Korean Skincare Guide: Treating AcnePosted on 10/10/2018
[By Biscuits & Makeup] Tuesday, 10 October 2018
What’s ugly, annoying and hard to get rid of? If you guessed your ex-boyfriend, you’d be wrong. Acne is one of our biggest enemies when it comes to our skin. It lowers our self-esteem, confidence and it’s just beyond terrifying to look at. But not only is it hard to glimpse at, it’s even harder to make it vacate the premises of our skin. Not every pimple or acne are the same and not everyone’s skin can be treated the same way. In this blog post, we are giving you an extensive guide to exterminate acne with the power of Korean Skincare.
What is Acne?
Acne is said to be an inflammatory skin condition that causes spots, bumps and pimples on the skin. It commonly occurs in adolescents during their stage of puberty, when the sebaceous (oil or fat) gland becomes activated. But ultimately, it can happen to anyone at any age. No one is safe!
Some are lucky to be blessed with glass-like skin for the majority of their life and do not need to worry about acne. For us remaining mere mortals, acne is a real problem. It is one of the most common skin conditions affecting about 85% of Australians aged 15-24 years old and continues to do so later in life for both men and women.
What causes Acne?
On our skin, there are tiny pores that are direct openings to our oil glands that lie beneath our skin. Connecting our glands to the pores, there are hair follicles that lie between them. The glands produce and secrete an oily liquid that we know to be sebum that protect the follicles of your hair. Once our oil glands become activated, we need to be more cautious and attentive to what we do with our face. If there is too much build up of sebum in our skin, acne will start to appear. This is the case especially when the glands come to be infected by bacteria or be clogged with built up excess oils or dead skin cells.
Now you’re wondering if sebum is the main reason for causing acne, why not just get rid of it altogether? If it was only that simple, life would be so much easier. Sebum has this intense love-hate relationship with our skin. Too little gives you dry and flaky skin and too much gives you acne. Therefore, you must find the optimal balance to keep your skin looking healthy.
Know your Acne!
Before any treatment or using any form of skincare, you must know what your skin needs and what you can and cannot put on your face.
A perfect example of what we mean is this: let’s say you have dehydrated skin, and the cause of your breakouts is because your skin is over-producing oils to compensate for the lack of moisture in your skin and the oils block the follicles in your skin. The solution to this would be to thoroughly cleanse, exfoliate with your AHAs and BHAs, hydrate your skin and use SPF when going outside to prevent your skin from drying out. Over time, you will see a big difference. But for someone that has acne-prone skin, this would not entirely work for them. They would need some heavy-duty ingredients that would not only control the oils in the skin, treat the acne but also correct the conditions in the skin as well.
Like people, acne comes in all shapes and sizes and there are some more annoying to get rid of than others. There are generally two types of Acne that you may have; Non-Inflammatory and Inflammatory acne.
These are also called open and closed comedones. When a hair follicle becomes clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells or bacteria, they are called comedones. They become visible and can be either a blackhead or whitehead when exposed to the external environment. These forms of acne do not swell up and often do not have any pain level. However, if left untreated, it can result into being inflamed and become an inflammatory acne.
Once your body receives a threat either because of the infected clogged follicle/pores or exposure to bacteria or impurities on the skin, your skin will trigger an immune response in order to rid the skin of it. The infected area becomes red and inflamed as a reaction. You may feel some discomfort or pain (depending on how inflected the area is). This kind of acne needs immediate attention and treatment. Some examples of inflammatory acne include; papules, pustules, nodules and cysts.
Other Factors that trigger Acne
Sometimes it may not be what you put on your face that causes acne, but what you expose your face to or what is going on internally in your body. There are also other factors that aggravate or trigger the appearance of acne;
As we grow up and get to the stage of puberty, there are many hormones that are responsible for developing our gender characters. One of them is called Androgens. This hormone causes our sebaceous (oil) glands to enlarge and in turn, also produces more sebum.
2. Certain Medications
There are some drugs that causes your hormones to go haywire and may affect the way it reacts with your skin (and not in a good way) causing you to have acne. Medications, especially ones that contain lithium, corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, androgenic steroids, DHEA and so on, would give you the nasty bumps. Talk to your doctor to ask for an alternative that you can take. Otherwise, you should think about some natural home remedies to reduce the symptoms.
Have you ever noticed that whenever you stress, a random pimple pops out of nowhere? Well there is a reason for that. Stress is one of the most common reasons why most people get acne, even though they may not have done anything with their skin to cause it to have acne. Research has shown that stress and acne are associated with each other. As we get increasingly stressed for long periods of time (especially consecutively throughout the weeks or months), your skin produces these stress hormones called cortisol. The more cortisol you produce, the more you stimulate acne.
4. Lack of Sleep
Surprisingly, the amount of sleep you get per day also affects your skin. When you have a poor amount of sleep, it causes immune dysregulation in your body and as a result of that it may lead to your skin feeling dry, inflamed or stressed. The average person should be getting about 8 hours of sleep and if you consistently fall below this optimal level, it messes around with your system and causes you to have acne.
5. Dirty Fabrics/Surfaces
This is something that we didn’t think could affect our skin. But how couldn’t it? Our pillowcases, mobile phones, makeup brushes are all surfaces that are in constant contact with our face. This means these are the items we should be consistently cleaning and sanitising. The neglect of cleaning them causes us to have a build-up of dirt, oils or bacteria and this may be the cause of acne.
Treatment for Acne
Acne is truly a tough problem to overcome but have no fear! Korean Skincare is here! Before any treatment, you must first identify what kind of acne you have and pinpoint the reason why you have acne (listed above). Once you have done so, then you can choose the right treatments/products and skincare routine that works best for you.
There are some amazing Korean skincare products that can definitely help you tackle the challenges of Acne. However before you use them, you must read the ingredients on the packaging and ask your dermatologist what you can and cannot use.
Some of our recommendations and tips to help you on your way to keeping your acne at bay;
- Use a cleansing oil to remove the excess oils and balance your oil levels regularly.
- Do not rely on antibiotic cream to treat your acne. This is only effective for a limited amount of time before the effect wears off and becomes useless.
- Use SPF to prevent your skin from producing too much oils for compensating the water loss in the skin.
- AHAs and BHAs can be your best friend in helping you control your oil levels and to exfoliate away the dead skin cells; cleaning the skin on a regular basis. Find out more about this in our “Ultimate guide for Exfoliation”.
- Take your time cleansing your skin. The longer you massage the cleanser around your face, the more thorough of a job you do to clean the skin.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Just because you have oily skin, this does not mean you should fear moisturising products. If anything, you should be using it just as much as someone with dry skin.
- Incorporate Benzoyl Peroxide to treat your acne and to kill the bacteria in your skin. Please seek advice from your dermatologist before using this.
- Relax, rest well and take some time to breathe. Stress is a huge factor that contributes to your acne. Better yet, kill two birds with one stone and put on a sheet mask that contains Tea Tree, Willow Bark Water or other ingredients that fight acne-causing bacteria.
- Regularly clean and sanitise your hands and the items that you frequently use (such as your mobile phone, makeup brushes, your keyboard…etc).
- Treatment and Prevention are just as important as each other when working towards achieving and maintaining healthy skin.
Recommended Products for Acne-Prone Skin
- Some by Mi “AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner”
- COSRX “Two in One Poreless Power Liquid” (review here)
- COSRX “Acne Pimple Master Patch”
- Pyunkang Yul “Acne Cream”
- Pyunkang Yul “Acne Facial Cleanser”
- Pyunkang Yul “Acne Spot Cream” (Full review coming soon!)
- COSRX “AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner”
- COSRX “Soothing Sun Cream” (review here)
- Neogen “Bio Peel Gauze – Lemon”
- COSRX “Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser”
- Dear Klairs “Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil” (review here)
We hope this article will help you find what you need to treat your acne and give you the knowledge you need to achieve healthy and clear skin! In a couple of weeks, we will be writing more blog posts about “acne” treatments for our Korean skincare junkies! Be sure to be reading our blog or follow us on Instagram at @letsfaceitaus and @biscuitsnmakeup for more updates!
Read Part II of this series, Korean Skincare Guide: Pimple Popping.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Written by Biscuits n Makeup – a talented beauty & skincare blogger based in Sydney. Biscuits n Makeup blogs for us and helps us spread knowledge as well as educate our readers about skincare and Korean beauty. On her own blog here, she reviews Korean and Western brand beauty & skincare products. If you love all things makeup & skincare related, be sure to give her Instagram account a follow (@biscuitsnmakeup)!
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