Most people have suffered from acne one time or the other, usually in their teens, and know how difficult it is to get on top of it. However, while a few pimples are an inevitable part of growing up, you can take steps to not only get the one you have under control but also prevent new pimples. Some insights on why you have acne and how you can deal with it:
Why Do You Have Acne?
The most common reason for having an outbreak of acne is a change in the level of androgen, a type of hormone in the body that stimulates the production of sebum in the skin. When the bacteria convert the sebum into fatty acids, it results in inflammation or what we call pimples. The hormonal imbalance can be due to factors like diet, skin products, genetics, pollution, etc. Other leading causes are puberty, menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. You can also get an outbreak of acne if you rub your skin or clean it too aggressively, pick or squeeze existing pimples. High humidity, oily cosmetics, certain medicines, and even pressure of things like back straps, helmets, hats, etc., may cause an acne outbreak. Some practical tips on getting on top of acne:
Wash Your Face Thoroughly
One of the most effective ways of dealing with acne is to wash your face thoroughly and regularly to remove the accumulated dirt, oil, and sweat. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends gently washing your face twice daily to remove sweat. However, overdoing it may aggravate the problem as stripping the skin of all the sebum encourages it to produce more oil to compensate. It is for this reason that you must also moderate your use of astringents or facial cleansers. You should use gentle cleansers free of sulfates and fragrances after wetting your face with warm water. You must pat dry after rinsing your face thoroughly.
Use a Gentle Moisturizer
Even if you have oily facial skin, you must use a moisturizer to keep it hydrated. If you allow your skin to become too dry, it will attempt to compensate by producing extra oil, which may cause pimples. You should look at the label to find out if it contains any oil, fragrance, or other ingredients you are allergic to.
Use OTC Acne Medication
OTC medications can help heal pimples or even stop them from erupting. However, since these products sometimes cause skin irritation, dryness, or redness, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions. A typical ingredient in OTC acne medication is benzoyl peroxide that kills the bacteria causing inflammatory acne, like red bumps and cysts. Medications containing salicylic acid are effective in treating blackheads and whiteheads because of their pore unclogging action. Sulfur, another common ingredient, dries out dead skin cell that helps unclog pores and absorb extra sebum. An azelaic acid serum is ideal for oily skin since it contains azelaic acid and niacinamide. Azelaic acid cleans the pores of facial skin and reduces inflammation, while the second active ingredient, niacinamide helps to regulate the secretion of oil. It also reduces the appearance of pores and helps facial scars fade.
When you are dehydrated, your skin also becomes dry. It acts as a signal to the oil glands in the skin to produce more oil that can cause acne. Also, dehydration makes your skin look dull and encourages redness and inflammation. To keep your body well-hydrated, you need to drink lots of water. The quantity you must drink depends on how active you are, your body weight, and the weather. Under normal conditions, you should drink at least two liters of water daily.
Pimples can be embarrassing, and you may try to use makeup to hide them. However, it is likely to clog pores and cause more trouble. Unfortunately, since it can be difficult not to use makeup at all, you should try to use non-comedogenic products to avoid pore-clogging. Choosing fragrance-free products also help as the skin is less likely to be irritated. Avoid wearing makeup for extended periods and wash it off gently, especially before sleeping at night. It is also a good idea to limit the use of other skin and hair care products because they are likely to come in contact with your facial skin and trigger acne outbreaks.
It may be impossible to avoid acne, especially if your body is undergoing hormonal changes during the teens and if you are pregnant or nursing. It can help to limit exposure to sunlight as it dehydrates the skin and encourages it to produce more oil that blocks pores. Try to wear sunscreens the entire year but make sure they are oil-free and non-comedogenic. You must avoid touching your face as it is the easiest way of transferring bacteria. You should ensure you wash your hands regularly and also resist the temptation to pop pimples as it can cause infection, bleeding, and scarring.