May 12 2017 - Skin Care 101
Acne results - what to do for long term change09 February 2016
Clearasil, Benzac, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, Dermalogica, Proactiv… If you’re a teenager with problem skin, chances are you’ve tried at least one of these brands’ acne treatments. Pimples put teenagers through a testing time, and you want a quick fix – that’s what these products offer. But think about it – have any of these products actually worked for you in the long run? Are you still suffering from skin breakouts?
The ‘quick fix’ illusion
What all of the above-mentioned brands’ products have in common are some harsh active ingredients – most commonly benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and glycolic acid. They work because they are antiseptic, and the acids dry up the oil glands and stop the skin from producing so much sebum. This can clear up skin breakouts, for a while. You might think that the burning sensation you feel after using the products is a good thing because it means it’s working, but it actually means your skin in distress. We’ve been conditioned to believe that our skin somehow reacts well to these ingredients, and that the only way to get rid of acne and breakouts is with harsh chemical peel-like cleansers and creams, but this simply isn’t the case.
Even if your skin does improve, you’ll be left with a raw looking face, not to mention increased sensitivity to sunlight. And have a look at your bathroom towels – there’ll be bleach stains left behind from these harsh compounds. Other common uses for these chemicals are in hair bleaching, tooth whitening products and wart treatments. Anything that’s capable of dissolving a wart is surely going to have a negative effect on the skin. There’s a reason why products containing these agents warn you to “stay out of the sun when using this cream” or state that they’re “not safe to use when pregnant”.
So, if these chemicals are not good news for your skin, why are they the ‘active’ ingredient in almost every acne product? Precisely because they tend to deliver results quickly and they’re cheap to produce. Acne can put your self-esteem to the test, and when Clearasil promises “visibly clearer skin in as little as 12 hours” if you use its salicylic acid based cleanser and Clean & Clear tells you that “pimples look better in just 4 hours” if you use its benzoyl peroxide based 'acne control kit', why wouldn’t you give it a go? Not many acne sufferers are going to worry about the long term effect or damage these products could be doing to their skin, as long as they get relief now. But these products break the bonds in collagen and elastin, two major proteins in your skin that keep it full and firm. So, while they may work in the short term, these creams are in fact accelerating the ageing process.
A vicious cycle
These products don’t do anything to solve the underlying issues that cause acne. As soon as you stop using them, the problem will return, often worse than it was to begin with. In the meantime your skin has now become thinner, parched, and sensitive. That’s because when your skin is constantly stripped of its natural oils, it stops being able to produce them efficiently. Discontinuing use of the products can cause your sebum glands to go into overdrive, meaning you can get 'too' oily and you start breaking out again. So while these acne products may ‘treat’ your problem skin, they have no residual effect, so continued use is necessary to keep skin clear.
Nurture with nature
It’s tough, because your hormones are out of whack, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting your acne and breakouts to be gone fast. But what your skin needs most is a little TLC and lots of natural active ingredients. You may not believe it, but it is possible to improve your skin without man-made chemicals. Think about what’s best for the inside of your body – fresh fruits and veggies – not the processed stuff. Why would it be any different for the outside? Treating acne doesn’t have to be painful, and you should never have to suffer with dry, scaly or burnt skin. There is a natural alternative, and that’s plant-based skin care. The high quality and concentration of the plant extracts work to protect and nourish the skin whilst clearing pimples and keeping the skin moisture-balanced and youthful. Fine, light textured, non-hydrogenated plant oils simply cannot congest the skin; in fact, they’re vital to its survival.
Whether you get the odd breakout or suffer from severe acne, natural skin care can help, provided it’s concentrated and active. Active plant-based products can clear up skin concerns as diverse as hormonal pimples and eczema.
Effective, natural skin care can even cure severe acne. Take Brook's story—after trying all the harsh products available and seeing only temporary results, Brooke gave plant-based skin care a try and never looked back.