Once in the not-so-distant past, I suffered from cystic acne.
It was painful, swollen, and besides being something I didn’t want to have on my face, I knew it was a tell-tale sign that there was more happening under the surface regarding my overall health that needed addressing.
If there’s one thing you need to understand about the aging process, it’s that inflammation is always the cause, hence, inflammaging, but it’s finding the culprit for the inflammation that takes more digging.
In this article, we’ll uncover the key steps I took to clear my complexion, those of numerous clients, and the process of decreasing inflammation markers (and the causes of prolonged and consistent inflammatory conditions in the body) to not only help us treat and prevent acne, but also allow for more graceful aging.
Keep in mind, these steps and processes in adjusting our lifestyles and skin care regimens do take time and consistency, however, the results are well worth it for both the short- and long-term benefits.
Your Skin Can’t Overcome an Unhealthy Diet
If an acne patient buys all the proper skincare and takes all of the right supplements, but still eats junk on a regular basis, they’re throwing their money away.
Clients who are acne prone need to commit to a lifestyle change, but of course, that’s easier said than done. However, having the cold, hard evidence helps with making that transformation more swiftly.
For example, getting a full CBC blood panel is like a helpful roadmap that tells us exactly what is going on internally.
From being mineral deficient to an excess of sugar or fat in the body, the CBC blood panel can provide an objective view of what’s going on inside and paints a picture of how that is affecting our outside appearance.
For example, I've had clients with dark circles under their eyes dumping what felt like their entire paychecks on eye creams, but not seeing much of any difference despite their investment in quality products.
However, after checking their blood work and seeing that they were iron and magnesium deficient (many women deplete vital minerals during their moon cycle), all we had to do was supplement what they were deficient in to bring their levels up to a healthy normal.
Voila! The dark circles disappeared.
In my personal skincare journey, I experienced painful, swollen, cystic acne in my jawline (jawline breakouts are a key indicator of food allergies).
My self-esteem was at an all-time low, and I felt horrible about myself, which was quite debilitating.
But after going through micro-nutrient testing and learning of the food allergies I never knew I had (along with weeding out others that are known to be inflammatory and interrupt hormone levels like dairy and peanuts), my skin cleared up within a few weeks of the lifestyle change!
My confidence has only risen from there and continued to grow as I was finally able to address the residual scarring left behind with CIT/ Micro-Needling.
The bottom line is this: as dedicated skin care professionals, if we truly want to make a long-lasting, positive difference in our client’s skin so they can reap the benefits of our work and the products we carry, we have to strive for much more than a band-aid fix.
This is why I so strongly encourage skin care professionals to be resourceful by utilizing CBC blood work, micronutrient testing, and hormone panels before a client invests in an overhaul of their products since that won’t be as effective without correcting the issue on a cellular level.
Supplements Are Your Skin and Body’s Friend
As I mentioned above, some of the issues found within the CBC blood work, micronutrient testing, and hormone panels can be remedied with supplements.
Some of my favorites for overall skin health include:
- Glucosamine - Glucosamine helps to stimulate Hyaluronic Acid production, which can speed healing within the skin cells (great for healing acne and slowing the aging process — win / win!).
- Vitamin C - A high dose of Vitamin C on a regular basis is essential for our immune systems to fight off damage caused by free radicals and to stimulate collagen synthesis (think supple, soft, bouncy, and voluminous skin).
- Ashwagandha and Maca - These two supplements were key players in my personal journey to manage acne, which also stemmed from overproduction of estrogen. These supplements work symbiotically with our endocrine system to balance hormones and are carried by most local vitamin shops or herbal apothecaries.
Hydration Starts with Water
Moisturizers are a must-have, but hydrated skin starts from within by drinking plenty of H2O (our bodies are made up of 60 percent water, after all)!
However, in addition to drinking enough ( half your body weight in ounces is a good rule of thumb), quality is just as important as quantity.
Tap water in many locations within the U.S. have tested positive for traces of prescription medication, fluoride, and many other potentially harmful chemicals.
The only time I feel comfortable drinking out of the tap is if it comes from a pristine well or aquifer in the ground, has a filter attached to it, or in NYC (ever wondered why their bagels and pizza are so darn good? Their water quality is impeccable).
The best kind of water you can consume is alkaline water as it aids in neutralizing the acidity in our blood stream, which helps to keep our skin clear.
Drinking sodium bicarbonate solution, electrolyte-containing beverages (no added sugar, of course) and eating vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and beans or fruits such as raisins, bananas and apples are appropriate choices for neutralizing body pH to support healthy and clear complexions.
Then Add Oil to the Skincare Mix
Water and oil typically don’t go together, but when it comes to skincare, they do!
However, in the context of oil, we’re talking about topical use through the practice of oil cleansing before the use of your normal facial cleanser to preemptively loosen any impurities to provide a deeper clean.
My personal favorite for daily use is our nourishing Herbal Skin Solutions Neroli Repair Oil, which contains a non-comedogenic blend that is packed with natural anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties.
In addition to using the Neroli Repair as a pre-cleanse, I also use it to hydrate my skin before applying tinted moisturizer for a dewy glow or apply as a daily face oil with or in place of a serum, to balance and normalize oil production within the pore so the body doesn’t have to work so hard to produce oil naturally.
This is key, especially for acne prone patients who think they need to rid their skin of all oil, because when you strip your skin of its natural oils (think, squeaky clean) the body then overproduces oil and that ultimately leads to breakouts.
So, if you are acne prone, don’t be afraid of oil, *IF* it is the right type (non comedogenic, antibacterial, etc.)
Bonus Tip: While you’re applying it, give your face some extra love with facial massage for an oxytocin (a feel-good molecule) brain boost!
Embrace the LED Light
Now that we’ve addressed getting clearer skin on a cellular level, let’s boost our results with professional treatments (some of which can be done at home), like LED Therapy!
If you’re not familiar with LED, let’s do a quick introduction:
- The acne eradicator
- The fountain of youth
- The cell-to-cell stimulator
- The “I can’t feel it, how do I know it’s working?”, high-powered, science-driven modality.
When giving professional treatments and for our personal home care regimens, we love using the My Skin Buddy with it’s multi-functional capabilities.
For example, the My Skin Buddy has warming settings for deeper product penetration (I use this setting for deep cleansing) and ultrasonic vibrations to stimulate and improve our Keratinocyte function.
In the treatment room, we love utilizing two My Skin Buddy devices on warming red or the blue LED setting, as those are the two types of LED with the most research and scientific backing, for a 5-minute facial massage, which feels amazingly blissful.
While using the device on your client, this is also a prime opportunity to talk to and educate them on how to use it within their regimen at home to help support their skincare goals and maintain results between professional treatments.
To further incentivize your client to make the commitment to their at-home care regimen, when you order your My Skin Buddy through Herbal Skin Solutions, we include our Herbal CBD Sheet Mask (which pairs beautifully with the function of the My Skin Buddy) with every purchase.
Then there’s the Celluma LED Pro Panel, which can also be retailed to your customers through Herbal Skin Solutions, however, it was designed more to be a professional product for the treatment room and is very science-dense.
When using the Celluma LED Pro Panel post-micro-needling, the Red LED promotes the same key cells as micro-needling including Fibroblasts (the collagen-producing cells) and Cytokines (cell-to-cell communicators that are sent to the trauma site).
Blue LED, on the other hand, works to prevent the breakouts as it kills the P. Acne bacteria.
In a nutshell, these light therapies work since our skin has the ability to absorb light and transfer it into energy to assist with healing on a cellular level.
The regeneration process will replace old damaged cells with healthy ones and provide benefits including increased collagen production, strengthening of capillary walls, fighting off infections, allowing for deeper penetration of topical products, etc., and it can even be used for pain management!
As you can see, LED Therapy goes hand-in-hand with CIT/Micro-needling, and our recommendation for best results is for clients to spend 30 minutes under the LED panel post-CIT to significantly reduce inflammation, redness, and speed up the healing process.
LED can even be used on its own as an overall maintenance routine. As a series, it's recommended 2-3 times a week for 6-12 weeks, which you can price as a series, or by the industry standard, up to $2 per minute.
Many CIT Pen providers charge $30 for 30 mins as an add-on to a facial, or as a stand-alone treatment (keep in mind, your client must come in with clean, dry skin for stand-alone service) as well as renting them out for trusted clients to use at home!
LED — the options are limitless!
With all we’ve covered in this clear complexion guide, this Walt Disney quote comes to mind, “There is no magic in magic. The magic is in the detail.”
Nothing rings more true in regards to reaching and maintaining your skincare goals as 80% of our results come from the little wins we make everyday by being consistent with our skin care regimens and through living a clean and healthy lifestyle.
This article really resonated with me. I’m always happy to find other like minded estheticians who also refer clients out for the testing you mentioned above. And thanks for the reminder. It’s time for me to get mine done again. And I need to find a new provider to refer clients to.