Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Acne Attacks

Desquamation…sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But actually, desquamation is a very healthy process…the process by which your skin cells are shed and then replenished. The process is supposed to help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful. Unfortunately, when parts of the process go awry, it gives acne an opportunity to attack your skin on top of, and sometimes below, the skin’s surface.

It all begins many layers beneath the surface of your skin (the stratum corneum). There are five layers (or stratums) in all that your skin cells move through, the deepest of which is the stratum germinativum. This is where the cells begin and multiply, as they then make their way through three more layers (mucosum, spinosum, and granulosum) before reaching the surface. By the time your skin cells reach the “top”, they are, for all intents and purposes, dead cells and need to be removed to make way for the next batch that is on its way.

This whole process takes about 28 days; and in that time the dead skin cells that are awaiting exfoliation can become a part of mild to severe acne attacks or breakouts. It’s the combination of these dead skin cells, along with sebum and bacteria, that clogs the pores of your skin, creating blemishes.

These blemishes come in many shapes and sizes, from bumps to whiteheads and blackheads to papules and pustules, nodules and cysts. But the source goes back to your sebaceous gland, hair follicles, pores, dead skin cells and excess sebum.

In order to help battle acne and wage a serious war on its army of blemishes, it’s extremely important to try and keep dead skin cells from collecting on your skin where they can clog your pores. It’s also tactically important to fight to control excessive oiliness.

One of the weapons that should be in your arsenal to help with exfoliating those dead skin cells is salicylic acid. A cleanser containing salicylic acid will prepare the battlefield, so to speak, clearing away the dead skin cells and excess sebum on your skin’s surface so that your army can move in and address the actual acne blemishes and lesions.

A second weapon to look for when battling acne breakouts is azelaic acid. When pores get overridden and clogged with excess sebum and dead skin cells, the skin’s environment becomes a place where Propionibacteria can thrive, causing inflammation. Azelaic acid fights to reduce the amounts of this acne-causing bacteria in your skin’s pores, thus reducing serious flare-ups. Topical products containing azelaic acid can help win the war against acne breakouts.

Finally, a ‘secret weapon’ to help you win the war is micronized, elemental sulfur for spot treating blemishes. This weapon has antibacterial properties. The concentration of the elemental sulfur intensifies its antibacterial effect and its ability to eliminate active acne lesions.

There is nothing easy about dealing with acne, but with the right army of acne-fighting products and ingredients, you have a much better chance of eventually winning the war!

1 comment:

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