If you’re struggling with acne, you’re probably wondering if you’ll ever enjoy clear skin again. The answer is, yes – but it may take some work to address the underlying causes and condition of your skin.
Common Causes of Acne
We’re all familiar with acne – either personally or as a result of seeing others around us deal with it – but what exactly is it?
According to Mayo Clinic,
“Acne is a skin condition that occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages.”
There are really four main factors that cause acne:
- Excessive oil production
- Hair follicles that become clogged by oil and dead skin
Acne most commonly appears on the face, forehead, shoulders, chest, and upper back. It’s most commonly seen in teenagers when there are hormonal changes taking place during puberty that cause sebaceous glands to produce more oil/sebum.
However, acne can also be caused by other factors like drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium. Certain diets and even prolonged stress can also lead to the formation of acne.
4 Tips for Clear Skin
Truth be told, the best thing you can do is visit a dermatologist to get individual attention and treatment plans based on the specific circumstances of your case. They’ll be able to evaluate, diagnose, and prescribe to ensure you can achieve clear skin faster.
That said, there are several at-home acne treatment options and general best practices that will allow you to get clearer skin while waiting on an appointment. Here are a few:
1. Wash Your Face
Make sure you’re washing your face at least once or twice per day as part of your regular morning and evening skincare routine. Washing your face helps remove excess oil and clear away hair follicles that are clogged at the surface by oil and dead skin.
In a study of individuals with acne, participants were asked to wash their face either once, twice, or four times per day over a six-week period. At the completion of the study, those who washed their face twice per day had the most significant improvement in facial acne. Those who only washed once per day saw the greatest increase.
2. Use the Right Cleansing Products
It’s not enough to wash your face. You also need to ensure you’re using the right cleansing products for your face. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. If you walk down the aisle of your local supermarket or drugstore, you’ll find dozens of different facial cleansers – each promising to be the toughest on acne. But do you want to know the truth? Expensive, name-brand cleansers aren’t necessarily better.
According to a review of 14 different studies, there’s very little difference in skin breakout severity or frequency based on the cleanser you use. All you need is a mild cleanser that doesn’t have many ingredients or fragrances and you’ll get decent results.
3. Keep Your Hands Away
When you have an acne breakout, there’s a natural inclination to touch, pick, and pop. However, nothing could be worse for your acne. While it might seem to provide some immediate relief or speed up the recovery, the opposite is actually true. It typically worsens the acne by irritating the area and/or contaminating it with more oil or bacteria. The best thing you can do is keep your hands off.
4. Change Your Diet
There’s some research to suggest a connection between your diet and your skin. More specifically, folks with a high glycemic index are often linked with acne. To lower your glycemic index, do your best to limit or avoid processed carbs (white bread and baked goods), sugary sodas and candy, and alcohol. Try eating more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy proteins.
Adding it All Up
The good news is that most acne can be treated effectively. When you have a treatment plan in place, clear skin is possible. However, time is of the essence. Over time, severe acne that’s left untreated may lead to scarring or permanent skin changes. Being proactive about your treatment will lessen this risk and help you reclaim your confidence.