The Acne Quick Fix: More Harm Than Good?

Tinctures, tonics, the desperate dab of toothpaste on a zit the night before an event, or impulse buying the latest-and-greatest mask that promises to rid us of our acne once and for all—sometimes it feels like we’ve tried it all to banish acne, as fast as we humanly can. Acne can be both mildly annoying to socially debilitating all at once, so we understand the impulse. 

But from us to you, we’ll let you in on a secret: acne does not lend itself to quick fixes. The best way to achieve clear skin? Start thinking long-term.  

The nature of acne

Acne is a chronic, long-term bacterial disease. It can also be inflamed, which is characterized by what some call a “breakout”: red, swollen bumps on the face that can sometimes feel painful to the touch. What we know about acne is that there are many factors that can lead to persistent breakouts: your environment, stress levels, sleep patterns, eating habits, and genetics can all play a factor in how acne shows up on your skin. 

How can we make those conditions such that they keep acne out of your life? Well, the answer lies in a healthy skin microbiome (also called the skin flora). Our skin microbiome is a community of all of the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live on our skin. If you’re recoiling at the thought, keep on reading—our skin microbiome is actually benign, beneficial, and necessary for skin health! It works hard to protect our skin from external forces in our environment (think bad bacteria, pollution, even skincare products you might be allergic to) that can irritate our skin and cause acne. 

Why quick fixes don’t work for acne 

Antibiotics and harsh ingredients like benzoyl peroxide don’t discriminate between the good bacteria and the bad, so they can damage your skin’s microbiome by compromising its ability to ward off all those pesky environmental agents. And even worse, they might throw off your natural oil production by over-stripping the skin, which in turn might cause your body to produce more oil (and more oil can mean more acne). So while your acne might temporarily clear up, your skin’s microbiome may be left weaker and defenseless to future acne. This is why so many of us struggle with acne relapsing over time. 

Working *with* the bacteria on your skin

So what’s the alternative? Working *with* the bacteria on your skin, not against it!  Caring for  your skin’s microbiome can not only clear up the acne you might be struggling with now, but help prevent future breakouts, too. Your skin flora have the intrinsic ability to protect against environmental damage and regulate inflammation. This means that supporting your skin barrier and your skin microbiome can strengthen its ability to fight acne for good, no harsh products necessary. 

Benefits of caring for your microbiome over time

The magic really happens when you care for your microbiome over time. With Phyla, you can effectively target and address acne-causing bacteria without interfering with your hormones or skin microbiome, so your skin will be healthier and clearer over time. The proprietary live phages in Phyla’s Phortify Serum get to work recalibrating your skin’s microbiome. 

Once you’re at a good place with your skin health, you’ll want to maintain all that hard work and the bacterial balance you’ve allowed to flourish. Many people see their clear skin and think they can throw out the contents of their medical cabinet altogether. But that’s not so. Once your acne clears, continue to use Phyla to care for your microbiome so it can keep being the resilient, acne-fighting machine you need it to be. 

While the lure of the acne quick fix can be strong and feel tempting, the long-term benefits of keeping your skin flora healthy outweigh the risk of stripping your skin and acne relapses. If you’re curious to learn more about how the Phyla system can help improve your skin’s microbiome functioning, head on over to our science page. We’ve also just launched Phyla+, which gives you access to our team of estheticians and dietitians for full body support on your acne journey. We’re in it with you, for the long haul. 

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