Left: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Sheetal Rawal
There are several different factors that can influence the oil production of the skin. Excess oil production leads to clogged pores and acne.
Here are the top 5 reasons that can cause acne and clogged pores
1. It can be genetics: Oily and acne-prone skin does run in the family. If you have a parent or sibling with a history of acne, chances that you will get acne are significant.
2. Stress can contribute to acne: Even in cases where acne is not an outstanding issue, a flare-up can result. Most
notably, stress causes our body to produce a hormone called cortisol, which has been shown to cause an overproduction of sebum. Excess sebum clogs the pores and can be externally seen as blackheads, whiteheads and a bacterial infection resulting in inflammation, pus and eventually discoloration of the skin.
3. Hormones: Women and teenagers are more susceptible to acne due to a shift in the hormones (most seen during the menstrual period in women and also during pregnancy and/or menopause). As for teenage, it is a confusing time in general. Unstable hormone levels can result in acne.
4. Oral contraceptives: This one is a bit debatable. While some women report developing acne, others report just the reverse. Regardless the influencer is the intervention in the natural hormone balance caused by the pill.
5. Harsh chemicals in skin care products: A huge reason for the development of acne. Why? Because harsh ingredients like sulfates (detergent), alcohol, artificial fragrance, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, etc strip off the beneficial oils of the skin that nature intended for its protection. When the oils are dramatically reduced, skin kicks back by overproducing sebum. And that means clogged pores. Unfortunately, this also means a vicious cycle of acne leading to the usage of products with harsh chemicals. These products may seem to work temporarily, if at all.
"I tried everything except for Accutane to control my acne. This is the first product line that has worked for me."
Following are the top 5 tips to keep your skin healthy, balanced and free of acne
1. Cleanse with a pH-balanced and sulfate free cleanser: A pH-balanced cleanser will not upset the slightly acidic mantle of the skin. So skin does not feel threatened. The absence of harsh detergents like sulfates means that your skin is being washed without the beneficial oils being robbed of it. So skin does not overproduce sebum.
2. Stay away from products with harsh ingredients: While a high percentage of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid can appear to help shrink that zit, it also leaves the skin very challenged and dry. Remember dry and challenged skin produces even more oil in the long and short-term. So acne never seems to go away completely. Plus these harsh chemicals leave the skin more prone to early aging and sun damage.
3. Go natural: This is very important. There is nothing “new-age” about this concept. Natural ingredients like turmeric, neem, sulfur, castor, etc. have been used for over 5000 years with great empirical data to support their efficacy in achieving clear skin. Modern studies prove these ingredients’ healing properties. Turmeric is known for its antioxidant properties. Sulfur is known to speed up the cell turnover, thus unclogging pores and bringing to surface healthier skin more rapidly. The key is to hit the right balance of these ingredients in a high quality and thoughtfully formulated product. A complete natural acne care routine can work wonders to clear your skin without the harsh chemicals used in the run-of-the-mill acne products.
4. Stress reduction: Also very important. It is worth one’s time to explore stress-reduction methods to stay calm and centered. Hard to put into practice with deadlines, kids, personal problems and so much else called life. Nonetheless, a huge step toward the development of a calm mind. Deep breathing and meditation are known to be very effective.
5. Diet: There is a significant association between diet and the health of one’s skin. Many people complain about getting a flare-up of acne after eating chocolate, nuts, sugary treats etc. Scientific evidence is emerging to support this. Eg. whey protein in many energy drinks was seen to cause acne. As far as diet goes, you are the best judge. Monitor closely to see what aggravates your acne. A process of eliminating a suspect for a month can work very well.
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Go natural. It is good karma!