When trying to understand acne and how to treat acne naturally it is helpful to understand what type of acne you are treating. Also, to understand what stage that acne is in and how severe the condition is overall.
Dealing with acne-prone skin can be a life-long journey and take its toll on confidence and result in acne scars. There is no single solution to acne, and many people are searching for natural alternatives after using prescription creams, pills, or even birth control hormones.
If you are looking for a natural alternative for your acne treatment please book a skin consult with us. We are interested in understanding your unique skin type and would prefer to learn more before making any specific recommendations. Another option is to take the Skin Quiz.
Often people who are experiencing acne or recurring breakouts have tried a number of different products without success. Before switching to any new product or “miracle ingredient” we recommended spending some time looking at your acne and attempting to classify it. Differentiating between the types of acne is one of the most helpful steps to treating your acne treatment.
What Type of Acne is it?
Acne vulgaris is the most common cause of a breakout. It is a bacteria that sits on your skin if it gets through the acid mantle it can cause pimples on your face, back, shoulders, and even on your butt! Acne vulgaris can progress from mild to severe, so classification and treatment early on is recommended.
Comedonal acne is a subgroup of Acne vulgaris. Blackheads, bumps, whiteheads, and milia are best associated with comedonal acne. Blackheads are open pores where the bacteria is oxidized turning it black. While whiteheads are closed pores with an infection and the bumps have a raised whitehead. This type of acne can happen anywhere on the face or body, and it can range from very mild to quite severe. Proper skincare products and exfoliation can help mitigate the duration and severity of comedonal acne.
Cystic acne is inflamed, painful, and appears as cysts deep under the skin. Cystic acne occurs when an infection occurs deep below the skin’s surface at the base of the hair follicle.
Often an imbalance in hormones triggers the sebaceous gland to produce excess sebum resulting in the clogged pore and infection deep in the skin tissue. Traditionally cystic acne was treated with intense antibiotics to kill the bacteria, however there are more gentle approaches available today. These usually involve working with holistic practitioners to develop a nutrition plan to balance hormones and reduce inflammation inside the body.
Acne rosacea is a common condition for people over the age of 30. Rosacea has some bumpiness and pimples. Other symptoms include a red, flushed face, and tiny blood vessels on the nose and cheeks. Rosacea can often be triggered by stress, spicy foods, hot liquids, food allergies, and sun exposure.
Rosacea can be mild to severe, and a simple topical treatment is your best option. We have received testimonials of the i-Zinc being an effective treatment for mild rosacea. Severe rosacea symptoms include an inflamed, bulbous nose, and even eye problems.
Acne Mechanica is caused by a reaction to excess heat, pressure or friction on the skin. It is more common in the body but can occur on the face too. Acne Mechanica is trigger-based and common for people who exercise or sweat a lot with gear on. “Mask-ne” - the newest form of acne caused from wearing masks during COVID-19 - would be considered a form or Acne Mechanica.
It's sometimes called sports acne because it's common for athletic people -- thanks to helmets, athletic pads, and sweat bands. But anything that traps heat and rubs against the skin can trigger Acne Mechanica.
This is a type of acne caused by an allergic reaction to ingredients in cosmetics and skincare products. One of the most common scenarios with acne-prone skin is excessive washing, extreme regimens, harsh cleansers and toners, followed by thick foundation and concealer.
This cycle of breakouts and covering them up with makeup is endless. Try doing makeup free a few days per week. Let your skin rest.
This is self-inflicted acne. We can all attest to the satisfaction of picking a pimple, however chronically and excessively picking the skin can cause infection and wounds. If you suffer from excoriated acne ask for help! Seeking a counsellor or psychologist can be beneficial for understanding the roots behind these behaviours.
Hormonal acne is extremely common at puberty, around the time of menstruation, going on or off birth control, taking synthetic hormones, pregnancy, and post-partum.
Hormones play a large role in the stimulation of the sebaceous glands and the production of sebum. People who experience menses will go through phases of estrogen dominance and progesterone dominance to stimulate ovulation and menstruation. These phases have effects on the skin which can result in increased susceptibility to breakouts (progesterone phase and menses) and also more clear and glowing phases (estrogen and ovulation).
That being said, it is more common to be on a hormonal birth control and/or exposed to lots of exogenous estrogens which can also play a role in the severity and appearance of hormonal acne.
Once you understand what types of acne are occurring on your skin, you should determine its stage and severity.
Acne is an infection and irritation on the skin. At the beginning of a breakout it is helpful to avoid picking and allow your immune system to fight the infection. When the breakout shifts to a dryer and more scab-like state you can focus on exfoliation and moisturization to heal and reduce the risk of recurrence.
As difficult as it is to put to practice sometimes the skin just needs time to do its job. It doesn’t want an infection as much as you don’t. Regular gentle washing followed by a PH balancing toner and some gentle exfoliation is the supportive routine your skin could use to beat the bacteria and start the healing process.
How severe is your acne?
This is an emotional question to ask anyone who is dealing with acne. Dermatologists use a grading system–I through IV, with I being the mildest and IV being the most severe. We recommend understanding the levels of severity as a spectrum to better understand the possible severity of the acne.
Mild acne occurs in breakouts, where there are moments when your skin is free from acne and then there are times where you experience breakouts. Breakouts are usually concentrated to certain areas of the face and mitigated with skin care products and practices suited to your specific skin needs. .
Blackheads, whiteheads, bumpiness, and even an inflamed pimple here and there would be considered mild. Treatment can be managed through topical treatment like the Balancing Skin Collection.
Moderate acne occurs more frequently than mild acne. Breakouts are noticeable and possibly uncomfortable. Moderate acne can result in scars and sometimes never goes away completely. Blackheads and bumpy skin are apparent. There are regularly inflamed papules and pustules.
Treatment requires more attention and consistency. Both topical treatments, like the Balancing Skin Collection., and internal evaluation can be helpful. Food allergies, overproduction of yeast in the gut, or other gut imbalances can be culprits behind moderate acne.
Severe acne is visibly different from moderate acne. There is inflammation, blemishes are larger, red, swollen and there is no break between breakouts. If your acne is severe, see a health professional you trust. It is difficult to get severe acne under control on your own and also mentally exhausting to manage alone.
Severe acne doesn’t happen overnight. Learning how to read your skin and your breakouts and understanding the relationship between diet, lifestyle, and natural skincare options can be a recipe for success given consistency and patience.
Irritated skin is vulnerable skin - acne is bacteria but there could be fungal, viral and other issues also occurring. Healing the skin is essential to minimizing the compounding symptoms of inflamed and irritated skin
Miiko Skin Co is a great solution for people looking for zero-waste skincare options. Products are refillable and sold in bulk and not only offer custom results for your skin but are committed to sustainable packaging options.
Understanding the complexity and broad spectrum of acne can help to decide on the best treatment for your skin. If you have any questions about your skin we can do our best to offer you a skin consultation and skin care routine to find results.