Dealing With Acne: Congestion & Breakouts

Approximately 17 million people in the U.S. have acne. Nearly 85% of people between the ages of 12 to 24 develop acne. As many as 40% of women aged 25+ suffer from a low grade, persistent acne. Blackheads,
whiteheads and pimples are common amongst South Africans. Some learn to live with it, others try their best to get rid of it.

What is the difference between Acne and just a breakout?

Acne is genetic whereas breakouts can occur at any time, but is not normally persistent and is triggered either by hormones or external stimuli. Any skin type can suffer from an occasional breakout at times.

Genetically the following happens in an Acne skin:

1. Produces thicker, stickier sebum (oil) than a normal skin due to excess male hormone, testosterone.

2. An Acne skin produces 5 times more skin cells, but contains less Lamellar Granules which secretes enzymes to loosen the skin cells for desquamation. This condition is called Retention Hyper Keratosis (holding onto too many skin cells).

3. With the above mentioned the follicle opening (pore) is closed off (blackhead formation) and with the lack of oxygen present the Propioni Bacterium (P-Acne) becomes active digesting certain parts of the sebum, leading to irritation and inflammation, this is now a pustule (pussy pimple).

4. Every follicle should contain a hair to wick out the oil and dead skin cells. However in a Acne skin this is not always the case, sometimes there is no follicle in which case we call that a sebaceous follicle, or other times the follicle contains a very weak hair which cannot perform this function.

Ingredients to avoid when you are prone to breakouts or suffer with Acne:


Lanolin: Irritates the skin lining- the follicle, leading to an increase in oil production and dead cell build-up, resulting in a blackhead.

Mineral Oil: Occlusive on the skin, leading to congestion (fine bumps which are whiteheads and blackheads).

Artificial Colour: Irritates the skin lining- the follicle, leading to blackheads. Often women wearing orange, red and bright pinks might get blackheads on the lip line or on the cheeks where they apply their orange or pink blusher.

Invest in the following ingredients:


Bentonite and Kaolin Clays: Absorbs the excess oil without dehydrating the skin.

Salicylic Acid: Exfoliates the excess dead skin cells and is anti-inflammatory making it ideal for the inflamed breakouts.

Glycolic Acid: Removes the excess dead skin cells and rejuvenates the skin, preventing scar tissue as well as removing dark discolourations.

Tip: It is vital to still use a moisturiser, even if your skin is oily and you suffer with Acne. If you don’t, you will just dehydrate your skin, therefore promotes more oil production, making your skin oilier.

Invest In Good Skin Products:

I have been going for Chemical Peels with Sonette Donker from Skin ID who has taught me so much on looking after my skin, and the importance of using the right products. Click here to see what Chemical peels are all about.  She is an avid user of Dermaceutic Skin Care which you can read more about here.

[Tweet “Thank you @liferetreat_ and @sonettedonker for the skincare advice! “]






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