Acne is something that everyone has to face at some point in their life, some people more than others. While some people’s skin is more prone to acne due to a variety of reasons, it’s impossible to go through life without having at least one or two pimples. So, what’s the reason behind this pesky acne that pops up just when you want to look your best?
Acne starts below the surface of the skin. Our skin is covered with pores, and sometimes, these pores become covered with debris, whether that’s dirt or oil produced by the skin itself. When the open pores are clogged, the skin becomes inflamed and takes one of two forms. Swollen parts of the skin, or pimples, form on top of the clogged pore, while nodules, or cysts, from beneath the skin. These nodules are usually more painful than an average pimple and are harder to get rid of.
Teenagers and young adults are also more prone to getting acne than older people. So, if you feel like you’re dealing with a lot of acne as a teenager, you probably are. Increased levels of androgens, which are male sex hormones, signal to the body to produce more oil. More oil on the face skin means more clogged pores, and that means more acne. But just because you have acne doesn’t mean you can’t get rid of it. Here are 10 ways you can stop breaking out in acne.
10Try an Over-the-Counter Acne Medicine
One of the best ways to treat and prevent future acne is to use an over-the-counter, or OTC, acne product. These come in several different variations with many focuses. Some are designed to work on very oily skin, while others focus on giving a deep clean with scrubbing beads. The great thing about using over-the-counter acne medicine is that you can test which product works best for you without having to head to the doctor and getting a prescription. This saves you a lot of time. Over-the-counter medicines are also great because they generally cost less than what your prescription would even with help from insurance.
Just like any product, there are different components that make a specific OTC acne medicine effective. Ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur are all commonly used to help reduce the symptoms of acne. These ingredients aid in preventing and treating acne by tackling the main causes. Firstly, they help by reducing the oil content on the skin’s surface. This leads to a smaller chance of oil blocking the pores of the skin. Additionally, they destroy acne-causing bacteria and remove dead skin cells. Finally, some ingredients help your skin’s appearance by reducing scar tissue and inflammation.
You can find these ingredients in different quantities in OTC medicines. Testing out the products you’re interested in is the best way to find out which one works for you. Make sure to try a product for at least a month before deciding on its effectiveness.
9Wash Your Face Twice a Day
On the topic of cleaning your face with over-the-counter medicine, consider how many times you wash your face in a day. Washing your face is your main defense and protection to stop breaking out in acne. It’s common knowledge that cleansing your face is just as important as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. Everyone has a habit of washing their face when they first wake up in the morning, but some people skip out on washing their face before heading to bed. Throughout the day, our skin collects dirt and oil, clogging up our pores and creating the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria to set up shop. The next thing you know, you have a breakout.
For starters, as good as it is to wash your face, too much washing is actually counterintuitive. The excessive scrubbing can irritate your skin and make clogging happen faster. Too much washing can also strip your skin of the necessary oil it needs, further increasing chances for breakouts. When washing your face, the simpler you go the better. There’s no need for fancy face washing machines or luxury washcloths; using your bare hands is the best way to wash. Wash your face for around 10-15 seconds. After that, pat dry. Rubbing the skin again irritates it and makes breakouts easier.
8Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
People think that using an acne medicine and washing their face is all it takes to stop breaking out in acne. But the aftercare is the perfect way to ensure that your skin gets what it needs to prevent acne. You might be wondering what role a good moisturizer plays in this. While OTC acne medicine and cleansers remove unnecessary dirt and oil, it’s important to maintain a balance for your skin to be healthy. If you remove too much oil, irritation occurs and acne pops up. But adding some of that hydration back through a lotion is all you need to get the best of both worlds.
Not all moisturizers are created equal. Generally speaking, moisturizers can be categorized into four sections. Starting with the heavy duty type, you have an ointment. Ointments are the thickest type of moisturizer. They help give moisture and retain it as well, but their thickness makes it easier for pores to get clogged. Then you have the general cream, a luxurious type of moisturizer that’s a mix between water and oil. It definitely keeps your skin supple and hydrated, but also leaves it greasy. Then, you have your average lotion. Lotions are light and easy to apply, without leaving any residual stickiness. The lightest moisturizer of all is the gel. These usually have a water base, making them dry quickly on the skin and removing any chances of clogging pores. Adding a quality moisturizer to your skincare routine is a great way to stop breaking out in acne.
7Cut Down on Makeup
Some people find that cutting down on their makeup use plays a big role in getting clearer skin. While makeup is certainly not the root of all skincare problems, it’s essentially adding another layer of product on your face. This might not be a big issue when it comes to things like eye makeup or lip tints, but it does make a difference for specific facial makeup. Foundation, concealer, and many other facial products cover up those pores, and, you guessed it, cause an acne breakout. This can be combated in a few ways. For starters, you can help yourself by reducing the amount of makeup you use. While makeup users aren’t all doomed to acne-ridden skin, makeup does tend to clog pores. Using less of it on fewer days throughout the week can help you stop breaking out in acne. If you have to use makeup, try using brands that create acne-friendly makeup products, especially foundations. These brands have designed elixirs that not only keep your pores fresh, but they even help treat your acne a bit.
Another easy fix for makeup junkies to get their makeup on without having to deal with acne is to have a good cleansing method. If you can’t part ways from your makeup, have a plan to clean your skill very well every night. Incorporate items that give your face a good scrub and also moisturize at the end. Or you could make it easier and just skip makeup altogether for a few days.
6Watch Your Hair
On a similar note, it helps to reduce your hair product usage. Hair products like shampoos and hairspray are staples in our hair care routines. However, taking the time to learn which ones are actually benefitting us is important. If your shampoo helps your hair, but irritates your skin, it’s time to switch over to something else. But what does your hair have to do with your face? The close proximity of your hair to your face is to blame for this one. If you use fancy hair products, these might actually be the culprit behind your forehead zits. This isn’t the case for everyone, as different people have different levels of sensitivity in their skin. However, generally speaking, products with fragrances, oils, shea butter, and petroleum can cause an acne breakout. Another ingredient that affects some skin types is known as a detergent. This is basically what’s used to give a lathering effect and can cause irritation leading to acne flares.
Your hair also makes an impact on your face through your pillow. Think about it, you spend the whole day collecting oil and small particles of debris in your hair, and you come home and sleep for several hours on the same pillow. Sometimes, we go many days without changing our pillow covers, and we’re essentially rubbing those oils from our hair into our face. Using silk pillow and head covers can help you avoid this problem by keeping both your hair and your pillow away from oils.
5Change Your Sheets
This leads to the next topic of changing your sheets. We oftentimes overlook just how much we use our beds. It’s the perfect place to relax, so we even spend lots of our waking hours lying on it or tucked under the covers. After spending time both indoors and outdoors, we inadvertently collect a number of things that are perfect for irritating our skin. Not only that, but you also accumulate dead skin cells, bacteria, and dirt on your sheets and pillow cases every night you reuse them. Add on to that some crumbs you dropped from eating chips on your bed, plus any animal hair you have from your pet, and you have the perfect storm brewing up in your bedroom. All it takes is one or two nights sleeping on the same pillow, and the next thing you know, you wake up with an acne breakout.
When it comes to changing your sheets, you can really do it however many times you want. You’re the boss, but a good rule of thumb is to change your sheets at least two times a week. If you want to take it a step further, think about all of the things that your face touches. Towels, hats, scarves, all of these items fall into the same category. They can potentially increase your acne if they’re kept unclean, so washing them often only protects your skin further. Washing your sheets is a simple way to make sure your skin stays clean and fresh.
4Stay Out of the Sun
People who suffer from chronic acne look for any method of cure. One method that some people swear by is spending time in the sun. While sun exposure is an excellent way to create some helpful vitamin D, it does little to assist in reducing your acne. Spending time in the sun is a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it helps your skin maintain a glow from both inside and out. You get some great vitamins for your system and also get a toasty tan. On the other hand, too much sun can lead to overexposure, skin damage, and even skin cancer. It’s important to tread lightly when seeking benefits from sunlight and tanning.
A good rule to follow is to spend around 30 minutes in the direct sunlight at a time. Any time over that can lead to painful sunburns, while habitual misuse can even add up to skin cancer. Speaking of sunburns, these are actually the problem that can lead to acne. When your skin gets sunburned, it becomes extremely irritated and raw. By now, you’re aware that irritation is the stepping stone for acne development, so keeping the sunburns to a minimum is an excellent way of keeping irritation and acne breakouts at bay. If you can’t stay away from working in the sun, make sure to use high-quality sun block with a high SPF value. It also helps if you cover up your skin as much as possible while working outside.
If you have acne-prone skin, maybe it’s time to look past just the skincare and environmental factors. While these things certainly play a role in how acne develops over time, in reality, anything that touches your face puts you at risk of clogging a pore and getting a pimple. So, thinking about what you have your clothes, your hands, your phone, and the list goes on. If you focus on just your phone, you know that you have a lot to work with. Many people carry their cellphones wherever they go. Not only that, but they use them often without cleaning them. When it comes time to make a phone call, where does that phone go? Directly on your face as you speak into it.
It’s hard to avoid using your phone in the age of technology, but texting can help here. Instead of putting those germs and dead skin cells onto your pores, simply shoot a text and get your message across. If you absolutely have to take the call, wipe your phone down with a cleansing wipe to get rid of as many germs as possible. Pay special attention to the screen part, as that actually touches your face for the duration of the call. If you don’t have a wipe, then consider using a blue-tooth or the speaker function on your phone. Texting or using the speaker function may be less than ideal, but it’s better than breaking out and scarring over something that was avoidable.
2Feed Your Skin
Science has come a long way in building a connection between what we eat and what our skin shows. If you find yourself struggling to stop breaking out in acne, it may be time to look into your diet. While there isn’t any conclusive evidence showing that a diet directly affects your acne, there is still proof for other theories. After all, you are what you eat, and good nutrition is the key to good skin. Having a balanced diet is necessary to ‘feeding your skin’ and setting it up for success against acne. A diet that’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants is what you’re looking for here.
Some studies have found that those who kept a steady blood sugar level had clearer skin than those who didn’t. You can do this by eating small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level relatively the same. Eating many different kinds and colors of vegetables is also great at giving you the antioxidants you need to reduce inflammation. Some people also find that taking dairy out of their diet helps them control their acne. While it’s not proven, one theory for this is because dairy products contain some level of testosterone. As testosterone encourages oil production in the body, it makes sense why taking this out of one’s diet would help with clearing up the skin. If you do decide to take out dairy products from your diet, remember to substitute broccoli and leafy greens for the calcium you get from ordinary dairy.
If you find that even after trying all of those tips, you’re still struggling with acne, it’s time to take a deeper look into mental health. People have downplayed the importance of mental health on bodily health for several years. Luckily, people are becoming more and more open to sharing their experiences with mental health. Whether it’s depression or anxiety, people are understanding that when you feel good on the inside, you feel good on the outside. As more people are engaging in caring for their mental health, some people find themselves dealing with stress.
Stress is the reason behind so many health problems, including acne. A few studies have shown that the number of stress people experienced related to the severity of their acne. Coping with this stress in a healthy way and relaxing is sometimes the only way to stop your acne from getting worse.
Stress manifests itself in different physical ailments. People who don’t manage their stress well suffer from headaches, stomachaches, and sleeping problems. Others experience the most breakouts when they’re stressed about something, whether it’s big or small. Everyone’s struggle with handling stress is a little different, but generally, people tend to do whatever relaxes them to bring down that high level. Activities, like meditating, exercising, and engaging in your favorite hobby, are some of the best ways you can relax. You should find time to relax in the same way that you make time to practice good hygiene habits because it’s just as important.
Remember that having acne is oftentimes a genetic trait. Sometimes, you may be doing everything right, but still, deal with the annoyance of chronic acne for reasons you can’t control. In this case, getting yourself stressed out about it makes the situation even worse. But recognizing the things that make you break out is one step in the right direction. Figure out what makes your acne tick, and try avoiding it as much as possible. It might help to keep a journal or online list that you can add to as you learn more about your skin and how to take better care of it.
If you’re still struggling with acne despite your best efforts, it never hurts to see a dermatologist. A dermatologist learns about your skin in just a few visits and can guide you with tools and advice on how to achieve clearer skin. They can help you create a personalized plan to fight your acne from the source.
Acne is something that millions of people deal with every day. Whether they’re old or young, you can find someone with acne just about anywhere. You may find it comforting to know that you’re certainly not alone in your struggle. Acne may be caused by millions of different reasons across the board, and so, there are several different methods to clear it as well. While there’s no cut-and-dry solution to acne, remaining hopeful and diligently practicing these good habits is a sure way to get rid of it for good.