Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stop The Insanity Of Acne Cycles

Don't Accept It At Face Value

I can't even count anymore as to how many women have contacted me these past several years, about the continuing frustration they suffer from trying to clear up their acne.

Acne has become an all too common experience for many, yet the advice they receive from commercials, estheticians, dermatologists, friends or family may not be the best advice.

Unfortunately, because of that frustration, all too often, these women which contact me have accepted what they are being told at face value, yet their skin screams, "this isn't working!"....and when we speak on the phone, their emotion is real and their pain is real, and it is not lost on fact in many cases, they are literally at their wits end.

Hidden Agendas

Let's look at some of this advice from a different perspective:

Commercial Promotions: Like any great marketing strategy a commercial promotes the product it wants us as a consumer to buy. It isn't necessarily a great product, or it may or may not work, but with all the hype surrounding the product, especially if it is endorsed by a person with the M.D. after their name, creates the illusion, "it must work," so we buy it strictly from an emotional response brought about by desperation.

Estheticians: They are in the business of skincare and they have been trained to address issues specifically targeting maladies of the skin. In many cases, a good esthetician can literally know and understand more fully what is going on with your skin, and can provide sound advice. However, again, be cautious, if along with the advice, they push a certain product on clients, one they may not necessarily have seen absolute results with, but is the product their salon or spa carries and a commission is received for every product they sell.

Friends and Family: They have nothing but good intentions at heart, and we want nothing more than to believe what they tell us. Perhaps they had acne as a kid, but not as an adult or vice versa. Depending on the type of acne or how severe it is, can make a huge difference on how to treat it. Though their heart may be in the right place, what they did to treat their acne, may not actually be the best course to take today. Their acne may be cleared up, but at what expense to their skin....and if it isn't, you have to wonder if you can take their advice seriously.

Dermatologists: They have the skilled knowledge of working with skin disorders and can bring about some relief for acne sufferers. However, I can't tell you how many women have seen their dermatologist, only to still be suffering from the angst of acne, or endure continuing pain, or have ongoing issues unrelated to the acne, but more from the acne treatment. Literally causing more harm to their skin than the acne itself, including eroding their self esteem.

I have even been told stories by these women, as to how their dermo actually bullied them into using a product they knew would dry out their skin worse, but the acne would be gone. In this context, this suggests to me, these types of dermatologists only concern themselves with clearing up the acne, but leave little in results of overall soothing and healing of the skin in its entirety, or providing patient support to the underlying emotions behind the affliction.

Unfortunately, some doctors are afforded a certain type of reverence based on their title, but sometimes we need to remember they are still just people, whereby, they do and can make mistakes. And in some cases, they will promote a particular line of skincare products with the same harmful ingredients which contribute to more dryness or irritation.....this utterly flabbergasts me!

If you have an intimidating doctor, seek help elsewhere....there is a fabulous doctor for you somewhere...I dermatologist is the kindest and gentlest doctor, and is one of the 3 I see for their specific specialty! Mutual respect is a must for both patient and doctor, and life is too short to deal with a doctor whom lacks empathy.

Finding The Balance And Stopping The Raging Battle For Control Of Your Skin

Acne is not something to go at with a full blown assault. When it is approached in this manner, the results will be less than favorable. Yes acne is not attractive, but it is a tender issue for skin and something which should be treated gently to mitigate as little damage as one can.

Using products which dry up the acne, will also dry out your skin terribly. Then the skin tries to compensate by producing more oil (sebum). The irony of this is, overproduction of sebum is the very thing which clogs pores and feeds the bacteria which causes acne in the first place. It is almost like a call by the "dinner bell" for Propionibacterium Acnes to have a feast on your face, followed by their rapid growth which then explodes into the cystic acne, and this form is very painful and can and will leave scarring in its' wake.

What also contributes to the raging battle on ones skin is the use of drying ingredients combined with moisturizing ingredients. The skin literally fights itself, trying to compensate for all the different chemicals being used to correct one thing while destroying another.

This is insanity and makes absolutely no sense to continue with this tactic of fighting facial acne. In fact to quote the definition, "insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."

The Vicious Cycle

Face produces oil....oil attracts dirt and debris and plugs pores...... oil feeds bacteria.....acne breaks out..... you use products to dry up acne and remove excess oil..... face produces more oil.....attracts more dirt and debris and plugs pores...... oil feeds rapidly growing bacteria.....more acne breaks use more products to dry up acne and remove excess oil.....infinity!

And in most cases, these same women avoid moisturizers....very bad idea....or they use a moisturizer with synthetic emollients, or the wrong type of emollients, thinking this is all they can use. Yet certain emollients contribute to more occlusion of pores and can actually still contribute to enhancing dry patches on the face.

Also product labels which state "oil free" are not necessarily oil free, but are comprised of silicone oils. So the connotation really means by definition, doesn't contain mineral oil or other petroleum based emollients. But due to this labeling practice, it has many acne sufferers afraid of anything "oil."

Bottom line silicone oils of dimethicone and cyclomethicone and their derivatives are a synthetic oil and do not moisturize.  Any ingredient name incorporating in part, the word "Siloxanes"  is also considered part of the dimethicone / cyclomethicone family.  All of these are actually designed to trap moisture against skin, which is not sustainable unless other moisturizing properties are utilized.  This is extremely rare....typically this type of product contains a fatty acid and alcohol derivative profile which can be considered a surfactant and / or an emollient, but should not be confused as it having moisturizing properties.  In terms of a "synthetic emollient", these are utilized to give skin a soft feel only and prevent further dehydration of the skin.  Basically locking moisture against the skin after washing the face.

So you are essentially sealing your skin with a thin oily, slick coating of Saran Wrap....results, typically more acne.  Plus once the product that contains a silicone derivative is applied to the skin it essentially becomes a velvety, silken dry residue, so applying another moisturizer over the top will do nothing now that the skin has been sealed.  This can also prevent mineral makeup products from properly adhering to the face due to this drier, non moisturizing texture on the skin, giving a less than desirable finish.

12 Ingredients To Avoid Which Contribute To Irritation, Dryness, Flakiness, Or Occlusion Of The Skin
  • Benzoyl Peroxides
  • Salicylic Acids and Glycolic Acids
  • Bismuth Oxychloride
  • Fragrance Oils
  • Retin A
  • Mineral Oil (Petrolatum)
  • Lanolin
  • Silicone Oils (dimethicone, cyclomethicone, anything Siloxane)
  • Beeswax
  • Detergent (Sulfates)
  • Alcohol Derivatives (thickeners, surfactants, emollients, emulsifiers)
  • Nanoparticles
What is also contradictory to treating acne, is the fact that many of these ingredients will also leave the skin in a constant state of inflammation, giving a never ending pink tinge to the face.

The Oil Factor Can Be The Magic Bullet

There are actually fantastic natural essential oils known for treating and clearing up acne, while also soothing skin and moisturizing it. Certain oils are not the enemy when used correctly and will actually control and reduce the over production of pore clogging sebum.

In fact the oil cleansing method works wonders for cleaning and dissolving debris, dirt, and excess sebum, while soothing, softening and balancing the skin, whereby finally ending the vicious cycle of oil production which contributes to acne. Not only does this method not strip the skin, but leaves a micro thin layer of protection on the skin.

A skincare regimen which utilizes herbal extracts and natural oils will work beautifully for gently and slowly aiding in the healing and prevention of acne breakouts.

Do not fear a moisturizer, but fear the moisturizing ingredients used in substandard products which only drain your pocketbook, contribute to ongoing frustration and essentially do little for resolving your acne.

Essential Oils Known For Treating Oily Skin and Acne Associated With It:

Never use these full strength but look for them as a component to your skincare products.
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Bergamot Oil
  • Clove Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Rosewood Oil
  • Orange Blossom Oil
  • Calendula Oil
  • Lemon Oil
  • Sweet Orange Oil
Carrier Oils For Balancing, Moisturizing or Cleansing Skin
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Meadowfoam Oil
  • Neem Oil
Herbal Extracts or Distillates For Soothing, Balancing or Restoration of Skin
  • Aloe Juice
  • Chamomile Flower Extract
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Fruit Extracts (gentle AHA's)
  • Comfrey Root (Allantoin)
  • Marshmallow Root
  • Oatstraw Extract
  • Rooibos Extract
  • Sandalwood Extract
  • Rose Distillate
  • Witch Hazel (alcohol free)
  • Chamomile Distillate
  • Cucumber Distillate
  • Lavender Distillate
Raw Ingredients For Soothing, Calming or Reducing Acne (in mineral makeup or masks)
  • Rice Starch
  • Kaolin Clay
  • Oat Powder
  • Allantoin
  • Zinc Oxide (non nano dry form)
Finding Peace And Calm

This is what will actually begin to stop the insanity of acne cycles, by treating the skin gently and allow holistic methods to do their job and bring about real change on the skin naturally. In some rare instances there are liquid makeups which can be used, but for the most part, they are comprised with many pore clogging ingredients, which is why mineral makeup was clearly invented. Besides when minerals meld with your organic moisturizer, it is like wearing the ultimate in makeup application.

Furthermore, by using some of these botanical ingredients such as Jojoba, Grapeseed, Avocado and Olive oils, they simulate the fatty acid profile, squalene and wax esters of your natural sebum, but without clogging your pores. The best part is, they not only do not disrupt skin function, but work in tandem with your skins natural functions while also working to soften, soothe and hydrate the skin continuously.

The final outcome, sebum production reduces, acne begins to heal and even lessens between occurrences, and the skin can at long last return to a more revitalized appearance with fewer or zero outbreaks in the future....and that is a good thing....beautiful skin can be a reality!

To learn more about moisturizing oily, combo or acne prone skin, my article, "Does Oily Skin Need Moisturizing Too?" will explain in detail the benefits of how, why and best ways of clearing up and reducing oil on your skin forever!

Also another great article is dealing with the "Myths About Acne Revealed and Debunked." Or to learn more about botanical and synthetic ingredients in skincare is "Synthetic Chemical Skincare vs Organic Botanical Skincare."

We are also closing early on Wednesday, Nov 24th, at 12 pm to enjoy a long holiday weekend. All orders placed during the holiday weekend will be processed the following week.

The Skin Care Guide will not publish next week. Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!


Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


  1. This is a fantastic article. So well researched and organized. It could be at home in the world's most respected skin care magazines. Thank you for the information you share.

  2. You're welcome Donna Maria. I deal with so many women on this very issue, and it is not surprising when they contact me about having this battle on their skin. I hope the article helps others in their fight with the insanity of acne breakouts.

  3. Thank you for this article! It makes so much sense, and shows what to look for in the ingredients. Do you have any product suggestions?

    1. Hi AlexaO,

      You can check out our products, at and our skin care regimen also available, ONATI. Your skin will love them.