5 Pimple Remedies When Traveling

If you follow me on Snapchat, you saw the red pimple that was trying to wriggle it's way onto my face one day before my trip (and if you didn't, you are in luck because you can see them all on the AES Youtube Channel. I wasn't surprised, pimples have a way of coming right when you want them least. Lucky for me and you, there are a few steps you can take to calm those unwanted pimples so you can get on and enjoy your trip:

1. Ice: What do you do when you sprain your ankle and it gets all big and swollen?  You ice it to help bring the inflammation down.  Well the same inflammatory process is happening when you get those big inflamed pimples and applying direct ice for 2-5 minutes after cleansing morning and night will do the same.  I always bring my silicone popsicle molds with me because apparently, people aren't as obsessed with ice as we are in the U.S.  If you don't have one, you can find them for cheap on Amazon. As soon as I get to the hotel, I fill that thing up, put a towel bib under my chin, and put the ice part directly on my face if I even think I feel a pimple coming.

2. Spot treat: The BP Cream is usually a part of the evening regimen but when you have an inflamed zit, an extra application in the morning can help calm symptoms of inflammation like redness and swelling.  Apply a thin layer after your serum in the morning and let it sit for as long as possible before applying your moisturizer to avoid decreasing the effectiveness of the benzoyl peroxide. You can see the red bump that was forming on my upper lip in the first video snap the day before my trip.  It hadn't quite formed a pimple yet but I just knew it was coming (as us people with acne always do!) because it started feeling itchy and sore, classic signs of inflammation.  I iced it multiple times that day, did an extra application of BP Cream in the morning, and you can in the video on the way to the airport that the redness and swelling had already gone down by the next day.

3. Be consistent with your regimen: Sticking to your regimen after you've spent all day sightseeing or drinking or partying or whatever it is that you fancy doing when you travel is rough.  The cleansing, then the icing, then the Aqua Gel, then the drying before the BP Cream, I know I know. BUT just because you have taken a vacation doesn't mean your retention hyperkeratosis has and the serum keep those dead skin cells from accumulating in the follicle and causing future pimples.  So if you really really really can't deal with doing your entire regimen one night, at least slap on the serum before bed to keep those comedones from forming.  If it's too late and you can already feel something forming but still can't find the motivation to do your whole regimen, apply the serum to help move that seed up and the BP cream too to keep it from blowing up and becoming inflamed.

4. Don't touch it: If this post was called, "How to make a zit bigger and more noticeable", picking/touching/helping/whatever other terms you may use to excuse yourself would be at the top of the list.  Please believe me when I say that a few days of pimple is better than a few days of picked nastiness so leave it alone and let the products do their thing.  If you are a compulsive picker and your hands can't help but roam onto your face, follow the three foot rule (or the 1 meter rule if you are not American) and stay at least three feet away from the mirror at all times. Don't worry, it's still close enough that you will see if your lipstick is on your forehead.

5. Practice acceptance: After you have taken what steps you can to help the pimple heal, accept it, remind yourself that that nobody notices your acne as much as you do (literally, repeat it to yourself throughout the day like a mantra), and try to enjoy yourself.  Seriously, this is the most important step on this list and also the hardest but we can't heal the physical effects of acne without healing the psychological ones too.  And if it feels impossible to stop obsessing about your acne today, that is okay too. Focusing on the good things is a practice so don't beat yourself up if you can't help but well, beat yourself up. As I tell my clients, just do your best and be as kind to yourself as you would be to your favorite person :)

Coach Kimmy's Clear Skin Travel Essentials

Traveling is the second most common time for my clients to fall off of the clear skin wagon.  Even my graduates who have been clear for years tend to come back with a few more zits post-vacay than they left with.  Regardless of what stage you are at in the clearing process, here is a list of travel essentials that I prepared for this trip to prevent breaking out:

Pillowcases and face towel (a body towel too if you are prone to body-acne): When hotels use dryer sheets, fabric softener, and detergents containing fragrance or other cloggy ingredients, just sleeping on their pillows and using their towels can lead to new breakouts.  I actually forgot to put my face towel in my luggage so if life happens (as it will sometimes), improvise!  (You can see how I improvised in the picture above that I Snapchatted from earlier today). And if you haven't yet cut out the dryer sheets and switched over to a non-cloggy detergent, choose an AES approved product from our Acne Safe Household Products Pinterest board, do a load of laundry before you leave, and try not to forget like I did ;)

Popsicle molds: If icing is still a part of your regimen, pack a silicone popsicle mold because you will be doing your regimen twice a day even on vacation, right?!  Heck, it's not a bad idea to pack that sucker even if you are clear or you don't usually get inflamed pimples like me because you never know when an inflamed pimple will emerge and they tend to pop up when you least expect it (more on that situation in the next post).

Coffee creamer: If you don't have a full blown coffee addiction like I do, feel free to skip this one.  If you are a fellow Coffeeholics Anonymous member and you don't like your coffee black, do like I do and pack a bottle (or two or three...) of dairy/soy free creamer because most places do not offer dairy and soy free milk options. If you are going to Italy, they definitely don't have acne-safe options, TRUST.

Acne-Safe Snacks: Bring your own AES approved snack (free of dairy, peanuts, and soy).  I like nuts and granola bars but make sure to check that the bars you are getting don't contain soy protein because a lot of them do.

Toiletries: Unless you want to risk breaking out around your hairline and mouth while vacationing, bring your own hair products and toothpaste. If pimples around the mouth and forehead is the look you are going for then by all means, use the random toothpaste that your travel partner brought with them. And no, if doesn't matter that you are only traveling for a few days, it only takes ONE usage to breakout from a cloggy product.  If you forget any of your toiletries, take a screenshot of our list of comedogenic ingredients and scout a non-cloggy ingredient at a nearby store (a lot of countries have ingredient lists in English).

Beauty Bullshit: Oil Cleansing Cures Acne

Sorry Oil Cleansing. We're calling Bullshit

Oil cleansing has been given the reputation as being a natural cleansing method for clear, glowing skin.  Cosmetic companies are jumping on the bandwagon and raking in the dough selling face cleansing oils that retail up to $100! 

To be fair, I understand why natural cleansing methods have become popular because acne sucks.  By the time I was 16, I was finishing up my second failed attempt at Accutane and I would’ve stuck my finger in an electric socket if you would’ve told me that would make the pimples go away.  Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for acne and this rule applies just as much to natural remedies as it does to harsh prescription treatments. 

The theory behind oil cleansing is that massaging oil onto your face dissolves oil in the pores. In the world of acne treatments where harsh, prescription medicines and harmful side effects are the norm, the oil cleansing method attempts to cure acne by providing a natural, organic solution for fighting the disease. 

Just because harsh prescriptions don't fix acne does not mean an all-natural method will.  Dr. James E. Fulton says in his book Acne RX, “...if the complex oils in sebum create such havoc in acne-prone skin, then rubbing more oils into the skin is the worse possible thing an acne sufferer can do…”.  

Acne is a multifactorial disease in which genetics, lifestyle, environment, and diet all collide to create a perfect storm.  Even if oil cleansing did work, it would only be addressing a single piece of a puzzle that has many other pieces to it including inflammation, the overproduction of skin cells, and bacteria.  To have long-term success in managing acne, all of these factors must be addressed.  

Beauty Bullshit: Oil Cleansing Cures Acne | AES Blog

So, next time you someone recommends cleansing oil for zits, call Bullshit!

4 Reasons Dermatologists Fail To Successfully Treat Acne

If you suffer from acne, chances are that the first person you turned to for help was your dermatologist.  It only makes sense that you would turn to the medical professional whose job it is to treat skin if you were suffering from a skin condition.  Unfortunately, dermatologists are failing miserably to treat a condition that affects the majority of the population at one point in their lives and here are 5 reasons why:

4 Reasons Dermatologists Fail To Successfully Treat Acne Sufferers | AES Blog

1.  Successful acne treatment is comprehensive.
As both a practitioner who treats acne and a former acne sufferer myself, I know that internal factors like diet and stress have just as significant an impact on acne as external factors.  Most dermatologists prescribe medications that target a single factor in the multifactorial cycle of acne.  For example, Accutane reduces oil production, antibiotics kill bacteria, and Retin-A exfoliates skin cells but successful and sustainable acne treatment targets all of these things and more.

2. Most prescription topical medications contain pore-clogging ingredients.  
Believe it or not, some of the most widely prescribed acne medications contain comedogenic ingredients.  The current formulation of Retin-A, for example, contains a highly pore-clogging ingredient called isopropyl myristate.  So while the active ingredient can make skin appear clearer for awhile, this is usually a temporary improvement because the comedogenic ingredient eventually clogs follicles.

3. Dermatologists just don’t have enough time (and they don’t really care).
Effective acne treatment requires time, attention, and investigation because the causes and triggers of acne vary between individuals.  Most patients are forced to wait months for a 5-minute visit with a dermatologist and the visit usually involves no more than a prescription being written.  And let’s just be honest, even if your acne is devastating to you, it is likely the least important condition that a dermatologist is dealing with during their day.

4. Everyone’s skin is different.  
You don’t need a medical degree to figure this one out.  Everyone has a unique skin type, acne type, and maybe an extra skin condition or two thrown into the mix.  Dermatologists prescribe the same medications to just about everyone without taking their unique situation into account.  I have seen many clients with dry, sensitive skin who are prescribed strong medications that cause like tazorac which cause more dryness and peeling.  A good practitioner will clear your acne without leaving with you with other uncomfortable and unsightly conditions.

5 common products that may be causing your back and chest acne

5 common products that may be causing your back and chest acne | AES Blog

Body acne can be just as embarrassing as face acne. If you find yourself avoiding certain clothing or summer events because you want to hide the acne on your chest or back (aka bacne), take a good look at these common everyday products:

1. Scented laundry detergent: Laundry detergents contain fragrances that can clog and aggravate the follicles of acne-prone individuals.  Use a fragrance-free detergent like Tide Free or Arm & Hammer Free instead.

2. Fabric softener: Whether you are using dryer sheets or liquid softener, these products contain a waxy substance that coat your clothes and can clog your pores. Switch to one of the dryer balls on our Acne Safe Household Products Boards instead.

3. Comedogenic hair products: Probably the biggest and least-recognized offender of body acne is actually hair care products.  Whether it is shampoo, conditioner, or styling products, most of them contain comedogenic ingredients and they drip down to our back and chest when we wash our hair.  Common comedogenic ingredients to look out for in hair products include sodium lauryl sulfates, sodium laureth sulfates, coconut oil, and argan oil.  Check out our Acne Safe Hair Care Board for products that contain none of these pore-cloggers.

4. Perfume/Cologne: In addition to containing synthetic fragrances and oils, perfumes contain unknown ingredients that are not required to be clearly listed on packaging. Pair that with the fact that most of us spray perfume on our necks and this can mean unsightly chest pimples.  You can still wear your favorite perfume, just make sure you apply it to your wrists or the back of your arms where our pores are not prone to clog.

5. Body care products: No surprise here, lotions and body washes are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to pore-clogging ingredients.  Check out our Acne Safe Body Care Board and always look out for these common comedogenic products before purchasing body products: safflower oil, cetearyl alcohol & ceteareth 20, coconut oil, avocado oil, and isopropyl myristate.

6 Natural Ingredients That Actually Make Acne Worse

6 Natural Ingredients That Actually Make Acne Worse

As a holistic skin coach, I know better than anyone else that treating acne requires an integrative approach.  However, one of the most widespread misconceptions about skincare products is that if an ingredient is natural, it must be good for acne. And why wouldn't someone believe this? Natural ingredients contain a myriad of benefits for the body and mind, why wouldn't they benefit acne too? 

Unfortunately, the follicles of acne sufferers are genetically prone to retain dead skin cells, comedogenic ingredients, and oils whether they are natural or not and the organic properties of an ingredient have nothing to do with it's tendency to clog pores. We recently wrote a blog about coconut oil as a pore-clogging ingredient but here are additional natural ingredients taken from our list of comedogenic ingredients that you want to look out for in your skincare products if you suffer from retention hyperkeratosis, commonly known as acne:

Photo Courtesy of Cottonseed Oil

Photo Courtesy of Cottonseed Oil

1. Coconut Oil

2. Algae

3. Sunflower Oil

4. Carrageenan

5. Argan Oil

6. Safflower Oil

Pore-Clogging Ingredient: Coconut Oil

Pore-Clogging Ingredient: Coconut Oil | AES Blog

If there was an award for fad of the year, coconut oil would definitely win.  Health experts and the wellness industry were all abuzz with the many benefits of coconut oil and they offered endless tips on how to utilize it for everything from your hair to cooking and of course, your skin.  I have even seen articles claiming that coconut oil cures acne!  Unfortunately, telling an acne sufferer to put coconut oil on their skin is like advising a diabetic to eat copious amounts of watermelon because fruit is healthy.  It just doesn’t work like that.  Acne sufferers, like diabetics, have a genetic condition that makes their bodies react differently to certain things, even if this thing is healthy.  Just like the sugar in a watermelon could mean bad news for a diabetic (even though watermelon is “healthy”), the small molecular structure of coconut oil and the fact that it is well, oil, usually means very bad news for an acne sufferer.  The fatty oil produced by our skin, sebum, is largely responsible for clogging pores and creating acne so it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out what adding another fatty oily substance like coconut oil would do to acneic skin.  Not to mention that the small molecular structure of coconut oil allows it to slip easily into our pores.  Acne sufferers come into my clinic with the worst breakouts they have ever had due to using products with coconut oil in them.  If you are suffering from acne, rid your skincare regimen of coconut oil and comedogenic ingredients and contact Acqua e Sapone to get in touch with a skincare professional who will develop a treatment program proven to clear acne.