THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
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!
1. FACIAL CLEANSING ROUTINE
Wash with a mild cleanser (not soap) every morning and every evening before bed. Do NOT skip a face wash before bedtime. Ever. Your nighttime facial routine is more important than morning. Going to bed with make-up on your face can cause more breakouts. 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. Try a healthy smoothie or two first thing in the morning.
3. BREAKING BAD HABITS
AVOID TOUCHING YOUR FACE – Oils and bacteria can be spread 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?
KEEP YOUR HAIR OUT OF YOUR FACE – This applies 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.
KEEP YOUR PILLOW CLEAN – 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.
AVOID EXCESS SUN EXPOSURE – The sun causes the most damage to your skin by accelerating aging. It can also dry out your skin 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.
GENETICS – Research has shown that despite the many myths about what causes acne – diet, poor hygiene, and the body’s overall hormone levels are not always the culprits. With so much mystery surrounding the cause, it’s reasonable to suspect genetics. It seems logical that parents could pass down skin that over-produces oil, just like having red hair and blue eyes. 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.
5. EXTRACTIONS ( a/k/a POPPING ZITS)
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. It is also important to have clean hands and skin anytime you are messing with your pores so as not to spread bacteria. Some blemishes will disappear on their own, but if you want to try to extract the bacteria, do so very carefully. Of course, I believe it is always best to have a trusted esthetician to take care of these things for you and advise on the best skin care routine for your skin type.
The most important thing to remember with acne and breakouts is that you are not alone. According to sciencedaily.com, nearly 51% of women and 43% of men experience acne in their 20s. The good news is that by the time we get to our 40s that number is reduced to 27% women and 12% men. But that is still almost 30% of women fighting acne in their later years. Taking good care of your body on the inside is key, in my experience. What goes inside is reflected on the outside. Additionally, safe skin care products are very important. If you are using products that irritate your skin, you may experience breakouts. Find a natural, professional skin care line or try making your own products to see if this improves your skin! Remember you are beautiful inside and out. Sometimes acne is hard to get under control. Give these tips a try and keep working towards your clear skin goal!