When clients come into a spa with acne, it is usually as a last resort. Clients first try the over-the-counter acne products, then the info-commercial acne products, then drugstore products, and perhaps end up with products from a dermatologist. What happens most of the time is endless products, endless picking, scarring, and bacteria; the frustration level increases, the self-esteem goes lower, and the acne continues until hopefully they find the right products and the right treatments. What ingredients actually work for acne?
- Benzoyl Peroxide is an excellent drying agent for acne, but it needs to be used in very small dosages. If you are looking at products with benxoyl peroxide, make sure that the concentration is 2.5% or less. Anything higher is too strong for the skin, hurting the acid mantle of the skin, stripping the oil, and causing a chain reaction of oil and dryness.
- Salicylic Acid is one of my favorite ingredients for assisting with acne. Not only is it good on a daily basis, but it is great mixed with lactic or glycolic acid for peels. Unlike Benzoyl Peroxide, which usually lists the percentage on the front label for marketing purposes, salicylic acid products show the percentage on the Active Ingredient label. Salicylic percentages can range from 1% – 60%, but most over the counter products contain less than 10% and should be buffered for proper usage. If the salicylic is too strong it will frost (whiten) the skin and there may be some peeling.
- Enzymes are often overlooked for assisting with acne as not strong enough. Enzymes are very powerful in the arsenal against acne as they are anti-inflammatory and help exfoliate the accumulated dead skin. Some favorites include papain (from papaya) and bromelain (from pineapple) enzymes. One of my favorite products is from a company call Acnelogica. The professional treatment uses enzymes to soften the skin before extractions making the skin pliable.
- Vitamins are the last and one of the best ingredients for fighting acne both internal vitamins and external vitamins.
- Let’s start with external first, because this is what affects the self-esteem the most. Vitamin A is first and foremost a key acne fighter. Vitamin A in products is available in 2 forms acid and fat soluble. The preference is fat soluble Vitamin A, because you can use higher dosages of the Vitamin A, which gives better results with pigmentation, scarring and the acne. Vitamin C also lends great results to fighting acne as long as the Vitamin C is fresh and not oxidized.
- Internal vitamins are is crucial for fighting acne as some acne is aggravated by a diet high in salt, fats, sugar, and dairy. The internal vitamins help eliminate the toxins and builds the body’s immune system to fight the bacteria and inflammation. Toxins in the body build up within days of ingesting toxins into the body. Internal vitamins (including one with high Vitamin A), help with the body’s ability to fight the causes of acne. Two recommendations for all acne clients include a Multi-Vitamin and a specialized Skin Vitamin called the Beauty Blend. The first provides over 10,000 IU of Vitamin A and high B12, while the Beauty Blend boosts the body’s hyaluronic acid, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Magnesium and a host of anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Fighting acne is a process which is best fought with a food journal and the ingredients above. Please note, there is no mention of antibiotics, accutane or other harsh, health-harming drugs in the fight against acne.