We all get it from time to time- acne. The question is: what causes those red bumps on your body? Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous unit- which is a hair follicle, a hair, and a sebaceous unit. These are all over your body, except the tops of your feet, the soles of your feet, your palms and your lower lip. The larges amount of them is found on the face, chest, and upper neck. They release something called sebum, which keeps your skin and hair moisturized. These tend to enlarge and produce more sebum when you reach adolescence, due to the hormones.
So, is there anything you can do to prevent acne? While you probably won’t go the rest of your life without even one pimple by following these tips, you certainly will decrease your probability of breakouts.
1) Whether you get acne or not, it’s vital that you wash your face twice a day to remove any dead skin cells, extra oil, and any impurities. Washing more than twice a day is more likely to do harm than good. You should use warm water and a mild facial cleanser. Don’t use deodorant body soap, it can cause irritation. Don’t scrub with a washcloth, loofah sponge, or exfoliating glove. Use clean hands or a soft facial cloth. Rinse well and dry your face with a clean towel.
2) Many of the acne products on the market tent to dry out your skin, so use a moisturizer that minimizes the dryness. You should look for a moisturizer that is “noncomedogenic” which means that it shouldn’t cause acne. You can find moisturizers for all skin types- dry, oily, or combination.
3) Use an OTC acne product- they don’t require a prescription. Acne products may have ingredients such as salicylic acid or peroxide which get rid of the bacteria, but dry out your skin. When you’re just starting to use it, use a small amount at first. Depending on the amount of dryness or peeling you have, you can adjust the amount and how often you use it. If you have sensitive skin, be cautious about using these.
4) When you are in the middle of a breakout, try to avoid wearing foundations, powders, or blush. If you must wear makeup, be sure to wash it off at the end of the day. If you can, choose cosmetics that are oil-free and labeled as “noncomedogenic.” Make sure you check the ingredients before purchasing.
5) Be careful with hair products- don’t use oils, gels, pomades, or fragrances. When washing your hair, use a gentle shampoo and conditioner. If you have oily hair, that adds to the oil on your face- so keep your hair clean. If your hair is long, pull it back out of your face.
6) Try to keep your hands on your face. You’ll spread the bacteria and you will irritate your skin. When you have pimples, don’t pick or pop them with you fingers- you could cause an infection and scarring.
7) The sun’s rays can increase redness and inflammation and some of the acne medications can cause your skin to be much more sensitive to sunlight. Between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, you should limit your exposure to the sun as much as possible. Whether you have pimples or not, you should always put on sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before going out into the sun. Again, find a product that is “noncomedogenic.” Always check the ingredients to be sure of what you’re using.
8) Though there aren’t specific foods that cause pimples, you should still be careful what you eat. You should consume more healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and less greasy junk food.
9) You should do regular exercise- it will benefit your whole body. Wear loose clothing that won’t rub and irritate your skin. Make sure the equipment you use doesn’t rub your skin. Also, make sure to take a shower or bath after exercise to wash off the oil and sweat.
10) Stress has been linked with breakouts. You should take a deep breath and figure out what is causing you to get stressed out. Then, seek out solutions to that stress. Try doing yoga or meditation to calm your nerves. If possible, remove the stressor from your life- or at least picture yourself doing so.
Most of us will struggle with acne at some point in our lives- some of us more than others. However, you can follow these steps to help prevent acne or at least keep it to a minimum. If you’re following these tips and you’re still having major breakouts, you should consult with a dermatologist to seek out medical treatment for your acne.