Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. It generally takes on the form of pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and other blemishes. It is the most common skin condition in the United States affecting an estimated 50 million people annually, with 85% of those affected being 12-24 years old. If you suffer from acne-prone skin, the search for an effective solution can be frustrating, especially if you happen to have sensitive skin. The good news is that there are effective solutions for managing acne-prone skin once you understand what’s causing your breakouts.
Acne: What Is It, And What Causes It?
Technically speaking acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition primarily driven by the body’s oil-producing glands.
Sebum (a.k.a. oil) is considered skin’s natural moisturizer. It forms a coating on the skin to seal in moisture and keep skin hydrated. This oil coating also serves a protective function by helping to keep harmful microorganisms like bacteria from contacting the skin and potentially causing infection and inflammation.
Too much of a good thing, however, can become problematic. This is because the excess sebum together with dead skin cells naturally present on the skin surface, when mixed, forms wax-like plugs called comedones. These plugs end up clogging a person’s pores. Once clogged, bacteria also present on the skin get trapped in the pores eventually triggering an infection, inflammation, and the formation of acne.
Hence, the ability to influence excess oil production by the body is one of the keys to managing acne formation. In other words, a decrease in excess oil production leads to a decrease in plug formation, which leads to less pore clogging and its resultant acne formation. The ability to disrupt this biological domino effect is one of the keys to avoiding acne.
While a decrease in excess oil production is one domino disrupter, reducing the amount of dead skin cells on the skin surface is also important Without dead skin cells waxy, pore clogging, plugs cannot be formed to trap infection-causing bacteria. Therefore, consistent exfoliation of the skin to remove dead skin cells is also an essential step to acne avoidance.
While the importance of managing excess oil production and dead skin cells is clear (pun intended), scientists have also begun to develop a causal connection between acne and the body’s microbiome. The microbiome refers to the trillions of diverse microorganisms, both good and bad, living in the gastrointestinal tract (gut microbiome) and on the skin surface (skin microbiome). A balanced microbiome where the good and bad microorganisms coexist is believed to have numerous positive effects on the body, including its largest organ, the skin. When it comes to the gut microbiome, eating foods high in fiber has been shown to have a beneficial impact on gut microbiome balance and diversity. This is because fiber serves as a food source for the good microorganisms living in the gut, helping them to grow and prosper. For those whose diets may need improvement, the use of gut microbiome-enhancing supplements like probiotics can prove quite beneficial.
Plant-Based Ingredients for Acne Treatment
While there is certainly no shortage of acne treatment options available on the market, for those who prefer to use products on their skin with active ingredients made by Mother Nature, plant-based alternatives are now available. Ingredients such as olive oil and jojoba oil are known to possess anti-inflammatory properties. Others, like rosehip extract and tea tree oil work to clear out clogged pores.
In an effort to try and develop highly effective plant-based acne treatment products, Codex decided to focus on Ayurvedic plant actives and cannabidiol (CBD). Ayurvedic plant species have been used for centuries in South Asia for their anti-inflammatory properties. Because of the key role played by inflammation in the acne formation process, the ability to effectively manage inflammation became a focal point. After completing its due diligence on numerous Ayurvedic plant actives with anti-inflammatory management potential, a short list of plant active candidates was chosen for evaluation.
In addition to Ayurvedic actives, Codex also decided to focus on the impact CBD, an active ingredient of cannabis, might also have on acne. Prior research on CBD has shown it to effective at managing oil production and inflammation.
The Power of Synergy
With its due diligence completed, Codex then began its evaluation on the potential impact of combinations of its selected Ayurvedic and CBD actives on acne-prone skin. Using biotech-based gene expression testing together with conventional clinical testing on volunteers under the supervision of dermatologists, a surprising discovery was made. A combination of specific plant actives was not only effective, but synergistically so. In other words, the totality of benefits observed were greater than what was expected based on the literature. And so, Codex’s ShaantComplexTM was born! In fact, the results were so unexpected and surprising that Codex decided to apply for a patent on this innovative technology. After several months of examination by the United States Patent Office, Codex was granted US Patent No. 11,484,489 for this innovative discovery.
What About the Bacteria?
In the past, acne products were mainly focused on killing infection-causing bacteria, specifically, C. acnes, growing inside of clogged pores. This is why bacteria-killing ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid were and continue to be so popular when it comes to treating an outbreak of acne. Subsequent treatment options focused on keeping skin clean and free of acne causing bacteria by using smaller amounts of bacteria-killing ingredients in products. Today, however, the scientific community has come to realize that these bad bacteria living on the surface of our skin are necessary for good skin health. These bad bacteria coexist with good bacteria in colonies on the skin surface in a biological ecosystem known as the skin microbiome. So long as the microbiome has appropriate quantities of diverse good and bad bacteria living therein, the microbiome remains in balance keeping skin healthy and thriving. If, however, the balance is disrupted in favor of the bad bacteria, overall skin health begins to suffer which can trigger inflammation. With this newfound knowledge, a paradigm shift has begun to gain traction when it comes to acne treatment. This is why Codex decided to tackle the problem using an even more biologically holistic approach believing that targeting excess oil production and dead skin cell removal in a manner that supports the skin microbiome represents the most complete skin friendly solution to the problem. Our patented PreservX® technology, present in all our water-containing products, contains Lactobacillus bio-ferments that not only help to protect our products from prematurely spoiling, but also help to support the skin microbiome. That’s because these bio-ferments are a type of probiotic which helps promote the growth of microorganisms living in the skin microbiome helping to keep it balanced, and skin healthy.
Skincare Routine for Acne-prone Skin
With all the various product options available today for managing acne-prone skin deciding which ones to use can be overwhelming when trying to brainstorm an effective skincare routine. For Codex the simpler the routine, the better the results, especially when it comes to sensitive skin. Bombarding the skin with a steady stream of various products containing different types, and levels, of active ingredients can be a recipe for disaster leading to skin dryness, sensitization, inflammation, and redness. Gentle, yet effective, is Codex’s mantra. It’s akin to speaking softly (being gentle) but carrying a big stick (being effective). For Codex, the ideal skincare routine for acne-prone skin requires nothing more than the consistent use of a few products, namely:
- daily use of our SHAANT™ Balancing Foaming Cleanser to gently remove excess oil while purifying pores
- daily use of our SHAANT™ Balancing Refining Toner to remove pore-clogging dead skin cells and sebum in a moisturizing, skin hydrating way
- daily use of our SHAANT™ Balancing Oil Control Cream to smooth uneven skin, reduce the appearance of redness, and enhance skin turnover, all while mattifying the appearance of oily skin, and
- periodic use of our SHAANT™ Balancing Clay Mask to more deeply cleanse skin of oil, impurities, and dead layers of skin cells
Codex Labs’ SHAANT line with its patented sebum regulating ShaantComplexTM technology has been specifically designed to proactively inhibit future acne formation, as well as treat existing acne. But don’t just take our word for it.
The Proof Is in The Pudding
While the clinical data based on volunteer testing under the supervision of a licensed dermatologist, coupled with the biotech-based gene expression testing data that we’ve generated should be sufficient to establish the effectiveness of our technology, we know that a picture is worth a thousand words (and data points). That is why Codex Labs decided to take the next step in acne management by developing its DermSCORE skin assessment tool. With its breakthrough AI data-driven acne assessment technology, all you need to do is upload a current picture of your face. Once our AI is finished analyzing your skin, a report will be generated containing your personalized data which you can download and review. This data will provide you with information about your current acne situation vis-à-vis the number of pimples/pustules and blackheads/whiteheads present on your skin. You can then track the progress being made on your acne-prone skin by periodically uploading recent photos. You can also, at any time, participate in a LIVE CHAT with one of our licensed estheticians who can assist you on your journey to acne-free skin. And the best part of this acne-assessment tool, other than its acne-monitoring usefulness, IT’S FREE!
In A Nutshell
Science’s understanding of acne, its causes, and treatment options has come a long way. This greater understanding has spawned new solutions for tackling this problem. Numerous treatment options are available, some more aggressive than others. Effective treatment is no longer just about waiting for an outbreak followed by use of bacteria-killing products. Avoiding the occurrence of acne outbreaks in the first place, coupled with lessening their impact should they occur, is the direction science is taking us.
Codex Labs’ SHAANT® collection with our patented ShaantComplex™ technology for managing excess oil production and dead skin cell removal, together with our microbiome friendly PreservX® system, might be just the solution your skin has been craving. So, if you're unhappy with your current acne treatment regimen, or if you want to see what Mother Nature can do with her plant-based active ingredients, give it a try - we know you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Why? Because we have the scientific data and acne-monitoring technology to prove it!