The Breakdown on Breakouts
& Blemish-Busting Ingredients
WHAT ARE BLEMISHES?
Blemishes occur in many shapes, sizes, and at multiple stages of life - as well as on various areas of the body. A ‘blemish’ can be any kind of spot, dark mark or area of discoloration but, for the most part, the term refers to breakouts and acne. A blemish, in this most common context, is a clogged pore which is left visibly raised, red and often sore.
If you frequently suffer from breakouts, then you are likely to have ‘blemish-prone’ skin. The term can refer to anyone who is susceptible to whiteheads, blackheads, or pustules; from those who get the occasional spot or area of congestion, to those with aggressive acne. Blemish-prone skin is often oily, however it can also be dry or subject to other skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation or visible signs of ageing. Although traditionally associated with teenage skin, blemish-prone skin is common during many stages of life, including pregnancy, menopause and periods of extreme stress.
HOW DO THEY FORM AND WHAT CAUSES THEM?
Blemishes are formed when the pores get clogged, and this is caused by one of four things: excess sebum, the buildup of dead skin cells, inflammation and the accumulation of blemish-causing bacteria (known as C. acnes). While there is no definitive cause of blemishes and breakouts, the most common factors which trigger the above circumstances include hormonal changes (i.e during puberty, pregnancy, menopause or changes in hormonal contraceptives), various medications, stress and even environmental factors such as humid conditions, an impaired barrier function or changes in diet. Very often, a multitude of these factors result in a breakout.
Mandelic acid and glycolic acid are both alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Mandelic acid (L-Mandelic acid) works on both the surface of the skin and deep within the pores to slough away dead skin cells which can lead to blemish-causing blockages. Glycolic acid boasts the smallest particle size of all AHAs and breaks down the bonds between dead skin cells so that they can be easily exfoliated away to reveal visibly fresher, brighter and smoother skin underneath. You can find mandelic acid in: Clarifying Foam and Surface Radiance Cleanse, while glycolic acid is the hero ingredient of Sleep Glycolic.
Also known as vitamin B3, Niacinamide is an effective anti-inflammatory. Ideal for minimising the appearance of blemishes, it helps to reduce the skin’s inflammatory response in order to calm the appearance of breakouts. Niacinamide is a multi-functional ingredient as it also assists in supporting the skin’s natural barrier as well as blocking the process of melanin formation to help minimise the chances of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. You can find niacinamide in: Clarity Peptides, Daily Refresh Balancing Toner and Daily Pore-Refining Scrub.
Tranexamic Acid is a more recent, trending active within the skin care category. It helps to soothe blemish-prone skin, visibly brighten the complexion and block the formation of dark spots to promote a more even skin tone overall. It therefore works to improve the look of pesky, post-blemish marks. Tranexamic acid is one of the hero ingredients within Press & Clear.
Remember, a healthy skin barrier is key in helping to minimise future blemishes. Blemish-prone skin is also sensitive skin so avoid attacking your skin with harsh products. Instead, use gentle cleansers and appropriate ingredients for blemish-prone skin.