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OILY & BLEMISHED SKIN

WHAT IS OILY & BLEMISHED SKIN?

What is Normal Skin? Skin types are largely determined by genetics, but 90% of how the skin ages is within our control. Normal skin, or eudermic (medical term for healthy skin), is the ideal skin type and is a term widely used to refer to well-balanced skin. Overall, sebum and moisture are balanced and the skin is neither too oily nor too dry. Skincare routines are done to support the skin rather than “combat” a problem.

OILY & BLEMISHED SKIN AT A GLANCE

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BALANCE

The scientific name for well-balanced skin, is eudermic. Factors that affect skin health, like moisture content and sebum production, are well regulated by the body and supported by the right skincare.

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SKIN SURFACE

Fine pores, a smooth and even texture, no chronic blemishes, and it is not prone to sensitivity and inflammation like other skin types. The skin is neither too oily nor too dry and can look "rosy" and radiant.

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GUT-HEALTH

It’s no longer a secret that good skin reflects a healthy gut – and there's scientific evidence to back it up. Healthy skin can be a reflection of a healthy lifestyle, environment, and proper skincare routine.

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SKINCARE

Although the skin is free of noticeable problems, maintaining a skincare regime that includes moisturizing, regular cleansing, and preventative skincare treatments is important.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

1. Inside & Out

It makes sense to start from the inside while using the right skincare on the outside.

2. Hormones & Inflammation

Balancing hormones and reducing inflammation in the body is key.

3. Sebum

Regulating sebum production to ensure proper sebum flow.

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​​SOME TYPICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF OILY & BLEMISHED SKIN

A comedo (plural comedones), or acne, occurs when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This process can lead to pimples or acne. Here are the different types of acne: 

  • Whiteheads (closed plugged pores)

  • Blackheads (open plugged pores)

  • Papules (small red, tender bumps)

  • Pustules (papules with pus at the top)

  • Nodules (large, solid, painful lumps under the skin)

  • Cysts (painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin)

The lead-up to acne starts out the same way, but some may progress to form different types of breakouts: the microcomedone, a microscopic blockage of the narrow duct extending around a hair follicle starting from the deeper dermis and affecting the skin’s surface. As the the microcomedone persists, the result can show up as one of the acne forms mentioned above.

There are generally four main factors that cause acne:

1. Excess sebum (oil) production, also known as Seborrhea

2. Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells

3. Bacteria

4. Inflammation

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WILD LEAVES TIPS & TRICKS

  • Avoid the “dry skin-oily skin cycle” by using mild cleansers (like ours) and avoiding overly harsh washes that strip away the natural protective barrier. This causes the skin to dry out and the body to react by overproducing oil again. 

  • When you do wear make-up, choose products that are “non-comedogenic” and remove them every night with mild soap or a gentle cleanser and temperate water.

  • Avoid over-exfoliation so you don’t damage the barrier of your skin. Micro-tears can also cause bacteria to spread and lead to more infection and inflammation. Instead, try natural chemical peels to accelerate skin renewal and exfoliate away dead skin without tearing the skin’s surface.
     

  • Oily skin can sometimes mean dry skin. You read that right! So it’s important to moisturize regularly to help keep your skin’s oil production in check and not over-produce sebum.
     

  • Reduce the chance of bacteria contamination by changing pillowcases frequently and regularly disinfecting things that touch your face, like smartphone screens.

  • Don’t squeeze! Applying pressure to sensitive areas often inflames surrounding healthy tissue. Pimples can contain bacteria like Propinionbacterium acnes (or P. acnes) causing the infectious purulent material (aka pus) to spread infection to other parts of the skin, or aggravate the primary infection below the skin’s surface.

THE WILD LEAVES SKINCARE ROUTINE

FOR OILY & BLEMISHED SKIN

Our face wash, algae serum, face oil, and rich cream skincare routine are great for moisturizing and hydrating, supporting well-aging, and protecting against daily stresses. 
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Learn more...

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COMEDONES AND ACNE

A comedo can be open (blackhead) or closed by skin (whitehead) and occur with or without acne. Acne is a chronic inflammatory condition that usually includes both comedones, inflamed papules and pustules (pimples).

Blemishes and acne (Acne Vulgaris) is a non-contagious skin condition caused by inflamed and infected sebaceous glands. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages (we’ll get into the reasons below). Acne usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back, and shoulders because these areas of skin have the most sebaceous (oil) glands. Hair follicles are connected to these oil glands and can become clogged, particularly when Seborrhea occurs.

HOW DO BLEMISHES DEVELOP

There are many, complex and interrelated factors involved in the development of blemishes and acne. One thing should be clear, however: acne starts as a hormonal condition, and is agitated by various triggers and aggravators. This is because hormones are responsible for the development of the sebaceous glands and they also stimulate sebum production in those sebaceous glands. So, although skin seems like an “outside” job, and it is, it’s also an inside job.

As mentioned above, hair follicles are connected to the sebaceous glands where oil (sebum) is produced. Along with an overproduction of keratin (Hyperkeratosis) and other components like sweat, sebum can form a “plug” called a comedo (one of the many forms of pimples).

Due to the nature of the skin’s surface, comedones tend to form in front of the pore exits, where they obstruct the outflow of sebum. This can lead to inflammation or bacterial infection beneath the skin’s surface causing the follicle wall to bulge. This produces a whitehead, or the “plug” may open towards the surface causing a blackhead.

 

Contrary to what many people think: blackheads may look like dirt stuck in pores, but actually the pore is filled with bacteria and oil that turns brown when exposed to the air (oxidization). Blockages and inflammation deep inside hair follicles can also produce cyst-like lumps beneath the skin’s surface. Other pores in your skin, which are the openings of the sweat glands, aren’t usually involved in acne.

Let’s take a closer look under the surface...

Seborrhea

The sebaceous glands are located in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, and secrete an oily substance called sebum. Excess sebum production is known as seborrhea and is triggered by hormones (androgens). This depicts the general foundation upon which acne and blemishes begin. Things can start to get complicated when excess sebum on skin’s surface interferes with the natural process by which skin sheds dead cells (known as desquamation). Inflammation, blockages and build-up are now happening on the skin’s surface, as well in the sebaceous glands causing more micro-inflammation (non-visible inflammation). 

Hyperkeratosis

Hyperkeratosis means that the skin produces too much keratin and the top layers of the skin become thicker. It is caused by excessive cell production (triggered by hormones), keratin produced in excess which clogs the pore exits, and inadequate desquamation, or shedding, of dead cells. Accelerated keratinization leads to an increase in the formation of corneocytes (dying or dead cells on the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of the epidermis), which do not shed quickly enough from the skin’s surface (desquamation). These cells form plugs that block the sebacous glands, leading to sebum building up and the follicle wall bulging to cause comedones.

Inflammation

Acne is an inflammatory condition and inflammation is present at every stage of its development, even before a “comedo” is formed. Inflammation plays both a primary and secondary role in the acne process: We are all familiar with the secondary stage that shows up as localized inflammation in the form of pimples. But this inflammation doesn’t appear only due to external aggravators: It is the immune system’s response to an infection. An infection that fights off bacterial overgrowth in the skin’s pores. What happens is that the immune system sends white blood cells to the area to fight off the infection (a healthy response). The problem is that this can lead to an accumulation of cells causing swelling. The skin’s response is to produce these painful, red, and swollen pimples while the inflammation and infection are being fought off.

Bacteria

Propinionbacterium acnes (or P. acnes) is a bacteria that normally lives harmlessly on skin’s surface. P. acnes thrives and multiplies in low oxygen environments. Oxidization can come from environmental factors, diet, stress, toxins and free radicals; or internally when inflammation damages the sebum and causes the sebum’s oxygen content to decrease. Bacteria can then colonize the hair follicle leading to infection that shows up as inflamed pimples on the skin’s surface. It goes like this: Inflammation triggers sebum oxidation –> this triggers bacterial infection –> a localized inflammatory response is triggered (a pimple). 

SO,
WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION?

Let’s start with one of the most important factors:

HORMONES!

In the case of skin, hormones stimulate our skin’s oil glands. Acne, sometimes referred to as hormonal acne, can happen because of hormone fluctuations and imbalances. Androgen hormones are the main players here. Androgens are male sex hormones, like testosterone, that are released by the adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes.

Although it’s typically thought of as a male hormone, we all have testosterone. Women just have it in lower levels than men.

How do androgens affect the skin? Sebaceous glands, like many other parts of the skin, have receptors that are influenced by these sex hormones. A rise in androgens, like testosterone, may stimulate excessive sebum production from the sebaceous glands, making them produce more skin oil. When this sebum combines with dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells, it results in clogged pores and acne. This creates the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to thrive. So, if you squeeze a pimple, these bacteria can spread to other areas of the skin causing more inflammation and infection. Hence, more pimples.

Oily & Blemished Skin Triggers:

Every skin type has a tendency to overproduction or underproduction of sebum.

In our opinion, the skin condition is not an unchangeable “destiny”, but a combination of symptoms, which are based on various causes. Genetically and hormonally determined there are tendencies to seborrhea and sebostasis, i.e. skin tending to overproduction and skin tending to underproduction.

DIET

A diet with a high glycemic index, gluten, caffeine, sugars, processed foods, even nuts, and lots of dairy may trigger or exacerbate acne.

SMOKING

Research indicates that oxidative damage to skin caused by smoking exacerbates acne and alters sebum composition.

STRESS

Internal and environmental stress factors can trigger hormones which in turn stimulate sebum production and exacerbate acne.

WRONG SKINCARE

Synthetic products, harsh cleansers, and even water that’s too hot, can disrupt skin’s natural balance and exacerbate symptoms. It’s good to avoid comedogenic skincare and make-up that can clog pores.

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