Just about everyone gets acne at some point in their lives, but sometimes it can be hard to understand exactly what causes acne and how to prevent it from returning. Many people think that oily skin leads to acne, but that's not true, the oil glands on your face only become clogged when they're exposed to excess sebum. If you're prone to getting pimples, the trick is figuring out what causes your excess sebum production in the first place. Here are the six most common culprits of acne and how you can prevent them from happening again.
What is acne
Acne is a condition in which the skin's pores become clogged with oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. A pimple develops when the clog begins to form a whitehead, blackhead, or cyst under the surface of the skin. Whiteheads are non-inflamed blemishes that have been accumulating for some time before becoming visible on the surface of the skin. Blackheads are also non-inflamed but usually result from open comedones (pimples) under the skin. Cysts develop when a clogged pore fills with pus and becomes inflamed. These can be painful and may last up to six weeks without treatment.
Causes of acne
The following are the contributing factors in the development of acne.
Hormones play a large role in how your skin reacts to oil, bacteria, and inflammation. Excess hormones during puberty cause changes in the glands near hair follicles that leads to more sebum production. Too much sebum can block pores which can lead to more acne breakouts. Due to this, hormonal fluctuations from menstruation and pregnancy may be responsible for flare-ups. Studies have shown that adult women who had higher levels of progesterone were significantly more likely to develop new blemishes than those with lower levels. Women who took oral contraceptives containing estrogen or progestin also experienced an increase in breakouts.
2. Environmentally stressful conditions
Environmental stressors such as excessive heat, cold, harsh sunlight, or humidity can irritate acne-prone skin. For example, if you exercise outside when it is too hot, you will sweat and use up the body's natural moisture reserves. Your skin will become dry, and itchy and produce excess oil to compensate for the lack of moisture on your skin. If you don't properly care for your skin after these types of activities, it will lead to inflamed pores and create whiteheads or blackheads.
Pseudoephedrine is a decongestant found in many over-the-counter medicines used to treat colds and hay fever. It is often prescribed by doctors to help relieve nasal congestion associated with asthma and other respiratory problems. When pseudoephedrine is taken regularly at high doses, it has been shown to trigger episodes of rosacea and may worsen acne in some people. Those who experience increased redness or dryness of the skin should stop taking pseudoephedrine and talk to their doctor about an alternative treatment.
4 . Poor hygiene habits
Poor hygiene habits, such as not washing off make-up before bedtime or wearing dirty clothes without washing them right away can also contribute to acne. Acne sufferers should avoid picking or popping pimples because they risk developing scarring and making the acne worse.
5. Improper diet
Some foods aggravate acne symptoms and others provide relief. Eating lots of greasy foods like pizza, french fries, hamburgers, and fried chicken will clog pores by producing more oil than necessary. Foods that contain a lot of milk, cheese, or sugar can also cause acne. On the other hand, certain fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds which can fight acne.
How to prevent acne
The following are some of the ways that you can reduce your chances of getting acne. These includes:
1.Say no to alcohol
As you probably know, alcohol dehydrates your body. When you're dehydrated, your body doesn't flush out toxins that are commonly associated with breakouts. These include staying away from greasy foods and saying no to alcohol. Eating more fruits and vegetables can provide you with powerful antioxidant which helps prevent acne breakouts as well as make them go away faster when they do happen. For example, if you drink one alcoholic beverage a day, switch to two or three non-alcoholic beverages. If you eat one or two portions of junk food a week, cut back to zero.
2. Wear sunscreen
Studies have shown that people who use sunscreen have less severe acne than those who don't. It's also recommended that you wear sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from UV rays which may trigger acne. There are many sunscreens on the market but be sure to buy one that has at least SPF 15 or higher. Many dermatologists recommend using a moisturizer with an SPF 30. Apply it often throughout the day for the best results.
3. Be gentle with your skin
Oftentimes, people will want to scrub their skin off because they believe this will help get rid of acne scars or blackheads. However, this only causes irritation that leads to more redness and inflammation. Instead, try to gently cleanse your face twice a day with mild cleansers. Avoid products containing fragrances and alcohols since these ingredients tend to dry out the skin, make wrinkles worse, cause sensitivity, and lead to more breakouts. Try not to touch your face too much and always wash your hands before touching any other part of your body.
4. Drink lots of water
Drinking water helps clear up acne by removing toxins from the body. But bottled water alone won't do the trick. You need to balance what you're drinking with what you're eating. So instead of drinking sodas, fruit juices, and sports drinks, drink plenty of water. Water flushes out the toxins in your system while helping keep your digestive system running smoothly. Drink enough so that you urinate eight glasses per day. It is important to stay hydrated to avoid dehydration. This ensures you can better regulate your metabolism and support gut health, produce new cells, and maintain healthy brain function. All of these things are needed to fight against acne.
The above information should be a good start for you. Remember that acne is caused by hormones, and poor hygiene. Wash your face with mild soap twice a day, but avoid alcohol-based soaps as they can dry out the skin and make acne worse. Use an exfoliating scrub one or two times per week to cleanse clogged pores and remove dead skin cells.