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A-Firm gets an A+

Acne is a very sensitive subject for those who’ve overcome it or are currently dealing with it, and can have serious psychological side effects. After doing the necessary research to draft this blog post, I was shocked to discover that the number one cause for this common skincare condition amongst adults - mainly women – is stress.

a-firm gets an A+


I always enjoy chatting to Sonette Donker, owner of Skin iD Skin Studio in Sandton, Johannesburg and skincare specialist. Her passion for skincare is evident and she always provides the best advice, no matter how big or small the problem might be.


“Stress is the number one cause of adult acne,” says Sonette. “When stressed, there is a change in your hormones, most particularly in women. They experience an increase in testosterone, which triggers the skin to produce thicker oil. This oil gets trapped in the pores, therefore creating pimples. Adults doesn’t have excess oil like teenagers do, and often get more papules with smaller blackheads and whiteheads rather than pustules.”

“In most cases, acne, of course affects one’s self esteem, and I find that clients with acne are always aware of their skin when they’re around other people. Acne scarring incurred as a teenager can also impact people during adulthood,” says Sonette. “Treatments such as micro-needling, laser resurfacing and deeper chemical peels can improve the appearance of the scarring. Medical treatment, which involve a doctor cutting into the scar tissue, is however the best solution to remove the majority of acne scarring.​"

oil control deep
Mud mask

“Acne is a genetic skin type, and often inherited from a parent,” says Sonette. “Thicker, stickier oils are produced, along with five times more skin cells. Acneic skin also contains less Lamellar Granules, which release enzymes to break down the bonds between the skin cells, leading to a condition called ‘retention hyper-keratosis’. Acne-prone skin will contain more pores, either with soft hair or no hair at all, which prevents the oil from getting from the pore to the skin surface. As a result, the oil stays trapped.”


Acne is divided into four main grades:

• Grade One: Blackheads and whiteheads mostly, with no inflammation.
• Grade Two: Blackheads, whiteheads and small pustules, with some inflammation.
• Grade Three: Blackheads, whiteheads, pustules and papules, with definite inflammation.
• Grade Four: Blackheads, whiteheads, large pustules, large papules and cysts.

Although certain grades of acne will require medical treatment, Sonette provides a few expert tips for those that suffer with acne:

1) Don’t apply thick, occlusive makeup to try cover it up, as this will make the acne worse.
2) Ice your breakouts with a block of ice on damp skin (after cleansing), at least three times a week. Although really simple, this works really well for most.
3) Don’t squeeze or pick the pimples! We know it’s tempting for some, with shows like Dr. Pimple Popper egging us on, but this will just create more scarring. Rather visit a professional to do that for you.
4) Always ask for professional help and seek medication from your doctor if your acne becomes progressively worse. Find a trusted skin professional and go for regular aesthetic treatments.
5) Try and live a healthy lifestyle. Eat lots of fresh foods, drink water, and take a probiotic daily as gut health usually equals skin health.

My top picks to for excess oil control:

Extra shine? Try these products to keep oily skin at bay. In addition to oil control, they also have anti-ageing benefits.

1. Justine A-Firm Time Reversal Overnight Skin Renewal Peel
This peel contains anti-ageing peptides and glycolic acid, an exfoliant derived from fruit sugars that helps remove excess oil build up on acneic skin. It also helps to effectively improve blackheads, pore size, lighten hyperpigmentation and reduce scarring caused by acne. Apply before bedtime after cleansing.

2. Justine A-Firm 2-in-1 Cleansing Toning Gel
If your skin appears tired and needs a pick-me-up, use this 2-in-1 cleansing and toning gel. It contains Sunflower Seed Oil, a well-known antioxidant that regenerates skin cells and rids the skin of acne causing bacteria. It also tightens pores too and restores your skin’s pH balance.

3. Justine Oil Control Spot Clearing Gel
This product is pretty self-explanatory; keep this little gem close-by in case any spots or breakups decide to crop up. 4. Justine Oil Control Menthol Mud Mask This mask helps absorb excess oil, gently exfoliates, doesn’t block pores and leaves your skin feeling refreshingly soothed. Use two to three times a week on the skin for 15-20 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water.

4. Justine Oil Control Menthol Mud Mask
This mask helps absorb excess oil, gently exfoliates, doesn’t block pores and leaves your skin feeling refreshingly soothed. Use two to three times a week on the skin for 15-20 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water.

Shop the blog


Time Reversal 
Skin Renewal Peel

R 299

Buy Now

toning gel

2-in-1 Cleansing Toning Gel(A-Firm)

R 139

Buy now

spot gel

Spot Clearing
(Oil Control)

R 39

Buy now

mud mask

Menthol Mud
(Oil Control)

R 129

Buy now

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