The word "complexion" cannot be spelled without "complex," which is surprisingly appropriate given how complicated skincare is. Many issues can afflict our skin and cause complications or blemishes we would prefer to avoid. Some issues are highly detrimental, while others are inconsequential and only adversely impact our appearance rather than our health.
One of the most common skin issues affecting humans is acne, a problem that never really goes away. Acne has been the bane of teenagers and young adults for as long as we can remember, and it is one of the most difficult cosmetic issues to overcome. While acne is irritating and unsightly, it is not impossible to manage it with the right resources.
Modern influencers have taken to platforms like TikTok to promote the use of sea salt water as a treatment for acne. Nowadays, people are more likely to emulate influencers' actions due to the growing platform they secure. We feel reassured when we see others with a significant following engage in certain practices, even when their reasoning is faulty. While some influencers might be right, others are just trying to sell products for a profit and increase their following.
This begs the question of whether the influencers promoting sea salt water as an acne treatment are trustworthy. The only way to figure this out is to determine what role sea salt water has in modern skincare practices outside an influencer's following.
What is Acne?
You likely know all too well what acne is since almost no one goes through life without experiencing the issue. Acne is easily the most common skin condition worldwide and begins affecting us early in life. Acne reaches its zenith during puberty in teenagers when hormones begin wreaking havoc on our bodies and causing reactions. This period in our lives is fraught with emotional outbursts, hormonal impulses, and an awkward transition from our body's juvenile phase to its pubescent phase.
Acne is one of the symptoms of the last part, as our skin is exposed to hormones and excess oil that pollutes the pores in our skin. Acne is usually categorized as a facial blemish since acne most commonly appears on our faces. However, acne can affect any body part where skin exists since every pore can be compromised.
Acne is most commonly caused by something blocking the pores of our skin and trapping bacteria and dirt inside. These contaminants in the skin pore irritate the immediate area and generate acne, usually in the form of whiteheads or blackheads, depending on the type of contamination. Sometimes, more severe forms of acne, like nodules or cystic lesions, can manifest in certain cases. These severe forms of acne are painful and prone to scarring that leaves a permanent blemish after the acne has faded.
Acne can produce several subtypes of blemishes, including:
- Whiteheads: Closed plugged pores that have distinctive white tips.
- Blackheads: Open plugged pores that are darker and smaller than whiteheads.
- Pimples: Papules filled with pus that are one of the more common types of acne and among the most tempting to pop.
- Nodules: Large lumps under the skin that are extremely painful and have no pus.
- Cystic Lesions: Large lumps under the skin (like nodules) that contain pus.
While acne peaks when we are teenagers because hormonal changes can cause our skin to be more sensitive than normal, it does not simply stop after we turn 20. The environmental and genetic factors that contribute to heavy acne persist into adulthood and cause acne to be a constant issue. Some people have a higher risk of acne breakouts due to specific details about them and their lifestyles. Current medicine has determined that the main risk factors for acne are:
- Hormonal Changes: While most hormonal changes occur during puberty, there are situations where adults experience a radical change in their hormone balance. Women, in particular, suffer guaranteed hormonal issues during midlife. Menopause has been known to cause acne breakouts as severe as those experienced during puberty.
- Medication: Certain pharmaceuticals have side effects that alter the hormonal balance in the body or cause other biological reactions that induce acne. Specifically, medications that contain corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium are high-risk.
- Diet: You have almost certainly heard that your diet impacts your risk of acne outbreaks, usually being told that greasy foods are the worst offenders. Turns out, that is only partially true, as greasy food does not affect acne. The real offenders are foods with large concentrations of carbohydrates, such as bread, bagels, potato chips, etc.
- Stress: The phrase "stress breakout" might sound familiar, but it is also based on misinformation. Stress does not cause the initial breakout but can exacerbate existing breakouts and prolong their duration. Therefore, getting stressed while you still have acne is a problem.
- Hygiene: You might think this bullet point will mention that dirty skin will cause an outbreak. Unfortunately, this is another misconception that has led to excessive scrubbing with heavy-duty soaps. Dirty skin does not cause breakouts, but the irritation to the skin that excessive scrubbing causes will likely induce a breakout.
For some people, acne is a lifelong issue that requires constant care to minimize the effects and retain your cosmetic standards. This need for constant care led certain influencers to pioneer the sea salt water treatment for chronic acne. The question we have to ask is: does it actually work?
Can Sea Salt Water Treat Acne?
There has been a growing trend of influencers and holistic medicine enthusiasts claiming that swimming in the ocean is enough to restore your full beauty. Saltwater has a fabled history of having restorative qualities in several cultures and religions that have evolved over the centuries. The belief that the sea is a healing force has persisted into modern beliefs, though most people have abandoned the concept for modern medicine.
Nevertheless, a large demographic still employs sea salt water as a home remedy for severe acne. This has led to the belief that sea salt is an effective exfoliator that can reduce acne and cleanse the skin. If you are among the people who are interested in using sea salt water to reduce your acne, you are in for some bad news.
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to corroborate sea salt water's use as an acne treatment. In fact, there is evidence suggesting that sea salt water has the opposite effect and exacerbates acne. Sea salt water will only exacerbate acne if it is overused and will not cause trouble if you are conservative with it. Constant exposure to sea salt water can compromise the skin barrier, a protective layer that prevents the water in our bodies from evaporating. This includes the oils that moisturize and rejuvenate our skin; when it is compromised, it is easier for bacteria to enter the body.
When bacteria are given an easy rod into our bodies, especially through the skin, acne can become a more prevalent issue. Therefore, compromising the skin barrier with sea salt water to reduce acne can backfire and make your skin worse than before you started the routine. Sea salt water has many benefits that can make it a valuable tool for some people, but using it for skincare is generally considered a mistake, according to modern research.
The revelation that sea salt water can harm your skin rather than help it might be discouraging if acne is an issue for you. Fortunately, you can use alternatives that are more effective and have a proven track record for reducing acne.
Consider Aloe Vera for Acne
Sea salt water might be a bust for skincare, but there are other natural options that can offer the results you were led to believe sea salt water does. Multiple products are marketed as anti-acne treatments, but not all are effective. Among those that are effective, a large amount of them are pharmaceuticals made from chemical compounds that you might want to avoid. Fortunately, there are natural substances that are just as viable and can serve as the alternative you need to get your acne under control. The most interesting of these natural compounds is Aloe vera.
You have almost certainly heard of Aloe vera and likely used it if you have ever experienced sunburn. Aloe vera has been used to soothe sunburns and skin irritation for years and remains one of the most common products in pharmacies and grocery stores worldwide. However, Aloe vera's benefits go beyond treating sunburns, and new uses have been discovered that make it worthy of consideration for your skincare needs.
Scientific studies have confirmed that Aloe vera gel reduces acne levels. This effect seems limited to moderate cases of acne rather than severe cases that result in excessive breakouts of painful pustules. Extreme cases of acne might require medical intervention, but we can address more manageable outbreaks with Aloe vera gel.
While Aloe vera is not typically marketed as an anti-acne tool, it has several traits and abilities that make it an extremely valuable option. The most important of these traits is that Aloe vera is an antibacterial compound. Most acne outbreaks are caused by bacteria trapped in skin pores and exacerbated by sweat and dirt. This combination leads to acne developing with alarming speed and severity.
Aloe vera has an abundance of polyphenols in its chemical makeup that are an antagonist to several bacteria, primarily those that cause infections. Fortunately, these polyphenols can counter the bacteria that cause acne and reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks.
The antibacterial properties of Aloe vera are especially valuable to people with oily skin since the oils that hydrate our skin are a breeding ground for bacteria. While Aloe vera cannot remove the excess oil, it can help neutralize the bacteria the oil introduces and minimize the chances of acne developing. Antibacterial traits are not the only reason Aloe vera is valued as an acne antagonist.
Some forms of acne are caused by inflammation, primarily inflammation caused by blocked hair follicles along the body. These blocked hair follicles cause the hairs that normally grow out to rub against the lower layers of your skin. Any dirt or bacteria trapped inside with the hair is also spread through the lower layers and promotes acne breakouts.
Fortunately, Aloe vera doubles as an anti-inflammatory substance that can soothe the effects of inflammation and reduce it before it causes lasting issues. Like the previous points, Aloe vera has been scientifically proven to reduce inflammation and swelling, reducing the chances of inflammation-based acne to negligible levels if used correctly.
Aloe vera is widely known for its specific effects against sunburns, but its abilities extend to multiple forms of skin care. Acne treatments are only one facet of this wide range of benefits, but those who suffer chronic breakouts can benefit from Aloe vera products. The benefits that have empowered Aloe vera against acne also provide benefits for other skin conditions. The only question left to ask is where we can find an Aloe vera product to counteract acne.
Keep it All Natural!
Influencers have been given the power to guide us to faulty information they misrepresent as fact for the sake of their platform. The sea salt water treatment for acne is one example of how influencers can mislead us to believe something is good for us when it is usually not.
While the sea salt water method might not be the best tool for acne treatments, other options use natural compounds and reduce acne. Aloe vera is an example of a skincare compound that has earned its reputation through empirical evidence. Fortunately, Aloe vera gel is readily available, but finding a specialized product designed for skin care can maximize the results. The trick is finding such a product in an oversaturated market.
We at Bella All Natural recognize the importance of natural products in a world with abundant pharmaceuticals. That is why we offer products like our Aloe vera Gelly that offer all the best benefits of Aloe vera with high-quality production. We encourage you to visit our website and see what a little Aloe vera can do for your breakout. Regardless of your decision, remember always to keep it All Natural!