If you have acne, and have read up on its causes, you will find yourself coming across the word “sebum” quite a bit. We know that too much of it can lead to acne breakouts, but what exactly is sebum?
Sebum is an oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands. Our skin needs it in order to function, but too much of it can lead to acne, and an overly oily complexion. Other than the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, sebaceous glands can be found all over the body.
most people think of oil in relation to acne, their first impulse is usually to
steer clear of the slick stuff. In fact, much of the topical skincare industry
owes it’s success
to stripping skin of oil, promising hopeful acne-prone
consumers a squeaky-clean complexion through a course of scrubs, wipes and treatments.
Lately, a new trend is shaking things up in the area of acne treatment, using
the very thing we’ve been
taught to fear to treat our stubborn blemishes and breakouts.
We all like to shine…. but not on our faces. So we often ask, WHY is my skin oily and WHAT can I do about it?
The oil you see on your face is called sebum. Produced by the sebaceous glands, sebum is actually a good thing, and is a necessary part of maintaining healthy skin. Sebum travels from the sebaceous glands to the surface through the pores to hydrate, moisturize, and protect the various layers that make up the skin. The face tends to be the oiliest part of the body as that’s where the majority of the sebaceous glands are located, anywhere from 2,500 to 5,500 per square inch!
People are always searching for the next big thing in skincare, from anti-aging technology to treatments that leave you looking like you’ve just returned from a relaxing vacation. For those with acne-prone skin, most are up for trying anything in the hopes of finding some sweet relief from stubborn breakouts.
For thousands of years, human beings have looked to the foods that grow naturally around them to fuel their bodies, bring people together, and even treat certain ailments, including acne. From using cloves to numb a toothache, to adding garlic to soups in a fight against the common cold, herbs and spices have been proven to help cure what ails us, all while adding a delicious dash of flavor to the dishes we eat everyday.
For women, the decision to take oral contraceptives is a personal one, with many reasons factoring into their decision. Many women use hormonal birth control (aka “the pill”) for the skin-saving benefits and for those with acne-prone skin, waking up to a face free of breakouts is reason enough to choose the pill as a way to manage their acne.
Acne affects nearly half of adult women and almost a third of adult men. Acne can appear at just about any age and 75% of all people suffer from acne breakouts at some point in their lives.
Acne usually makes its first appearance during adolescence, however, we’re seeing more and more adults suffering from acne breakouts. Statistical data also confirms that the number of adults affected by acne is steadily increasing. Acne affects people of all ethnic and economic backgrounds, making it one of the most widespread and “populistic” medical conditions in the world.
We get it - the life of a teenager is demanding and fast paced. There’s stress that comes with performing well in school and extracurricular activities, social pressures (including being involved in social media) and personal and/or family challenges. Couple this with the fact that teens are always on the go, and proper skincare is a bit tough to fit in. Instant gratification usually replaces taking preventative measures, and often times, many teens think acne will eventually go away by itself.
Many people associate acne with the teen years, and the constant hormonal changes associated with puberty. Most topical acne treatments, such as facial washes, lotions, and spot treatments, are advertised to appeal to teens, and the products are formulated to treat the type of acne that affects teens the most. However, the average age of those with acne is actually 26! With the teen market front and center, how can you keep a clear complexion in your adult years?
Acne can be a source of trouble for many people throughout their teen years. With hormones fluctuating, causing oil production to kick into overdrive, breakouts can be hard to keep under control. For many, this problem doesn’t simply go away once they reach adulthood, with some experiencing acne for the first time after they’ve outgrown puberty, which is known as “adult-onset acne.” Or, for some, acne can resurface as an adult.
When you’re still battling acne into your adult years, you’ve probably asked yourself this question many times - WHY?! Because so many tend to view acne as a teen problem, the issues surrounding adult acne aren’t commonly explained as well and addressed. This can be both frustrating and actually jeopardize your efforts to regain clear skin.
To choose an effective and efficient treatment for adult acne, it’s important to understand what causes the condition before you can begin searching for a solution. Reason being that acne is an internal issue that manifests itself externally.
For anyone with acne, you probably know by now that treating your skin is a job that needs to be done 365 days a year. However, many people don’t realize that as the weather changes with the seasons, our bodies do too, and this includes our skin.
Our skin is the largest organ on our body, and because it is exposed to the world, it also feels the effects of the elements, whatever they may be at any given time of year. During the cold months, the surface of the skin tends to dry out due to freezing temperatures, harsh winds, forced hot air, and an overall decrease in hydration, as people tend to need less water when they’re not sweating as much.
During the winter, people typically experience drier skin due to a number of factors, including cold and windy weather and central heating. The exposure to drastic temperature changes tends to dry out the skin (actually not just on your face but also on your entire body), often resulting in dead, flaky skin cells, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts in places you did not think you could ever break out. People who struggle with acne may experience flare-ups more frequently, and sufferers of eczema or rosacea may experience more intense symptoms such as itchy skin and redness in dry and cold weather, which may require a little extra care.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday all about the love, and lovers have been showing their affection to each other in the form of flowers, gifts, chocolates and cards since as early as the 18th century. While getting a nice set of jewels is one way to send some hearts a-flutter, others might appreciate a proper pampering to get themselves in a romantic mood.
When most people think of their go-to Valentine’s Day gifts, roses, chocolate and champagne top the list. After the holiday is over, these displays of affection can still keep spreading the love when paired with a little creativity and a few extra minutes. These decadent delights for the skin can make for an act of self-love and care that your complexion will be feeling well into the next week!
The month of February is rich in romantic opportunities, focusing on the love between two people. While this is a wonderful thing, how about focusing on the love you have for that other special person in your life? YOU!
The time we spend with ourselves can be the most rewarding and beneficial thing we do. Self-care is an empowering act, one that encourages us to take responsibility for our mind and bodies, get in touch with what we value and celebrate our self-worth. Making a commitment to lend some time and attention to ourselves is a sure fire way for our clear skin efforts to pay off in the long run.