Whiteheads, blackheads, pimples – these annoying, sometimes painful skin irritations are most common among teenagers but do affect people of all ages. In fact, acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S., affecting up to 50 million people. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to achieve clearer skin. Learn more about the causes of acne and some simple steps you can take to have clearer skin.
The four main causes of acne are excess oil (sebum) production, hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells, bacteria, and inflammation. Androgens are hormones that increase in both boys and girls during puberty and cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum. Due to genetics, some people are more prone to this than others. For women, this can also happen during the hormonal changes brought on by pregnancy or menopause.
Acne can be persistent, with new pimples and bumps popping up just as others finally go away. Depending on the severity, it can leave scars on the skin and be quite emotionally stressful as well. If you’re struggling, try incorporating these simple acne-preventing steps into your daily routine:
1. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser.
Wash your face in the morning and evening, especially after sweating, to remove acne causing oil and bacteria. Perspiration, particularly when kept on the skin while wearing a hat or helmet, can make acne worse. A gentle, non-abrasive cleanser if best, such as our Gentle Cleanse or Clarity Cleanse. Skip facial scrubs with ground fruit pits and aluminum oxide, as these can irritate the skin. Use your clean hands to wash your face, not a washcloth or sponge. Rinse with lukewarm water.
2. Apply an acne-fighting agent.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), many topical therapies can help fight acne. But there are different over-the-counter products for each type of acne, so be sure you are using the right one for maximum effectiveness.
If you want to simultaneously target different types of acne, the AAD recommends using a combination of benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, or adapalene gel.
3. Apply a moisturizer.
Using acne treating products, especially several together, may dry out your skin. Use a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated to properly heal. Look for products labeled as “noncomedogenic.” This means it won’t clog your pores. Examples of noncomedogenic ingredients include aloe vera, vitamin C, sodium hyaluronate, and glycerin. Skip products that contain cocoa butter, lanolin, coconut oil, and wheat germ oil. If you have oily skin, look for a “lightweight” moisturizer like our Clarity Control Lotion.
Having a buildup of dead skin cells on your face can clogs your pores. Exfoliating your skin a few times a week can help. Start with just one or two exfoliating sessions so you don’t irritate your skin. Try our Radiant Polish, which contains essential ingredients to dissolve blackheads, balance sebum production, and recapture your skin’s youth for a radiant glow.
5. Get plenty of sleep.
Not getting enough sleep may also cause your skin to release inflammatory compounds. These compounds can cause the skin to break out or worsen acne. To stay healthy both on the inside and out, aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night.
6. Choose makeup and other beauty products that won’t clog your pores.
To ensure your makeup routine is skin-friendly, be sure to check all product packaging. Look for products labeled as “noncomedogenic” or “oil-free.” It’s also a good idea to:
Be conscious of your hair products too. Your beautiful locks sit atop your head and if long enough, may rest upon your back. Deep conditioners, gels, heat protectants, etc., contain oils that can seep into nearby skin pores. We understand the desire for healthy hair but try things like washing your back in the shower after conditioning to prevent the cross-contamination of products.
7. Don’t pick at your breakouts and touch your face minimally.
We know it’s tempting, but if you pick, pop, or squeeze your acne, your skin will take longer to clear. By picking the zit, you expose the pore to even more bacteria. You’re also increasing your risk for scarring. Let your skin heal naturally.
The oil and germs from your hands can transfer to your face when you touch it throughout the day. Keep your hands off acne-prone areas to prevent flare-ups. Keep your hair clean and off your face. Your phone is also dirtier than you’d like to think. Avoid resting it against the side of your face.
Studies show that the longer acne lasts, the more likely it is to affect one’s emotions. But stress can also cause acne to flare. So, it’s important to relax and have an outlet to reduce any pressure or anxiety. Some healthy options include:
9. Go easy on the sugar.
Cutting back on foods with high sugar contents has been shown to improve acne. Try incorporating these tips into your daily diet to prevent acne:
10. Don’t smoke.
There are mounds of scientific evidence that link smoking with a higher risk of acne. In one study that included women from 25 to 50 years of age who had acne, the authors found that almost 73 percent of the participants who smoked had acne, while only 29.4 percent of the women who didn’t smoke had pimples or some other form of acne. If you need help with quitting tobacco, talk to your doctor about techniques that may help.
To summarize, acne stinks. Know that you are not alone in your fight against it, and there is a lot you can do on your own to minimize the effects and prevent the occurrence. Pay attention to what you put on your face. Focus on all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, like quality sleep, diet, and mental health. And if you’ve tried these prevention methods, over-the-counter products, or even prescription medications and are still looking for relief, contact us today about Forever Clear BBLTM laser treatments. This cutting-edge acne treatment could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Call 563-584-3444 to learn more.