Zit Zapper: Natural Acne Remedies To Try Today
Struggling with acne at any age is zero fun. Add breakouts into the dreaded aging mix, and it feels downright cruel. Over the years, we’ve pretty much tried it all – cleansers that bleach our towels, creams that make our skin peel, and even oral antibiotics to fight from the inside out. When breakouts continue despite these efforts, one can’t help but wonder if perhaps a more gentle – and friendlier – approach is the key. Question is, what exactly is the right way to do this?
We turned to Karen Ballou, CEO of the only immune-centric natural skincare line on the market, Immunocologie, and Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and founder of Renée Rouleau Skin Care Collection, for professional insight on how to treat our skin woes without downright attacking it.
Beauty Banter: What natural ingredients are best to fight acne?
Karen Ballou: Tea tree oil is not only antibacterial, but also anti-fungal. Salicylic Acid helps to dissolve the oil in the follicle, which can cause inflammation, blockage and prevent clear skin. It’s a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that is exfoliating, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory.
BB: But what should be used for various types of acne?
Cystic Acne – Look for a spot treatment with lactic acid. Lactic acid helps dissolve cells blocking the pore as well as purifying within the pore.
TRY: Renée Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment ($42)
Blackheads – Although there is no way to permanently get rid of blackheads, your best bet is regular monthly deep pore cleansing facials followed by home use of products with Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid to keep the pores clean.
Whiteheads – Since these have no infection (meaning, they are not generally sore), using harsh acne products will only make them worse by causing dry skin cell build up trapping the oil in the skin longer. Exfoliate!
BB: Can chemicals in many acne-fighting treatments actually aggravate the problem? What ingredients should we actively avoid?
KB: People think rubbing alcohol will help control their acne and oil, but it causes the skin’s acid mantle to be disrupted – the skin then produces more oil to ensure it’s protected like mentioned before. We need to remind ourselves that the skin is the first line of defense against the environment as well as our largest organ. Benzoyl Peroxide, meanwhile, is used specifically to dry out the skin and make it peel, meaning your skin will over-produce the natural oils it uses to keep it healthy.
RR: Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate are commonly found in cleansing gels and are extremely dehydrating to the skin. Meanwhile, mineral oil and petrolatum can have pore-clogging effects on the skin. Finally, apricot kernels are often found in facial scrubs, but only scratch and irritate the skin and spread bacteria.
BB: Acne-fighting ingredients can oftentimes cause dryness. What is the best way to treat this?
KB: Transepidermal water loss (the amount of water that passes from your skin to the atmosphere) is a naturally occurring phenomenon that we have no physiological control over and which can be exacerbated by acne treatment. In this case, you want to make sure you’re looking for a product with hyaluronic acid, typically found on ingredient lists as sodium hyaluronate.
TRY: Immunocologie Hyaluronic Serum ($195)
We fully intend to take this advice to heart, and something tells me a crystal ball would predict clear skin in our future…
-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com