In the summer months bathing suits and more skin-revealing clothes are worn, all of which prominently display the skin on the back. Here are three quick tips for ensuring a clear, smooth and glowing back.
1. Switch to a sulfate free shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
Sulfates (sodium laurel sulfate and sodium laurelth sulfate) are a major cause of back acne. This is because sulfates are extremely cheap ingredients (they are actually by products of gasoline production!) and clog the pores in the skin. Sodium sulfates are so harsh they are commonly used as garage floor cleaners, engine degreasers and car wash. In short – these are not ingredients that you want to wash your hair or body with! Check the ingredients in your shampoo, conditioner and body wash and insure they do not contain any sulfates.
Our Foaming Cleanser makes a great body wash as well and will not irritate your skin or clog your pores. Here is a list of sulfate free shampoos and conditioners. Continue reading
Every year, without fail, we see an uptick in our clients breaking out during the summer months. Why is this? Because summer also happens to be the time when fruit consumption – particularly berry consumption – goes way up. While these high sugar, high acid fruits are plentiful (and delicious) in the summer months, you should also know that they cause a rapid increase your blood sugar, which spikes your insulin levels…. leading to acne growth.
But because berries are natural, most people forget the fact that they are still very high in sugar and eat them in large quantities.
Natural Sugar is Still Sugar!
Although berries are one of the most healthy ways to get a good boost in energy or satisfy a craving for something sweet, their quick absorption and high sugar content also creates spikes in blood sugar.Whether consumed through whole foods (like fruits) or in processed foods (like store-bought cereals), both natural and refined sugar stimulate the same initial response in the body. Insulin is released to help ensure that blood sugar—or blood glucose—levels are evenly regulated. Unfortunately, insulin also stimulates your skin to make those nasty, embarrassing pimples. Read more about the clinical proof of the link between sugar, dairy and acne here.
So, what’s the solution?
This summer, aim to eat fruits that are lowest in sugar and are more steadily absorbed into the bloodstream. Tomatoes, avocados, and green apples are all good options. If you do want some berries, try not to eat more than a handful every few days (especially if you are acne prone).
I want to be clear – having a few berries every once in a while will not break you out. Going on regular berry binges, however, will. So, unless you want that strawberry coming back as a juicy, red pimple on your nose, we recommend cutting back on your berry intake!
Today’s blog post is a reprint of an excellent article on the topic of the root causes of acne written by Dr. Mercola.
“Just like other chronic diseases running rampant in Western society (like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity), acne is primarily a disease of the Western world.
More proof is continuing to emerge that the root cause of acne is not bacteria or genetics, but environmental factors—particularly your diet. Acne is much less of a problem in non-Westernized societies, where refined carbohydrates and sugar are consumed in much lower amounts. Solid evidence exists that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are the primary CAUSE of acne.
If you are a pre-menopausal woman with acne, you may want to consider taking birth control to help control your acne, as a hormone imbalance is often the cause of acne in women. If your acne is not responsive to topical treatments and tends to come in cycles (one week before and two weeks after menstruation) then there is a good chance your acne is hormonal.
Hormones and Acne, What’s Going On In Your Body
Acne is an androgenic disorder, which means that it is set off by the effects of the family of hormones called androgens. These include testosterone, DHEA-S and others. Testosterone is the most important of these. While androgens are often thought of as male hormones, this is misleading because adult women have active levels in their blood (but women’s levels are only about a tenth of those found in men).
Many women with hormonal acne have excess testosterone, which stimulates the sebaceous (oil making) glands. The pores plug up and trap the oil inside and then bacteria grows in the trapped oil, causing the production of irritating chemicals. Finally the body’s immune system comes into play, causing the redness, swelling, pus-like fluid and later scarring which make acne so unsightly.
Certain birth control pills can help clear your acne by balancing out your hormones. Typically birth control pills are divided up as estrogen or progestin dominant and have varying degrees of androgenic (testosterone like) effects. As a general rule of thumb, pills with the potential for higher androgenic symptoms should be avoided for people prone to acne because they promote breakouts. As an acne sufferer it is important to speak with your doctor about a selecting a pill that is higher in estrogen and lower in androgen potency.
Here is a list of the brands of birth control pills that are estrogen dominant:
Understanding the most common factors that may be causing your breakouts is the first and most critical step to targeting your acne at its source, and thus combating it for good. Based on my 30+ years of experience, here are the top 10 most common causes of acne breakouts:
Acne Factor #1: Touching Your Face
This may come as a surprise, but subconsciously touching your face all day makes it quickly become the dirtiest part of your body. This is something most of us do without even being aware of it, and is the common cause of breakout around your chin and jawline. Make a conscious effort to not touch your face during the day. Also, be sure to clean your cell phone often or use an ear piece (recommended), as holding your cell phone to your face can also be causing bacteria to spread and giving you breakouts on your cheeks.
Acne Factor #2: Dairy and Sugar Consumption
If you are devolping breakouts on your chin, jaw line and neck area, it might be a sign that you’re getting more dairy or sugar in your diet than your body can tolerate. Your skin acts as an excretory system to get rid of things that your body is not in agreement with, so when you get too much dairy or sugar, it is by nature harder to digest and can come out in the form of cystic blemishes in the lower area of the face. READ: It’s Proven: Sugar and Dairy Cause Acne
If you have oily skin, it is important to first and foremost invest in skin care products that will tame your excess oil and control your breakouts. Why? Because if you have great skin, then you won’t have to pile on foundation and makeup to cover it up.
Look for skin care lines that are non-pore clogging, toxin/paraben free, high-potency and high-quality (such as Vasseur Skincare). Please note that natural/organic product lines tend to be oil-based with a low concentration of active ingredients, and thus lack effectiveness (and can make your skin even more oily). So, when picking out skin care make sure the products you use are concentrated and potent enough to get the job done. ***At the bottom of this post is my recommended skin care regime for those with oily and acne prone skin***
Now that I’ve lectured you on the importance of investing in good skin care, let’s address foundation. The key to picking out a good foundation is knowing what ingredients to avoid.
Mandelic acid is a relatively new alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from bitter almonds, and is a phenomenal multi-tasking ingredient that works on a number of skin concerns including acne, fine lines and pigmentation. Mandelic Acid is a gentler alternative to popular AHAs such as glycolic and lactic acids, because it penetrates the skin at a much slower rate due to its larger molecular structure. Unlike conventional acne treatments that have a potential to irritate the skin, it is great for people with sensitive skin.
Mandelic acid was originally studied in open clinical trials as an antibacterial treatment aid in healing after laser resurfacing. However, after continued use it was shown to offer excellent benefits to the skin including: Continue reading
First things first – what are blackheads, anyway?
Blackheads are the starting phase of acne- they occur when oil is lodged in the pore, but not yet exposed to bacteria that turns it into a pimple. In short, blackheads are pimples waiting to happen.
Blackheads are caused when hormones in the skin cause stimulation of the oil glands (sebaceous glands), which leads to excess oil to be produced in the pore. This excess oil gets trapped within the pore leading to a ball of accumulated oil. When this oil it comes in contact with air, it becomes black in color.
Those with oily skin and those who apply a lot of makeup and don’t wash the skin thoroughly are more likely to suffer from blackheads.
How to get rid of blackheads
I’ve been saying for 25 years: there is a definite link between diet and the skin. This is a fact that many don’t want to believe…but if you are only treating acne with topical products you are addressing the symptoms and not the cause. To get rid of blemishes for good, you need to address both. Below is an article by Mark Hyman, MD reporting on the recent clinical studies that link dairy and sugar consumption to acne.
“It’s confirmed. Dairy products and sugar cause acne.
As our sugar and dairy consumption has increased over the last 100 years so has the number of people with acne. We now have over 17 million acne sufferers, costing our health care system $1 billion a year, and 80-90 percent of teenagers suffer acne to varying degrees. The pimply millions rely on infomercial products hawked by celebrities or over-the-counter lotions, cleansers, and topical remedies. Recent research suggests that it’s not what we slather on our skin that matters most but what we put in our mouth.
Did you know that where you are breaking out on your face can reveal congestion or imbalances in your organs? Below, see my guide that will show you how your face can provide vital clues about what is going on inside your body.
Forehead – Breakouts or blackheads in this zone are indicative of digestive imbalance and poor detoxification. Red and dry or flaky skin on the forehead is an indication of lack of fluids in the digestive tract.