We’ve been told time and time again that acne is caused by the imbalance of hormones in our body. While some people are more susceptible to acne than others, results vary from the lucky few with enviable baby-soft skin to others who struggle to maintain a clear complexion.
What is Acne?
There are different types of breakouts, including blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cystic acne. Blackheads can be pesky and annoying, but what exactly are they?
- Blackheads. Essentially, blackheads are pores that have become clogged with sebum and dead skin cells.
- Whiteheads are similarly clogged pores, however unlike blackheads, whiteheads are covered in a thin layer of skin.
- Pimples are clogged pores that have become infected with bacteria.
- Cystic Acne features blemishes that develop far beneath the skin’s surface.
While hormones play a key factor in breakouts, there are ways of helping yourself to prevent breakouts and blackouts from forming. Here are a four quick tips that can help you be on your way to clear skin.
1.) Wash Your Sheets
When life gets busy, it can be easy to forget to wash your sheets. In fact, some people wait months before remembering to clean their bed linens. During this time, billions of dead skin cells, bacteria, fungi and dust mites migrate on, not only your sheets, but also your pillow cases. It’s even worse if you have pets in the home. For example, if Fido frequently sits where you sleep, you are getting exposure to numerous outside allergens and even fecal bacteria on your bedding (eww!).
Even if you don’t struggle with acne on the remainder of your body, biological contaminants affect your face. It is recommended to wash your sheets and pillowcases once a week in hot water and replace them often; look for hypoallergenic sheets like these from LivingFresh.com. Even this small change can make a dramatic difference on the health of your skin. For sensitive skin, try testing different natural detergents like Seventh Generation, while examining the effect on your breakouts.
2.) Wash, Don’t Scrub
It’s a common urge to want to scrub your face after spotting a breakout. However, our facial skin is more sensitive than we think while the skin on the rest of our body is generally thicker. While using a scrub on the common areas (neck, shoulders, and back) could be beneficial due to the skin thickness, over exfoliation is not. Firstly, it leaves pores open for further infection. Secondly, improper exfoliation will actually stimulate the cells to reproduce, and likely overproduce, because the sensitive skin is so raw. This can also cause sebum, the oil in our glands, to overproduce as well. It can also inflame the skin. In response, some dermatologists recommend gently washing the face with water only and dabbing the face dry with a clean wash cloth our towel. These dermatologists will often argue that this is the only necessary exfoliation.
3.) Manage Your Makeup
There’s a debate as to whether makeup actually causes breakouts or not. The reality is that there is likely no single correct answer. Our bodies respond to exposures individually due to our varied biological aspects and the many different kinds of makeup. Many dermatologists actually like the fact that some makeup can protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays, and many liquid foundations now have SPF included. However, the discussion on what cosmetics to use and avoid is still continuing. Despite this, there are still a few things you can do to reduce irritation such as disposing of expired makeup. In addition, avoiding fragranced cosmetics and thick greasy foundations of the “all-day” variety can make a huge difference. The key to application is to always be gentle. Do not over-rub the skin. Also, it’s recommended to remove makeup with only a gentle, nontoxic makeup remover. Do not over-scrub the face with a washcloth—instead, gently dab the skin to avoid irritation and excess inflammation.
4.) Keep Hair Off of Your Neck/Back
If you have long hair, you might not prefer tying it up all the time. However, it’s important to be aware of the affects your hair can have when resting on your skin. The oils contained in our follicles can become trapped against the skin and exacerbate breakouts. There are simple ways to alleviate this issue. When you’re sleeping, for instance, knot your hair on top of your head. Not only is it good for your face and back, but it helps prevent breakage of the hair strands as well. Also, when you are in the shower, put your hair up when you are conditioning it. Conditioner can aggravate the skin because of its greasiness. Also, look for the most natural and nontoxic brands to avoid access irritation to allergens and preservatives.
With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to healthier skin in the New Year, so get started today.