How to get rid of pimples and blackheads

Liezel Barnard Weleda Naturopath & Trainer

Liezel is the naturopath and trainer at Weleda and has been with the company since 2008.

She has a Bachelor of Naturopathy and has more than 14 years’ experience in the natural health industry, including private practice in multi-disciplinary clinics. She has a special interest in skin and digestive health.

It’s a common misconception that impure skin is a problem teenagers have to face. In fact, many adults struggle with break outs, which can take a toll on confidence and emotional wellbeing.

What is a blackhead?

The opening of a hair follicle (or skin pore) that is clogged with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. At the surface the yellowish plug is coloured black because it is oxidised when it comes into contact with the air.

What's the best way to avoid and treat blackheads?

The most important step to avoid and treat blackheads is to remove excessive skin oil with a cleanser containing mild, but efficient surfactants. Use skin care products that are fat-free or low-fat, with slightly acidic pH-values. Look for keratolytic or exfoliative ingredients like sulphur which will help to dissolve the plugs that cause blackheads. And lastly, use products that contain anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as willow bark, liquorice and witch hazel. The Blemished Skin facial care range has been specifically developed with these ingredients to act effectively yet gently against skin impurities and help to restore the skin’s natural balance.

From a diet and lifestyle perspective:

  • Limit dairy intake. Cow milk consumption increases risk and severity of comedones. Researchers hypothesise that the natural hormones found in milk plays a role in acne risk.
  • Limit sugar and refined carbohydrate intake. High-Glycemic-Index food lowers Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) which binds to free androgens, thus increasing the androgen levels in the blood. Androgens increases skin sebum (oil) production.

What's the best way to treat a pimple, and what shouldn't you do?

Treat in the same way as blackheads (see above). In addition, apply a spot treatment with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, keratolytic and drying ingredients e.g. sulphur, willow bark, liquorice and witch hazel.

Don’t squeeze or pick the pimple, it can get infected and lead to scarring.

Should you treat teen breakouts and adult breakouts differently?

It depends on your skin type. In contrast to teenagers, adult breakouts are usually concentrated in very specific areas e.g. around the mouth, chin and jawline. Some adults experience these concentrated breakouts while the rest of their skin may be dry and sensitive. For adults with dry and sensitive skin, I recommend a mild cleanser that won’t remove the natural skin oils such as Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion and focus on using spot treatment products such as S.O.S Spot Treatment.

Adults should also continue to use their hydrating and regenerative skin care products on the skin that is not affected by the breakout.

Teenagers can use the Blemished Skin facial care  as a convenient 3-step solution.

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