There is a lot of stipulation about acne. Everyone has their own opinions and theories about what causes breakouts and what can help prevent them. A large majority of the population suffers from acne at some point in their life. With acne comes the ‘advice’, creating a weird game of dermatology whispers, each person’s story of how they cured their acne becoming more and more warped with each telling. This makes it hard to see through all the layers of misunderstands to see the reality. So what is the reality? At this point I think it is worth noting that I am not a dermatologist. But over the years of dealing with clients with acne and dealing with my own acne, I have picked up a few useful tips that I want to share with you.
There are three main types of acne. Inflammatory, cystic and hormonal. Inflammatory acne is caused by bacteria in the pores. The bacteria clogs the pores causing random bouts of red spots, blackheads and white heads. This type of acne can generally be treated by washing the face twice daily with a face wash and using drugstore spot treatments or natural remedies such as tea tree oil, lemon or witch hazel. Choosing the right products for your skin type will also help. Knowing if you have dry, oily, combination or sensitive skin and only using products that are compatible with your skin type, will greatly help with this problem.
Cystic acne is an aggressive form of acne that clusters deeply on the skin, generally covering the cheeks and forehead. This acne can become incredibly inflamed and painful; it runs a high risk of scarring the face permanently if it becomes infected. Cystic acne is generally caused by genetics and needs medication to effectively treat it. The sooner it is caught and treated the easier it will be to clear.
Lastly, hormonal acne does exactly what it says on the tin. It is caused by changes in hormone levels, which could be caused by a woman’s period, pregnancy, stress or simply puberty. This type of acne is not only restricted to the face, it can appear anywhere on the body, namely the back and chest. This wide spread acne is common in conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Hormonal acne can be treated with the birth control pill or testosterone blockers.
Once you understand the difference between the types of acne it becomes a little easier to decipher what is fact and what is fiction when listening to the old wives tales surrounding acne. For instance, we know not all acne is caused by dirty skin, which is one of the biggest myths, therefore, we know simply washing your face every day might not be enough to clear a breakout. Another myth is that greasy food causes breakouts. This vague statement is not entirely true, as it is not the grease in food that causes spots, however, there is some truth and food does play a part in causing acne.
A diet that is high in sugar and simple carbohydrates such as chocolate, bread and pasta can make the sugar levels in your blood spike, causing a higher level of insulin to be released. The insulin increases the production of oil in the skin which eventually clogs the pores of the skin, causing breakouts.
Important things to remember with all acne is not to pick at it! Picking can easily lead to infection which will cause more acne and maybe even scarring.
You can also prevent acne from spreading by regularly washing your hands; this prevents bacteria transferring to the face.
Remove your makeup at night. Makeup itself is not the cause of bad skin however, your skin needs that time to breathe!
Wash your makeup brushes! You wouldn’t wash your face with a dirty towel, so don’t apply your makeup with dirty brushes! (Comment if you would like a post on cleaning brushes.)
The most important thing to remember is that your acne does not define you; you are beautiful!