Acne & Eczema: An Esthetician’s Guide

Woman with acne and eczema

Acne and eczema can be exhausting and embarrassing. We spend so much time and energy trying to cover our blemishes and making excuses about why we don’t want our picture taken. It can be difficult and confusing trying to solve these very visible problems.

Eczema and acne are the leading problems people have with their skin. They can be painful and unattractive. Both eczema and acne can lead to a dip in self-esteem, along with blemishes that compromise the integrity of your skin’s health. Let’s take a look at acne and eczema, what they are, and the different ways you can deal with them.

What is Acne?

Acne happens when the sebaceous (oil) glands become infected, inflamed or over-stimulated. This can happen for any number of reasons. Many people experience adolescent acne. Others experience acne after an irritation to the skin or poor hygiene practices. Sebaceous glands exist beneath follicles and their inflammation, infection or irritation causes red pimples. However, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts and nodules are also types of acne. These blemishes can appear anywhere on the body, although the face is most common, presumably due to the high exposure of facial skin.

Treatment Options for Acne

How your esthetician treats your acne depends on how severe it is. If you are able to determine the cause of your acne it can help in the treatment of it, but there are plenty cases in which the cause cannot be pinpointed. In these cases, it is best to bring in the opinion of a professional. An esthetician may be helpful in figuring out the best course of action for your specific challenge. Generally, it is wise to begin with the least severe options first.

Adjusting Your Habits

Adjusting habits is by far the easiest and least risky thing to try for most people’s acne. It is important that you think back through any of your frequent routines and try to determine any areas that could be impacting the health of your skin.

If your acne is an occurring issue, think about anything that changed during or around the time that you began seeing blemishes. If acne has been an ongoing problem for you, it may be more helpful to look for any similarities between flare ups. You may want to consider keeping a skin care diary to track acne breakouts. This kind of record keeping will help you and your esthetician determine what are potential causes while also serving as a reference of the things you have already tried in case you do decide you want to seek a professional opinion on the matter.

How to Adjust Your Habits

Adjusting your habits to treat your blemishes can be anything from switching soap brands, changing exercise and drinking habits to clothing changes. You may see quick results from these changes or it may take a little while for your body to acclimate. If you are stumped on what to remove, you’ll want to think about seeking a professional opinion. The trained insight of an esthetician can provide helpful direction.

Topical Options

Topical options are the most common way to treat the symptoms of acne. They are treatments put directly onto the skin usually in the form of a cream or cleanser. These range from formulated and specialized ointments to basic cleansers and soaps.

As with all things in skincare it is best to start simple and get more involved with complex acne products when and if it becomes necessary. If you are someone who does not have any real skincare routine that you adhere to it might be time to implement one. Starting with a reliable exfoliation method, cleanser and balancing moisturizer can go a long way. However, if you are someone who is plagued by blemishes despite having been thoughtful and mindful about your skin, a more specialized product may be in order.

Understanding Your Skincare Products

The most important thing to remember is to know about the skincare products you are using. You should know what is in them, any potential side effects (long term and short term) and a little bit about the brand producing them. I’m not suggesting that you become an expert on every single skincare product and topical acne treatment you use. However, it is good to know things like whether or not a skincare brand has ever been in trouble for lying to the public or if their products get recalled. A little bit of basic information about your topical treatment choices will help you make a decision that will both help treat your acne and keep you from having other problems in the future. It doesn’t do much good to trade one problem for another. If you are confused and where to go and what questions to ask, you can always look for a recommendation from your esthetician.

Acne Prescriptions

There are oral medication options for clearing up acne that can be obtained through a dermatologist when and if it becomes necessary. Typically, prescribed medication is among the last options to be tried. Acne medications used to treat hormonal causes are different than those prescribed to deal with bacterial issues in the skin.

Bacterial acne treatment is usually addressed with a course of antibiotics. Though these treatments are usually quite effective initially, they are not solutions for chronic acne problems because they become less effective as you use them. The prolonged use of antibiotics can also have long lasting side effects on your immune system and your body’s natural bacteria colonization. This is why topical treatments are typically preferred and exhausted before a prescribed medical treatment is given.

Hormonal acne outbreaks are typically tied to testosterone, which is a risky thing to adjust. Some dermatologists opt to treat acne in females with certain forms of birth control. Spironolactone is also a drug used to help decrease the amount of testosterone circulating in the blood. Tampering with the circulation and balance of your body’s hormone functions should not be taken lightly as there are serious potential side effects to those adjustments. Do not under any circumstances attempt to medicate your acne without the supervision and guidance of a medically trained and licensed professional.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is a medical skin condition that causes irritation in the form of rough patches of skin that blister, itch, bleed and peel. The reason that eczema is different from acne is its treatment options, while there are some factors that can be altered to improve the condition there is often no real explanation or definitive underlying cause for eczema. Because there is so little that is precisely known about eczema it is largely presumed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors manifesting in these blemishes.

Treatment Options for Eczema

There are some things that are worth trying on your own that can diminish the symptoms of eczema or at least make them less noticeable. However, you shouldn’t get discouraged if it turns out that you need to seek professional assistance even after trying out some less involved options on your own. Environmental factors may play a role, but they may not be the cause.

Recognize Triggers

As with acne, any irritants can be a factor in how severe or manageable the blemish outbreaks are. However, there are other environmental factors you may want to keep your eyes open to when dealing with eczema. For example, there has been some evidence to support that pollen may be a trigger to the inflammation and irritation for some people who suffer from eczema.

Establish a Genetic Pattern (If There Is One)

You will also want to determine any family history of the condition and speak to your esthetician to see if there are irritants that can be removed to minimize the symptoms of eczema. You can also find out if there are any home remedies, products or holistic treatments that have helped with the condition in the past that you could use. Family history may be exceptionally important due to the high likelihood of genetics being a contributing factor. This can help you better understand eczema’s role in your genetic make-up. It will also give you more information to give to medical professionals about your condition should you ever need to.

Medical Intervention

Everyone who knows something about skincare will tell you that moisturizing is a crucial part of minimizing the impact of this rough and patchy skin condition, but it is often not enough to clear it or prevent it. It is not uncommon for people who suffer from eczema to seek medical opinions and professional assistance when they are trying to make difficult treatment decisions about a widely mysterious skin issue. There are a variety of therapies and treatments available for eczema and new options are being developed all the time. Research is continuing to help guide the medical community through the complexities of eczema which means it is important to frequently consult with a physician or medical professional if you are hoping to clear it completely. They will be the only ones with access to the most accurate and current research and ground-breaking eczema treatment options.

Having healthy skin is about much more than liking the way that you look. It’s about liking the way you feel and being the healthiest you can. The dream of having healthy, smooth, blemish-free skin can seem out of reach for some of us. No matter what kind of skin challenges you happen to face there are things you can try and professionals that can help point you in the right direction to get healthy and beautiful skin.

Want to Learn More?

Did learning about what causes how to treat acne and eczema interest you? If you have a passion for skincare, you could begin your career as an esthetician at the Minnesota School of Cosmetology (MSC).  Our Esthiology Diploma Program is designed to be completed in under 5 months (600 clock hours) with full-time enrollment.  Our esthiology diploma program has been developed by talented, caring, real-world professionals, many of whom still work in the field.  We give our esthiology students experience in skincare, waxing, make-up, application of facials, and more.

Contact us today to learn more about becoming an esthetician and starting a rewarding career in the beauty industry.

*Completion time for this program is defined by 35 hours per week.

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