For many people, what was once thought of as an adolescent right of passage—acne—has remained a problem well into adulthood. Those of us who still have acne-ridden skin know that it is an ongoing battle to not only treat the blemishes already on our faces but to prevent them from ever coming back.
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Acne is a common skin disorder that can result in several types of blemish. Some include pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. Dermatologists have identified four factors that contribute to the development of acne:
- the skin producing too much oil, which clogs pores
- dead skin cells building up, which has the same effect
- the presence of a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) in the pores
- inflammation of the skin, which also leads to redness
Acne is rarely the result of a dirty face, contrary to popular belief. However, it is essential to remove excess dirt and oil from the skin by washing regularly. Many people prefer to use a mild cleanser and warm water. Applying an oil-free moisturizer after washing can keep the skin from becoming too dry.
Over-washing the face may cause the skin to become dry, which can aggravate pimples. Some people scrub the skin with rough cloth pads or washcloths. This can irritate the skin and cause inflammation, making acne breakouts worse.
Applying a gentle cleanser with clean hands or a soft brush intended for use on the face can help to prevent pimples. If excess oil in the hair travels to the skin, it can worsen acne. Regularly washing the hair may stop acne from developing, especially close to the hairline. Also, refrain from getting products such as hair gel or spray on the face. These can also clog pores and lead to breakouts.
It may be tempting to squeeze a pimple, but this usually results in inflammation and scarring. To reduce the appearance of blemishes, use a topical treatment instead. They may take some time to work, but they can also prevent new pimples from forming.
Over-the-counter treatments, such as creams or serums, can reduce breakouts, particularly when they tend to occur in certain areas. The following problem areas are common the chin, the nose, and the forehead.
Treatments available for purchase often contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These products are not as potent as prescription-strength treatments, but they can help to prevent mild acne and reduce breakouts. Topical retinoids are products containing medicines derived from vitamin A, and dermatologists prescribe them to manage and prevent acne. These treatments can also get rid of excess dead skin cells and reduce inflammation.
A person can identify inflammatory acne by its very red, irritated appearance. It can also be painful. Birth control pills can help to prevent acne by helping to regulate the hormones that may make acne worse.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, foods with a high glycemic index may increase the risk of developing acne or make acne worse. These potentially problematic foods are sugary and high in carbohydrates. Some examples include cookies, cakes, and pies.
Dairy products, especially skim milk, may also increase a person’s risk of developing acne. A person may want to cut back on a particular food group to see if their skin improves.
Too much sun has many damaging effects on the skin. Sunburn can also lead to an overproduction of oils that make acne worse. Using oil-free sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 may help to prevent sunburns and to exacerbate acne. Stress often causes inflammation, which can make breakouts worse.
Cleaning the skin regularly and gently, selecting skincare products carefully, and avoiding contact with oil can help to reduce acne!
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!