Disclaimer: This post contains my own opinons from previous experiences. None of this information should serve as medical advice. For a proper evaluation of your skin, contact a medical professional.
If you are like a lot of folks, you don’t give much thought to your skin unless it’s giving you problems. Whether it’s clogged pores, inflammation or something else, when your skin becomes unsightly or painful, you take notice. However, it’s essential to understand how your skin functions in order to treat these breakouts and prevent new ones from occurring. Without a game plan and skincare routine, it’s likely going to continue happening. Now just to be clear, this isn’t medical advice, simply tips that have worked for me. Always consult a medical professional before starting a new skincare regimen.
Skin is the largest organ in the human body and is responsible for a wide range of functions. Not only does it protect your internal organs from the world, it also aids in temperature regulation, cleansing and a host of other important functions. In fact, most medical professionals take a look at their patients’ skin in order to begin their exam. They can tell a great deal about the coloration and other factors that can help in making an accurate diagnosis of many internal conditions.
What is Sebum
At the microscopic level, there is a great deal happening on and beneath the surface of your skin. Among those is the sebum production by your sebaceous glands. These tiny glands are all over your body, though they are more concentrated in some areas. However, they serve a vital purpose in skin protection. Here is a good resource about sebum: http://www.skincare.net/what-is-sebum
You have the most sebaceous glands on your face and back, with the amount decreasing for the rest of your body. In particular, your feet and hands have very few comparatively. You can easily remember this because the more sebaceous glands in an area, the more likely some folks will experience acne there.
However, that is not to say that sebum causes acne. After all, it is a natural product of your body. It contains various oily substances, the primary purpose of which is to waterproof your body. Not only does this protective layer keep liquids from soaking into your flesh, it also helps to retain the water in your body, which can be equally important. Trust me, you don’t want your skin drying out since that can cause premature aging.
Whiteheads, Blackheads and Pimples
The problem with sebum often occurs because something happens to the hair follicle nearby. If the hair follicle becomes clogged, then sebum and dead skin cells will begin to accumulate in it. This is the cause of both whiteheads and blackheads.
Whiteheads are the result of clogged pores occurring beneath the surface of the skin. Exposing the clogged pore to the air will cause the oil and dirt inside to become discolored. The process is called oxidation and results in what we call a blackhead. The color isn’t caused by dirt or lack of cleanliness; rather, it is oxygenation of the uppermost layer of the clogged pore.
Pimples and larger forms of acne can occur when the hair follicle becomes disturbed and certain germs enter the area. These cause a bodily reaction to fight off the germs, resulting in pus filled wounds on the surface of your skin. Excessive sebum production can sometimes exacerbate these types of skin conditions. If you’ve ever had a painful pimple? This was likely the cause.
Sebum has Benefits, trust…
As you can see, sebum has both benefits and drawbacks when it comes to the health of your skin. By providing a vital layer of protection, it keeps your skin soft, smooth and hydrated. This is important not only for your health, but also your appearance. Without enough sebum, teens would have the fine lines and wrinkles of people decades their senior!
In order to enjoy the protective benefit without experiencing acne breakouts all of the time, it is essential that you develop a strong skincare routine. You need to cleanse and moisturize in the morning and again in the evening. Keep in mind, the goal is not to remove all of the sebum from your skin and then slather on some rich moisturizer. Instead, use a gentle cleaner that will lift the dirt and grime accumulated throughout the day without breaking down the sebum on your skin. A lightweight moisturizer designed for your skin type is your best best. I haven’t written a guide for all skin types, but if you have dry skin, these are a few of my favorite skincare products for dry skin.