Acne is a common skin condition caused when hair follicles become plugged with dead skin cells and oil. This results in different types of blemishes, including pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, papules, nodules, and cystic lesions. Acne breakouts are common among teenagers due to the causative androgenic hormones, but the condition can persist, becoming an issue in adult life – a 1999 study found nearly half of the adult population suffers from acne at least occasionally.
Acne does not discriminate on where to attack but usually appears on the face, chest, forehead, neck, upper back, and shoulders. Acne occurs in these areas of the skin because they have the most oil glands. The leading causes of acne include excess oil production, bacteria, inflammation, and clogging of the hair follicles by dead skin cells and oils. Though acne breakouts are a normal physiological skin condition, certain other conditions can act as triggers. Below are common acne breakout triggers.
What triggers acne breakouts
The bitter truth about acne breakouts is that there is no cure. Therefore, a better understanding of the potential triggers that can cause and aggravate blemishes may help to alleviate symptoms and improve skin conditions. The human body reacts differently to certain things, and how acne develops in one person will differ from the other. Certain things may trigger or worsen acne breakouts, and they include:
Diet - Consuming certain foods increases the risk of getting acne, which has been supported by some studies. These foods include carbohydrate-rich foods, such as chips and bread. To promote healthy skin, a person should eat a healthy balanced diet.
Hormonal changes - During puberty in both boys and girls, the level of the hormone androgen increases, which causes the development of the sebaceous gland and results in more sebum being released. Also, in women, hormonal changes around the time of menstruation may lead to acne breakouts.
Stress - It is worth noting that stress does not directly cause acne. However, stress may worsen acne by making a person indulge in unhealthy habits that can cause their acne to worsen, such as eating comfort foods high in sugar.
Certain medications - Some medications have been found to exacerbate acne breakouts and include drugs containing lithium, testosterone, and corticosteroids.
Clothing - Certain types of clothing, including hats, headgear, and sports helmets, promote acne. Clothing that contains Lycra also promotes acne due to friction, and that is why cotton clothing is preferred for most people.
Manipulating acne lesions - People who have a bad habit of picking and prodding acne lesions may worsen the condition by facilitating the spread of the bacteria that causes acne. This increases the frequency of acne breakouts.
5 Simple Ways To Prevent Acne Breakouts
Prevention is better than cure, and since acne has no cure, the following tips will help and can be useful during acne treatment.
Having a daily routine for cleaning the skin - The skin is responsible for protecting the inner cells, and since it comes into contact with many harmful substances, it is vital to keep it clean. Whether you have acne or not, it is vital to wash the face at least twice daily. This will help remove impurities, excess oil, damaged and dead skin cells, and even bacteria. When cleaning the face or skin, it is advisable to use warm water, gentle soap, and a mild facial cleanser. Using a harsh soap will do you more harm than good because it can cause the already inflamed skin to become more irritated. Also, if you do not have a soft cloth or a washcloth, you can use your hands. After cleaning, rinse well and dry your face or skin using a soft clean towel. Dirty towels and washcloths may contain the bacteria responsible for causing acne, so you should use towels only once before washing them.
Refrain from scrubbing and rubbing the skin violently - When washing your skin, avoid scrubbing too violently and using rough washcloths. These can irritate the skin and result in inflammation, which may worsen acne breakouts. To avoid rubbing the skin harshly, you can use a soft brush to clean the face, helping prevent pimples.
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Moisturize your skin - Many acne products have ingredients that dry out the skin. It is advisable before you buy any acne product to look at the ingredients and choose the one that is 'non-comedogenic'. This means that the product should not cause acne. Moisturizers are made for different skin types, so make sure to pick one that fits you. Avoid using powder and blush during breakouts because they cause the skin to dry.
Take care of your hair - Always keep your hair clean to prevent the excess oil in the hair from traveling to the skin. Wash the hair more often and ideally do not use hair products to prevent the products from leaking on your skin and clogging the pores. You should also keep your hair away from your face to help minimize your contact with hair products that may contribute to clogging the pores. Also, refrain from using fragrances, oils, gels, and pomades on your hair because they can clog the pores leading to acne breakouts.
Stay out of the sun - The sun helps the body produce vitamin D, but when preventing acne, you should stay out of the sun. The sun's ultraviolet rays can cause and increase inflammation and redness, which may result in dark discoloration. Certain acne medications may increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight, and thus you should limit the amount of time you spend in the sun. If need be, wear protective clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants. To protect your skin at all times, always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure to allow the sunscreen time to soak in the skin. Again, be sure to look for 'non-comedogenic' sunscreen. Before you buy any skincare product, it is important to read the ingredients to know what you are putting on your skin.
These self-care remedies and many others may help you prevent and treat your acne breakout, but if symptoms persist, consult a doctor for the best treatment option. It is worth noting that just like any other skin condition, maintaining healthy skin is key in ensuring the prevention of skin disorders and further breakouts.