Skin Health
Acne: Different Types + Head-To-Toe Clarity
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Bye-bye adult acne, hello head-to-toe clarity!Acne’s position at the top of our list of “things we’re glad we left in high school” may not be as secure as it once was. Dermatologists have noted an increase in cases of adult acne on the face and body — recurrences as well as new cases in people who never saw a pimple growing up. Thankfully, acne has never been better understood or more successfully treated than it is now. With a combination of the right diagnosis, prevention + therapy, your bumps should find themselves in detention permanently.

Hormonal acne

  • Hormonal acne feels “deeper” in the skin and usually manifests as large, inflamed red bumps called papules, pustules, or cysts.
  • They can be hormonal-cyclical (coming with women’s periods) or be due to stress (emotional, mental; or bodily from lack of sleep, the flu, a poor diet, etc.).
  • Cystic acne is almost always internally caused and while topical prevention (Essence) and treatment (Id) products are important, effective therapy often requires birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy, anti-androgen pills or other internally-taken medication. If you think you have cystic or hormonal acne, see a dermatologist who specializes in this type of acne and focus on de-stressing.

Acne cosmetica

  • Unlike hormonal acne, acne cosmetica is usually externally caused.
  • Mostly whiteheads and blackheads (comedones), this acne can be caused by products with pore-clogging ingredients. With prolonged use, inflamed and bigger cysts may eventually also appear.
  • Be strict about using only non-comedogenic products for everything from hair, body and bath care (Essence), skin care (Id, SuperSkin Care), and makeup (Skintelligent Beauty)…even laundry soap (Fawn & Launder). 
  • Note that products can claim “non-comedogenic” simply by omitting certain ingredients. A more rigorous basis for this claim is clinical comedogenicity testing of the product’s ability to produce acne in human skin, using a standard protocol over a set period of time and objective assessments for the non-/appearance of acne lesions. Both are acceptable methods of substantiating this claim and have proven to be reliable.

Inflammatory acne

  • A newer concept is inflammatory acne which can be produced by high-inflammatory diets rich in polyunsaturated oils (omega-6) used in frying, junk foods, and in processed foods like chips, candy, snacks, sodas, fruit drinks, etc.
  • This acne can be common to those with clinical obesity whose over-stimulated androgens in turn stimulate the production of inflammatory acne.
  • Certain drugs with bromides — antidepressants, sleeping pills, cough, cold medications and steroids — can also produce inflammatory acne.
  • As in cystic acne, factors that increase inflammation such as stress, eating poorly, not getting enough sleep, etc. can increase inflammatory acne.
  • Simple avoidance of these foods and drugs can dramatically stop or reduce inflammatory acne.

Halogen acne

  • Often found around the mouth and chin, halogen acne is caused by a family of chemicals that includes bromides, iodized salt (common in processed foods), chlorides, and fluorides.
  • Switching to Essence Skin-Saving Toothpaste and avoiding or lessening your intake of or exposure to halogens can successfully combat this acne type.
  • For more on this type of acne, including a list of foods and products known to cause this condition, see Acne/Rashes: Around My Mouth/Chin; Peri-Oral Dermatitis.

Pityrosporum Folliculitis (“sweat acne”)

  • An acne look-alike common to adults is “sweat acne” or pityrosporum folliculitis. It occurs when a fungus normally found in hair follicles that feeds on sweat increases in number, proliferating in the mid-follicle to produce small, uniform bumps. The bumps tend to appear in sweatier areas like the back, chest, parts of the face, thighs, and behind the arms.
  • An antifungal antibiotic taken internally or applied externally treats this acne look-alike.
  • If you suspect sweat acne, practice prevention (see Acne Cosmetica, above) and try Id Sweat Acne + Overall Antibacterial Gel.

Rosacea acne

  • Some people with rosacea develop acne or acne-like bumps or skin thickening.
  • Rosacea acne can include papules (bumps without infected matter) or pustules (bumps with infected matter, like pimples).
  • These lesions differ from other types of acne in that they tend to accompany rosacea, a skin condition marked by redness and severe dryness. The contradictory nature of the condition can make treatment difficult (many acne treatments are drying on purpose).
  • Red Better Spot Corrector is non-drying and can help treat these lesions.

Factors That Hinder Successful Acne Therapy

  • If you’ve been fighting acne for a while, you may be experiencing a resistance to treatment. A long reliance on oral and topical antibiotics, historically the mainstays of acne therapy, has resulted in resistance to the more popular medicines, prolonging acne after adolescence. Instead of traditional antibiotics, the Id Clarifying System uses a beta-hydroxy acid for deep scouring of the pores’ inner walls + monolaurin, an acne-treating antibiotic and antifungal that has no reports of resistance.
  • Product experimentation, using lots of products (or formulations with many ingredients) may also promote acne or allergies.
  • The increase in cases of allergy and acne in adult patients with no previous history of sensitivity or pimples is making some experts in contact allergies and acne encourage the use of simpler formulations — with better chosen ingredients — and less products overall.
  • Furthermore, remember that just because you didn’t have asthma, diabetes, or a thyroid problem as a child doesn’t mean you can’t develop it later. Similarly, skin does change. Just because your skin was always “perfect” or responded well to a product for years does not mean that it cannot develop problems or respond badly to the same product later. Therefore, sticking to simpler, safer products can help prevent breakouts even as your skin and/or body changes over time.
  • If you aren’t sure about the type of acne you have or think you have more than one type, see a properly-boarded dermatologist.

To recap: Skin Summary…

To exile your acne to the same closet hiding photos of your garage band and that tulip-inspired prom dress …

  1. Get the right diagnosis; ideally, from a dermatologist who specializes in multiple forms of acne.
  2. Prevention applies regardless of the type of acne you have:
    1. Try Essence Hair Body + Bath Skintelligent Beauty Makeup and Fawn & Launder laundry shampoo);
    2. De-stress;
    3. Commit to a healthier diet + lifestyle.
  3. Find the right treatment, oral and/or topical:
    • SuperSkin Care regimens are great options if you’re just starting out.
    • Id Clarifying System is excellent for multiple types of adult acne on the face + body.
    • Regular Vx Facials + Skin Services can up the efficacy of your at-home regimens surprisingly, by giving pores a thorough cleaning and helping your actives penetrate better.