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A is for Acne | Beauty Glossary ◊ A to Z | Beauty Gospel According to Tash

Updated: May 10

What is this vom-bag, acne? Acne is an inflammation of the sebaceous glands and occurs where the glands are most active: on the face, neck, back, and chest. To delve more deeply into why the bugbear of acne occurs in our lives, it’s important to understand skin composition and how your skin works – here it goes! Essentially, your skin is a living, breathing organ. Billions of cells in your skin float in watery liquid (with the same amount of salt as seawater) – 75% of your body is water, and 35% is found in your skin. The layers of your skin look a bit like a jam sandwich.

Upper layer = the epidermis Lower layer = the dermis Middle = thin basal layer

This may sound simple, but your skin is a never-ending saga of activity. Your skin renews itself every two to three weeks in young women and twice as long in older women. This is good news, as it means there are repeated opportunities for improvement. Yay! The visible outermost layer of the skin is made up of hardened rigid skin cells (protecting the inner layers of your skin). As these cells die, they loosen and shed and are then instantly replaced by their friends queueing up behind them. We shed about 4% of our total number of skin cells every day. Gross fact! Dead skin cells are a huge component of household dust. We lose about 13.6kg of the skin during our lives. The headquarters of our skin’s renewal lies deep in the dermis, and it’s this layer that governs the outer layers and, hence, the appearance of our skin. Here, having the time of their lives, are the blood vessels, sweat glands and hair follicles, the connective tissue (containing the all-important collagen and elastin which keep our skin plump and youthful) and the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are one of the key factors controlling facial skin because they are targeted by androgens – male hormones that women also have but at lower levels. These are what triggers acne by creating excess sebum that blocks the hair follicles and pores, causing bacteria to build up, resulting in spots and pimples erupting. Oestrogen is also an important skin regulator. The ups and downs of your skin may simply be due to the waxing and waning of your hormone levels, such as the case of acne during puberty for some. If you have a good supply of oestrogen, your skin tends to be supple, soft, healthy and resilient. The rise and fall of hormone levels during your menstrual cycle - peaking the last ten days – is also a usual time for flare-ups. Alas, some women also get acne after 25. Acne is becoming increasingly common for women in later life. According to The International Dermal Institute, 54% of women older than 25 have some facial acne. Genetics also plays a role….as is always the case.

You can watch my video for more info:

How to treat acne

Most dermatologists suggest over-the-counter products for 4 – 6 weeks. If the condition doesn’t clear up, you will be prescribed antibiotic creams and/or long courses of oral antibiotics or drugs or the Pill, which influence the way the skin responds to hormones. Severe cases will be treated with R*accutane.

If you get an unexpected breakout after years of clear skin, change your skincare products and be gentle with your skin, i.e. no scrubbing or exfoliating. Also, rethink your diet since hormone function is also dependent on nutrition. Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, spicy foods, orange juice, tomatoes and dairy products can aggravate the situation. Try a diet rich in zinc, vitamins C, E and A and polyunsaturated fats. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, skinless poultry (or a vegetarian diet), nuts, wheat germ and seeds. Cut down on alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. Avoid meat, processed sugar and juice concentrates. Also, get in some regular exercise. Try to avoid touching your face unnecessarily, and always make sure your hands are meticulously clean if you do.

Do not squeeze! Rather, go to your local beautician and get them to sort out your spots for you so you can avoid scarring. Ask your beautician if they do High-Frequency Treatments; these are game-changers for acne or even a pimple. These treatments use electrical currents that are set to the right frequency to benefit your skin. When the device is applied to the skin, it generates oxygen, which kills the bacteria and calms inflammation – in a nutshell, the redness and spots go away faster.

As you will all well know, people with oily skin are more prone to acne as this type of skin is characterised by overactive sebaceous glands. The good news is that people with oily skin generally age well, and their skin will always be well hydrated. To keep oil secretions at bay, cleanse the skin thoroughly using an oil (yes, oil) or gel cleanser. However, DO NOT over-cleanse, as this can set up a reaction called seborrhoea, where the oil glands work overtime to compensate for the loss of natural oils. This will cause dehydration and premature ageing, and no one wants that!

Recommended products and natural remedies:

Any products from my Zit Zapper Skincare Collection - unlock the secret to clear, radiant skin that defies the effects of time. Say goodbye to blemishes and hello to a complexion that exudes confidence and youthful luminosity.

Himalaya Neem Tablets These are great for fighting your skin problems from the inside.

Himalaya Neem Capsules

Zit Zappers

  • Tea Tree oil: Dab neat tea tree oil onto the problem area 3x a day until it clears.

  • Eyedrop solution: Dab on some eyedrop solution to reduce redness from spots.

  • Azulen Paste by Doctor Eckstein I have always made sure I have one of these since I was in my early teens. It is by far one of the best products out there.

Natural Home Remedies

◊ Mix 1 tsp ground turmeric with 1/4 tsp lemon juice OR 1/2 tsp honey. Apply to the affected areas.

Why does it work? Turmeric may help with acne scarring. The anti-inflammatory qualities target your pores and calm the skin. Lemon juice reduces sebum (oil), is antiseptic, and reduces redness and inflammation. Honey balances the bacteria on your skin and speeds up the skin cells' healing process.

◊ Mix 1 part ground cumin and 1/2 part organic cold-pressed sesame oil. Use as a face mask and leave on for 10 minutes.

Why does it work? Cumin’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties reduce clogged pores, control oil, and tame redness and soothe irritation. Sesame oil, with its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, can help with acne-prone skin and acne scars.

◊ Mix 1 part crushed caraway seeds with 1/2 part organic cold-pressed sesame oil. Apply to the affected areas.

Why does it work? Caraway seeds are effective in regenerating skin cells, thus improving the look of acne scars.

◊ Mix 1 tsp ground turmeric with 1 tbsp aloe vera gel. Leave the mask on for 20 minutes. Wash off and pat dry. (This will stain your skin temporarily but will eventually wash off.)

Why does it work? Aloe Vera has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it great for acne.

◊ Mix 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour, a few drops of lemon juice, and a pinch of turmeric with 1 tbsp of yoghurt. Apply to the skin and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Why does it work? This face mask is a famous Ayurvedic remedy for blemishes. Its exfoliating action removes dead skin cells. Regular use will result in soft, smooth and glowing skin. Slowly, blemishes will start fading, too.

How to cover up blemishes

Make-up is a way to cover up, but it is not the solution. You must look after your skin, and if it’s really bad, please go and see a dermatologist. But in the meantime, to minimise the appearance of facial blemishes or pimples, you need to use a concealer with a dry texture. Why? It will cling to the blemish better, last throughout the day and not irritate the skin or initiate more breakouts.

Insert of hilarious story>> I was hanging out with one of my best guy friends in his res room at university. He was not one for many a product, but I noticed a singular Yardley concealer stick on his room dresser. I made a joke about how one of his many conquests must have left it behind, but that was not the reason it stood there all alone. He said it was what his mum used to get rid of spots. I died laughing (also inwardly proud). He was unaware there was a ‘tint’ in the product that lessened the redness of his spots or helped get rid of the spots because it ‘dried them out’. I explained how the ‘product’ worked, and my friend, being very comfortable with his masculinity, was even more excited to keep the product around (feigning ignorance if ever asked again about its existence in his room). Why? Because it worked!

Step 1:

Apply your foundation first. This is the one instance in which you always want to apply your foundation before you conceal. It makes the process much easier.

Step 2:

Use an undercoat concealer that is green. Green neutralises red tones on the skin.

Step 3:

Opt for a concealer with a dry texture, i.e. a stick concealer (creamy and liquid concealers can be quite oily and have a tendency to slide on and glide off – if you don’t have one to hand, apply some translucent powder on top). Be sure to choose a concealer stick with a depth level that is NOT lighter than your foundation. Your concealer should match your skin exactly. A lighter concealer will only make the blemish seem larger because everything we lighten comes forward. You can use a brush or your ring finger (or fourth finger, next to your pinky finger – best for dabbing), apply the concealer directly to the blemish.

Step 4:

With your finger (again, the fourth finger), use a patting motion to blend the edges around the blemish into the skin. You can also use a concealer brush, concentrate on the centre of the imperfection and then feather slowly outwards to blend. Set with powder. Dabbing or patting blends in the texture of the concealer, making it invisible. Feel free to apply a second layer for extra coverage for stubborn blemishes.

You. Looked after.


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Disclaimer: This blog is only intended for informational purposes. Any information associated with this blog should not be considered a substitute for prescriptions suggested by beauty, diet, and healthcare professionals. Readers are subject to using this information at their own risk. Tash Fromberg is not responsible for any harm, side effects, illness, or health or skin care problems caused by this content or anything related. Please remember products that work for me may not work for you. Always test them on a small area of skin before buying or using them if unsure.

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