Yeah, I know – you’re not 13 and you don’t break out. Well, you’re gonna wanna read this anyway. No matter how diligent your skin care regimen, hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, menopause, birth control, and even stress, can bring on a nice juicy patch of pimples to the least suspecting candidate (and I don’t mean Donald)!
And if you’re my age (46), you’ll be super interested to know that Eau Thermal Avene addressed antiaging as well, with a special product that not only heads off acne, but also helps fight the aging process.
What I Mean by “Breakouts”
When I say breakouts, I don’t just mean pimples. I’m also referring to those icky blackheads and whiteheads that we love so much:
Do I have your attention now?
Cause of Breakouts
To understand why I’m excited enough dedicate my weekly article to these two products, you need to have a working knowledge of how those little breakouts come about.
The cause of breakouts is pretty basic. You’re dirty and you don’t wash your skin. Kidding. Acne actually has a lot to do with heredity – how much oil our sebaceous glands produce and how effectively our skin turns over as well as hormone changes (because we don’t have enough to think about).
Don’t get me wrong – you sleep in your makeup and you’re asking for a breakout. Don’t exfoliate? You will probably end up with a nice little cluster of pimples once in a while.
How it Goes Down
Every 30 days, our skin sheds our old skin cells and replaces them with healthy new ones. The old cells are supposed to exit through our pores, but if you don’t exfoliate (basically clear those passageways), that exit is blocked and those old cells hang around.
Not ideal, but not a tragedy until it’s combined with sebum. Sebum is an oily substance produced by our sebaceous glands as our body’s way to keep our skin moisturized and protected. These glands are located beneath our skin, around the root of our hair follicles or pores (our pores are actually the hole in which our hair follicles grow).
If your pores aren’t open sesame, the sebum accumulates with the old skin cells and form a nasty, sticky breeding ground for the bacteria known as p.acnes.
This is where it gets interesting.
The p.acnes live the life of Riley, munching on triglycerides found in the sebum, watching syndicated recordings of ‘Friends’, and breeding happy bacteria babies.
At some point in the process (I imagine like a child living at home in their 15th year of community college), the brain says ‘oh, helllll no’, and orders the immune system to send out troops of red and white blood cells to kick that sticky stuff out (actually to kill it).
The battle of white & red blood cells vs. bacteria is what causes the inflammation that we recognize as a zit. By the time we see a breakout, it’s actually a group of well established microcosms of bacteria at war with your immune system.
It must be said that breakouts just don’t appear overnight. The prelude to a full fledged breakout are those icky blackheads that sprout on your T-zone, as well as the whiteheads that want to be popped.
It’s interesting to know that blackheads and whiteheads, also referred to as comedo, are actually the same thing, but with one key difference. A blackhead is a clogged pore that remains open and when the sebum, skin mix comes in contact with oxygen, it oxidizes black.
The whitehead is different in that there is a thin layer of skin blocking the outside air. As oil (sebum) accumulates, it pushes forward (like a volcano) causing a whitehead (gross, gross, GROSS). Those are the ones that you feel the largely uncontrollable urge to pop (whether it’s on your face or someone else’s).
I challenge you to find a whitehead that’s survived a day.
The Science Behind Eau Thermal Avene Cleanance Expert
Up until recently, the plan of attack on a breakout has been threefold.
1 – Exfoliate the skin to clear the pores with products such as AHAs and BHAs. If you’ve used alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids, you’ll know that they can be harsh on your skin, making it pink and itchy. Not ideal.
2 – Decrease sebum (oil) production with retinoids. Retinoids tend to work like little sponges and soak up some of the oil. Cool, except they dry out your skin.
3 – Kill those havoc wreaking bacteria with ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide. The problem is that it not only kills the bacteria, but also the skin around it. SO, also not ideal.
While these treatments can be effective, they’re not great for your complexion. A dry patch may be favorable to a breakout, but why choose? Now you don’t have to.
The chemists at Eau Thermale Avene combined three superstar ingredients: X-Pressin, Monolaurin, and Deolenyl to get to the root of the matter.
X- Pressin is a super exfoliator made from a stabilized papaya enzyme that has the same exfoliating strength at 1% as a 6% glycolic acid, clearing your pores with super vigilant speed and precision, eliminating the old skin cells but without the irritation of glycolic acid.
Monolaurin inhibits the enzyme that triggers the production of sebum, effectively cutting it’s production by 33% but not so much that it drys out your skin – that means 33% less food for the bacteria.
Diolenyl is smart. It’s an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compound that masquerades as the triglycerides that the bacteria feed on for survival. But, instead of getting a nice little tasty treat, the p.acnes gets a cute little spontaneous combustion instead. Bye, bye Mr. p.acnes!
Eau put this dream team combo together in Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Expert, which has the power to stop a breakout in it’s tracks, as well as head off new ones laying in wait. At $20.19 for a 1.25 fl oz tube, it may seem pricey to some, but honeys, this ain’t Clearasil!
Step It Up a Notch with the Eau Thermale Avene Triacneal Expert
The Eau Thermale Avene TriAcneal Expert goes an extra step with it’s anti-aging ingredient, Retinaldehyde.
Retinaldehyde is a retinoid precurser that’s one step removed from retinoic acid. What this means is that you get the positive antiaging benefits of a full blown retinoid, but with less irritation. Still, being in the retinoid family, keep in mind that your skin needs to acclimate to it and could take a couple of weeks to adjust.