Acne is a problem that many of us face. Experiencing facial pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and redness can be frustrating and painful—both physically and emotionally.
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Sometimes it can seem impossible not to squeeze and pop your pimples, but trying to get rid of them this way can make matters worse.
To avoid acne, you must first understand what it is and why it’s a problem.
What exactly is acne?
Acne, which is scientifically known as acne vulgaris, is a skin infection that happens when pores get clogged by oil or dead skin cells from the skin. Oil from the skin is called sebum, and the glands that produce sebum in our hair follicles are called sebaceous glands. While oil or sebum can protect skin from harmful bacteria, sometimes the sebaceous glands tend to produce excess sebum. The excess sebum then clogs the skin pores, causing acne.
What Makes Acne Worse?
When puberty begins, both boys and girls start to produce high level of hormones. Hormones are significant factors in the cause of acne and one major hormone contributor is called androgen.
Testosterone is one of these androgens, and they specifically signal the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, thereby encouraging the production of more acne.
Your Everyday Habits
Since it’s easier to prevent acne than it is to treat it, we’ve included some helpful tips below so you can avoid bad habits that could be worsening your chances of experiencing more breakouts more often.
Here are ten everyday habits to avoid acne—
- Keep your face clean
Cleanliness is an essential factor in preventing breakouts. Be sure to wash your face well twice a day. Wash the outer area of your face near and near your hairline; these areas of the face are oftentimes overlooked and tend to be the most common when breakouts happen.
Wash your face gently. Use a mild soap and warm water to avoid skin irritation. Don’t forget to use either a soft cloth or your hands when washing. If you use something abrasive like an exfoliating glove or rough towel, it may damage your skin. Washing your face aggressively or any more than twice a day can irritate or overdry the skin, so make sure not to overdo it!
Always make sure to rinse your face thoroughly and then dry it with a clean towel. Make sure to wash the towel immediately after to ensure you’re using a clean towel every time you wash.
- Moisturize your face
After cleansing, you should use a moisturizer. Some moisturizers for acne can cause the skin to dry out or peel, so look for mild, water-based moisturizer. If possible, look for one with a label that says, “non-comedogenic.” This type of cream can prevent new pimples from forming.
- Avoid touching your face
Try not to touch your face too often, as the germs on your hands can be harmful to your skin and pores. Also, touching your face can irritate the skin and cause it to be more pimply, inflamed or itchy.
Extracting your pimples using your fingers or fingernails allows the bacteria on your hands and under your nails to spread under the epidermis causing pimples to grow bigger. Squeezing existing pimples will also worsen your skin’s condition and can cause open skin or scarring, leaving it exposed and prone to infection.
Lastly, make sure to avoid holding your cell phone against your face, because your phone could have more germs than your hands have. The same goes for face towels, pillow cases or anything else that comes in contact with your face. If you are not sure whether the item is clean or not, it’s best to wash it and avoid contact with sensitive skin.
- Don’t soak too long in the sun
Contrary to the myth that sunlight can get rid of pimples, sunlight can actualy cause your skin to dry up and produce more pimples. The sun also gives off ultraviolet (UV) rays, which can cause more redness and inflammation of your skin.
The sun is the hottest between 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. so when you go out in the sun, make sure to wear and bring protective clothing, such as a shirt with long sleeves, comfortable pants, sunglasses, and a hat with a wide brim. An umbrella and sunscreen are also a must!
The most effective sunscreen is a broad-spectrum sunscreen which can protect you from all kinds of UV rays. Apply it 20 minutes before going out. As with your moisturizer, look for a “non-comedogenic” label on the sunscreen to avoid pimples and severe breakouts.
- Keep your hair clean
Try to avoid applying excessive hair products as these can run onto your face or leave residue, clogging your pores. If you do use any hair products, then apply them prior to washing your face. Then you can cleanse your face to remove any product that may have gotten on your skin.
Make it a habit to read the shampoo labels to find out if they contain ingredients that might irritate the skin. Again, look for “non-comedogenic” on the labels of your shampoo or any other skin products to prevent acne.
- Relax more
Studies show that stress may be connected to the increase in pimples and severity of breakouts. Find out what triggers stress at work and in your daily life. If stress is an issue, try taking a yoga class, exercising, and using calming essential oils to relieve some of that tension.
Exercise is another way to reduce stress, detox the skin, and strengthen the body so you can fight common symptions like pimples. Since exercise increases blood circulation, it provides skin cells with more oxygen and gets rid of wastead toxins.
Adjust your schedule to include regular exercise, but do make sure to shower after cooling down from a workout. Sweat and dirt from a workout can cause bacteria to grow in and around your pores.
- Be conscious of what you eat
“You are what you eat,” is something we’ve all heard below. Eating what is healthy will dictate how you feel and how you look. That includes your skin’s health, along with your hair and nails. Your diet may play a part in the appearance of acne.
Although doctors have argued that chocolate and other fat-rich food do not affect the growth of pimples, there are still some foods that can worsen breakouts. Food with a lot of oil like fried foods, mayonnaise, and butter, or food with milk and other dairy products could trigger pimples and even severe breakouts.
Sugar is another food we should watch out for, because it causes the blood sugar in the body to rise. Anything that contains starch is also a catalyst for acne since it immediately transforms into sugar once it has made its way into our system.
Overeating sugar-rich and starch-rich foods may also induce type 2 diabetes or other related diseases, so opt for more fruits and vegetables in your diet for healthier, clearer skin.
- Keep your pillowcases and linens clean
When you sleep, all the dirt and oil on your face makes its way onto your pillowcase. If you really want to prevent acne, change and wash your pillowcases and sheets regularly.
Also, wash your face before going to bed. This will help remove all the dirt that has built up on your face which will help keep your bedding clean longer.
- Choose the right makeup
Some makeup can clog your pores and prompt acne growth. Not all cosmetics are hypoallergenic and uses minerals as ingredients, and most beauty brands use toxic ingredients that can be harmful to the skin especially over time.
Reading the label on your makeup before you buy it will help you choose the right products if you’re looking for more natural ways to make yourself up! Once more, look for “non-comedogenic” on the label of the cosmetics you’re going to buy. Make sure that your makeup is oil-free, with no unwanted chemicals or dyes. Be cautious not to continue using products that cause peeling or drying of your skin.
If and when acne does start to appear, try to avoid wearing any kind of cosmetics on your face at all. Always wash your makeup off at the end of the day to free your pores of the powders, liquids, and creams you applied to it earlier.
For those who are suffering from acne regularly, these tips are helpful for treating this common skin condition.
Acne can be a big problem for most of us, lowering confidence, causing depression and impacting self-esteem. But developing these habits and incorporating them into your everyday life is key to see results and avoid acne issues. The results may not appear right away and may take a week or two. Make sure to test different solutions so you can find out what works for you, and remember to give your skin a break in between treatments.