As an esthetician, I take acne seriously. I have spent a lot of time trying to understand why and how breakouts happens and how to fix it. Breakouts can be very frustrating especially as we get older! We expect some acne as a teen because of an overload of hormones but adults can suffer from acne as well. Here is a brief run down of some causes of breakouts and some helpful tips!

Wash with a mild cleanser (not soap) every morning and every evening before bed. Do not skip a face wash before bedtime. Ever. Use a mild toner after cleansing, using a cotton ball, such as witch hazel.
Use a light, non greasy, moisturizing lotion after each cleansing routine in both the evening and in the morning to help balance the skin’s oils.

Drink plenty of water daily. Avoid junk food, especially foods high in sugar. Fill your diet with fruit, vegetables and protein. Avoid unnatural additives and processed foods. If you love dairy, look for organic foods without hormones (rbst), and try to go with a Greek yogurt instead of many of the sugar filled ones. Limit your fat, caffeine and sugar intake. The ‘diet’ I follow.

🔻 Avoid touching your face
Oils and bacteria can be spread or increased with the touch of your fingertips. Avoid touching your face throughout the day or holding your head up with your hand in class or when talking on the phone. AND try not to constantly have your phone smashed to your face. This can cause breakouts in that area. Notice where you touch your face the most — Is this where you develop the most pimples?

🔻 Hair
Keep your hair out of your face, especially at night. Pin it back or keep it in a pony tail while sleeping. Hair can add to unnecessary oils on your face. Also, beware of too much hair product. Excess hair sprays and other hair products can cause a flare up if your hair is often in your face.

🔻 Pillowcase
It sounds crazy but it is important to wash your pillowcase often! Oil and dirt from your skin can build up on your pillowcase and cause breakouts.

🔻 The Sun
The sun causes the most damage to your skin by accelerating aging, but it can also be drying and cause an acne flare up. Avoid excess sunlight and if you do plan to spend a day at the beach, wear your SPF!

4. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT (this one is very important for teens!)

🔻 Hormones
Acne occurs when hormones cause the skin’s glands to produce too much oil. As a result, skin follicles get clogged and the over-oily skin allows naturally occurring bacteria to go haywire. Sometimes the skin can feel or appear very dry even with an over production of oil because the skin is imbalanced. The result is whiteheads, blackheads, and inflammation. The oil ‘overload’ can clog hair follicles where bacteria grows and causes acne to form. Additionally, acne in women comes and goes in response to the ‘monthly visitor’.

With moderate to severe acne it may be best to discuss different options with your physician or a trusted dermatologist. Sometimes a low-dose birth control pill or an acne type medication is prescribed to help regulate hormone levels and reduce acne symptoms.

🔻 Heredity
Research has shown that despite the many myths about what causes acne – diet, poor hygiene, and the body’s overall hormone levels are not the culprits. With so much mystery surrounding the cause, it’s reasonable to suspect genetics. It’s seems logical that parents could pass down skin that over-produces oil, just like red hair or cystic fibrosis. Recent studies have found that the greater number of family members with acne, the more likely a teen would also develop acne, especially if the teen’s mother had a history of acne.

Wait until you see the white! Once a blemish comes ‘to a head’ it is okay to ‘pop’ it. But very gently! Treat your skin like you would a baby. Nice and gentle. Do not tear your skin under any circumstance—this can cause scarring. Some blemishes will disappear on their own, but if you want to try to extract the bacteria, do so very carefully.

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