Contrary to popular belief, acne isn’t caused by poor hygiene, though keeping yourself clean can help prevent it. Acne’s caused by oil mixing with dead skin to clog pores, which makes a nice, happy place for bacteria. This whole process usually starts with puberty – you know, that time when everybody wants to look their best.
Daily cleansing will help prevent acne, however. By using a soft sponge and mild body wash to clean every part of the body (even the bits you have a hard time reaching or can’t really see yourself), you help make sure that dead skin and oil don’t get a chance to clog your pores.
It’s also important to shower immediately after exercise or other sweat-heavy activities. At the same time, you don’t want to shower or cleanse too much, as too much scrubbing, hot water and harsh soap can actually worsen your skin’s condition. It’s like everything else: you want some balance. Too much of anything is bad for you, cleaning is no different.
Stress and Diet
There’s no scientific evidence to support peoples’ statements that certain foods cause acne – they don’t, or at least, there’s no way of knowing, but if you notice breakouts corresponding with your eating of certain foods, you can avoid that food. That might help, but your best bet would be to start eating a balanced diet. Food high in antioxidants (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) can help make your skin healthier, and a healthier diet in general is just darn good for your body. Let’s face it – all those “fake foods”, overly processed stuff that we tend to eat quite regularly, is really bad for us. Cutting stuff like that out and sticking to what’s natural is good and good for you.
Chronic stress is a huge contributor to adult acne and dealing with it is important, not just for your skin’s health, but for your overall long-term health. It has an impact on hormone production, which has an impact on oil production and causes issues with your immune system.
In short, stress is bad.
You can never completely eliminate stress, but you can reduce it. Get a good night’s sleep, figure out what activities help you relax, get some more exercise – unplug once in a while.
Acne of all kinds can be treated with prescription medications when over-the-counter stuff doesn’t work. You do not want to go on long-term antibiotics, however, because bacteria has a habit of developing resistances to them.
Topical treatments are also available that come in two types: antimicrobial, which kill acne-causing surface bacteria, and retinoids, which get rid of pore clogs. They do have mild side effects, but these disappear after the first few weeks.
If you have mild acne, though, over-the-counter stuff should work just fine. Look for products that contain these special ingredients:
- Alpha-hydroxy acid (Dries Up Blemishes)
- Salicylic acid (Dries Up Blemishes)
- Benzoyl peroxide (Unclogs Every Pores)
- Tea tree oil (Kills All Bacteria)