We all had to deal with it; we fought against it and sometimes won, other times we found ways to conceal it. Acne, also known as one of the most persistent troubles of teenagers can continue to give us a bad time even into adulthood. At the Versus Laser clinic, we have a lot of tools to help us deal with acne, whether it belongs to a teenager or to an adult. But can we prevent it and avoid any treatment?
First of all, it needs to be said that the causes of acne are complex: lifestyle choices, age, hormones and even the way we care for our skin – all play an important part in acne breaks. At a local level, acne appears with the first pimple caused by a clogged pore. Clogged pores appear because of dead skin cells who should normally be shed; but when the skin is oilier than usual, these cells stick to it and form a lid that closes the pores. This forms the ideal habitat for bacteria to grow and multiply in. The result? The body tries to expel it and pimples are the way it does so. This inflammation is a natural response to unwanted bacteria.
So, in a nutshell, it can be said that acne appears because of clogged pores and oily skin. But what causes them to appear in the first place? Read below and find out what are the 5 most common triggers of acne breaks. Don’t worry, we also have solutions to fight them:
Re-check your beauty routine and your tools
Did you know that there is a type of acne called “acne cosmetica”? It bears this name because it is caused by the cosmetics we use. Oils and silicons are the top substances that can be found in most cosmetic creams and lotions and that are known to clog pores.
In order to avoid these substances, try using products that are labeled as “non-comedogenic”. They typically have a lighter structure and will not clog your pores. Also, make sure that you was your make-up tools regularly. The cosmetic residues on them combined with their exposure to moist (let’s face it, most of us store them in the bathroom) make brushes the perfect environment for bacteria to multiply. When you rub them against your skin…well, you can easily imagine that you will not only transfer the make-up, but also the bacteria.
Your hormones are acting up
Androgens, the male hormones are not only present in the bodies of men as one might have thought. We wouldn’t even complain about “hosting” them even we didn’t know that they tend to overstimulate the oil and sweat glands. As previously stated, when the body produces more oil, clogged pores appear.
Did you notice that your acne tends to break around your menstrual cycle? That’s because this is the moment when the female body secrets the most testosterone; in fact, during the menstrual cycle women secrete more testosterone than female hormones like progesterone and estrogen.
Sadly, there is not much you can do to prevent your hormones from acting up; the only thing that helps is taking extra care of your skin during the delicate days of your menstrual cycle. Try exfoliating more often and keeping a very good hygiene so that bacteria have no time to settle in. If your acne breaks are very severe, you can also talk to your dermatologist about prescribing you medication that helps beat hormonal acne.
Watch your diet
It is only relatively recent that specialists have begun to believe that what we eat affects the appearance of acne. Even though dermatologists used to say that our diet does not influence in any way acne breaks or even the appearance of the odd pimple, recent studies have shown that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, these studies clearly show that foods that have a high glycemic index can make acne worse. Such foods increase your blood sugar, favoring acne not only to appear, but also to develop at an accelerated rate. Other food groups that have the same effect are dairy (especially fatty ones) and the “bad” kind of fats that you can usually find in junk food.
The solution? Well, this one could one couldn’t be any simpler! Stay away of the foods listed above and make sure that your blood sugar is at a steady rate. If you think about it, eliminating these foods from your daily intake and having a healthy diet overall has other benefits, too, aside from keeping acne under control.
Avoid stressful situations
Yes, we know, stress is a part of everyone’s daily routine now; we stress about work and when we get home we stress about not having enough personal time. But did you know that stress causes the release of cortisol, a type of steroid hormone? Even worse, this hormone leads to your body producing even more oil than testosterone does.
Another way in which stress can cause our acne to break is causing people to tamper with their pimples more often. In turn, this results in “acne excoriee”; in addition to acne, this ailment also causes scars. If you feel compelled to pick at your pimples, we suggest you see a psychologists; sometimes, this is a symptom of depression.
Talk to your doctor about the medication you are taking
Lithium (used by people who suffer from depression or bipolar disorder) and steroids (prednisone, for instance, or the anabolic ones that bodybuilders typically use) can cause acne even in people who never had to deal with it before.
If you are on a new type of medication and observe that your acne has worsened, talk to your doctor immediately. Usually, there are alternative drugs that you can take, drugs that don’t cause your acne to flare up.
The five triggers listed above are the most common ones that people with acne should steer clear from. Of course, there are people who respond to other stimuli and it is important to find your very own triggers. Have you found yours yet?