What causes blackheads and blocked pores?
The usual cause of blackheads is the overproduction of oil (sebum). This typically begins during puberty when hormone production steps up. When this excess sebum dries up, it becomes a blackhead or blocked pore. As the sebum dries, it solidifies in the pore and then is packed in the pore with dead cells and cellular metabolic waste.
Skin care and makeup products containing the following ingredients will cause or worsen blocked pores and blackheads: sorbolene, isopropyl myristate, mineral oil, silicone, beeswax, shea and cocoa butter. Many ‘acid’ based and benzoyl peroxide based treatment creams and lotions damage the pores and the skin, causing congestion problems to worsen despite a temporary, possible, early improvement. In addition, the skin will always be more susceptible to UV damage for a long period of time after these aggressive treatments.
Note that Silicone appears under a few names: dimethicone, simethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and cyclohexasiloxane. ‘Acids’ refers to ‘retinoic acid, benzoic acid, salicylic acid, AHAs, glycolic acid.
How blackheads can turn into pimples and acne
There’s a type of bacteria that lives naturally in the base of our pores. When a pore becomes blocked this sets up a perfect breeding 'cul-de-sac' in which the bacteria can multiply.
Blackheads are usually present before acne and pimples start to appear. Acne occurs when the bacteria which is present in the blackhead invades further into the pores of the person’s skin. This causes the redness, inflammation and soreness that becomes pimples, breakouts and acne.
How to Clear Breakouts, Pimples and Acne
Cleanse a minimum of twice daily. Cleanse an extra time during the day after playing sport or exercising, especially during warm weather. When wearing makeup foundations, which contain beeswax, shea butter etc. it can be beneficial to first massage the face with little Sage Face Oil before cleansing. Doing this will help to dissolve these ingredients in a gentle, non-stripping way. Follow with the Plant Gel Cleanser.
Why exfoliating is essential
Keep the pores clear by exfoliating regularly; in most skins this means exfoliating every day (after the initial ‘easing in’ period of the One Step Exfoliating Cleanser).
Exfoliate all over the face, taking care to cover 100% of the skin up to the hair line, the fold of the nose, between the eyes, in front of the ears, jaw-line, chin, forehead and cheeks. Be sure to cover every part of the face. Use Simplicité’s One Step Exfoliating Cleanser or Exfoliating Face Treatment. Of course, avoid rough, aggressive exfoliators. By the way, it’s a myth that exfoliating causes more oiliness.
Next, the skin must be kept correctly moisturised. Dryness on the surface of the skin will simply cause the underneath oiliness to build up again as plugs under the dry keratin flakes that have already begun to block the pores. Once exfoliating has been done, apply Sage Face Oil. This has gentle antibacterial properties and also keeps the pores clear by solubilising the skin’s sebum and ‘keeping it moving’. Then follow with Oil Controlled Day Creme to soothe, calm redness and inflammation, and assist healing.
How to Kill the Bacteria that Causes Pimples, Breakouts and Acne
Exfoliating diligently is the first step in destroying acne-causing bacteria. To reduce bacterial populations without destroying the health of the skin use the Simplicité Acne Antibacterial Serum. Apply using a cotton make-up pad. Draw the pad all over 100% of the face and press firmly into the skin as the pad is drawn. This will help force the active ingredients into the skin and draw out surface blockages. The Serum must be used morning and night, minimum.
School students and those who have been playing sport or otherwise active on hot, humid days will noticeably benefit from using an extra application of this Serum as soon as possible afterward.
Perhaps knowing the following fact about bacteria will help with developing the commitment needed to stick to this routine: for every hour that passes, the number of bacteria in the base of the pores can double. This allows inflammation to increase rapidly.
Dietary/Lifestyle Tips to Prevent and Get Rid of Acne
Have a glass of water within 5 minutes of getting out of bed in the morning. Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day.
Eat lots of fruit and have lots of sleep. Having late nights will set back any advances made with the skin.
Begin an ongoing course of Simplicité Herbal Skin capsules to assist immunity, improve elimination, and calm the secondary effects of fluctuating hormones.
High Glycaemic Index foods have been shown in studies to worsen pimples and acne. It is helpful to reduce intake of these foods: white bread, white rice, corn flakes, processed breakfast cereals, sugar, lollies, cakes, pastries, doughnuts, sticky buns.
Reference: J Drugs Dermatol. 2014 Apr;13(4):428-35. Diet and acne update: carbohydrates emerge as the main culprit. Mahmood SN, Bowe WP.