incorporate into your routine, the better. See below for a round up of our best-sellers, try some out and discover the beauty & effectiveness of minimalism.