Alternative View column

Jenny Logan.
Jenny Logan.
Share this article

Managing acne can be a difficult experience. Whilst we generally advocate treating it via internal methods, there is always the question of which approach is best to take when cleansing and moisturising the skin.

Before answering that question, it makes sense to get a general grasp of what acne is, what causes it and what makes it worse. There are two aspects to this.

The first is an excess production of sebum (the oil) and keratin (skin cells) within the hair follicles. The overproduction of skin cells creates a plug within the hair follicle, trapping the oil within, along with any other debris, forming a pimple.

The key to stopping this is ensuring that the excess oils and cells are removed in time to prevent the plug, instead being rinsed from the face with a cleansing routine. To achieve this many people select an aggressive cleanser, one that strips the skin, leaving it feeling clean initially but this can worsen the problem long term. After being stripped of its natural oils, the skin begins producing more oil to compensate, aggravating the problem.

The same can be said of exfoliants. Scratching the surface of the skin will encourage dead cells to be removed too early, causing the skin to produce more in an attempt to create a protective barrier.

The second factor affecting acne is the pH of the skin. Bacteria live on everyone’s skin but when numbers multiply they can cause damage to the cell walls. Damage leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to those angry red spots. So how can we discourage an excess growth of these unfriendly bacteria upon the skin – reduce the pH.

One of our favourite skin care companies, Salcura, has developed a spray cleanser called Antiac which cleanses gently whilst reducing the pH of the skin.

This means it will not strip the skin too much and will also have an effective natural anti bacteria action. One of the key ingredients of Antiac is sea buckthorn, which can reduce inflammation and repair the damaged cells, reducing spot size and appearance.

The second issue with acne is whether to moisturise and if so how, after all is the skin not oily enough? Actually, although it may sound counter intuitive, applying an oil to the skin during the evenings can actively discourage excess oil production, since the skin does not feel stripped of its natural oils. Acne prone skin is also often short of anti inflammatory omega six oils.

Replacing these vital oils can therefore help clear up problem skin.

We have developed our own Omega Balance Oil, which is rich in omega six fatty acids, alongside lavender oil to soothe redness and pine oil as a natural antibacterial and ph balancer.