Dealing with stubborn acne can be a headache, costing us excessive amounts of time and energy, and not to mention drilling a giant hole our wallets trying to figure out what works for our skin!
Making sure you really know your stuff on all things skin-related can aid you in starting to repair your scars and get you back to feeling confident and gorgeous in your own skin.
What causes acne?
All of us experience acne whether we're going through puberty or in the prime of our lives. While it's natural to acquire these not-so-cute pimples, even as an adult, there are a number of factors that could be contributing to your blocked pores.
Excess oil (sebum) production
Your skin is known for producing sebum, a natural oily substance that lubricates your skin and hair. When the sebaceous glands located near hair follicles produce too much, the sebum can mix with dead skin cells and cause sebum plugs.
Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
The most common reason your skin is acting up could be due to clogged pores. Dead skin and sebum can build up over time and plug up your hair follicles, allowing for bacteria to infiltrate your skin and cause major irritation.
When the bacteria living on your skin slips its way into a clogged pore, you may end up with an infected pimple and a nasty bacterial infection - ick!
An inflamed pimple can be a pain to deal with, literally. Bacteria caught in sebaceous glands can cause skin irritation including redness, swelling, and be tender to the touch.
Hormonal imbalances are generally the culprit of your body producing excess amounts of sebum. This is why it is more common to experience higher amounts of acne during puberty and pregnancy periods.
Acne is often listed as a side effect for many medications, whether they are prescription or over-the-counter. Certain drugs or hormonal medications can aggravate and cause more acne than normal. Make sure you talk to your doctor before stopping any medications.
Following a healthy diet can reduce acne risks and improve your overall health - take a look at your diet and identify if there are any foods that may be upsetting your skin and triggering breakouts.
There's a common belief that stress causes acne -- that fact alone is stressing us out! While stress by itself cannot cause acne, it sure doesn't help and can even contribute to making existing breakouts worse.
Is acne preventable?
Acne looks different on everyone's skin, and depending on the severity, some may need more treatment than others. While we can't completely prevent acne from appearing, there are a number of things you can control and incorporate into your skin care routine that would help reduce chances of triggering a breakout.
What are some ways to prevent acne?
Check out some of our top tips to keep acne at bay:
Properly wash your face.
You'll want to make sure you're properly cleansing your skin each morning and night. Use a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser and wash it off with water. Double cleansing - consisting of a cleansing oil or balm and following up with a water-based cleanser - can be an added benefit in making sure your skin stays squeaky clean. Getting the day's grime out of your pores is important to making sure a blockage doesn't happen, especially if you wear makeup!
Know your skin type.
That's right, even your skin has a personality – there are generally five key types consisting of normal, dry, oily, combination (mix of oily and dry), and sensitive. Knowing your skin type can be vital to finding products and routines that will work well with your skin.
If your skin often feels dry or tight after showering, your moisture barrier may be broken and screaming for help. Make sure you're giving your skin a proper helping of moisturizer to keep that barrier as strong as ever. Your skin gets thirsty too!
Over-the-counter acne treatments.
OTC acne treatments come in all sorts of forms such as oral pills, facial cleansers, washes, lotions, patches, leave-on treatments, and more.
Promote proper skin hydration by drinking lots of water. It's a great way to get the fluids your body needs, and reduces the risk of excess oil production.
Obviously we realize this isn't a feasible option for everyone. But if you're willing to sacrifice the comfort of covering up blemishes with foundation or concealer, your skin may thank you for the space to breathe.
Don’t touch your face.
The more you poke and prod at your face, the more you’re likely to experience a skin freak-out. You don't want to transfer any bacteria into your pores!
Limit sun exposure.
Sun-tanning was so last year – give your skin a long, healthy life and try to be mindful of sun exposure to your skin. If you must be out in the sun, don't forget the sunscreen!
Don’t be a pimple popper.
Ooh but it's tempting, we know. Popping pimples will only make your skin more irritated, and often times lead to scarring. No thank you! Leave it to Dr. Pimple Popper and save your face a little extra pain.
Tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is well regarded for its soothing aroma and relaxation qualities, and even holds anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that can help reduce inflamed skin.
Antibiotics are great for targeting the bacteria living on your skin and work to prevent future breakouts while repairing current ones.
Avoid certain foods.
Foods high in fat, sugar, and dairy are the most common triggers of acne breakouts, especially in adults. While you don't have to completely say goodbye to your favorite comfort foods, it might be best to adjust your relationship with them – monitoring your intake on these products will decrease the risk of another pop-up acne party.
Treat yourself with some self-care. Draw a bath, make yourself a cup of tea, and sit back and relax to chase the stress away. While we all love a good face mask, stay away from fragranced products especially if you have sensitive skin.
How to treat acne
Sometimes trying to treat acne can feel like we're running around in circles. We're constantly wondering what the best therapy method for our skin is to clear out the redness and get that baby-skin glow back. Lucky for you, we've got a list of treatments to try out:
Retinoids and retinoid-like drugs.
Retinol, or vitamin A, is the holy grail of skin care. Known for preventing wrinkles and age lines, retinoids allow your skin to produce more collagen and ward off stubborn acne and other skin conditions.
Oral tablets, lotions, topical solutions, serums - take your pick. If you're suffering from severe acne, you may be able to benefit from an antibiotic solution to fight off bacteria camping out in your pimples.
Azelaic acid and salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid is a staple in the skincare world, and for good reason! It works to keep your pores clean and exfoliates your skin.
Azelaic acid is a bit more heavy-duty. It works to fight against severe acne, especially rosacea, and alleviate the skin from redness and swelling.
Treating more stubborn acne calls for stronger ingredients –dapsone is a prescription medication that treats serious skin infections such as dermatitis herpetiformis and leprosy, as well as severe acne in topical forms.
Combined oral contraceptives.
Going on the Pill as an acne treatment is a common solution to regulate hormonal acne in women. It mainly works to control excess sebum production, and other topical treatments are generally recommended for use alongside birth control.
Anti-androgens work to block androgen production, such as testosterone, and works to keep hormonal acne under control. This method is greatly effective in targeting underlying causes of acne.
Enough is enough - cystic acne has got to go. Isotretinoin is a form of Vitamin A in an oral capsule, used to combat painful acne when all other efforts seem to fail.
At times, it can seem like there's no escape from acne's wrath - but trust us, your skin will graciously thank you for dedicating the time and energy into properly take care of it!
Make the most out of your skin care routine and pamper yourself with a Vanity Planet Acne Bundle. We've included 3 of our favorite essentials to clean, prep, and treat your skin for a detoxifying experience that you (and your pores!) will absolutely love.