“I’ve had a protracted battle with acne and it feels like no matter what I do, I can’t get rid of it. I have have peeled, pressed, popped, scrubbed, lotioned, moisturized and ignored it in the hope that I’d wake up one day and find my mirror mirror on the wall telling me that I’m fairest of them all“
This is the story of thousands of people living with acne and it can be really frustrating. However, I think that knowing about acne and how to deal with it is a step in the right direction.
There are two types of acne scars: depressed and raised (suitable names if you ask me). The depressed acne is the type of acne that goes into the skin. They look like little pits or depressions on the skin and occur mainly when there is a loss of fat or muscle underneath the skin surface.
Raised acne scars on the other hand, are those that appear above the skin surface.
Acne, comes in different variants and includes papule (pimple), boils, cysts, whiteheads and blackheads. The first hints of acne appear at the puberty. Usually, sebaceous (oil) glands attached to the hair follicles on the face, back and chest are stimulated at the time of puberty because of the elevated levels of hormones. Sebum (oil) is produced (Sebum is a natural substance which lubricates and protects the skin) and with the increase in oil production, there is a change in the manner with which the skin cells mature so they are predisposed to clog the follicular openings or pores (the pore for your hair follicle). These clogged follicles gradually enlarge causing a bump on the skin. As the follicle enlarges, the wall may rupture, allowing irritating substances and normal skin bacteria access into the deeper layers of the skin, ultimately producing inflammation.
Inflammation near the skin’s surface produces a pustule; deeper inflammation results in a papule (pimple); deeper still and it’s a cyst. If the oil breaks though to the surface, the result is a “whitehead.” If the oil accumulates melanin pigment or becomes oxidized, the oil changes from white to black, and the result is a “blackhead.” It is therefore safe to say that Blackheads are therefore not dirt and do not reflect poor hygiene.
There are varied factors that cause acne in its entire ramification. Some of them include; too much exposure to the sun, pressure from collars, chin straps, tights hats, helmets and the like can aggravate acne. Medications may kickstart or worsen acne such as those containing iodides, bromides or steroids. Your occupation could also have a hand in it as you could be exposing yourself to industrial products and fumes. Then, there’s also the use of cosmetics. I know the ladies might not be happy to read this part but it’s a bitter truth. Some cosmetic products are pore clogging and using too many products for your face may cause more damage than good.
It is important to read the ingredient description on the overleaf to ensure that you are not, as my granny would say it, pouring sand in your garri. Water based products and those definitely containing glycerin are usually safe.
After all this the question you should be asking by now is: how do I get rid of it? The answer? You can’t!
Acne is bound to come up, either in the form of raised pimples or boil. Your body needs to produce oil. But, there is a way out! There are many ways to treat and prevent acne. Here are some non-surgical ways to get your skin L’Oreal worthy. Remember that nothing is cast in stone and bear in mind that results for different skin types. Find what works for you and stick with it!
Dr. Dennis Gross tells us that we should “look for ingredients with skin lightening and anti-inflammatory benefits, such as retinol, vitamin C, bearberry, mulberry, licorice root extract, and azelaic amino acid.” He also warns you to stay out of the sun: “UV rays in sunlight can cause acne scars to darken and may even slow down the healing process,” this is a major reason why we should wear sunscreen 365 days a year (even though Naija people feel they have extra protection.)
Glow by dr. brandt (with light transforming skin illuminators): It works to illuminate the skin and smooth out any unwanted textures.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skin Care: Gross’ eponymous line and his new Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution is developed just for the treatment of acne. “Together, ferulic acid and retinol are proven to decrease the hyperactive production of pigment, which will lighten red or dark acne scarring.
The ultimate tool needed to make this a sure banker is PATIENCE. There are no overnight miracles so be diligent to whichever treatment you’ve chosen and you’re acne scares are sure to fade away.
Please share your acne tales and your tried and tested treatments.
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Jennifer ‘Penshy’ Obiuwevbi is a writer/copywriter/content developer. She studied Mass Communication at Babcock University; where she co-hosted a radio show. She loves to write, live life, play dress up and is ‘Adele’ at heart. Follow her at @penshy and http://penshee.blogspot.com to find out more.