Acne is a skin condition that can affect both men and women. Acne, also known as blemishes, blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts, is most common during puberty and adolescence.
Acne can affect people of all age groups and it can be as a result of hormonal fluctuations, especially during puberty and pregnancy.
Also medications containing corticosteroids or oral contraceptive pills, or a diet high in refined sugars or carbohydrates, or even stress can lead to that.
Your skin has small holes or pores that are connected to the oil glands lying under the skin through follicles. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, an oily substance.
When these follicles get clogged, it leads to the outbreak of acne. The reason acne occurs more around puberty or at the time of hormonal changes is because there is excess secretion of oil.
At times, acne or pimples are simply a result of a reaction to a cosmetic product. And yes what you eat could be the culprit too. Additionally, there is also a common notion that not drinking enough water can cause acne.
While all these can increase the acne-problem, there are several other factors too.
1. Genetic factors
If either of your parents had acne, it is more likely that you too will develop it sooner or later in life.
2. It could be hormonal.
Sex hormones called androgens increase during puberty and cause the follicular glands to enlarge and make more sebum, thereby leading to acne. Many medical conditions can also induce a high-androgen state.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives can also affect sebum production.
Certain medications are known to have worsened acne. These include steroids and anticonvulsant medications.
You know that smoking is injurious to health, but did you know that it is also bad for the skin? With every cigarette you smoke, there is a decrease in oxygen supply to the face. The smoke also irritates the skin causing it to produce more oil and could result in breakouts.
Here are some everyday practices that might be triggering your acne.
1. Touching your face frequently
While touching your face may or may not cause acne, it definitely makes it worse. In our daily routine, our hands come into contact with germs, bacteria and dirt, which are all easily transferred onto the face due to repetitive touching. This habit can trigger breakouts and make pimples worse.
In order to prevent this, keep your hands off your face. Though you might be tempted to itch or meddle with the affected area, refrain from doing so. It is also always good to wash your hands from time to time or keep a sanitizer handy.
2. An unhealthy diet.
A balanced diet, consisting of essential minerals and nutrients, is not only good for your health but also your skin. Eating junk food, carbs and not eating on time can have adverse effects on the skin in the form of pimples and breakouts.
While it’s occasionally okay to indulge in junk food, try incorporating fruits and vegetables to help regularise your diet. Don't forget to drink at least eight to ten glasses of water daily too.
A major reason for acne is stress. When under pressure, the sensitive skin produces stress hormones that stimulate oil glands producing more testosterone thereby resulting in increased oil production and clogged pores.
What to do.
Make sure you spend at least 15 to 20 minutes every day meditating. This will help rejuvenate your body and mind which in turn helps bring down your stress levels.
4. Not using the right hair products
The hair products that you use on a daily basis, from your shampoo, conditioner to sprays, gels, and so on contain products like sulfates, silicones, and other chemical agents that might be harmful to the skin and trigger acne.
So try not to let these hair products come in contact with your skin. After using these products, clean your face, neck and chest area and ensure no residue is left behind. Dandruff too can be another major cause. Therefore, make sure that you wash your hair from time to time and comb your hair backwards. It also helps to have your hair tied back so that any product you use on your hair doesn't irritate your facial skin too much.
5. Not washing your face properly
It is important to use well-medicated cleansers twice a day, but hard cleansers and washing too frequently can make the acne worse and face to look dryer. So do that in moderation. Sleeping with makeup on or not washing your face after a sweaty day, also results in acne.
Always keep your face clean and wash it once or twice a day with mild soap or face wash. Make sure to wash your face with a cleanser every night before going to bed. In case you have been affected by acne, then skip the facial scrub. Wipe your skin with an astringent or toner to remove the oil from your skin from time to time. Make sure that any item that comes in direct contact with your face be it towels, or makeup brushes, are washed regularly. This ensures that all the germ buildup on such items gets rinsed out, and doesn't get transferred to your face. Also use separate towels for your hair and face.
6. Not changing your pillowcases frequently.
Dirty pillowcases and bedsheets can also cause acne breakouts. Dirty bedding can cause dirt to settle on our face and skin and end up in clogging pores. The cleaner your bedding, the happier your skin will be.
Try changing your pillow cover once in four days. Moreover, it's best to choose a pillow cover that is made out of natural fabric.
7. Not cleaning up after workouts
Sweating loosens up all the grime and makeup (if applied) on the face and if it is not removed properly, it might clog the pores resulting in acne breakouts.
So you must not skip washing and cleansing your face and body after an intense or sweaty workout session. Just a quick splash of water will not do the trick, instead, use a mild face wash.
8. Using the wrong skincare products
Using hygiene products that are not suitable for your skin type can actually wreak havoc on your skin. Besides, if you’re someone who switches products quite frequently, note that this habit can actually cause a lot of harm to your skin. The ingredients in every new product can irritate your skin and cause pimples and acne.
Stick a particular brand once you’ve found something that suits your skin. Make sure your skin gets to breathe. Refrain from always using makeup to cover up the acne. In case you can’t do without makeup, use water-based cosmetics instead. Always look for natural products since chemicals can cause an acne breakout.
9. Popping your pimples.
Fidgeting with a pimple causes irritation, pain and discomfort. In the active stage, acne can be irritating. Touching or poking it only leads to inflammation and will leave marks or scars, referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
When this happens you can use a retinoid cream or an antibiotic cream which will help dry the pimples. Certain topical applications available over the counter can make your skin photosensitive. So make sure you use a sunscreen when you’re using a retinoid cream.
Here are some natural ways you can prevent acne or pimples.
1. Cut down on caffeine intake, sugar and refined carbohydrates, all of which can activate the hormones that encourage your sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which in turn contributes to acne.
2. Stock up on fresh fruit and green leafy vegetables. Top veggies include carrots, celery, apples and ginger. Throw them into a salad or blend them into a smoothie!
Loaded with antioxidants that prevents blocking of pores, this fruit can definitely give you clean and clear skin. Eat a bowlful of pomegranate seeds or squeeze them into some refreshing juice that can open up those pores and let your skin breathe.
This fruit contains enzymes which can help rejuvenate your skin. Eat a few slices of raw papaya for breakfast or as a quick snack to help repair the damage done to your skin by dust and pollution.
These are rich in salicylic acid which helps keep the skin clean and fresh.
These and other citrus fruits are rich sources of antioxidants that help detoxify the skin from deep within by reducing excessive estrogen. Moreover, the vitamin C content are high in these fruits and helps keep oil and grime at bay, thereby preventing acne.
3. Increase the intake of anti-oxidant rich foods such as green tea, aloe vera juice, etc. Try to incorporate at least three portions each of the following into your weekly diet: carrots, for better carotene, fish, for essential fatty acids, avocados for vitamin E, and pomegranates to fortify blood.
4. Cut down on metabolism-busting factors like deep-fried or starchy foods, yeast products, sweets, alcohol and caffeine. You could also substitute white bread for whole-wheat whenever possible.
5. Avoid spicy food, fried foods, fermented and salty foods.
6. Drink lots of water, eight to ten glasses, so that your system is well hydrated and the toxins from your body are flushed out. You can also put in a few leaves of neem or tulsi so that it keeps your stomach clean.
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