Everything you need to know about acne.
Acne is a skin condition that causes spots and lesions on the skin, usually caused by an overproduction of sebum in the hair follicles. When the follicles are blocked by this excess sebum, they dilate, making it easier for bacteria to get in. The buildup of sebum then leads to whiteheads.
Who does acne affect?
According to the S.F.D. (Société Française de Dermatologie), 15 million people in France are affected by acne, of whom 3.3 million are older than 15.
Acne affects 80-90% of teenagers during puberty. In fact, the biggest cause of acne is puberty, when men and women’s sexual hormones increase, leading to excess sebum production.
Adults can also be affected by acne, which leads to visible imperfections on the skin, though generally less severely than the teenage version, and more localised on the lower half of the face.
For women, progesterone produced every month by the ovaries in the lead up to your period can also affect the sebaceous glands. Taking the contraceptive pill can help to reduce the appearance of acne, or can make it worse, depending on its type.
Please note: Acne can also be hereditary. Certain people are more likely to have reactive skin which is sensitive to hormonal changes if their parents or grandparents suffered with acne.
The physiology of acne.
Acne is a chronic inflammatory condition which starts with the pilosebaceous follicles: the sebaceous glands secrete sebum that is too thick, or too much sebum, which blocks the pores and leads to spots and/or blackheads.
Plus, in this oily environment, Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria that is naturally present in low quantities on the skin, multiplies and causes an inflammatory reaction on the skin’s surface. When the lesions are deeper, we call them nodules or cysts.
Acne is often made worse by several factors including diet, hormonal fluctuations, and pollution. Stress is also often linked to acne because the presence of certain nerve cells near the sebaceous glands can affect sebum production. Plus, certain “comedogenic” skincare products can block the pores, leading to spots.
We advise you above all to consult a dermatologist, who will diagnose your specific type of acne and help you to treat it. Otherwise, here are the essential steps in your skincare routine to help prevent skin imperfections caused by acne:
Take off your makeup before bed:
Products that strip or irritate your skin are to be avoided, but it’s important to remove your makeup with gentle products. For example, try our makeup remover balm with camelia oil. Its texture transforms from balm, to oil, then milk, and it’ll gently take off all your makeup, even eye makeup, leaving your skin supple, soft, and comfortable ;
Cleanse your skin once or twice a day with a gentle cleanser:
To cleanse your skin, try our exfoliating cleansing gel
with PHA . Then, apply our purifying toner to rebalance your skin’s pH. It’s packed with salicylic acid, known for its bacterial properties, to get rid of spot-causing bacteria ;
Use the right products for your skin:
Certain molecules, like salicylic acid, are known for their effectiveness at soothing and reducing the appearance of acne. After cleansing, try our targeted blemish serum, packed with salicylic acid and zinc. Use a small amount on affected areas in the evenings to dry out spots. Use our purifying face cream with zinc and bamboo extract on the rest of your face to finish your skincare routine ;
Protect your skin from harmful UV rays with a non-comedogenic sun cream:
Exposing your skin to the sun for more than a few moments is never advisable. UV rays dry out your skin and make it sweat, which puts your sebaceous glands into overdrive, leading to excess sebum and spots. If you do expose your skin to the sun, we recommend high-SPF sun protection for your skin type ;
Use alcohol-free shaving and after-shaving products ;
Moisturize your skin:
Contrary to popular belief, even if you have oily skin you shouldn’t skip daily moisturizing. Use a light cream texture like our 9-ingredient hydrating face cream in the mornings and evenings.
Plus, there are some other simple steps you can take to help avoid breakouts:
Regularly clean your makeup brushes and applicators ;
Try not to touch your face. Messing with your spots can lead to more severe infections and scarring ;
Avoid tight clothing which can rub your skin ;
Follow a balanced diet and take regular exercise.
There are certain active ingredients that are very effective at treating acne before, during, or after an episode, and here are a few examples:
Salicylic acid is an antiseptic and exfoliating ingredient which helps to purify the skin.
Zinc is a great anti-inflammatory and can help to heal scarring.
Bakuchiol targets the bacteria that builds up in excess sebum (Propionibacterium Acnes) and limits the production of inflammatory molecules.
Azelaic acid, when of plant-based origin, is known for its anti-comedogenic and anti-bacterial properties.
Tea tree, lavender, rose geranium and peppermint essential oils also work well to fight imperfections.
We recommend that you avoid skincare products made with sulfates, as these destroy the skin’s hydrolipidic film. If you want to avoid harmful ingredients, we recommend that you use natural skincare products, and make sure to check ingredients lists. Check out our ingredient blacklist.
ZOUBOULIS C. C. Acne and sebaceous gland function. Clinics in Dermatology (2004).