Holistic, wellness-oriented approach to life is a known way to reduce stress and boost happiness, but what many are still learning is that it can also play into your skin health, too. Affecting 85% of teens and young adults, acne is a significant skin condition that is chronic and inflammatory. As we recognize June, Acne Awareness Month, I was honored to speak with Dr. Latanya Benjamin, on Stamina Cosmetic’s latest “Healthy Dose of Stamina” Instagram Live, about not only raising acne awareness, but its relationship to our psychosocial wellbeing.
Most individuals assume that only teenagers can get acne, but it is increasingly recognized as a skin condition in adults and is very much linked to our everyday lifestyle choices. Adults can’t seem to outgrow acne because of stress, hormones, yet most people don’t make that connection – how our mind plays a role. It’s important that we understand the underlying causes of acne. For the most part, the similar factors that cause acne in teens are at play in adult acne.
- Sebum, or excess oil production can cause clogged pores, C. acne (Cutibacterium acnes ) bacteria, then inflammation follows, leading to different types of breakouts of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pus bumps, cysts, blemishes, and acne scars.
- Genetics – Hereditary factors do play a role in whether you’re prone to acne.
- Hormonal Changes – hormones as we hit puberty and as we age, can all influence oil production and pimples.
- Chronic Stress. When you live in a chronic state of stress, your body is overwhelmed by cortisol and it becomes harder for the skin to repair itself. High cortisol levels also increase oil products leading to more pore congestion and acne.
- Diet can influence inflammation throughout the body, especially one high in glycemic index (etc. white bread, pasta, pizza, fruit juice, cereal) and dairy and/or gut inflammatory processed foods. These foods create gut microbe imbalance, aka dysbiosis, which predisposes to more inflammatory acne.
- Inadequate sleep. If you don’t get a good, restorative beauty sleep, your body can kick-start a cortisol surge which increases oil congestion in pores.
Once we recognize that we have acne, it might feel like we’re not in control. However, here are some key tips to prevent more breakouts:
- Don’t pick or pop, which can lead to more acne scarring. If you have any pain, relieve it with spot treatments such as Stamina Sleeping Serum to reduce inflammation and stimulate skin healing. If picking is hard to control, also try acne patches, such as Mighty Patch to keep “hands off”.
- Don’t over cleanse/scrub. There is such a thing as washing your face too much and causing irritation and disrupting the protective skin barrier, making skin vulnerable to microbes.
- Don’t over layer products, because trying too hard or too much anti-acne skin care to get a faster result can create skin havoc or redness, blotchiness and more compensatory breakouts. Go simple and smart instead…
Cleanse, Treat, Moisturize, and Sunscreen daily.
- Cleansing with anti-acne cleanser such as Neutrogena Oil Free Wash or Cerave Acne Wash nightly removes day’s grime and purifies the pores. If you are active throughout the day and your skin needs an extra cleansing boost, our Stamina Calming Mist is the way to stay “pore-fect” with easy on-the-go spritzer as needed, for face and body breakout areas.
- Treating acne with Stamina Sleeping Serum or Effaclar Serum or Differin Gel or other dermatologist recommended treatment daily to control the breakouts and avoid scars.
- Moisturizing daily with an oil-free, lightweight skin hydrator, such as our Intention Moisturizer, can fortify the skin barrier and reduce microbe and inflammatory imbalances which amplify acne.
- Non-comedogenic daily sunscreen, such as Elta Clear, can prevent dark blemishes from acne breakouts.
The great news about acne is there are therapeutic options like the Stamina AM + PM Breakouts Fighting Duo with hypochlorous acid skin adaptogen to reduce microbes, skin inflammation and repair skin barrier. However, if the skin blemishes do occur as a result of acne, our Stamina Blemish Remedy MPP Mask helps to remedy these marks and scars with adaptogenic Stamina®️ Complex, like Aloe and Tamanu oil. In any case, acne will not disappear instantly and usually takes 4-6 weeks of treatments to see improvement. If the pimples are stubborn and don’t improve, then you should seek medical treatment with a dermatologist.
Although body acne, aka folliculitis is possible, acne mostly occurs on the face, the most cosmetically apparent area. This affects our self-esteem and interaction with others. Therefore, it has a significant impact on our social and emotional well being. Majority of acne can also be uncomfortable, causing tenderness and leaving behind long-term post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH) and scarring. About a quarter of individuals with acne scars report emotional distress with negative effects on their quality of life. So the earlier the acne is addressed with best individual treatment, the less likely they lead to these significant skin and mental struggles. Currently, there are also great injectable, laser and other resurfacing treatments dermatologists can use for prominent acne blemishes and scars.
What can you do to change some of your harmful habits that will ultimately clear up our skin long-term? If you’re suffering from acne, no matter what age you may be, you need to address any of these healthy lifestyle changes that could improve stress levels, reduce inflammation and enhance wellness.
- Rest - catch those 6-8 hours of sleep on a regular basis. Also, try to get 30-60 minutes of mindful practices which “spark joy” aka give you a healthy #DoseofStamina.
- Regular Exercise - 1-2 hours weekly can reduce stress and enhance skin and mental stamina.
- Healthy Diet - curb those inflammatory foods and consider a healthy Mediterranean Diet full of antioxidants fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, and other gut friendly omega fatty acids and fiber. In addition, under the direction of a healthcare provider, certain supplements have shown reasonable evidence to serve as helpful adjuncts in acne therapy, such as probiotic (Bifidobacterium), Fish Oil or Flaxseed Oil (Omega 3s), Zinc, and Niacinamide (vitamina B3).
- Daily Affirmations - help to reduce stress and strengthen self-perception. “You Got This!”
- Gratitude - daily gratitude journaling is also an excellent way to reduce emotional stress and elevate spiritual resilience.
- Self-compassion - being on your side is a way to welcome self-awareness and self-care, which can heal psychological and physical distress.
- Mindfulness through mind-body practices, such as Stamina®️ Synergy, our Integrative skin care ritual can help to improve skin breakouts, radiance, as well as cultivate our wellness journey.
As we flow through life cadence and attune our skin to its best skin cadence through struggles of acne or other reactive or problematic skin issues, follow Stamina @staminacosmetics for more tips and advice on a journey to resilient and brilliant skin and wellness, overall.