Hey, if you're reading this article, chances are that you have some form of spots, zits or pimples. Yes, that's all they are. So before we all get carried away and start throwing around late 19 century terms like 'acne', let's just remember it's another way of saying 'spots'.
Yes, I can almost hear your head screaming 'but mine is acne', 'my skin is terrible', 'I have s*** loads of spots'. Well, stop it! Calling spots another name isn't going to change anything.
I've been there and my skin got hit bad with it. In fact, we've all been there to some extent, or at least 80% of us have if I'm to quote more precisely. Spots are just one of those things that are a part of growing up. Later, they become a part of your period, a part of the menopause and a part of well, just life really.. Some get barely any, a lot get more than their fare share and a small minority just trot on by completely unaffected. Today's first lesson -You're witnessing a regular pattern that's going to occur with many different problems throughout life. Get used to it.
So back to the subject... Why do you have spots. If you're anything like I was when I broke out in my earlier years, I'm sure you've already studied it to the 'n'th degree and are well aware. However, I'll offer an extremely simple, none bulls**t version that doesn't promise you the earth and doesn't provide a 'miracle' product at the end.
Our skin is full of tiny little pores (holes). There are two types:
Sweat Pores - Sweat weeps out of these holes allowing for the transportation of exceptionally salty water to the skins surface for rapid skin cooling. The sweat is produced by sweat glands below the surface of each sweat pore. These are irrelevant with regards the majority of spots.
Oil Pores - All of our body and facial hairs protrude from these pores (or holes). And yes, we all have hairs everywhere... even that celebrity that you aspire to be. Many are just so tiny that we can't see them... Or they're under the influence of Veet. Each oil pore (or hair holder) has a sebaceous gland at it's base below the skins surface. Since our bodies have many hairs, they have many sebaceous glands. And since our faces have more hairs than elsewhere, our faces have more sebaceous glands than elsewhere. Sebaceous glands do also exist independently without hairs, but we're not going to boggle you here... And I'd like to save the rude articles for another day! ;)
So what do sebaceous glands do?
Sebaceous glands fire sebum (oil and wax) up the hair hole (or pore).
Sebum (the oil produced by the gland) coats and protects our tiny hairs and our skin. Without them your skin wouldn't even be waterproof! They actually do an outstanding job, so regardless of all of the bad press that they get, don't resent them too much. They use oil produced within your body to protect your skin from virus, bacteria & chemicals. They also coat the skin in beneficial Vitamin E, alongside other antioxidants and even produce beautiful scents called pheromones (Check these out... They are said to be essential in attracting the opposite sex.)
Cool, I get it... So why do I have acne... Or spots as you call them?
In every situation it is because your sebaceous glands are forcing too much wax and oil out of your pores (or hair holes) all at once. The sebaceous glands are over lubricating your skin and consequently becoming blocked... Like forcing 4 lanes of cars into one. Once blocked, the body responds as it does to any stale and increasingly infectious product. It inflames the area and eventually ejects the fluid, much like it would an old wood splinter. Many brands will mislead here and are wrong to do so. The problem lies not with the body's reaction to blocked pores but rather with it's primary action... It's root cause if you like. And that is the over production of sebum/oil (not necesarilly a problem if you're enjoying the sexual attraction given off by the excess pheromones.) Life Lesson 2 – Stop treating the reaction. Treat the root cause. The reaction will then disappear.
What causes overactive sebaceous glands?
This can differ, but in the absolute majority of cases and in my case it was down to one thing and one thing only. Excessive male hormones. Yes ladies. You have male hormones. Get over it. You absolutely require them to function and grow! Be it early adulthood, periods, the menopause, pregnancy, stressful situations or just the food we're eating... Our hormones are always shifting and changing. Male hormones are called androgens and in excess they are well known for promoting excess sebum production.
So is this writer going to give me any good news today?
Hormones are controllable! And if you're young, you'll be glad to hear that they steady as you age (as do spots in most cases.) I'm not here to sell you a magical product, and to be frank I think you'd have to be crazy to head off and buy anything, with the exception of a big bowl of oestrogen after reading this. Don't do that by the way... You probably can in this day and age! I live in the hope that if you're a visitor at Naturally Wicked, you believe in nature and the answers that she offers. Controlling hormones is achievable and actually measurable through monitoring your spots. Regular exercise, cutting down on sugar, consuming ample fruit and veg, drinking plenty of fresh water and even socialising with people are all factors that contribute to a more stable hormone state. If you wish to partake in a skin care regime alongside this, then do so. Healthy, well moisturised and hydrated skin will stand you in good stead for a fast recovery and ensure unaffected skin is looking it's best. But keep it as natural as possible and do not make this the basis of your treatment. That starts inside. Whilst I never quite looked like Brad Pitt, I saw a massive difference in my skin when I actually utilised and controlled my testosterone with a gym pass and a healthy diet. Life Lesson 3 – Chocolate definitely DOES inflame spots on a spot prone person since high sugar products increase androgens. I remember clearly that omitting chocolate and sugary snacks from my diet had a profound effect on my previously spotty face.
Okay, so I've tried this healthy regime for months and seen no improvement, now what?
Sometimes genetics are hard to overcome. If you're unfortunate enough to be unable to control your spots (acne) / excess androgens you could look towards alternative treatments. But bear in mind that these are controlling the effects of the problem as opposed to the problem itself. For instance, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics or Benzoyl Peroxide which kill the bacteria associated with stagnant oils trapped in the skin. Whilst oils and waxes may remain trapped, any inflammation causing bacteria is killed, including your good immune reaction. Other common acne products contain Salicylic Acid, which merely burns your skin, resulting in more frequent shedding. This ultimately ensures blockages are less likely to occur.
I seriously would not recommend this road before utilising the more natural route. There is certainly a place for the removal of dead or dirty skin and there is also a place for antibacterial products in this world (Hell, nature even supplies her own.) But done too often and for an issue that at it's heart is not primarily related to your skin will surely eventually result in negative consequences? If a healthy regime fails, my advice would be to grit your teeth, try to remember that nobody really cares about your spots and realise that just 5 years down the line you are barely going to remember them. Trust me, I'd go back and re-live it all more confidently if I could, without the masses of research, lies, sales pitches and unnecesarry purchases. From an older, wiser man who was for a lengthy period a young 'acne' suffering adult, take it from me; It's all to be irrelevant soon enough. Embrace your Natural Beauty; Be Naturally Wicked!