Can you really win the fight against acne?
This is a contributed post.
A constant source of blemishes and sometimes one of the hardest skin conditions to really get a grasp on, acne can be a real chore. As a chronic condition, there’s no real way to “cure” acne. There are, however, a number of ways to treat it and make its symptoms a lot less common and less impactful, so you don’t have to simply give up the fight. Here are a few tips on how to win that long standing argument with acne.
What causes it, anyway?
Depending on who you ask, the causes of acne might change from person to person, with blame falling on greasy food, stress, and failing to wash your skin properly. In reality, acne does have a few causes that can be seen here. The four biggest contributing factors are that the skin produces too much oil or produces too much dead skin, which clogs pores, that there are certain bacteria in pore causing them to spread and that the skin is suffering from inflammation. Other factors, such as stress and how you take care of your skin, are contributing factors but not causes on their own. Whether or not greasy, fat, or salty food is a contributing factor is hotly debated.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Now, we move on to how to fight acne. The oils that our skin produces (and that clog pores) are not caused by hydration. What’s more, if our skin isn’t effectively hydrated, then it produces more skin, which means that our pores can clog more easily. The role that dryness plays in exacerbating, but not causing, acne is easily seen when we tend to break out in blemishes more often in the winter. Naturally, drinking plenty of water is all well and good, but choosing effective moisturisers can make all of the difference when it comes to your skin. Don’t neglect to add it to your daily skincare routine.
Water’s never going to do you much harm, but when it comes to washing your face, it’s the products we use alongside that water and the rigour and frequency with which we wash that can make acne worse. Acne is rarely due to a dirty face, as some might believe, but washing is a key step in keeping the face clear of oils and dead or dry skin. However, over-washing your face can see it becoming dry, which can make blemishes even worse. Similarly, roughly washing the face will irritate the skin, leading to more inflammation and more acne. Lastly, you need to take a closer look at the ingredients in your facial scrubs and other go-to products. There are plenty that aren’t designed to be used on skin that’s battling with acne and cleaning up your daily wash can make a big difference in the scale of breakouts.
Kick back and relax
Stress really does contribute to worse breakouts and more angry blemishes when it comes to acne. It’s no old wives’ tale. Essentially, when we’re stressed, our bodies ramp up production of cortisol, the stress hormone. Acne is often the result of hormonal imbalances (hence why it can be common among pregnant women), so changes to the hormones caused by stress can make things worse. Acne won’t magically disappear when we relax, but it can at least make it easier to manage. Look for stress management techniques, whether it’s meditating, listening to music, jogging, painting, or doing something else entirely and make sure you’re taking care of your head in general.
Are you really what you eat?
Whether or not diet has a large contributing role to play in cases of acne is very hotly debated. Some will argue that oily, greasy foods are a leading cause, but the medical consensus isn’t really in line with that. However, there have been some foods that have been understood to exacerbate acne, even if they’re not doing too much to cause it.
These foods include refined grains and sugars like bread, pasta, white rice, dairy, fast food, chocolate, and so on. Consuming a healthy diet is best for your overall wellbeing, so you might as well try it when making use of the other tips here. It’s also worth making note of what you eat and how bad your acne is each day; you might be able to find some correlation between certain foods and particularly bad breakouts that give you a better idea of what to avoid from now on.
When do you need a little more help?
From mental health to washing habits to diet to hydration, there’s a lot you can do in the fight against acne on your own. However, there are also legitimate pharmaceutical strategies against the condition, as well. Look here to see some of the different medications that can help you better manage it. From antibiotics to anti-inflammatory gels, if you want the strongest stuff against acne, then you should talk to your doctor or dermatologist instead of just trying to handle it on your own.
Resist the urge to pop
When you’ve got a particularly nasty blemish or zit, we know that the temptation is there to do something, anything, that will help get rid of it or at least diminish it somewhat. However, in case no one has ever made it clear to you, popping a zit on your own is only likely to make the problem much worse than better. Spots can come back inflamed, swollen and infected, or may leave permanent scars behind once you’re done.
In most cases, it’s best to let it simply runs it course as they seldom last more than a week. If you’re really unhappy with a particularly angry blemish, then you should ask a dermatologist about it. They can help you by extracting it in a way that isn’t only going to exacerbate your acne problem.
For many women, it’s not just the acne that’s the problem, it’s the long-term impact it can have on our skin. When it comes to acne scars, the single best way to avoid is, once more, not to pop them and to let them run their course. However, scarring isn’t the only problem -discolouration is an issue as well. Acne can cause hyperpigmentation, which might look like age spots, sun spots, and so on. However, here you can see some skin pigmentation products that can help you restore your natural colour over time. Otherwise, in the meantime, it’s nothing that a little foundation won’t help correct.
Since acne is more than just the occasional blemish but is, in fact, a long-term skin disorder, fighting it with the help of your doctor or dermatologist can make a big difference. There’s a lot of good that you can do on your own but don’t be afraid to turn to a little professional help, as well. Hopefully, the tips above help you finally win and keep your skin looking smooth and healthy.