Friday, June 24, 2011

The Science of Makeup: Acne

Acne affects so many people. This is a really big problem because it brings down people's self-esteem. I remember doing my hair in the bathroom mirror with my younger cousin and she started asking me questions about why I had so many pimples. My only response was that I just did and I was taking medication and was on a strict regiment to clear it up. Rubbing her flawless skin, she told me that she didn't know what she'd do if her skin was like mine. My mother over heard and could see that my feelings were hurt. She walked passed the bathroom door and said, "You'd keep living". My mother was right, as she often is. There is no cure but we can manage acne so that we can have the clearest healthiest canvas for makeup and to feel confident about our appearance. I tried everything from Pro-Active to Differin cream, birth control pills to strong medicated cleansers. Once I stopped stressing about how my face looked, the breakouts lessened. By my senior year of high school, my acne breakouts on my face were fewer, however, to this day I continue to struggle with acne and hyper-pigmentation on my back.
My jr. high school years with bad acne and hyper-pigmentation

My skin 10 years later
3 Myths About Acne:
1. Food does NOT trigger acne, in most cases
2. In almost EVER case, a healthy diet including fish, grains, green veggies, fruits, fiber and water can help to improve your skin
3. Cleanliness does not prevent acne, it is primarily caused by what is happening inside of your body.

What is Acne and Where Does it Come From?
The hormone androgen, is commonly associated with men, and although they produce much more of this hormone, women do, too. This normally occurs when you reach adolescence. The formulation of acne at that age is a sign that there are chemical changes in your body.  Androgen may enlarge the sebaceous glands that are deep in your skin if you are acne-prone.  The oil producing glands in your skin have microscopic hair follicles that open at the pores (tiney holes on the surface of the skin). Normal and healthy skin that is working properly would just naturally lubricate the skin, but overactive androgen produces problem skin.  Androgen causes the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which then comes in contact with bacteria that is on and in our skin.  The bacteria as well as the excess oil clogs up your pores and become trapped in the hair follicles under the skin. The now irritated bacteria causes redness and inflammation and eventually produces chemical enzymes that push out fatty acids.  These clogged pores lead to noninflammatory (the blackheads and whiteheads at the surface of the skin) and inflammatory acne (the swelling and painful bumps).

If you have a blackhead, then you know the hair follicle is open, this is not a speck of dirt inside the hole. It's actually air that has been trapped inside the open pore and caused oil to become darkened.  In essence, it is discolored oil. Whiteheads mean your pore is closed and the oil has not been exposed to air or discolored, but the pressure of the oil has built up against the surface of the skin.  Inflammatory acne forms when bumps build up pressure deep inside the skin causing your clogged pores to burst. Your white blood cells are stimulated and you now have larger pimples, redness, swelling, pus, and cysts as well as blackheads and whiteheads causing sever inflammation.  Without treatment the inflammation will cause deep scars.  People with skin of color (Asians and African Americans, who have the most sensitive skin type) should seek medical treatment because it is often difficult to determine if the acne is inflammatory or noninflammatory because the skin is often inflamed. For people of color, you want to treat the acne because it will shorten the healing process and control hyper-pigmentation.


The Theory Is... 
1.) Acne is hereditary or preprogrammed in your DNA even before you were born
2.) Stress triggers the Androgen hormone to increase

If There is No Cure for Acne, What Should My Goal Be?
To reduce the oil that feeds the acne on your face and other areas of your body. Began with your beauty products.  Purchase oil-free moisturizer, makeup, shaving cream and sunscreen. Stay away from cocoa butter and petroleum jelly. keep your hair out of your face if you wear hair spray and sheens. The oils in the product maybe irritating your skin. Instead of looking for products that say oil-free, purchase items that say "non-comedogenic", which is fancy for "it won't clog your pores" or "non-acnegenic" meaning, it doesn't stimulate acne.

3 Tips For Ridding Yourself of Acne and Acne Scars from my favorite Makeup Gurus:
"Invest in good skin care, you'll need less makeup"- SongBirdDiva4Life

"Natural is the way that stuff is supposed to be made, all these chemicals and stuff aren't that good [for your skin]." - Makeup Doll

"Stay away from sugar... Drink water... Eat really really healthy... Exfoliate... Don't touch your face... Cut your finger nails [They host germs]." - Andrea's Choice

*Much of the facts and information in the blog was found in Beautiful Skin of Color unless otherwise specified. 

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