FAQ & Tips
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BLACKHEADS, SPOTS AND ACNE?
Marco, 13 years old, soccer playerBLACKHEADSoccur when pores are blocked by sebum and dead cells (hyperkeratinisation). The brown "plug" forms because of the oxidation of the sebum (due to contact with air). Blackheads are also known as open comedones. Whiteheads or closed comedones develop in the same way but the sebum does not come into contact with the air and therefore does not oxidate, which is why the head is pale.
SPOTS form because of bacteria that are normally present on the surface of the skin but which are concentrated in the follicle clogged by the comedone, then they spread and create the conditions for inflammations, which is why spots are red.
ACNE is a disease that is classified according to its appearance into acne comedonica (the most common form), pustular-papular (most common in girls), nodular-cystic, and polyform. This is an authentic dysfunction in the skin and as such it needs pharmacological treatment. This site does not deal with acne, since it is a disease and requires an examination by a dermatologist in order to undertake the correct treatment. This site deals with the cosmetic treatment of the typical problems caused by impure skin.
WHAT DOES CAUSE EXCESSIVE SEBUM PRODUCTION?
Ludovica, 18 years old, studentSebum is produced by the sebaceous glands all over the body. Sebum production is normal and necessary to keep the skin supple, hydrated and protected. However, when sebum production is excessive, there is no free outlet for it on the skin; pores become blocked and this causes the formation of blackheads and spots. Excessive sebum production is caused by increased hormonal activity (in particular, testosterone) which abnormally stimulates the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands in males and females.
HOW DO SPOTS FORM ON THE BODY?
Giovanni, 14 years old, soccer playerThere are sebaceous glands all over the body, except on the hands and the soles of the feet. The number and activity of these glands depends on where they are located; in fact, they are larger and more numerous on the face. However, there are many sebaceous glands and lots of hair follicles on the back, chest, arms and buttocks, and these can become blocked by excessive sebum and an excess of dead cells on the skin's surface. Therefore, the same mechanism that causes spots on the face also causes them to form on other parts of the body.
WHY IS THE T-ZONE ALWAYS SHINIER THAN THE REST OF THE FACE?
Cristina, 15 years old, studentThe number and activity of sebaceous glands varies according to their location: in fact they are larger and more numerous on the face and in particular, those in the T-zone (forehead-nose-chin) are especially active. This is why the T-zone is the shiniest area on the face and the grain of the skin seems irregular, with dilated, visible pores.
IS MAKEUP BAD FOR THE SKIN?
Sara, 17 years old, studentSince all makeup products have to be "noncomedogenic", the answer is NO; makeup is not damaging, but not removing makeup is. Daily cleansing in the morning and above all in the evening is fundamentally important to prevent the skin from becoming clogged. If the sebum finds pores blocked with makeup, it cannot emerge and therefore, it oxidises, forming blackheads or it becomes inflamed, forming spots. Therefore, wearing makeup is not damaging; on the contrary, makeup protects against external agents and leaves you feeling more beautiful, but always remember to remove it and to cleanse the skin deep down, every evening. A good rule to be followed is that anything put on the face for the day needs to be removed at night, before going to sleep.
WHY DOES SKIN LOOK BETTER IN SUMMER …AND THEN GETS WORSE IN AUTUMN?
Chiara, 15 years old, dancerExposure to the sun in general has a good effect on the development of imperfections on the skin, perhaps because of the antibacterial effect of UVB rays. Often, however, this improvement in the summer may be followed by deterioration during the autumn. In fact, the sun tends to dry the skin and the reaction of the sebaceous glands is to produce more sebum. Both natural and artificial tanning is not a "glaring" remedy for spots. The sun does not cure spots, blackheads or scars; the most it can do is to camouflage them in the short term; however, these blemishes can reappear and even become worse on account of being trapped under the skin. This effect is known as the "rebound effect" or the "bounce back effect." However, the sun should not be blamed: gradual exposure with a non-greasy protective cream will reduce the problem of oily skin as well as giving the face a healthy colour which improves your mood if nothing else, although exposure to the sun should be done carefully.
FALSE MYTHS: CHOCOLATE, CURED MEATS AND FRIED FOODS: DO THEY REALLY CAUSE SPOTS?
Simone, 23 years old, studentWHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN DIET AND SKIN IMPURITIES?
The links are few and in fact, it is known that there are no diets able to combat excess sebum, even if it is true that an unbalanced diet and a lack of vitamins can have a bad effect on the skin, increasing problems that already exist. No food is responsible for the occurrence of spots or acne, not even chocolate or cured meats. However, foods can worsen existing problems, causing inflammation. A correct diet (as in balanced nutrition) is always to be recommended: limiting processed foods, fast foods in general, fried foods, cured meats and sweets helps to prevent risky weight gain that can be one of the causes of the hormonal imbalances involved in excessive sebaceous gland stimulation.
WHY DO SKIN IMPURITIES CONTINUE TO BE A PROBLEM AFTER ADOLESCENCE?
Livia, 26 years old, PhD. studentSkin problems can continue after adolescence in some people whose skin is more sensitive to hormonal changes. Daily stress and a busy lifestyle can lead to increased production of male hormones, in men and women alike, and therefore, to surplus sebaceous gland activity. This blocks follicles and leads to clogged skin with widespread problems such as blackheads, spots and dilated pores, even after the age of 40.
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR PERFECT SKIN?
Giovanna, 21 years old, internDAILY CLEANSING: always cleanse your face thoroughly, but gently, morning and night. In the morning, this serves to eliminate excess sebum that may have formed during the night, while in the evening, it is essential to remove makeup or simply to wash the face to eliminate any sebum that blocks the pores as well as any sweat or dirt that has deposited on the face. However, care must be taken not to use overly aggressive washing products as these can irritate the skin. It is important to remember that even if excess sebum is not a good thing; our skin still needs some sebum to keep it in optimum condition.
SCRUB AND MASK, TWICE WEEKLY: use a scrub on the face twice a week to remove dead skin cells from the surface which, together with sebum, can block the pores. A clay mask is ideal to leave skin looking radiant and feeling smooth. Clay absorbs excess sebum, and clay masks usually have other active ingredients that help to refine the skin and leave the pores looking less evident.
DAILY MOISTURISING even impure, oily skin needs to be moisturised; excessive use of products to remove grease can trigger the "rebound effect". This means that if too much oil is removed from the skin, the sebaceous glands will produce even more sebum to restore a balance. In this case, suitable moisturising with creams and lotions will restore balanced protection while not stimulating the sebaceous glands excessively.
SUN PROTECTION: suitable sun protection will guarantee that the skin's structure will only reap the benefits of sunshine. It is important for the cream to be protective but not greasy.
NO JUNK FOOD: it is true that no evidence has found a direct link between diet and spots, but a healthy, balanced diet with not too many fats or too much sugar can improve the physical condition of the skin.
WHICH PRODUCTS ARE NEEDED FOR PERFECT SKIN?
Nicole, 20 years old, illustratorL'The main objective of cosmetic treatments for skin that produces too much sebum consists of normalising sebaceous gland activity and controlling hyperkeratinisation (i.e., too many dead skin cells), without forgetting that the formula must not lack ingredients that unclog, soothe and soften. Adding antibacterial ingredients will also keep the growth of bacteria in check and in that way, limit the development of spots. The use of mattifying substances in post-cleansing products also helps to prevent the re-occurrence of oily skin, and helps to keep makeup looking better for longer.
DOES OILY SKIN NEED TO BE MOISTURISED?
Lucia, 21 years old, runnerOily skin produces excess sebum, a greasy substance that also offers protection. This excess makes skin look shiny and impure. However, a false myth is that oily skin needs no moisturising, it only needs the proper products! The best moisturiser for this skin type is an oil-free product with sebum balancing active principles that can maintain control over skin shine throughout the day.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE DRY SKIN WITH BLEMISHES?
Roberta, 13 years old, musicianUnfortunately, yes. Dry skin and blemishes (pimples, blackheads, etc.) can coexist. In these cases, it is necessary to act on each area with different products. The best solution is often to use products for topical use (only on a certain spot) on single pimples, and the usual moisturiser to avoid drying the face.
SHOULD I SQUEEZE PIMPLES OR NOT?
Fabrizio, 14 years old, studentWhat a dilemma! Many of us cannot resist the temptation, but this can make your skin look worse and even leave scars. What should we do? First of all, an accurate everyday cleansing of the skin, and light hydration with oil-free creams. In any case, if you do find a pimple, remember that there are very effective products available in the market that act in loco. All you need then are the proper correctors and you are good to go.
TOOTHPASTE OR LEMON?
Sofia, 17 years old, writerClassic grandma's recipes are making a comeback thanks to social networks, where users swear they have miraculously gotten rid of pimples by applying a mixture of toothpaste and baking soda, or just lemon juice, on their faces! This is way too invasive for the skin of the face: toothpastes often contain peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils, which are too astringent for the skin of the face; like lemon, they tend to acidify the surface of the skin in an excessive manner. Using such remedies risks irritating and making the affected areas even more sensitive. Avoid these improvised solutions at all costs. There are plenty of brand-new day/night treatments available in the market created to replace this practice with absolute safety.
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