Acne. The troublesome condition that so many people struggle with past the teenage years and into adulthood. We all assume our acne problems will go away once we hit a certain age, but the truth is there are many causes of acne that go beyond our age, and beyond teen years. I am lucky to not suffer from acne- I have never had acne prone skin, but I do get the occasional break out that leaves me frustrated and at a loss for what to do. I know most of use have been there, and it sucks!
I recently went to an event hosted by one of my favorite skincare brands, La Roche-Posay, and the BIG panel discussion was about all things acne. They had a dermatologist and skincare guru answering all of our burning questions about why we get acne, how to prevent it and how to treat it when it rears its ugly head. So after soaking up all of that knowledge, I wanted to clear up some common misconceptions about acne and answer questions that I think many of you will benefit from. I also managed to sneak in a few reader questions at the event (that didn’t have to do directly with acne) that I think will benefit a lot of you!
So let’s get started on what causes acne..
There are many different factors when it comes to break outs. The first of those factors is your personal skincare routine, obviously. Cleansing your skin is HUGE when it comes to combating breakouts, but you want to make sure you are using products that clean the skin without completely stripping it of all it’s natural oils. When you strip the skin constantly and dry it out, your skin will produce more oil to counterbalance the lack of moisture…which can lead to clogged pores and more breakouts. SO, over cleansing and constantly using stripping products with lots of acids in them is a no-no. La Roche has a cleanser that is great for acne prone skin, but is also safe enough to use daily. It helps keep the oil production balance in check!
Now, let’s get to moisturizer. A lot of people tend to believe that if they have a breakout or are prone to acne, they should stop moisturizing and let the skin dry out. This is not a good idea!! You need to moisturizer and hydrate your skin…but you need to be specific about what type of moisturizer you use. You want one that will really sink in and hydrate without sitting on top of your skin and clogging your pores. If the product never sinks in to do it’s job, it is just acting as a clogging layer and will worsen the situation. The Effalclar Mat Moisturizer by La Roche Posay is amazing for moisturizing even when you have breakouts.
OK, so on to diet. This was a huge question of mine! Well, there is some good news- eating greasy foods and chocolate will not directly cause acne like many commonly believe. So go ahead and call your mom to tell her that her facts on this matter through your teenage years were not exactly correct (sorry moms!). BUT eating a lot of sugar skyrockets the inflammation in your body, as you know from my last post. Inflammation can irritate acne prone skin and lead to breakouts if you are prone to them…and sugar is a huge culprit! I’m seriously a broken record here, but lay off the sugar!! Switch to a low sugar dark chocolate if you have a sweet tooth because it’s official: chocolate does not cause acne…it’s the nasty sugar that aggravates and worsens the situation! BUT, on the flip side, I am sorry to say…dairy can cause acne. The good news is that dairy doesn’t directly cause breakouts for every person- it is more of a person to person situation and dairy breakouts usually show up around the mouth and on the chin. So if you suffer to acne in that area, dairy may be the culprit. I definitely break out from dairy and whenever I enjoy a little extra shredded parm on my kale salad, it shows up on my chin…so needless to say, I avoid it as much as I can. If you get breakouts, try cutting out dairy and of course cut back on sugar and see if either of those things helps!
Another thing to keep in mind is gut health- this is so important and really linked to good skin. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting enough probiotics will help your gut health, and in turn help your skin. I like to include a scoop of probiotic living coconut yogurt into my smoothies to make sure my system is good to go. I will post more on this in the future!
And here is the big one we all want to know about: HORMONES.
Hormonal acne is a real thing and can be the toughest to deal with. It often shows up in that painful, terrible under the skin acne lump situation that is impossible to do anything about. And what you should do when you get one of those is to LEAVE IT ALONE and let it run it’s course.
A very good skin care regiment is an important part of getting hormonal acne under control. But beyond that, hormonal acne is often a result of imbalanced hormones….which is a whole other issue you may want to address with your doctor. Lowering your cortisol hormone levels can help, so combating stress is huge with preventing breakouts! Try going on relaxing walks, taking time for your self and meditating in the morning to help achieve a less stressed life day to day can really work wonders. Another option is prescription medicine prescribed by a doctor. If your acne is a problem you just can’t seem to fix, talking to your doctor about a prescription remedy is always an option. I would hope you try all other natural options first before resorting to this, but there is no shame in getting extra help! The dermatologist at the event stressed that proper monitoring while on a prescription for acne is KEY and is not a step to be overlooked. I took a low dose of antibiotics a couple of years ago to clear up a bad rosacea flare up I was having and it worked wonders and gave me my skin and confidence back. Would I have preferred to not use a medicine? Absolutely! But I was feeling really stuck, nothing was working and it was affecting my personal confidence and in turn my life. I was happy to find something to help that really worked in that moment of need! For more advice from dermatologists, you can find out more here.
OK, so you have a pimple…what do you do??
The age old trick: Visine! It really works and our dermatologist confirmed that! It helps to reduce inflammation and redness. She also said to NEVER pick….and only pop if the zit in question is VERY ready to go- don’t go digging! She also recommends a salicylic acid drying cream like or one like La Roche’s acne spot treatment to spot treat without drying out the whole face. She also said that if you get one before an important event, your dermatologist can also give it a cortisone shot to make it go away faster! I have done this a couple of times and I SWEAR by it! It really works and helps that pesky little guy go away SO fast. So, form a good relationship with your doctor so that in a time of need they can squeeze you in! On a side note, if you don’t already visit a dermatologist, you need to! Whether you’re looking for an upper east side dermatologist or one more local to your area, it’s important that you have regular visits so you can talk about any skin problems you have. Particularly if you suffer from acne. However, is this the only option for treating acne fast? You can read about acne cysts and whether cortisone shots are really the only way of getting rid of your acne at reneeloureau.com.
And how do you prevent it from happening in the future?
She talked about IPL laser treatments and microneedling as ways to help prevent breakouts…and she swears by them! I do microneedling and am writing a post all about it going up next week, so look out for that! As for lasers- ask your dermatologist which would work for your skin conditions! They can really work wonders. I have never done one but am totally open to it in the future! Aside from these procedures, daily cleansing and weekly exfoliation are both super important. I love this clay mask too! It is so great for cleaning out your pores!
I have a shoppable scroll down below with all of La Roche-Posay’s best acne skincare products to add to your routine….for the CLEAREST skin!
Now, for those questions I snuck in!
A lot of my Instagram babes wanted to know about Rosacea (which I suffer from) and botox/fillers.
I have a mild case of Rosacea, and the BEST way to work with it is to be very aware of your triggers. Mine are: alcohol, the sun and spicy food…so basically everything that makes life fun. WOMP WOMP. So I just make sure I avoid these things when I really want my skin to look calm and clear.
Aside from identifying your triggers, maintaining a really great skincare regiment and keeping stress low is key. And if you are suffering from a major flare up like I was a couple of years ago, seek professional help- a low dose of antibiotics for a couple of weeks fixed all my problems. My major flare up includes redness, dryness, pimple like bumps and a terrible texture all over my face….not things you want to just live with!! So seek professional help if you struggle with symptoms similar to those!
These are great ways to keep your skin looking young. I do botox for TMJ and just started experimenting with a little in my forehead (baby botox) to smooth out those forehead lines. I don’t do a lot of it though, because as an actress I NEED to be able to move all parts of my face…I just want to soften the forehead lines a tiny tad! The TMJ botox is a life saver and keeps me from grinding/clenching my teeth at night…if you suffer from TMJ, definitely look into it and check my story highlights on Instagram for details about the treatment and who I go to here in LA. If you’re not so local though, you can visit this NYC clinic instead or elsewhere depending on where you live. I do honestly recommend a little bit of botox for these reasons, it will make you feel great and give you that extra boost of confidence where needed!
I don’t do fillers, but I am not opposed to them in the future. I have a lot of friends who do them sparingly and you would never know they had them! I think making sure it is all minimal is key- you don’t want to change your face, just lightly enhance it. One person asked about lumps from fillers, which can often be a problem when the filler is injected in “bead” form instead of a long “string” type method. I asked my personal doctor, and he said that massaging them will help them flatten out…but if you still have them after a few weeks that you can get them to go away by dissolving them with an injectable enzyme. HE said that it shouldn’t feel lumpy after a few weeks, and if it does that usually means the injector didn’t do a good job! But filler can be dissolved, so it’s an easy fix!
I really hope this post helps a lot of you and answered those burning questions! If you have any others, don’t hesitate to reach out!
*Sponsored by La Roche-Posay