Have you ever known someone that battles acne or perhaps you battle it yourself? 

Then you probably know that not only can acne cause physical discomfort, but the emotional and social stress of this condition can also significantly impact the quality of life.

Acne is a significant skin concern that can persist well beyond the teen years, especially for females.

There is no single cause for acne and seeking solutions to combat it can be frustrating.

Let’s dive into the process of acne so that we can better understand possible solutions.


Acne is the term used to describe or identify a process. Acne is not an infection. It is an inflammatory process and is medically referred to as Retention Hyperkeratosis.

You can get complete total clearing and remain clear with just a few daily skincare routines. Regularity and compliance are key to seeing results!

Once we understand how “normal skin” behaves, we then have a better understanding of the acne process.


The outer layer of skin is a dead layer called stratum corneum. This dead layer sheds microscopic cells CONSTANTLY! You are not aware that the skin is doing this. You can read more about this process in the previous blog "Live More Ageless."

A sebaceous follicle opening is the opening into a long, hollow tube, which is about as big as the diameter of a hair. This is also known as a pore. The follicle (or pore) is lined with dead cells.

How do the dead cells get into it? These are the ones that are being shed from the outer layer of the skin, the stratum corneum. And those dead cells are constantly shed into the follicle.

At the bottom of the follicle is the sebaceous (oil) gland. One of the reasons we produce oil is because oil pushes the dead cells to the surface, where they shed or fall off. This is the normal process. That is how it is supposed to occur.

Makes sense, right?

Someone with a tendency to acne, envision this:

A “clogged” pore is essentially a microscopic clump of dead cells – that means they are sticking together. The oil isn’t pushing this to the surface and therefore progress into acne. Even if you squeeze and extract that only removes retentive material from the opening, it doesn’t interrupt the process!

What? Read on!

That’s when the cells in the follicle trap oil and what’s known as P.acne bacteria. Now P.acne bacteria is totally harmless. You can’t catch it, you can’t spread it. And if you have the clearest skin of anyone, you still have colonies of P.acne bacteria on the surface of your skin and in the follicle. It is part of our flora and fauna.

This P.acne bacteria thrives in an environment without oxygen. The P.acne bacteria eat the oil and excrete a fatty acid by-product. The fatty acid by-product is very corrosive and inflammatory and wears down follicle walls.

A lesion on the surface occurs when the follicle wall has a leak, a rupture, or a blowout (a way to describe the various stages of acne - more than you probably want to know).

A little side note:

Now, let’s make a distinction as to what scarring is because it often gets confused with acne or discoloration. Of course, both can occur caused by acne.

Any acne lesion can leave discoloration. If you are very fair-skinned it might be reddish discoloration. If you have deeper skin tones it can be purple-ish brownish discoloration. That discoloration can be post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which is not a scar. A scar is where the skin is compromised with an indentation or divot, and involves scar tissue.


You need to use something keratolytic to un-clump those cells. You need to create a different environment that P.acne bacteria can’t live in, so it’s not trapped.

You will also want to address the inflammation for more advanced acne lesions.

If you stick to appropriate daily homecare, you can address all of the above.

An ingredient list to fight back acne includes resurfacing ingredients such as:

  • Retinoids: They are highly keratolytic thereby enhancing desquamation of the follicular epithelium, reducing the number of micro-comedones. Be aware that not all Retinoids are the same.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide: A potent antibacterial agent, which also has mild anti-inflammatory and keratolytic effects. It rapidly destroys P. acnes bacteria. Look out for micronized BPO rather than the standard one from the drug store, which can have drying effects.
  • Salicylic Acid: This is a beta-hydroxy acid to unclog congested skin cells. In doing so it removes excess sebum and dead skin cells that have accumulated. It precludes any further obstructions when used regularly.
  • Azelaic Acid: This is a naturally occurring acid. It has antibacterial properties and is available in prescription and non-prescription.
  • Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) like Glycolic Acid: It has the ability to penetrate quickly and break the intercellular bonds of skin cells at various stages of keratinization. Its smaller molecule allows it to penetrate deeper than other fruit acids tho help accelerate the exfoliation process bringing new cells to the surface faster.
  • Mandelic Acid: This is a fruit acid that (like Glycolic Acid), due to its larger molecular size compared to Glycolic Acid, works closer to the skin surface helping to loosen and exfoliate dead skin cells and allowing fresh new skin to come to the surface more quickly.
  • Beads: Beads or granular products count as mechanical exfoliation, whereas all above-mentioned fall into the chemical exfoliation category. When fighting acne a mechanical exfoliant won’t produce desired outcome compared to chemical options.
  • LED Blue Light Therapy: This acne treatment is a proven modality to supplement the right homecare. It provides a wavelength of light to trigger an all-natural effect in human tissue, killing acne-causing bacteria, decreasing inflammation, and improving skin tone, texture, and clarity from the inside out. Be aware, not all light therapy is created equal. Depth plays a role.
  • Chemical Peels: This professional procedure uses repeated applications of a chemical solution, such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid or retinoic acid in higher concentrations. It improves the appearance of the skin and repeat treatments are usually needed.
  • High Frequency: This technique uses targeted thermal energy to treat acne and enlarged pores. It uses small currents to oxygenate the skin.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling acne, and something that works for one person might not work for another. Some people require a more specialized acne regiment “cocktail” of sorts to finally eliminate the breakouts for good. The problem is, it can take months–or years–to figure out which treatment, or combination of treatments, will finally banish adult acne and keep it from coming back. What’s more, conventional chemical-based acne treatments can often dry out the skin and cause even more irritation, exacerbating acne breakouts and their side effects.

If you are in search of upgrading your skincare routine and feel lost in the world of options available in how to treat your acne, don’t hesitate to reach out for a thorough consultation where a precise recommendation can be made so that you can love your skin. With the appropriate homecare, you can achieve clear skin. It is a lifelong commitment, and while you will see some results with facials, you must implement a daily home care routine. Taking care of your skin is just like taking care of your body–it is part of a lifestyle. The best results will come with time.

Elevate Your Skincare: Cultivate a Purposeful Routine. Your skin deserves lifelong dedication. Treating it well parallels caring for your body—it's a lifestyle choice.

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