Lighten acne scars: how-to guide!

lighten acne scars

One of the most common problems in skincare and people suffering from acne are acne scars. These scars can be quite visually distracting when meeting someone for the first time. Therefore it is not surprising a lot of people want to know how to lighten acne scars.

Lighten acne scars: How do they form?

To understand the root problem lets talk a bit more on how they form. Acne scars are most often caused by an infection of a pimple.

The pore in which the pimple resides is already under stress due to the buildup of skin debris and sebum in the pore. In addition to this if this gets infected then the follicle wall may break.

If this break happens near the skin’s surface, you’ll probably be alright and the skin will heal relatively quickly without too much concern. However the real trouble starts when the break happens deeper in the skin.

The infected material will in this case spill into the dermis and destroy healthy tissue.

Of course the skin has some mechanisms in place to recover from this. If the infected material does happen to kill healthy skin tissue then the skin will form new collagen fibers in an attempt to fill up what has gone.

Collagen is the fibrous protein that gives skin its strength and flexibility. Unfortunately its only job is to fix the damage, not make it look good. As a result you often see an uneven skin, hence the so-called acne scars.

Types of scars

When the body produces too much collagen, it will show as a raised mass of tissue on the skin’s surface. This is called hypertrophic, or keloid, scarring.

lighten acne scars

 

More commonly however, acne will cause so-called atrophic, or depressed, scars. Just as hypertrophic scarring was caused by a raising of the tissue, atrophic scarring (the opposite) is caused by a loss of tissue. These type of scars are also known as ice pick or boxcar scars.

lighten acne scars

 

The greatest measure to know whether or not you will form acne scars is the level of inflammation. The deeper the inflammation occurs and how violent the infection is will determine the length and breadth of the scarring. The deeper the breakout, the longer it will take for your skin to heal, increasing your chances of scarring.

Lastly one of the most common mistakes people make is mistaking post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) for acne scars. As the pimple is inflamed, the skin area around it will temporarily look reddish due to the inflammation. However this irritation and discoloration will eventually fade on its own. Retin-A may speed the fading time.

lighten acne scars

Example of PIH

Lighten acne scars: Scar prevention

As we previously discussed, the level of inflammation is the biggest gauge for the level of scarring you will have. Therefore reducing this inflammation will be your biggest key in reducing the level of scarring.

The way to do this is by controlling acne as soon as possible. As soon as you have a breakout or as soon as acne appears, go see a dermatologist. He or she will provide you with a cleaning routine that you must follow to the letter. Only that way will your acne be less, and thus also the scarring.

Also if you are prone to acne, don’t attempt to squeeze anything. Squeezing pimples might lead to you pushing the inflamed debris deeper into the skin. As a result your chances of scarring will increase drastically.

Don’t pick at scabs either. Scabs help the wound underneath heal better. If you pick at the scabs, you’ll only prolong the healing process which has an impact on your chances of scarring.

Lighten acne scars: At-home treatments

First of all PIH will be the most common cause for concern among you readers. Therefore I suggest buying a cortisone cream or lotion such as this one. These lotions will help reduce the redness and swelling. They are cheap and easy to use and if you don’t have one in your medicine cabinet yet, get one. They should be a staple just as band-aids.

Secondly you might want to focus on lightening any dark areas left from the acne scar as an at-home treatment method as well.

Look for skin lightener creams that have kojic acid as an active ingredient. Kojic acid is a natural ingredient that is extracted from certain types of mushroom. Kojic acid has been shown to produce skin lightening effects and can work great in lightening darker spots in the skin. It’s a better substitute for hydroquinone as it hyrdroquinone has been rumored to cause irritation and possibly cancer. This is a good option for a skin lightener with kojic acid.

Other good options for skin lighteners are Arbutin, aka bearberry extract, and vitamin C.

Vitamin E

In the word of Flava Flav: Don’t believe the hype! Putting Vitamin E on scars in the hopes of lightening them or curing them is just an urban legend. Studies have shown using vitamin E has no effect at all or even worse; it can cause a worsening of the inflammation. In 90% of cases where people used vitamin E for scar reduction it had no effect. In 33% of cases even people developed contact dermatitis, which is further inflammation of the skin. Referenced study.

Lightening acne scars: Medical treatment

If the above remedies do not offer any resolve to your acne scars, your next step is to go see a dermatologist. They will most likely provide you one of two options: either laser therapy or filler therapy.

In one to three sessions, depending on how severe your condition is, laser skin resurfacing using fractionated laser technology can even out the skin surface and increase and stimulate the formation of new collagen.

Ablative lasers vaporize your scar, allowing smoother skin to take its place. Non-ablative lasers help activate the production of collagen without damaging the surface of your skin.

Filler injections can help fill in the indentations left behind from deep acne scars, but the downside to fillers is that they need to be repeated every 4 to 6 months, as the product reabsorbs into the skin over time.

Patience when trying to lighten acne scars!

Unfortunately all these options require one thing above all: patience!
Usually a few weeks after you break out and scar, new blood vessels move into the injured area to give nourishment to the skin, which is why most early scars look pink.

Months later, collagen will start to form, filling in the injured section of skin and it should fade out.

Unfortunately in the case of cystic acne, the acne destroys skin and fat and it can take up to a year for the scars to fade.

In addition to seeking treatment it’s also important to stay out of the sun as much as possible as UV radiation causes the scars to darken and actually slows down the healing process. In the same way your body reacts to sunlight by producing a tan, in scar tissue this can lead to discoloration with your normal skintone, making scars even more prominent. So make sure to lather up the sunscreen when going outside!

Best blackhead remover product review

best blackhead remover

In order to find the best blackhead remover we first need to define how exactly we want to get rid of blackheads. Blackheads can be removed in a variety of ways. But generally speaking there are only 2 ways in which this can be done: mechanical and chemical.

Mechanical extraction

Comedo extractor

Perhaps the most commonly used blackhead remover product would be a comedo extractor.

best blackhead remover

These come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These comedo extractors work in such a way that they apply pressure around the “comedo”, which is just a fancy word for a blackhead or whitehead, upon which the gunk in the pores just pops out. The way to do this is to place the looped part of the extractor over the black- or whitehead, and with a scooping motion apply pressure. This will make sure the skin and oil mixture in the pore comes oozing out.

As you can see however there are a multitude of tools available. So the question begs: what tool do I use for which job? That is pretty easy to answer however. All tools are looped, just the loop varies in size. Just as all whiteheads or blackheads come in different sizes. Hence the right tool for the job has a loop size that is just big enough to fit over the blackhead or whitehead. These really are one of the best blackhead remover products out there!

For whiteheads however there is a second tool in play here which in the picture above is the third tool. This is the lancet tool. You see whiteheads form when gunk gets in your pores and your skin for some reason or another grows over this pore. The gunk gets trapped and a whitehead is formed.

Now in order to make extraction “easy”, the lancet tool is used to pierce the skin first. One the skin is pierced you won’t need to use all that much pressure to get the gunk out.

Facial steamer

best facial steamer review best blackhead remover

Before using a comedo extractor it is wise to use a facial steamer. Combined these products work together to become the best blackhead remover-combo out there. Steaming your face in a gentle fashion helps ease up your skin to receive treatment. It won’t open or cose pores as people tend to believe, it will rather make your skin softer so it’s easier to pull and squeeze.

In the back of these machines there is a canister for water. Obviously as this is a steamer the steam needs to come from somewhere right? This canister comes out the back and can easily be filled. However my advice to you would be to use de-mineralised water, as tap-water would just clog up the mistifier at the end. We’ve all had to de-calsify our coffee maker at some point. If you use normal water with the facial steamer you’ll have to do the same thing eventually to it as well.

Once the canister is filled and put back in place, simply wait for the steam to arise from the device and place yourself 2-3 inches away from the steam source. Simply take it in for a few minutes (3–5) and you’re good to go!

Even if you are not planning on getting a facial steamer, it is still good that before any skin treatment you do, you make effort to loosen up the skin. A more budget friendly option would be to wrap a hot, moist towel around your face for several minutes before you do any treatments.

Pore vacuum

best blackhead extractor vacuum best blackhead remover

Perhaps one of the most out-there ways on removing blackheads would be to use a blackhead extractor vacuum. This is still to my opinion one of the best blackhead remover products as it provides gentle suction of the skin, versus rough manipulation with the comedo extractors.

The way to use this is pretty simple. Most of these are water proof anyway so I suggest using the pore vacuum when you’re taking a shower. The shower in general will help ease up your skin already so no need for a steamer!

Once in the shower, turn on the device and place the suction head on your skin. Now comes the part most people get wrong. Once the device is sucking, you need to provide some counter-force to make sure the device doesn’t get sucked tight into your skin. You need to make sure the pore vacuum is constantly pulling your skin. So as you are moving the device across your face, pull back out with just enough force it would feel like someone would be pinching you in the cheeks.

 

Best blackhead remover: Chemical extraction

BHA exfoliant

best blackhead remover

Especially if you are suffering from oily skin, a bha exfoliant will be the best blackhead remover product in your arsenal.

BHA exfoliants come in a variety of shapes and size but by far the best ones come from Paula’s Choice. BHA stands for beta-hydroxy-acid in case you were wondering. This might not mean that much to you but if you have oily skin, BHA is the way to go. The salicylic acid in this exfoliant (which is also the working ingredient in aspirin!) enters the pores during washing and provides a deep cleanse.

The slight acidity of this exfoliant results in gentle exfoliation of the skin. No need for rough scrubs or any other hard ways of removing dead skin. The acidity of this product is enough already. As it gently eats away at the dead skin cell layers, it leaves behind pristine skin. This isn’t a remover product per-se, more of a prevention method. However this can be counted as one of the best blackhead remover products since prevention is always better than reduction! This’ll make your skin seem young and healthy again, while at the same time it provides a deep pore cleanse. What more do you want :)?

Best blackhead remover homemade recipes:

Yogurt mask

Another way to provide a deep-pore cleanse using some home-grown remedies would be a yogurt mask. Just as the salycilic acid in the above cleanser eats away at the dead skin cell layers, so does a yogurt mask. The lactic acid in yogurt helps desolve dead skin cells so that when you wash the yogurt off, only fresh skin remains.

To do this you’ll need non-flavoured organic yogurt. Simply place the yogurt in a thin layer on your skin and let it sit for a few minutes. After that, with lukewarm water gently wash the yogurt off. You should be able to see results after a week of trying this mask, doing it twice a week.

Aspirin cleanse

Lastly if you don’t feel like splashing some cash then an aspirin cleanse could work for you! If you remember I mentioned above that in the BHA exfoliant that I provided, salycilic acid was the core-ingredient. This also happens to be the core ingredient in aspirin.

As a result it is possible to make an aspirin cleanse using simple aspirin tablets.

You’ll need 5-7 non-coated aspirin tablets and some water.

Simply mix 5 tablets into a bowl with a little bit of water. The goal here is to make a paste. If the paste is too runny, add some more aspirin tablets. If the paste is way too dry, add some more water. Please use bottled water when making the paste. Also make sure not to add more than 7 tablets. If you feel like you have to it might make more sense to just start over and make a new batch.

Then after exfoliating, simply place the paste on your skin, let it sit for a few minutes and then wash it off. Just like the BHA exfoliant above, this aspirin paste will provide some additional exfoliation next to its core task: deep pore cleansing.

I hope this overview has helped you with selecting the best blackhead remover. The options are plenty yet if you know what you’re doing, you’ll find what works for you fast enough!

Going dairy-free. The blackheads diet #2

blackheads diet

Recently I asked on Reddit if people had ever tried to adapt to a blackheads diet to see what the effect would be on their skin as I wrote in my previous blogpost on the blackhead diet. I was curious to see if other people had seen the same effects as I had.
Currently as part of my blackheads diet I have been leaving refined sugars where they belong, still on the shelf in my local grocery store. I have completely dropped all sweets and refined sugars. I still allow myself some honey and fruits, however I barely use honey anyway and I’m more a savory person than suffering from a sweet tooth anyway so I generally eat more veggies than fruit anyway.

Anyway it seemed people did see a correlation between their diet and the condition of their skin. However not just any change in their diet. Overwhelmingly people were commenting on the effects of dairy on their skin:

People’s comments on dairy and skin quality:

“[–]rgrwilcocanuhearme

If I have even just a little bit of dairy my skin breaks out. I’m Caucasian and developed lactose intolerance in my early 20s. I had very bad acne in my teens, acutane took care of it for maybe 7 years or so before it came back. My skin is “mostly clear” as long as I avoid dairy completely.”

“[–]Crapapalouza 

Cut out dairy. Within one day my skin cleared up.”

[–]SailorPlanetX

Not /u/hapinat, but I’m this close to having completely cut dairy out of my diet. The only thing holding me back is that my SO has a sweet tooth and frequently brings home non-dairy-free sweets, but thankfully I don’t have much of a sweet tooth anymore.

I realized a few months ago that dairy is a big acne-trigger for me. If I went overboard one day, I was almost guaranteed to wake up the next morning with a zit. I’m a HUUUGE cheese-lover, so cutting it out has definitely posed a challenge. Recently I’ve been trying out the non-dairy alternatives in grocery stores to get my fix. Thank the skincare gods for vegan cream cheese!”

So why is it that milk seems to have such a deep impact on acne levels in some people?

milk-is-not-part-of-blackheads-diet

 

Milk causes acne because…

  • There is abundance of a hormone called IGF-1 in milk, which is really good for baby cows, but not for you. IGF-1 is a growth hormone. It makes baby cows grow up big and strong, but in humans, it tends to make your acne grow big instead. IGF-1 is one of several factors that cause inflammation in humans, and which eventually lead to acne (and the ugly redness and swelling that makes acne so annoying).
  • Milk and dairy products cause an insulin spike in humans that cause the liver to produce even more IGF-1, leading to even more acne.
  • Dairy causes your skin to produce excess sebum (oil), leading to – you guessed it! – more clogged pores, more acne, blackheads and a breeding ground for P. acnesbacteria, which feed on your sebum and spew out inflammatory by-products.
  • Dairy glues together dead skin cells inside your pores, so they can’t exit naturally, leading to clogged pores (and thus more acne).

The milk and acne effect is well documented in the literature. In the last decade or so, a number of studies have found a strong link between the consumption of milk and increased occurrence of acne. For example, one such study found that teenage boys who drank milk broke out more often, and more severely, than those who didn’t drink milk.  At least five other studies have confirmed that, in general, the more milk you drink, the worse acne you’ll get. So in our blackheads diet, unfortunately dairy has no place!

Alternatives to Milk in the blackheads diet:

There are a few great alternatives to milk if you’re still hooked on liquid white stuff. Here we go:

  • Unsweetened, organic almond milk
  • Unsweetened, organic coconut milk (“So Delicious” or similar brand)
  • AROY-D 100% Coconut Cream
  • Organic full-fat coconut milk

You have to be a little careful with milk substitutes as they tend to have a bunch of added sugar and sometimes vegetable oil (both of which negatively affect your hormones and can worsen acne).

That’s why I recommend unsweetened almond or coconut milk.

(Note: by “vegetable oil” I mean canola oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, corn oil, and cottonseed oil. These oils are highly processed and/or contain high amounts of inflammatory omega-6 fats.)

You can also make your own nut milks, of course! Almond milk, Brazil nut milk, hazelnut milk – you name it. Google around a bit if you’re curious about this – you’ll find tons of great recipes and how-to’s out there. That way, you know you’re getting just pure, healthy nuts and no funny stuff added.

My personal favorite these days is AROY-D 100% Coconut Cream. It’s prized by Thai master chefs (so I’ve read) as the best-tasting coconut milk / coconut cream around. It’s incredibly rich and loaded with healthy medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and stable saturated fats. It mixes great into green smoothies and curries and is unmissable in your new anti-blackheads diet!

Final tips:

  • Watch for food triggers that may seem to aggravate acne.
  • Keep a food diary and share it with your dermatologist.
  • Be patient. It may take up to 12 weeks of a diet change to determine if certain foods are contributing to acne.
  • Continue following your regular acne treatment routine. Diet changes are only a small part of an acne treatment plan and are meant to be used in conjunction with proven medical therapies for acne.

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DERMATOLOGY EXPERT ADVICE:
“Based on the studies we now have available, the evidence suggests that diet does play a role in acne,” said Dr. Bowe. “More studies are definitely needed in this area, but they are not easy studies to execute. Patients can be their own best detectives in determining possible food triggers for acne, and I encourage them to make an appointment with a dermatologist if they have any acne concerns.”

Hopefully this has given you some more insight on what to do to keep your blackheads diet going and keep blackheads at bay!

Best cleansers for oily skin: which one?

In the guide below we will show you 3 products that for you might be the best cleansers for oily skin.
As we all know oily skin is more likely to suffer from pimples, acne and blackheads. Unfortunately oily sin can be more high maintenance than other skintypes. Oily skin is characterized by enlarged pores and overactive sebaceous glands. It’s the sebacous glands inside hair follicles (or otherwise known as pores) that produce so-called “sebum”. The oil that naturally keeps the skin flexible.

However not all is lost if you are dealt the hand of oily skin by mother nature. You can still handle it as long as you take proper care of your skin.
One of the most important things in oily skin care routine is cleansing.

How to choose the best cleansers for oily skin?

The market is flooded nowadays with a plethora of different kinds of cleansers that all claim to be THE best cleansers for oily skin. However not all of them do as it says on the label. I’m going to show you 3 products I know have worked wonders on many of my clients.

1) Cetaphil Cleansing Lotion for Normal to Oily Skin

best cleansers for oily skinOne of the best cleansers for oily skin out there is this Cetaphil product. It is tried and tested by many and has been found to be very effective in treating oily skin.

PROS:
– It is gentle on the skin
– Effectively washes off all dirt from your face
– It is non-comedogenic meaning it does not stimulate the production of pimples or blackheads.
– Great for people with a sensitive, oily or acne-prone skin.
– Doesn’t dry out the skin
– Doesn’t break the skin

CONS:
– Is not as effective as a makeup remover. Some spots remain.
– Has parabens.
– Has a subtle medicated fragrance.

2) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Face Wash

best cleansers for oily skin
This Neutrogena Oil-free Acne Wash  might be a bit more expensive than the Cetaphil cleanser, however this is not a product that should remain missing in your morning cabinet.

PROS:
– It contains salicylic acid as an ingredient which is a boon for oily skin.
– Helps in controlling oil and fights against acne.
– Cleanses the skin effectively. Every spec of dirt leaves!
– Doesn’t dry out the skin.

CONS:
– None!

3) Himalaya Purifying Neem Face Wash

best cleansers for oily skin

Lastly but definitely not the least, this Himalaya Neem Face Wash is the cheapest of the bunch, AND due to its natural products it is the best cleansers for oily skin using nothing but natural products.

PROS:
– Removes all dirt and impurities.
– Makes the skin squeaky clean.
– It is herbal.
– The smell is subtle and relaxing.
– Removes every speck of non waterproof makeup.
– Contains neem and turmeric as ingredients which are great for oily, acne prone skin.
– Doesn’t dry out the skin.
– Doesn’t leave any residue behind.
– It’s cheap!

CONS:
– Doesn’t lather much.

I hope now you know more to select your best cleansers for oily skin.

Best foods to prevent acne and blackheads

professional blackhead removal, Preventing blackheads with diet

Suffering from blemishes and acne outbreaks on a frequent basis? Can’t see your nose anymore due to all the blackheads that are there? Maybe you’re not eating the best foods to prevent acne!
As a common expression goes: “You are what you eat”, nothing could be more true than the relation between the health of your skin and what you put in your mouth. Certain studies have shown that diets high in sugar and trans fats have a negative impact on acne, and thus are not the best foods to prevent acne.
On the other hand, a diet rich in protein, healthy fats and ant-oxidants will make your skin glow again in no time!

What Causes Acne and Blackheads?

The main cause of acne and blackheads is the clogging up of skin pores with a mixture of dead skin cells and skin oil, however various other factors are in play that have an effect on these two blackhead ingredients.
Bacterial infections, bad eating habits, hormonal cycles or even medication all play a role in how your skin functions. They all can have an impact on oil production or skin cell rejuvenation.

Best foods to prevent acne.

Best foods to prevent acne

Eating low-glycemic foods, or foods that take longer to digest, may help you prevent blackheads and acne.

 

Treating acne and blackheads can be done in a variety of ways. Most acne treatment, if it has gone to an advanced state, use medication as a way of treating the most severe cases.

Also mechanical options exist to get rid of single pimples that might pop up. Most dermatologists and cosmeticians use a blackhead extractor or removal tool in order to get single blackheads or pimples out. Other ways people can use at home are pore strips or bands against blackheads. These are basically band-aids that have a special adhesive on them that clings so well to your skin that as you rip it off, most blackheads underneath this band-aid come out right with it.

Prevention:

In general, these products do what it says on the package, but most effective is still prevention.
Consider making the following changes to your diet, and choose the following best foods to prevent acne the results will surprise you!

Just as your eyes are the windows into your soul, your skin is the window into your health. If you eat junk food all day, unfortunately you will look like you do. A healthy diet filled with lean protein and fruits and vegetables (and healthy fats!) will do wonders for your skin.
IF you had any breakouts before, you might see them still, but they will most likely be way less severe. Good nutrition is the key to healthy, clear skin!

blackhead prevent acne do not eat these

Foods not to eat when trying to prevent blackheads and acne.

Skin experts seem to agree, that it is vital you eat foods that help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. Simple carbohydrate rich foods (white bread, bagels, plain flower, ..) will make your blood sugar levels spike right after finishing a meal, after which it comes crashing down one or two hours later. You’ll feel a significant drop in energy levels with it.

Not only does your blood sugar levels spike, so does your insulin, which reacts to blood sugar levels. As this hormone spikes, your whole body gets into a total hormonal imbalance, a perfect breeding ground for acne and blackheads to persevere. So when looking for the best foods to prevent acne, steer clear from the sweets and the good stuff! Beauty doesn’t come easy :)!

Low Glycemic foods:

Focus on foods that have a so-called “Low Glycemic index”. Meaning lean meats, fish, leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds and low sugar fruits.
Some people also claim that dropping dairy from their diet has made them see significant reductions in acne levels. These are of course anecdotal pieces of evidence but it may well be worth a try. Try leaving dairy products out of your diet for days and see how you feel. If your skin seems better it might just as well be that it was the right solution for you!

Contrary to popular belief, eating fatty foods (if they are the right kinds of fat!), will not necessarily cause weight gain or acne and blackheads to get worse. Healthy fats such as omega-3 and -6 reduce inflammation and boost skin health and are some of the best foods to prevent acne. They also have various benefits for your cardiovascular system and cholesterol and they protect your eyesight. So adding healthy fats to your diet might actually be a thing you might want to try out. Use the 30-day method to see how it affects to your body.

Foods to eat when preventing blackheads and acne

Salmon is a source of good fats that will help you prevent blackheads and acne.

Other than the omega -fatty acids other sources of good fats are fatty fish such as salmon and, to a lesser degree, tuna. Also all plant based oils such as the popular extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, nut oils, are all good sources of monounsaturated fat that will do wonders for your skin.

As mentioned above, you should avoid “high” glycemic index foods such as ice cream, breakfast cereals, and white breads. These food will cause your insulin levels to spike and will cause you acne as a consequence.

Below is a good grocery list of the best foods to prevent acne:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Low sugar fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Brazil nuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Poultry
  • Beans
  • Oysters
  • Dark berries
  • Almonds
  • Green tea
  • Swiss chard
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Butternut squash
  • Cantaloupe
  • Raw seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs

Stock up on foods rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin E, selenium, essential fatty aids, antioxidants, and fiber. These really are the best foods to prevent acne and blackheads. Recent studies have indicated that people with high levels of vitamin A are less likely to develop acne and blackheads, confirming out suspicions. This nutrient prevents excess production of cells in the skin’s outer layer, which helps prevent breakouts. Vitamin C and selenium, which have powerful antioxidants effects, enhance your body’s ability to flush out toxins.

Dietary fiber, which is found in all plant-based foods, regulates blood glucose, promotes good digestion, and slow down sugar absorption into your body. These factors combined help prevent and reduce breakouts. Researchers have also found that zinc deficiency can lead to skin problems, such as acne and blackheads. Dark chocolate and oysters are high in zinc, so make sure you include them in your diet. Don’t forget about whole grains, which are packed with B vitamins. These nutrients promote healthy skin and hair. If possible, cook your own meals and avoid processed foods.

Hopefully now you have a good idea of what the best foods to prevent acne are!

Let us know in the comments below if you have made changes to your diet and how it has affected your skin.

How to treat different skin types

how to treat different skin types
You’ve probably heard and maybe discovered for yourself as well that there is a whole variety of skin types out there.
They go from normal to sensitive, from dry to oily or a combination of them all. But which type is yours?
Important to remember is that as you age, your whole body changes with it. As does your skin type.
Most teenagers for example went through a marvelous period in their lives when their skin type was predominantly greasy!Your type depends on a variety of factors such as how hydrated your skin is, how oily it is and how sensitive it is to different kinds of care products.

Normal Skin Types

Normal skin types are characterized by the fact that their skin is not too oily and not too dry.
Most commonly their skin has very few imperfections, doesn’t really react to any chemicals in cleaning agents and ha a radiant complexion.
As a consequence normal skin types typically have barely visible pores as well.

Combination Skin Types

If you have a combination skin type then your skin can have vary different patches of either dry or normal skin and oily in others. Most commonly with combination skin types their T-zone tends to be oilier than other parts of their skin. The T-zone is the more commonly called zone between your nose, forehead and chin.
This is arguably the most common skin type.
Combination skin type people have pores that look larger than normal as they’re more open. They’ll suffer from blackheads more (and the occasional zits!) and will have a shiny skin, due to the oiliness of the T-zone.

Dry Skin Types

These skin types will have nearly invisible pores, they will have a dull and rough complexion due to the lack of water in the skin. Probably will suffer from red patches in their skin.
Due to the lack of water their skin will also be less elastic and they will have more visible lines and cloves in their skin. Again due o the lack of hydration in the skin.

Due the lack of hydration in the skin it causes the skin to crack, peel or become itchy, irritated or inflamed. If the skin is very dry then it can get rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms and legs.

 

Unfortunately your condition can be made worse due to genetic expressions, as you get older or simply due to changes in your climate. On dry summery days for example, the more you spend outdoors unprotected from the UV-rays from the sun, the more dull your skin will get.

Also long hot showers are a no-no!
Logic suggest then to make dry skin better, you should avoid UV-light from outdoors and tanning beds, avoid taking long hot showers (shorten them and save the planet at the same time!), check for the right ingredients in soap and cleansers and put on moisturizer right after bathing.

Oily Skin Types

Unfortunately you will have enlarged pores, you will suffer from pimples, blackheads and acne outbreaks.
Also your skin will shine bright like a diamond :).

Oiliness can depend on the time of year, and thus the season, and other environmental factors.
Stress and puberty are most likely the main stress factors for oily skin, causing the glands to go into overdrive. Also heat or too much humidity will cause your skin to produce more oil than necessary.

To clean oily skin, you should follow the following steps:

  • Wash it no more than twice a day and after you sweat a lot.
  • Use a gentle cleanser and don’t scrub.
  • Don’t pick, pop, or squeeze pimples. They’ll take longer to heal.
  • Look for the word “non-comedogenic” on skin care products and cosmetics. This means it won’t clog pores.

Sensitive Skin Types

It can show up as:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Dryness

If your skin is sensitive, try to find out what your triggers are so you can avoid them. There are many possible reasons, but often it’s in response to particular skin care products.

The 6 Basics of Skin Care

No matter what type of skin you have, these tips will keep it looking its best.

  1. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
  2. Avoid direct sunlight, and wear a hat and sunglasses.
  3. Don’t smoke.
  4. Stay hydrated.
  5. Wash your skin gently but thoroughly every day and never wear makeup to bed.
  6. Moisturize.

How to treat oily skin: best cleanser for oily skin

how to treat oily skin, common causes oily skin

A lot of my customers ask me how to treat oily skin. People with oily skin are extremely prone to acne-outbreaks, blemishes and blackheads.
As we are all now with how blackheads form after having read how to prevent blackheads from forming, we know that the key factors to look out for are the mixture of oil and skin on the skin surface, locking pores (also called sebum) and the naturally occurring oil layer on your skin itself.

In this article we’ll go over some ways how to treat oily skin so you can make sure your natural oil levels stay well within balance with the rest of your body.

Cosmopolitan wrote a really good article on this topic and I’ll be taking pointers from theirs. You can read their article here.

Get your cleansers straight!

First off you’ll need to find a great cleanser. When cleaning oily skin, you almost have to think of it as cleaning a skillet. You’ll need to clean oil with oil.
Look for oil-based cleansers such as this one:

Regardless though on whether or not you’ll go with an oil-based cleanser or not, important is to not use anything containing alcohol as that will be too harsh of a cleanser. Softness and tenderness is always key when cleaning your skin. IF you use a cleanser that is too harsh you might actually do more damage than good. A too harsh cleanser will strip away more oil than necessary, forcing your body to go into overdrive as it tries to maintain balance and produce more oil than it should to make up for the difference. Precisely the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

Cleanse regularly

Secondly proper hygiene is paramount to all things beauty and health related. Without proper hygiene you are just fighting an uphill battle getting yourself Saturday-night ready.
Choose a gentle cleanser and use it at least twice a day to normalize oil levels. Ditch the daily toner use and use it maybe 1-2 times at most during the week. Instead focus on a leave-on cream for controlling oil production.
Go for a cream low in benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Skincare and managing skin oil production is all about finding the right balance that works with your body.

Use moisturizer

Another great thing you can do for your skin and what has been proven time and time again is to make sure you hydrate properly. Dehydrated skin is stressed skin and can cause the glands to produce more oil than they should.
Other than making sure you get your daily doses of water you can do spot hydration by using moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid rather than ceramides, which can lock in bacteria and lead to pimples and blackheads.
Boots Botanics Shine Away Mattifying Day Cream is just the right cream to do that!

Homemade how to treat oily skin remedies:

Home remedies to treat oily skin are very tricky to get right. The popular sugar-lemon scrub a lot of women make at home is just such an example of where balance is key in getting things right. Although it is a good exfoliant and mildly improves pigmentation, using too much lemon juice can lead to hyper-pigmentation.
Yogurt masks can help exfoliate, but overdoing it can have undesired effects as well.
Exfoliating once a week is a good amount to make sure you allow your skin to heal properly from the afflicted abrasions while at the same time aiding your skin in shedding the dead skin cells in a natural fashion.
Be careful when steaming your skin as well, as you would before trying to squeeze blackheads, as too high a temperature for too long can strip away natural oil layers on your skin.

As always, balance is key!

Hopefully now you have a good idea how to treat oily skin!

Blackhead extractor tools: How to use a comedo extractor tool

Cosmeticians and dermatologists probably use blackhead extractor tools more than any other. They are more commonly known as a comedo extractor tools. They’re very easy to use and aren’t a costly purchase at all. Retailing at around $10 a pop this might be one of the cheapest investments into your beauty that you can make!

“Comedo” or “Comedone” is a sort of catch-all term for black- and whiteheads. Knowing this term might help you in your further google searches in the future! It comes from the latin verb “comedere”, meaning “to eat up”. In Roman texts “comedere” was used to describe parasitic worms. In present day the word “comedo” described the worm-like oil and skin debris mixture that comes out of a pore when you squeeze it.

blackhead extractor tools

“Got worms?!”

 

The main advantage that these tools have over two fingers and a piece of paper is that they allow you to apply pressure on a much more localized area of skin. As a result, rather than damaging a big area of skin, only a small patch is treated.
Secondly they allow you to reach places you might not be able to get to using just your hands.

How to use blackhead extractor tools:

First you have to ease your skin. Make sure the pores are open. To do this cosmeticians and dermatologists use a steamer to quickly treat your skin for a period of about 5 minutes. They steam up your pores and make sure the skin that is about to be treated is ready to receive the treatment.

Opening the pores allows the blackheads to be extracted easier. This makes the whole experience less painful. I was in Scandinavia a while back and going to sauna is a big part of their culture. They know however that after sauna is one of the best times to try and squeeze out those pesky blackheads. The steam of the sauna relaxes the so much they almost tend to fall out automatically!
Once your skin is ready to be squeezed, all you need to do is take one of your blackhead extractor tools and start scouting your skin for possible targets.

Method:

Now the tool used in the picture above has 2 loops; which one should you use, right? The flat loop is meant for extracting those hard-to-reach blackheads. The whiteheads on the other hand, can’t withstand the pressure the small loop provides.

However in practice I have seen the small loop being used to extract blackheads and vice versa. Ultimately what counts is that the gunk is out from your pores!

Simply place the loop over the black- or whitehead of your choice. Then once it is placed; pretend like you would scoop ice-cream out of a jar. It sounds a bit silly but there really is no better way to describe the motion that this tool requires to achieve the best result.
By pretending you scoop out ice cream you are effectively applying pressure on the far-side of the tool. This allows the debris in the pores to be pushed out from the bottom. This will leave behind a perfectly empty pore as the dead skin and oil mixture is squeezed out of the blackhead or whitehead.

Here is a video kind of demonstrating the process:

Hard to reach places:

As we see the most common place for blackheads to appear would be in the so-called “T-zone”. This is the area between your eyebrows and down to your nose.
Blackheads on the nose can be very tricky to remove. Especially if you are not using a tool to do so. Using blackhead extractor tools, nose blackheads that are just behind the nostrils will quickly become a thing of the past.

Just align the tool behind the nostrils. Then as if you’d scoop ice cream, push down on the tool and move the tool downwards as you do. Make sure to keep breathing through your mouth if you have a stuffy nose as your nostrils (at least one of them) will get completely shut as you do this.

Removing blackheads from the nose can be quite painful as there are a lot of nerves that run along this part of the face. That’s why having a steam bath or hot towel around your face can ease the skin. Proper groundwork, combined with blackhead extractor tools will make this task an enjoyable experience.

Aftercare:

Aftercare is just as important as the work itself. So make sure that after every successful extraction, you take good care to clean and disinfect the tool before use. You wouldn’t want your hard-earned work to result in returning white- or blackheads now would you?!

After you are done, apply some skin disinfectant and some moisturizer to help soothe the skin and you will be good to go!

I hope you have found some useful info in here. If you are interested in blackhead extractor tools then please check out the link to amazon.com where the product used in this article is offered on sale

What causes blackheads? Find out now!

removing nose blackheads, what causes blackheads

One of the most common questions I get from my customers is; what causes blackheads and why do they keep coming back, no mater what I try?!

First of all you need to understand that even if you would live in a fat-free bubble, away from any outside pollutants that might contaminate your skin, they would still appear on your nose. Unfortunately!

Everyone knows blackheads appear in the pores of your skins, but did you know a pore is also known as a “hair follicle”? Pores are basically place holders for hairs to grow out of your skin. However not every pore produces a hair. As a result our skin is littered with these tiny bumps that can clog up!

Once one of these pores gets clogged up one of two things can happen. It can get clogged and be open; this is when a blackhead forms. Or it can be clogged and closed with skin; this is when a whitehead happens!

Therefore the formation of blackheads is also closely linked with the formation of acne. Any teenager will be all too familiar with both of these :)!

What causes blackheads?

Our skin produces on a continuous basis a certain amount of oil to prevent drying out of the skin. Some people however produce more oil than others, and these people will have more issues with black- and whiteheads in life. As oil and skin debris mixes, they can flow into a pore and form a black- or whitehead.

what causes blackheads

In your teenage years oil production in your skin kicks into overdrive thanks to out-of-control hormone levels. As a result a lot of teenagers can suffer from acne. Some say the reason why oil levels go into overdrive during your teenage years is because when humans used to be “hairier”, a higher oil level in the skin made their hair more shiny!

How to prevent blackheads?

However there are a few ways how you can combat outbreaks and oily skin.
A lot of different lotions exist that first of all clean the skin of any debris as well as make your skin less oily, preventing blackheads from forming.
There are also a plethora of so-called blackhead extractors; whoever has been to a cosmetician will have seen such a device. Basically the idea behind such an extractor is that it provides your hands with some extra leverage to put extra pressure on your skin to allow you to slowly squeeze a blackhead out.
I’m sure you are familiar with Dr. pimplepopper? She has a YouTube channel on which she features a showcase of her most-gross work :). See the link below to see her in action;

These are however already pretty advanced cases on this woman’s back. Usually they do not get to this stage. However a good relationship tip from me and my husband is to take a look at your significant others’ back from time to time to make sure no blackheads can start festering into cysts. It’s a fun way to spend a Saturday evening :)!

Hopefully you now have a better idea about what causes blackheads. In my next posts I will be going over some of the lotions and ointments you can use to keep those black and whiteheads at bay! See you some time next week!

PS If you want to catch up on some more in-depth blackhead knowledge please check out this Wikipedia page that describes the topic pretty well:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedo