Sunday, October 27, 2019

Is Micro Needling with a Derma Roller or Derma Pen Safe and Good for your Skin?

Micro needling is a treatment for the skin that uses needles. Yes, needles to make thousands of punctures in the skin. 

remmi love your skin microneedle derma roller

Yikes! Sounds scary and looks scary, right? I'm not so sure this treatment is for me. It's definitely not for my daughter. She would be passed out on the floor just at the thought of needles! I have a friend who recently had micro needling done and she says it wasn't bad at all. 

But is micro needling safe, does it work and does it scar the skin? Let me give you a brief overview of the skin before we get into the nitty gritty of micro needling so you have a little info on what our skin does for us and why it ages.

The Skin
The skin is the body's largest organ and is the protective barrier between us and the world. Besides, keeping our fluids and insides nicely packaged, the skin keeps invaders like bacteria, viruses and chemicals from entering our bodies.

Skin regulates body temperature by sweating to keep our temperature from getting too high.

Oil glands keep the skin soft and supple plus, maintain a healthy pH balance to resist germs.

The nerves in the skin alert us to pain, pressure, and hot or cold temperatures.

The skin also protects us from the Ultra Violet Radiation from the sun by getting tan. Speaking of the sun and skin, exposure to sunlight causes the skin to make the Vitamin D essential for strong bones and cellular functions.

It contains area specific hair follicles to grow protective hair.

The skin is constantly renewing itself with new cells.

How many layers does the skin have?
The skin has three main layers, the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous layer or hypodermis.

The Epidermis is the outer layer and contains 5 layers (the stratum corneum, stratum ludcidum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum and stratum basale aka stratum germinativum) to create a waterproof barrier and give our skin color through the melanocytes.

The Dermis is a very active layer of skin consisting of the papillary layer and the reticular layer. It contains connective tissue (collagen and elastin) which gives the skin firmness, flexibility and strength, hair follicles, sweat and oil glands, nerve endings, blood and lymph vessels.

The Hypodermis is made up of fat, connective tissue and blood vessels. It anchors the skin to the muscles and tissue below it.

How thick is the skin?
The thickness of the skin ranges from the thinnest 0.5mm on the eyelids to the thickest 4 mm on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. The average thickness overall on the face is about 1.70 mm.

Skin Aging
All that hard work the skin does protecting us plus, the pull of gravity can take a toll on it making it look scarred, old, spotty and loose. The protein fibers, collagen and elastin, are not as strong and are not replaced as rapidly as we age. We are constantly searching for that elusive fountain of youth and many will try anything to make themselves look younger and more beautiful. Even needles! 

What is Collagen?
Collagen is an abundant protein throughout our bodies. It's made of chains of amino acids which form strong fibers to support the skin and the tissues of the body. It is high in the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. 

At about age 30, the body starts to produce less collagen. The skin progressively becomes more lined, wrinkled and sagging as collagen production continues to decline.

The collagen protein molecule is a large molecule that cannot penetrate the skin so topical application of collagen will not go into the skin, just so you know!

The skin is an amazing organ! As an esthetician, I'm always looking for the best and safest ways to take care of the skin. Let's get to the topic of micro needling.


Micro Needling
What is micro needling?
Micro needling, also referred to as collagen induction therapy, is considered to be a generally safe cosmetic procedure for the skin. It is an anti aging and scar treatment since micro needling both stimulates collagen production and breaks down old scar tissue.

A device containing many sharp fine needles is applied in multiple directions to the area of skin in need of treatment. It can be a roller or a pen type device. The object is to create thousands of small punctures, they call them micro channels, in the skin to cause the skin to heal, defend and protect itself from the injury by creating collagen and new tissue. The punctures close quickly on the surface of the skin within about an hour. It is considered to be a minimally invasive procedure.

The benefits are firmer, smoother skin, less visible pores and scar reduction. 

The punctures, aka micro channels, allow skin care products to penetrate deep into the skin. A calming serum or ointment is applied after a micro needling treatment. That serum or ointment contains ingredients that stimulate collagen production including hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C.

Radio frequency micro needling is another needling treatment that is a heat based treatment. One of the possible side effects of radio frequency micro needling is it can cause death of fat cells leaving depressions in the skin. Sounds too risky! I don't recommend it.

Who would want micro needling?
Someone with chicken pox scars, acne scars or stretch marks may want to have micro needling treatments to help the scars look less visible. Those with skin that has lost elasticity and looks saggy would see firmer skin from micro needling. People with large pores, hyper pigmentation, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles are candidates for micro needling.

Who can't have micro needling done?
Micro needling is not for those with active acne, cold sores or other open wounds. People with eczema, psoriasis, inflamed skin or rosacea can not be treated.  Micro needling cannot be done if you are pregnant. Those with a history of any type of skin scarring including keloid scarring cannot be treated.  People who have had radiation therapy, those with a lowered immune system, diabetics, those taking anti coagulant medications cannot be micro needled. Moles and warts cannot be micro needled.

Who performs the micro needling procedure?
A dermatologist or an esthetician under the supervision of a dermatologist perform the micro needling treatment. The treatment is done in a doctor's office or in a medspa under doctor's supervision.

Before a Micro Needling treatment
First, you will need to make a consultation appointment with the dermatologist or esthetician who will performing the micro needling procedure to determine if you are truly a candidate for the micro needling. 

If you are a indeed a candidate, you will need to stop using any blood thinning medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin, retinoids including Renova and Retin A, and other medications including certain acne medications.

The Micro Needling Procedure
Most effective micro needling procedure uses needles long enough to penetrate the dermis and cause bleeding. Long micro needles are used by dermatologists. 

Needles must be sterile because they are puncturing the skin. The doctor will apply a topical anesthetic and allow it sit for about 30 minutes to numb the skin. The the needles are applied to the skin in multiple directions.


The procedure will take anywhere form 10 minutes to 1 hour depending on what area is being treated. The process done on the face takes an average of 20 to 30 minutes. A soothing serum, mask or cream will be applied after the treatment.


You will need a series of spaced apart micro needling treatments to achieve maximum results. You may only need a series of 3 treatments with a treatment being performed every 30 days. The longer the needles are, the further apart the treatments need to be. The treatment plan will be developed according to the needs of the skin.  


You may see some results in a couple weeks. It may take several months to see full results of the treatment due the building of collagen and healing of the skin.


Maintenance treatments are usually done on a yearly basis.


More About the Needles
The needles must be long enough to penetrate the dermis to get the most benefit from the treatment. Needles that are too short or are dull will not puncture the skin deep enough to cause significant results. They will increase blood flow and cause minor irritation. In fact, dull needles can damage the skin instead of rejuvenating it causing scratches, inflammation and possible scarring.

Needle lengths: 

0.25 mm penetrates the Stateum Corneum
0.5 mm penetrates the epidermis
1.0 mm penetrates the epidermis
2.0 mm penetrates the dermis
2.5 mm penetrates the dermis

Skin Pen is the only FDA approved professional micro needling device available at this time. A cartridge of needles is used on one person only one time ensuring that the needles are sharp, sterile and effective.


After a Micro Needling

The skin may have redness that can last from a few days to a week. The redness can be covered with makeup. The skin may have a tight dry feeling that can last a couple days to a week. Avoid activities that cause the skin to sweat for 24 hours after a micro needling treatment to reduce irritation.

Wear sunscreen! The skin will be sensitive to the sun plus will be more at risk for hyper pigmentation. You should be supplied by your treatment provider with a soothing ointment to use at home after your treatment. The goal is to reduce the surface inflammation asap. 



Side Effects, Risks and Complications from Micro Needling
For some people, there can be redness that can lasts for weeks, sensitivity to the sun, irritation, swelling, bleeding, bruising, peeling, itching, rash, infection and over re-action to skin care products.

Deep needling can actually create more hyper pigmentation. Darker skin types can be prone to hyper pigmentation. 

It may cause a histamine reaction resulting in hives.  Milia and an outbreak of cold sores can also occur from micro needling.

Cost
The cost of micro needling can vary greatly according to the provider you use, where you live, how large an area is being treated and the extent of scarring that needs treatment. A rough estimate to give you an idea is $100 to $700 per treatment.  

Is micro needling with a derma roller or a derma pen safe and good for your skin?
If you are going to a qualified service provider, the procedure is a low risk, generally safe procedure, especially because the needling is done in a series only once a year. Home micro needling is another story!

The devices for home use have shorter needles. Short needles cause more irritation of the skin than anything else. Even worse, dull needles can cause scratches that can end up scarring the skin.  You cannot use a damaged micro needling device with bent needles. If the derma roller is dropped on the floor, it has to be tossed because of likely damage to the needles.

Some people use these home derma rollers or micro needling pens on a daily basis thinking it will improve the absorption of skin care products along with make their skin look younger. That daily use is going to cause some serious damage to the skin! The skin is in a constant state of inflammation. Nothing good comes from chronic inflammation.

We know micro needling stimulates collagen production, but is micro needling good for the skin?  I always question puncturing holes in the skin since the skin is our protective barrier with so many functions, even if they are only super tiny holes. 

I completely get micro needling being done to break up scarring and I can somewhat accept a once a year anti aging treatment.

I feel there are other anti aging options available to make the skin look younger without poking holes in it. I guess my view comes from all the gentle, less invasive skin care education I've had over the years. 

This is a micro needling pen available on Amazon so you can get an idea of what the pens look like.
 Dr Pen Ultima A6 Micro Needling Pen

Alternatives to Micro Needling to stimulate collagen production in the skin
There are some great anti aging procedures that don't put thousands of holes in the skin and still stimulate collagen production. We can also stimulate collagen production by using skin care products with certain ingredients, exfoliating the skin, massaging the skin, eating certain foods, living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding skin damaging elements. 

Collagen Stimulating Treatments
Get a facial 
The massage portion of a facial stimulates collagen production along with the peels that are used during a facial.

See me for a facial in the Philadelphia area!

Light therapy
Red light therapy (RLT) penetrates the skin and will increase collagen in the skin without damaging the surface of the skin. This treatment uses low level wavelengths of Light Emitting Diode (LED) red light to treat the skin. 

Other light treatment, such as laser and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments, also stimulate collagen production but they do cause damage to the skin's surface. 

You can have RLT treatments done at salons and spas or do your own treatments in the comfort of home with an inexpensive LED light device. This device, available on Amazon, has red light plus blue light which is helpful in clearing acne. It also has a vibration mode to stimulate collagen through massage.
Rika Led Light therapy device


Injectables

There injectable fillers that have microscopic particles that stimulate collagen production. Sculptra Aesthetic and Radiesse are two of those types of fillers. A doctor injects the collagen stimulating filler to specific areas of the face to improve the look of scars, wrinkles and hollow looking areas of the face. The injections do make holes but just a few as opposed to thousands!

Exfoliating Procedures
The physical action of exfoliating the skin stimulates collagen production.

Micro Dermabrasion 
Micro dermabrasion is a treatment that basically sand blasts dead cells from the skin. This treatment is performed in salons and med spas. 

Chemical Peels
Chemical peels use chemicals to remove the dead cell layer from the skin. There are many different types of chemical peels that can range from a superficial peel to a deep peel. 

Superficial peels done at a salon during a facial cause minimal inflammation and still support the stimulation of collagen production. Peels done in a med spa or dermatologist office go deeper, create more inflammation and require healing time.  A medical peel will also reduce hyper pigmentation.

Dermaplaning
Dermaplaning is a procedure in which the dead cell layer of the skin is scraped off with a scalpel or scalpel like device at a medspa.  When done by an experienced professional, there is no injury to the skin. There is no inflammation or recovery time. You are left with super smooth, hair free skin which allows skin care products to easily penetrate the skin.  Dermaplaning is usually done in conjunction with a facial treatment. 

This is a procedure you can carefully do at home with a dermaplaning device made for home use. Some cultures have been using this anti aging technique for ages. I have a client who uses the Michael Todd Sonicsmooth Sonic Dermaplaning Device and she loves it!
michael Todd sonicsmooth sonic dermaplaning device

Skin Care Ingredients 
The ingredients in today's advanced skin care products can help stimulate collagen production. Skin care product manufacturers are using science to make highly effective anti aging products. Using quality skin care products is an easy way to improve your skin. Let's look at some effective collagen stimulating ingredients.

Peptides
Skin care products containing peptides, particularly copper peptides, can stimulate collagen production and make the skin look younger. Polypeptides are small chain amino acids that are used to build proteins, like collagen, in our bodies. A peptide applied to the skin tells the cells to make collagen. 

Since peptides are pieces of a complete protein, they can penetrate through the skin. Use a lightweight peptide serum or treatment cream that is designed to easily absorb into the skin morning and night. 

Palmitoyl pentapeptide, aka Matrixyl, is a commonly used peptide in skin care products. The Ordinary makes a nice Matrixyl with Hyaluronic Acid serum you can use under a moisturizer. Dr. Dennis Gross makes a nice lightweight peptide moisturizer. Both feel good on the skin and are easy to use.

the ordinary matrixyl 10% + HA

dr dennis gross firming peptide milf


Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is synthesized in the body. It is also in foods we eat. It keeps collagen fibers moist so they can stretch without breaking and stimulates collagen production especially when used as an injectable filler

It is found in large amounts in the skin, connective tissue and the eyes. It holds water to keep us moist, lubricated, plumped up and healing properly. It has been used in skin care products for years for hydrating and plumping the skin.

The Ordinary makes another great serum with 2% hyaluronic acid plus B5 to sooth and heal the skin. 

the ordinary Hyaluronic acid 2% + B5
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster is a powerhouse product containing multiple anti aging ingredients including hyaluronic acid, botanicals, retinol, AHAs, and peptides. It's a great anti aging product to try.

dr dennis gross marine hyaluronic hydration booster

Stem Cells
Plant stem cells have anti oxidant properties and promote skin cell turnover which in turn stimulates collagen production. 

YonKa and Juicy Beauty are two brands with high performing plant stem cell ingredients. YonKa's Time Resist Creme Jour and Creme Nuit contain saponaria pumila stem cells. Juicy Beauty products contain fruit stem cells.


Yonka Time Resist Creme Jour
Juicy beauty stem cellular anti wrinkle solutions


Retinol and Bakutiol
Retinol and Bakutiol will boost collagen production by increasing skin cell turn over. Some people are sensitive to the Vitamin A derivative retinol and experience irritated skin from it. Bakutiol is an alternative to retinol. 

Bakutiol is a natural vegan ingredient derived from the psoralea corylifolia plant, aka the babchi plant, that does not cause the irritation and sun sensitivity that retinol does. Ole Henriksen and Beautycounter are two of my favorite brands using bakutiol.

ole henriksen glow cycle retin-alt power serum


 beautycounter countertime

Aloe 
Aloe is another commonly used skin care ingredient that can boost collagen production. It's also effective for acne treatment and as a sun burn remedy. You can find it in cleansers, toners and moisturizers or in a pure gel form that can be massaged into the skin.
aloe relief aloe vera gel

Salicylic Acid and Alpha Hyroxy Acids
Salicylic Acid (BHA) and Alpha Hyroxy Acids (AHA)
are both ingredients used to exfoliate the skin and therefore, increase collagen production. 

Beautycounter's Overnight Resurfacing Peel is a nice gentle peel using both BHA and AHA. I highly recommend it! 

I am also a long time fan of Aveda's Botanical Kinetics Exfoliant, a liquid exfoliant which has a healthy dose of Salicylic Acid. 
beautycounter overnight resurfacing peel


BHA and AHA products are also good for preventing breakouts. 

Read more about older skin that breaks out


Prescription Retinoids
Tazarotene gel 0.1 % is a topical retinoid prescription topical home treatment effective at stimulating collagen and reducing acne scarring.

 Renova is another topical prescription retinoid used to used to treat lines, wrinkles and hyper pigmentation. You will need to see your doctor if you would like to use these prescription products.

I know I've shown you a lot of different products. The skin care product world can be overwhelming! Browse through my Amazon Affiliate links and Beautycounter links to learn more about the products. One may be more appealing to you than another. You can always contact me with questions about products and product recommendations.


Diet
Eating a healthy diet can improve collagen production.
Collagen is a protein. The body requires certain building blocks to make collagen. We need amino acids, Vitamin C, zinc and copper to make healthy, strong collagen fibers.

I mentioned earlier that collagen contains high levels of the amino acids glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. Our bodies can produce these amino acids by using other amino acids but it helps to add those building blocks to your diet as well.

Amino Acids
Eat high quality protein foods including amaranth, beans, chickpeas, dairy products, eggs, farro, green peas, lentils, nuts, seitan, soy products, spelt, spirulina, quinoa, and meat products.

Glycine
Glycine is a conditional essential amino acid needed for the production of red blood cells and for collagen production. It's also an antioxidant that prevents aging. The liver forms glycine from serine and threonine.

Foods high in glycine include bananas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, eggs, kale, kiwi, milk, oranges, parmasan cheese, pumpkin, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, soy, spinach, squash seeds, tofu, wheat germ and yogurt.

All meats, poultry, fish and gelatin contain glycine.

Proline
This conditional amino acid is produced by the body from the amino acid glutamine.

Foods high in proline include alfalfa sprouts, asparagus, avocado, bamboo shoots, broccoli rabe, chickpeas, chives, cottage cheese, cucumber, eggs, feta, milk, mushrooms, parmesan cheese, peanuts, quinoa, seitan, soybeans, spinach, spirulina, tofu, watercress, wheat and yogurt. All meats, poultry and fish contain proline.

Hydroxyproline
Hydroxyproline a non essential amino acid formed from proline in the body. It's formation requires vitamin C. Food sources are alfalfa sprouts, beef, carob seeds, chicken, cod, eggs, milk and dairy products, monkfish and pork.

Vitamin C
Eat your Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed for hyaluronic acid synthesis and collagen production in the body. Get some vitamin C from berries, cabbage, citrus fruits, mangoes, parsley, peppers, and pomegranates.

Copper
Foods high in copper include avocados, cashews, chickpeas, dark chocolate, mushrooms, seafood, sesame seeds, sweet potatoes and tofu.

Zinc
Foods high in zinc include almonds, cashews, chickpeas, peas, peanuts, peanut butter, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and wheat germ. Meat sources include chicken, crab, pork, oysters and turkey. 

Hyaluronic Acid
Eat foods that contain hyaluronic acid to support and stimulate collagen production. Foods that contain hyaluronic acid include starchy root vegetables (including potatoes, sweet potatoes, jicama), soy products, almonds, citrus fruits and leafy greens.

Sulfur
Eat sulfur rich foods, including cabbage, garlic and beans to aids collagen production in the body.

Antioxidants
Eat lots of fruits and veggies. They contain anti oxidants that fight free radicals that damage collagen.

Ginseng
Ginseng has also been shown to boost collagen production. Try drinking ginseng tea.

Reduce Sugar
Eat less sugar. Sugar causes inflammation that breaks down collagen.

Read about how sugar effects the skin

Healthy Living
No Cigarettes and Less Alcohol
Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. Both have been shown to breakdown collagen.

Exercise
Exercise, particularly weight lifting, stimulates collagen production throughout the body.

Sunscreen
Protect the skin from UV rays by wearing sunscreen. UV Rays will damage collagen.

Moisturize
Use moisturizer that contains anti oxidants to protect against damaging free radicals from pollution in the air. Algae is a great antioxidant found in many skin care products. Other anti oxidant ingredients include green tea, retinol, resversatrol, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B3 to name a few.


Fight that saggy baggy skin and get on your way to younger looking skin that bounces back!


       Have a Beautiful Skin Day! 
xo
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist

πŸ’„Contact me for on location wedding makeup, special occasion or everyday makeup and salon skin care services in the Philadelphia, Pa. area. 



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Saturday, October 12, 2019

Older Skin with Acne Breakouts: Causes and Remedies

This post is for all of us who experience acne breakouts at any age even when we think we should be done breaking out when we reach our fifties!!!

So your skin broke out as a teenager and you thought, when I get past the teen years, my acne breakouts will clear. Then you thought, once I get out of my twenties, my acne breakouts will stop. After that you thought, after I've had my kids and am in my forties, there will be no more breakouts. Now you say, I'm in my fifties, I have older skin. why do I still have acne breakouts?😩

It's very frustrating, I know. My skin has always had breakouts. Sometimes it's clear. Sometimes it's not.


Why do the acne breakouts continue?

There are a few elements that go into an acne breakout. It all starts with a too much oil, then a clogged pore and bacteria.

1. The Sebaceous glands (aka oil glands) in our skin are producing a lot of sebum (aka oil).

2. Dead skin cells are built up in the pore (aka follicle) and on the skin's surface causing a blockage in the pore.

3. Bacteria is growing.

4. There is a pH imbalance in the skin.

5. Cosmetic products have clogged the pores.

6. Some medications have caused the acne.

7. An occlusive garment has caused the pores to clog.


Sebum Production
The sebaceous glands in our skin produce sebum to keep our skin moisturized and maintain a pH balanced film called the acid mantle to prevent bad bacteria, viruses, allergens, pollution and other invaders from penetrating the skin. The acid mantle also helps maintain the good bacteria on the skin. The acid mantle is a mix of sebum and sweat with an ideal, slightly acid, skin pH of about 4.6 to 5.5. 

The acne breakout problems begin with the sebaceous glands in the skin producing an excess amount of sebum. There are a number of triggers for excess oil production including hormones, family history, environment, pore size, over exfoliation, not moisturizing the skin and using drying skin care products.

Hormones
Certain hormones our bodies produce stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce sebum. The primary hormones that stimulate oil production are testosterone, progesterone, and the stress hormone cortisol. 

These hormone levels fluctuate causing the skin to be too oily at times and not so oily at other times. Certain life events, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause, cause extreme hormone fluctuations. Then, there are the monthly fluctuation and the stress fluctuations. Some of us are constantly bombarded with sebum stimulating hormones!!! No wonder out skin freaks out!

A hormonal breakout usually occurs on the lower cheek area, the chin, and along the jawline.

Pimples, blind pimples, whiteheads and blackheads are all forms of clogged pores that are associated with acne and oily skin. The oil glands keep producing sebum whether the pores are clogged or not. 

Read more about the types of acne blemishes  

Family History
The tendency for oily skin and the number of oil glands a person has is inherited. If your parents have oily skin, you will probably have oily skin.

Environment
Heat, humidity, and the sun can cause the sebaceous glands to increase oil production. Warm humid weather also stimulates the sweat glands. Stay in air conditioning whenever you can in the hot summer weather!

Pore size
An enlarged pore tends to produce more oil than a normal sized pore. Large pores can be the result of the sebaceous glands producing a large amount of sebum. They can be hereditary. The pores can be stretched open from continuous clogging with oil or comedones. They become more noticeable as we age because our skin starts to lose elasticity and the pores sag and stretch downward.

Over Exfoliation
Exfoliating the skin is a great way to remove dead skin cells, unclog the pores, give our skin a beautiful glow, and help us look younger but, exfoliating the skin too much causes the skin to dehydrate and become irritated. The body senses the skin is too dry and the sebaceous glands are signaled to produce more oil.

Not Using Moisturizer
People with oily skin tend to shy away from moisturizer thinking it will just make their skin more oily. Sebum is meant to act as a moisturizer. A moisturizer's purpose is to form a barrier to seal in the water in our skin not necessarily add water to the skin. 

Skin can be oily but lack water at the same time. This is dehydrated skin. Many times dehydrated skin is caused by over exfoliation, drinking alcohol, being in dry air such as heating and air conditioning, and sun exposure. The body senses the lack of water in the skin and signals for more oil production.

Read more on dehydrated skin

There are many great moisturizers formulated for oily skin that will not make your skin feel more oily. We'll talk more about that later on in this post.

Using Drying Skin Care Products
I know, you want to do anything possible to stop the oily skin, but just like over exfoliating, not moisturizing or using harsh products to try and reduce oily skin will only result in the body defending itself by producing more oil.


Dead Cell Buildup
A buildup of dead skin cells mixes with sebum and creates a sticky film on the skin. This sticky film can trap sebum in the pores.

Our skin is constantly manufacturing new skin cells and sloughing off the old ones. A skin cell's life is about 29 days from it's formation until it sloughs off. 

The sloughing process very efficient when we are younger. As we age, the process slows down and the dead cells stick on the skin's surface for a longer amount of time which can create a dry, dull appearance and increase the chance of clogged pores.  


Bacteria Growth
Acne blemishes, including pimples, blind pimples, and blackheads, are referred to as comedones. They are a mix of dead skin cells, bacteria and oil. Pimples and blind pimples are comedones that have inflammation. 

The dead skin cell and sebum sticky film on the skin clogs the pores trapping acne causing bacteria in the pores. The bacteria that causes acne is P. acnes or proprionibacterium acnes. The P. acne bacteria likes all that sebum and can get out of control. The bacteria actually eats the oil. It multiplies and causes inflammation and pimples.  

The acne bacteria itself isn't causing the breakout problem. It is the byproducts that are produced by the bacteria as it digests the oil that cause the breakout. The body perceives these byproducts as a foreign object and triggers an immune response attacking the bacteria byproduct by rushing red and white blood cells to remove the offender. This immune response is what creates the inflammation and breakout.  

The comedo will keep getting bigger and more inflamed until it is resolved through extraction or through the internal healing process. 


pH Imbalance
I mentioned the acid mantle and the 4.6-5.5 pH of the skin earlier. The slightly acid pH of the skin helps to maintain healthy skin, fight off invaders and protect our skin from environmental pollution. If the pH is off, it leaves the skin more vulnerable to bacterial infections including P. acnes.

The acid mantle also maintains effective dead cell exfoliation therefore, the chance of dead cell build up and acne breakouts increases when if the acid mantle is disrupted. 

Soaps and detergents that have an alkaline pH can compromise acid mantle from the skin. Using isopropyl alcohol or astringent containing certain harsh alcohols can also disrupt the acid mantle. Over washing the skin with any type of cleanser and over exfoliating will also change the acid mantle. Once disrupted, the acid mantle can take up to 2 weeks to return to normal.

Cosmetic Products
There are cosmetic products that can cause clogged pores resulting in acne. These are products called comedogenic, as opposed to non comedogenic, and can accumulate in the pores, clogging them resulting in an acne breakout. 

This type of acne is called Acne Cosmetica. Many times, hair products, sunscreens and heavy cover up makeups cause this type of breakout. 

Always check product labels for the phases non comedogenic, oil free or won't clog pores. You will be less likely to have a breakout from them.

Stop using the product that you suspect is causing the breakout and gently exfoliate to help unclog the pores and clear the breakout.


Medications
There some medications that can cause acne breakouts.
Oral corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, contraceptives, halogens, anti depressants to name a few.

Click here to view a list of acne causing medications 


Occlusive Garments
I have had clients who frequently wear hats and helmets experience acne on their foreheads. The sweat, oil and dead cells along with the pressure from the hat or helmet caused the pores to clog. It took time to actually pinpoint the culprit because a hat or helmet isn't the first thing that comes to mind when deciphering a skin problem. These are my client's involved in sports. Once their sport's season ended, so did their acne breakout.


Remedies for Older Skin with 
Acne Breakouts 

Now that we have some idea of what causes the skin to have an acne breakout, let's get into some solutions. As an esthetician, I have worked with many clients, both young and older, who have experienced bouts with acne. It can be a real battle. My own skin goes through periods of breaking out. It's so frustrating!

This summer my skin was particularly bad so I switched my skin care product regimen. My skin has improved immensely! One of my clients even commented on how good my skin looks. Of course, I will share what I'm using!

A good skin care regime is important to help control oil, heal the skin, reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, prevent future breakouts and prevent dehydration. 

People with older oily skin feel they need to use anti aging products to help the skin look younger. Many anti aging products are formulated for dry skin since the skin usually tends to get dryer as we age. Using anti aging products formulated for dry skin on oily skin will create a shiny oil slick that will encourage breakouts.

The good news is ingredients, such as salicylic acid, AHA's and retinol, that are used in gentle acne and oil control products, are also used in anti aging products. You will still get anti aging results when you use products formulated for oily skin! 

Read more about AHA's and BHA

It is important to use products that are listed as non comedogenic meaning it's ingredients have been proven to not clogged the pores.  

Now, I'll share my skin care routine and my favorite products for oily skin along with some other remedies that work well for treating oily skin and breakouts. Click on the images for affiliate shopping links. 


My Skin Care  Routine

Clean the Skin
Cleansing the skin is a two part procedure using a cleanser then a toner. Cleanse twice a day morning and bedtime.

Step 1: Cleanser
It's important to gently cleanse your skin with a cleanser that will not disrupt the 4.6-5.5 pH acid mantle of the skin. 

Wash in the morning to remove excess oil and sweat that have accumulated overnight. There is no need to scrub your face clean. Simply use your cleanser and rinse. 

Always do a through cleansing before bed to remove all makeup, excess oil, sweat and dirt that has accumulated during the day. Apply your cleanser then use a soft wash cloth in a circular motion to remove the cleanser. The wash cloth offers some gentle exfoliation and helps remove makeup more effectively. Rinse well.

Use an eye makeup remover, if necessary. I remove my eye makeup with plain old olive oil. Really. It is very effective at removing makeup and the olive oil works great for softening the lines around my eyes!

You will also be surprised at my favorite facial cleanser. I like the feel of a gel cleanser instead of a milky cleanser. I use Summer's Eve Cleansing Wash for Sensitive Skin. Surprised? It's formulated with a pH of 4.7. Perfect for cleaning the skin without upsetting the acid mantle! It comes in a variety of lightly scented fragrances and even has a dye free, fragrance free option!

summers eve cleansing wash for sensitive skin

Step 2: Toner
Use a toner on a cotton pad to remove any cleanser residue. Most toners contain healing balancing ingredients to treat the skin along with removing cleanser residue. 

The toner I am currently using is Ole Henriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner. It is cleansing, balancing and exfoliating.

ole henriksen balancing force oil control toner

I love the smell and refreshing feel of the peppermint and eucalyptus oil it contains. This toner also contains alpha hydroyx acids (glycolic acid and lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acid which is salicylic acid, green tea extract, witch hazel, glycerin, kelp, neem seed oil, and more ingredients that are helpful for oily skin.


Control the Oil
If you control the amount of oil the sebaceous glands produce, you can control breakouts. Remember, the P. acnes bacteria feed on sebum. If there is less oil, there will be less P. acnes.

Control oil with Products
Use a moisturizer for oily skin to help control oil and keep the skin hydrated. 

In addition to the oil control toner, I use Ole Henriksen Counter Balance Oil Control Hydrator. It helps my skin look clearer, brighter and less oily.
ole henriksen counter balance oil control hydrator

It contains rose hip oil to help reduce oil production. It also contains alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid and lactic acid) and beta hydroxy acid which is salicylic acid.  Plus, hyaluronic acid, oat kernel flour, peppermint oil and more hydrating, balancing ingredients.

A clay or charcoal mask is great for absorbing oil and impurities and exfoliating the skin. Use clay masks formulated to oily skin that absorb oil without dehydrating the skin. Use a mask once a week.

YonKa Masque 103 is one of my favorite clay masks. It contains three types of clay, montmorillonite, bentonite and kaolin along with castor oil, lavender, geranium, rosemary, cypress and thyme to absorb oils without dehydrating the skin.
yonka masque 103

Control Oil Stimulation
The sebaceous glands can be stimulated through massage. Those with oily skin should keep the massaging of the face to a minimum.

Control your Stress
Run, jog, walk, hit the gym, dance, sing, do yoga, get a massage, get a facial, do some art, read, spend time with your pets, have dinner out with your sweetheart, have coffee with your daughter (that's my favorite stress reliever!). Do whatever works to reduce your stress level everyday. Less cortisol means less stimulation of the sebaceous glands.

See me for a facial or anti stress head, neck & back massage in Media, Pa.

Get your beauty sleep. Our bodies rejuvenate as we sleep. Skin repairs itself. Stress subsides. Do your best to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to reduce stress and help your skin and body restore, rejuvenate and regenerate. 

Read Tips for better Beauty Sleep

Control Hormones
Sometimes hormones are so out of balance, pre menopausal women need prescription medications, such as birth control pills, to keep the hormones more even. See your doctor if you feel you need medication to level out your hormones.

Exfoliate & Unclog Pores
Removing dead cell build up is the key to clearer, brighter, younger looking skin and unclogging the pores. Be careful not to over exfoliate or the skin will dehydrate and the sebaceous glands will kick into overdrive. 

Use a gentle liquid peel and/or a gel peel that contains salicylic acid which is very effective for unclogging pores. Alpha hydroxy acids are great for removing dead cell build up.

Scrubs that contain grains can scratch and irritate the skin. They can even spread infection when pimples are scrubbed open. 

I am currently using Beautycounter Counter+ Resurfacing Overnight PeelThis is a fantastic gentle leave on product that helps unclog my pores and makes my skin look clearer and brighter with no irritation. It contains salicylic acid, glycolic acid, maltic acid, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, hyaluronic acid and more amazing ingredients. Just apply to the skin after cleansing, top with moisturizer, and let it do it's magic while you sleep. Use this peel every other night.
beautycounter counter+ overnight peel

Makeup
Foundations should be treated as skin care products. We put them on our faces over all of our good skin care products. They should be high quality products that benefit our skin.

I am currently using Too Faced Born This Way Foundation. This is a medium to full coverage foundation. I only apply it to areas that need the most redness coverage which is mainly areas in my t zone.
too faced born this way foundation
Bareminerals Bare Pro 16-hour Full Coverage Concealer is my current full coverage concealing product. It does not irritate or clog pores and gives me nice coverage.

bareminerials bare pro 16 hour full coverage concealer

I then apply Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Loose Powder. It makes my skin look great and doesn't cause my skin to break out. It also contains an SPF of 16.

physicians formula mineral wear loose powder
Speaking of SPF, it is very important to use an SPF when using skin care products that contain beta and alpha hydroxy acids, and retinol which make the skin more sensitive to the UV radiation from the sun.


Sunscreen
My favorite kind of sunscreen for my face is a mineral sunscreen. I like Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30+ Sensitive. This sunscreen is gentle, scores well with the Environmental Working Group and is reef safe.
blue lizard sunscreen


Kill Bacteria
Benzoyl peroxide is frequently recommended for killing acne causing bacteria. It is very effective. I personally don't use it because I experience redness, swelling, itching and burning from it. Proactiv products contain benzoyl peroxide. Try Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief.

proactiv emergency blemish relief
Tea Tree Oil is another option I have used. Tea Tree Oil has antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties and can help kill bacteria and calm the skin.

maple holistic tea tree oil

You can also see a dermatologist for treatment with oral or topical antibiotics to kill P. acnes bacteria.


Diet

It is essential to eat a healthy diet full of good protein, fruits and veggies that is low in sugar to give the body what it needs to produce healthy skin cells, neutralize free radicals and fight infections. 

I am a vegetarian and I firmly believe my low sugar, high anti oxidant diet helps keep my skin younger looking, and my body strong and healthy. That, plus protecting my skin from the sun's UV rays. 🌞

Click here to read why sugar is bad for the skin


I hope my oily skin care routine helps you minimize your acne breakouts and makes your skin looks gorgeous!


       Have a Beautiful Skin Day! 
xo
Licensed Cosmetologist, Esthetician, Makeup Artist


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