"OMG -- I love getting pimples" - said no one ever. While we all hate getting pimples, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of males and females between the ages of 12 and 24 experience at least minor acne, and the cost associated with the treatment of acne exceed 3 billion dollars! No matter what language you speak those are ridiculously high numbers. Dealing with acne during warmer months is not a walk in the park, however, because of the drying nature of some products used to treat acne, it can be especially difficult during winter months. With that in mind, I caught up with Bioelements Director of Education, Teresa Stenzel, to get answers on How to Care for Acne Prone Skin During Winter, as well as some product suggestions to help you get through winter with, healthy, beautiful looking skin.
Some acne medications tend to dry out the skin - what are some tips to help acne sufferers during dry winter months?
Keep up the hydration level by literally saturating your skin with a toner that is designed to not only treat acne and kill bacteria, but has anti-inflammatory benefits. My favorite is our Bioelements Acne Toner, as it’s a medicated toner that hydrates the skin with calming natural ingredients. Also, don’t skip the sunscreen and moisturizer! UV rays dry out the skin even during winter months, so a broad spectrum SPF that also moisturizes will protect the skin with a breathable barrier. Most acne sufferers will want one that is not greasy; my personal favorite is RayDefense SPF30. This light and non-greasy creme gives the skin broad spectrum protection, and also provides moisturizing and anti-aging benefits.
At night, use a moisturizer that also doubles as a breakout fighter. Bioelements Oxygenation is formulated with stabilized hydrogen peroxide, which floods the skin with oxygen and helps kill the p. acne bacteria that leads to breakouts. Bioelements Beyond Hydration is a gel based moisturizer with skin strengthening Chinese herbs and water-binding vitamins and lipids.
Also, drink as much water as you can to hydrate from the inside out, avoid too many caffeine-laden drinks that can irritate the skin further, and wash with warm water, not hot!
- Bioelements Acne Toner ($48, Dermstore.com)
- Bioelements RayDefense SPF30 ($44, Dermstore.com)
- Bioelements Oxygenation ($32, Amazon.com)
- Bioelements Beyond Hydration ( $23, Amazon.com)
So, the pimples have cleared and now we have dark marks and acne scars — what is the quickest most effective way to rid the skin of hyperpigmentation and acne scars? What specific active ingredient should we seek out?
Stubborn spots can be significantly and quickly addressed by choosing products that contain ingredients that will lighten and brighten, specifically targeting how pigment is produced within the cells (called melanocytes). [Try to] avoid hydroquinone or any ingredients that bleach the skin, and instead choose a blend that combines science and nature together. From nature, I like alpha arbutin (a natural alternative to hydroquinone with no negative side effects), natural melanin-inhibiting alpine plants such as peppermint leaf extract, pimula veris, veronica officinalis; and from science, dimethylmeothy chromanyl palmitate (which induces brightening and fights the signs of photo-aging).
- Bioelements LightPlex Giga Watt Dark Spot Corrector ($62, Dermstore.com)
- LightPlex Megawatt Skin Brightener ($55, Dermstore.com)
Both contain a Triple-Action Brightening Blend. A recent study showed significant results in just 2 weeks with these products - improving dark spots and evening skin tone.
Is acne helped or exasperated by sonic powered skin care brushes like the Clarisonic?
In most cases, skin care brushes are prone to causing more injury to acneic skin, because the tendency is to apply way too much pressure. On a skin that is already compromised, infected with red and swollen breakouts, this is a bad idea. I recommend using your fingers to gently apply and massage in product. Even when the breakouts are under the skin, the bacteria is still present, so by using a rotating brush you run the risk of scratching the skin, and causing injury that can lead to bacteria spreading and potential scarring.
Oil cleansing has been trending for some time — are oil cleansers safe and effective for use on acne prone skin?
Theoretically, oil attracts oil. So if you have very sensitive skin, occasional breakouts or oilier skin, I do like an oil-based cleanser. However, opt for one that the oil converts into a gentle foam so it doesn’t have a greasy texture, and also contains ingredients that hydrate and heal as they cleanse. Our Sensitive Skin Cleanser has olive oil, lavender, kissi seed and rosemary - all skin-friendly oils. However, if you have chronic, more moderate acne and hormonal breakouts that are inflamed, I prefer a gel-based medicated cleanser designed specifically to treat this condition. Our OTC Spotless Cleanser contains 2% salicylic acid, plus papaya and pineapple fruit enzymes to gently cleanse, kill acne bacteria and exfoliate pore-clogging skin cells.