Alright, so we know that there are two types of acne – inflamed and non inflamed. Non inflamed, unlike its name, consists of acne inflammation that can be mild or severe and closer to the surface of the skin consisting of whiteheads and blackheads. While inflamed acne is consistent with redness, swelling, deeply congested pores. These lesions are known as papules, pustules, and even nodules. Let’s break those down quickly.
- Papule- A sore red bump under the skin (can come one, or many at a time).
- Pustule- A bump or pimple on the skin containing pus (your good friend – the white head)
- Nodule- A break in the follicle wall is deep down at the very bottom of the follicle, resulting in a large, red lump. Compared to a papule, a nodule is deeper, and feels firm to the touch. Nodules can also reoccur again and again in the same spot.
- Cysts- Cysts can be the result of many, or a singular follicle erupting at once that results in a formation that resembles a boil. Lesions can be as big or bigger than the end of your little finger.
Now that you know what inflamed acne consists of, let’s chat a little more about the inflammation process and the role it’s playing in your acne. It all begins when a pore becomes blocked with a build up of dead skin cells. Inflammation is when an enlarged closed comedo (white head) does not develop into an open comedo (black head) allowing the lesion to expel. Instead, the wall of the follicle breaks down, and the ticking time bomb explodes. The body views the impaction of dead skin cells as if it were dangerous foreign bodies, and in turn floods white blood cells to the area, (yes- your white heads are actually white blood cells) attacking as they would with say a splinter, or piece of glass embedded in the skin. The first thing that these white blood cells do is dump digestive enzymes into the area hoping to dissolve the foreign matter, which unfortunately, because the body doesn’t have an enzyme capable of dissolving keratin doesn’t work on these dead skin cells that are loaded up with those tough proteins, eating away at the follicle tissues and causing scarring. The inflammatory response has been set in motion when itching, redness, or tenderness makes itself known. Another way that the body tries to solve the problem would be for the skin to try to heal the follicle wall, For example- one day you may have a swollen, painful lesion, but the next day after a solid night’s rest and hydration, the cells in the follicle wall have gained strength and it may be lessened in size.
Since we’ve touched on acne, acne inflammation, inflamed lesions and how they’re formed, you’re pretty much Bill Nye The Science Guy and I don’t need to explain to you that for those who struggle with inflamed acne it is best to stay away from food and drinks that cause inflammation. If you’re new to reading our blog or viewing our instagram page, this is something we talk about a lot here, and in our clinic. If you are struggling with acne inflammation, it is best to eliminate the following from your diet –
- All dairy, including non-fat and organic.
- Soy, Tofu, and Whey.
- Foods high in iodides. (Kelp, shellfish, seafood, sushi, spirulina, and algae).
- Peanut Butter.
- Peanut, corn, and canola oil.
Another helpful tip for those who are struggling with acne would be to schedule yourself an appointment with a skin coach. Being consistent with your acne treatment, and making adjustments to your home regimen is crucial to your clearing process. You can book with us online for an in-clinic appointment, or we do also over virtual consultations and product help on our website.
Your Skin Coach