For most individuals, acne is just part and parcel of growing up. Almost everyone has experienced a skin breakout at some point in their lives. In recent years, acne treatments have become more effective, with benefits of treating acne early instead of letting it run its course, becoming more prominent. Acne as a whole is harmless, however, it can have physical and emotional impacts, and in some cases, be disfiguring. In this article, we will discuss how to prevent acne breakouts and why it is important to do so.
What is acne?
Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that can cause blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, acne cysts or nodules especially on the face, shoulders and back. Acne forms when pores in your skin become blocked by oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and other environmental debris.
Is it better to treat acne or leave it alone?
While acne will eventually resolve by its own, it is recommended to treat acne for these reasons:
All types of acne from blackheads to deep, painful nodules can cause scarring, which may be permanent. By treating acne early before it worsens, it helps prevent acne scars. While severe acne is most likely to leave scars, mild acne can scar when picked. Treating at the first sign of acne may also prevent one from developing a habit of picking at their acne and risk developing acne scars.
Stop lingering spots from developing when acne clears
Individuals with medium-to-darkly pigmented skin may see a dark spot appear when an acne pimple, cyst, or nodule clears, whereas individuals with light-coloured skin may see a red spot where acne once was. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which can linger for months.
Prevent mild acne from becoming severe
Left untreated, acne can worsen. What starts out as a few pimples can progress to widespread blackheads, whiteheads, and deep, painful pimples. Hence, by starting acne treatment early, it decreases the likelihood that one needs stronger acne medicine if acne becomes severe. These medicines have more possible side effects and require close monitoring by a dermatologist.
Sidestep emotional distress
Studies have shown that many suffer with self-esteem issues after developing acne while many research studies have also shown that people who have severe acne tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety than do people without acne. Other studies show that treating acne can alleviate these feelings.
How to prevent acne breakouts
Gentle cleansers with antibacterial active ingredients for maintenance of a healthy skin microbiome.
The Miel Honey™ Cleanser allows thorough cleansing of skin with botanical emulsifiers leaving a clean yet moisturised feel. It contains Arnica Montana Extract which stabilizes skin and reduces flaking.
Avoid alcohol, salicylic acid, alpha‐hydroxy acids, and retinols in leave‐on acne skincare formulations because of increased risk of irritant contact dermatitis under prolonged occlusion.
Serum, mist, lotion, and cream‐based vehicles are preferred over ointments. Moisturizers are essential in the maintenance of a healthy skin barrier function and reduce disruption of the skin microbiome, besides acting as a shield against external triggers. Humectants and “Prescription Emollient Devices (PEDs) should be the standard of care for moisturizers. Examples of PEDs include optimal ceramide/lipid mixtures with anti‐inflammatory ingredients such as glycyrrhetinic acid while examples of humectants that reduce transepidermal water loss without any irritation when worn under occlusion are natural moisturizing factors, sodium hyaluronate, and polyglutamic acid.
The Multi-CERAM™ Moisturiser is dermatologist-formulated to treat eczema, dry sensitive skin and to prevent skin ageing. It is formulated as a Prescription Emollient Device (PED), the gold standard in eczema management, and also the optimal moisturiser for barrier protection against maskne.
Topical acne treatments
Chemical active ingredients, such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, alpha‐hydroxy acids, and retinoids, have a higher risk of inducing irritant contact dermatitis under occlusive face mask wear. Evidence‐based botanical active ingredients, which work via anti‐inflammatory effects, regulation of sebum production, and broad‐spectrum antimicrobial activity, are recommended for maskne treatment. Zinc oxide formulations have broad antimicrobial properties effective for prevention and treatment of acne, and are stable in powder formulations.
Hydrogel carrier formulations of retinoid or antibiotic combination topicals can minimize local irritation by ensuring better drug tolerance and efficacy in addition to providing an optimal wound healing environment. It may also provide effective barrier protection to reduce skin–textile friction and secondary bacterial infection.
Current recommendations of broad‐spectrum SPF 50+ topical sunscreen and its 3–4 hourly reapplication rate are impractical under long periods of face mask wear especially outdoors. Ultraviolet protective (UPF) 50+ fabrics used for mask wear should be the principal intervention for broad‐spectrum sun protection for the lower half of the face during the COVID‐19 pandemic, to improve patient compliance to photoprotection and incentivize mask‐wearing, also eliminating periodic reapplication of sunscreens.
The SunProtector™ is formulated with physical blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that effectively blocks blue light emitted by indoor devices. Portulaca Oleracea (Purslane) and Oligopeptides in our SunProtector are potent antioxidants which actively fight free radicals generated by blue light as well as airborne pollutants – for comprehensive protection.
Use a breathable fabric face mask
Textile-skin friction and the occlusive skin environment resulting from face mask wear is a trigger to several dermatological conditions such as acne mechanica, frictional dermatitis, and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. Biofunctional face masks are an option for face masks which have higher evaporation rates, reduce the sensation of stickiness, and overall provide more breathability. A breathable fabric mask can help to wick moisture away and keep the skin dry, maintaining an optimal skin microbiome that can help to treat and prevent maskne. Furthermore, biofunctional textiles such as copper, zinc and silver impregnated fabrics are bactericidal, and can be used to treat skin infections or diseases triggered off by bacteria including acne and maskne.
The CUIONS™ Copper Silk Face Mask contains copper nanoparticle impregnated fabric in 2 layers for enhanced filtration. It is rigorously lab tested for the active release of copper ions that are biocidal.
Teo WL. The “Maskne” microbiome – pathophysiology and therapeutics. Int J Dermatol. 2021;60(7):799-809. doi:10.1111/ijd.15425
American Academy of Dermatology. “Acne comes of age earlier.” News release issued August 2, 2013. Last accessed April 28, 2017.
American Academy of Dermatology. “Acne by the numbers.” In: Burden of Skin Disease. Last accessed April 28, 2017.Tags: Acne, Acne Scars