December 3, 2022

EMILY BYRNE: ‘Acne – the key to understanding your skin and why it’s behaving badly’


IT’S the plague that doesn’t seem to go away for some. And and when acne persists – even after every lotion, potion and pill has been tried – it can leave a person feeling defeated, depressed and desperately frustrated.

From the odd pesky pimple to a perpetual cycle of cysts, pustules and blackheads, acne affects many people, and with varying severity.

There’s many a potion that promises to banish acne and give you back your clear skin, and while topical products do offer control measures to manage and suppress the symptoms, the hormone wheel keeps on turning, creating a cauldron of hot, bubbling oil beneath.

So what do you do about a condition that begins beyond the layers of the skin? Well, to have any success in treating a condition such as Acne, our approach needs to deliver on more than one level.

The first level to address is beyond the skin and within the body systems. In teenagers, this will generally involve the endocrine (hormone) system. If hormones are misbehaving at this level it will produce a cascade of effects that result in the malfunction of the oil glands in the skin. In the case of adult acne the endocrine system may still be involved, but this time it may be disrupted by stress. Digestive complaints are also extremely common.

Treating at this level should include diet and lifestyle adjustments as well as nutritional supplementation. I often incorporate therapies such as acupuncture to help support and rebalanced hormone, nervous and digestive function. Food Intolerance testing is of great value if digestive links are suspected.

The second level is the skin. This is the level the produces the symptoms sufferers are all too familiar with. Excess oil, congested pores and inflammation can be managed with the use of topical ingredients such as Vitamin A (AKA The Skin Vitamin), salicylic acid, probiotics and anti-inflammatories.

Vitamin A is vital for skin health and it is particularly important for the acne sufferer. It normalises the production of oil in the sebaceous glands of the skin. Certain bacteria called P. Acne love to feast on oil and they become troublesome as they grow in numbers on the surface of the skin. If excess oil is reduced on the skin, P. Acne bacteria can be remanded and put on good behaviour. Vitamin A is applied as a serum, but can also be taken as a supplement to boost its effects.

Salicylic acid topically applied can also help to reduce oil as well as clearing blockages in the pores and reducing inflammation associated with pesky pustules. Choosing a good quality cleanser containing a small amount of salicylic acid is a basic but important measure for controlling these symptoms.

Probiotics are having their ‘moment’ right now and for very good reasons. Probiotics support helpful bacteria within the body, but also on the surface of the skin. They help to keep the P. Acne trouble-makers in check and boost the skin’s ability to defend itself. They are naturally present on the skin but can be wiped out through the use of harsh products (miceller water, wipes, alcohol toners etc) Prebiotic Cleansers support the growth of friendly bacteria and Probiotics Masks help to re-populate these little heros so that they can resume their role in skin defence.

While the symptoms of acne are similar for many, it is important to remember that we are individuals and the approach should never be ‘one size fits all’.

The first step is to understand your skin and how or why it is behaving badly. Skin assessments are worth the investment as they can help provide this understanding. Choosing the right ingredients or treatment plan comes from understanding your unique symptoms and trigger factors. It’s also important to remember that for those that suffer with acne, the condition may never truly go away, but with careful management at all levels, symptoms can be greatly reduced.

Acne fighting favourites from The Skin Alchemist:

Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Accumax Supplements

Advanced Nutrition Programme Youth Biome- Probiotic Supplement

Environ Sebuwash Cleanser

Marie Reynolds Restore (Probiotic) Mask

Cosmedix Clear Mask

Cosmedix Define Vitamin A Serum

*For more information, call Emily directly on 087 380 7215 or log on to:




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