Ah, the dreaded pimple. Those red blemishes that always seems to show up at the worst times, leaving you asking, “Why now and why me?” While you can’t always control when a pimple is going to arise, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chance of getting them so frequently.
You may not know that genetics and hormones, which in turn, make oil-producing glands go into overdrive and cause the build-up of dead cells and bacteria beneath the skin’s surface, cause acne. In addition to biology, certain medications, such as corticosteroids or lithium, can also cause acne.
Reducing Your Breakouts
So, if you are already predisposed to acne, what can you do to reduce your chance of a breakout?
Wipe Away Excess Sweat & Oil
Keeping in shape is essential to staying healthy, but remember that when you sweat, excess oil is produced. When this excess oil combines with friction from clothes, hats or headbands, it can cause acne. Be sure to always keep a towel handy when you workout to wipe away sweat and to shower or change out of your sweaty clothes as soon as your workout is done.
Don’t Over Scrub Your Skin
While some people think acne is caused by poor hygiene, the truth is surface dirt and oil does not cause acne. If you think excess scrubbing will rid your skin of acne, you can actually be doing more harm than good. Always gently wash your twice a day with a mild, noncomedogenic soap, which won’t clog pores, and then pat dry. Follow-up with a moisturizer suited for your skin type; i.e. hydrating for dry skin & oil free for oil/combination skin.
Eat a Healthy Diet & Drink Lots of Water
You’ve probably heard the rumors that chocolate and fried foods cause acne. Luckily, this has not been proven to be the cause. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water. In fact, a balanced diet has been shown to improve the look of skin, and drinking water is great for flushing toxins from your body, which gives you a healthy glow. Some people have reported certain foods do seem to affect their acne. If this is the case for you, try to avoid these triggers.
Lower Your Stress Level
Today, everyone seems to be moving in a million different directions, so it is no surprise that stress levels are at an all time high. While you’ve probably know that too much stress can be bad for your health, you might not know that it can also be bad for your skin. When stress kicks in your hormones act up and can cause your glands to increase oil production, which in turn can cause acne. By keeping your stress levels low, you can keep your body working properly. Try to find outlets for stress, like mediation, getting plenty of sleep or by doing something that relaxes you, like a favorite hobby.
Don’t Pop Your Zits
We’ve all done it, and we’ve all seen the results. Popping your zits or excessively touching your irritated skin can cause further inflammation and possibly scaring. Even if you’re tempted or have found that popping a zit or two in the past has worked, try your best not to do it. By following your regular skin regimen and maybe adding an exfoliator to the mix, your skin will clear up on its own. Helpful reminder: Always clean your makeup brushes and your cell phone to keep oil and bacteria at bay.
If you do suffer from frequent breakouts, seeing a dermatologist is the recommended treatment. A dermatologist can determine the type of acne you have and provide you with treatment options.
Not ready to see a doctor and want to try a natural treatment? There are a few options that may provide you with some relief.
This treatment comes from the New Zealand Mauka bush. While it is recognized for its antibacterial properties, no one really knows how it works. The treatment is gaining acceptance in hospitals worldwide for its ability to help heal wounds.
Tea Tree Oil
This oil comes from a small tree that is found only in Australia. It is probably one of the most popular alternative acne treatments available and can be found in lots of over-the-counter products. While Tea Tree Oil may not work as quickly as other common acne treatments, like benzoyl peroxide, it can be very effective in reducing breakouts long term and has less side effects, like dryness and skin irritation. If you have sensitive skin, it is always best to test the Tea Tree Oil out slowly, as some people may have allergic reactions to it.
Tannins & Fruit Acids
With their natural astringent abilities, tannins are widely recommended as an alternative treatment for acne. If you are interested in trying this treatment, it is best to seek the advice of an alternative medicine professional, as they are trained to prepare the tannin properly. Fruit acids, such as citric, glycolic and malic acid are known for their ability to remove skin, while bittersweet nightshade is known for its antimicrobial effects, or ability to kill microorganisms.
So while you can’t always control acne, there are things you can do to reduce your chance of more frequent breakouts, and keep your skin looking healthy.