Acne! Part One
Acne is the most common skin condition in the world, and it affects over 50 million Americans each year. Puberty is one of the most common causes of acne, and approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12-24 experience acne according to aad.org.
What Causes Acne?
Acne is caused by the pores on the skin becoming clogged by oil, skin, or bacteria. There are several triggers for acne, including: hormones, reactions to medications, diet, and stress. Some misconceptions about the causes of acne include that factors such as oily and greasy food, hygiene, and cosmetics (that are non oily) cause acne. Teenagers are the most common group to develop acne, but it can affect people of all ages. Some other common factors that contribute to the likeliness of developing acne include family history, contact with greasy substances (such as makeup), hormonal changes, and more.
What should you do if you have acne?
In the United States, people spend over 400 million on over the counter acne medications alone! However, before resorting to these over the counter medications, it's important to change some critical habits that might eventually help significantly. I, myself, have struggled with acne since I was 11 or 12 years old. One of my friends even told me that I looked like I had a mountain range on my forehead! Since then, I have exhausted dozens of different products, techniques, and habits to try to reduce my acne. It hasn't completely disappeared, but it has improved significantly over the years. Through my experience, I've been able to understand some tips that worked for me and a lot of my friends.
Disclaimer: There are many types and forms of acne, and the tips that might have helped me a lot might do nothing for someone else. This is just the information that I have learnt through my journey with acne, and I completely recommend doing them, but don't expect to see perfect results with every technique.
1. Wash, but don't over wash.
One of the most important habits that someone with acne will need to incorporate into their lives is washing the face preferably twice a day. Washing the face can make sure that excess dirt and oils are removed so that they don't further clog pores. Use a mild cleanser with an oil-free moisturizer to prevent further clogging. However, don't over wash the face, as it can strip the skin of essential oils, and make the skin overly dry, leading to aggravated pimples.
2. Wash your hair often.
Oil from the hair can travel to the skin causing blocked pores, resulting in worsened acne. This tip significantly helped me in the past, as I used to have horrible hair-washing habits as I was growing up. It'd be a miracle if I could wash my hair once in a week! Once I started a more consistent hair-washing routine, I noticed that a lot of my acne, especially near my forehead, was slowly disappearing. It's one of the less known tips for acne, but can be very helpful.
3. DON'T PICK YOUR PIMPLES!
Everyone has most likely heard this one, but this is one of the most detrimental habits to acne prone skin. Popping pimples can lead to skin irritation, inflammation, and scarring. Popping pimples doesn't help with acne, and instead, makes it far worse. Instead of popping pimples, try using some sort of topical cream/ medication to help reduce the severity of a pimple.
4. Change your pillow covers every night.
This is definitely one of the harder to accomplish habits, and can be very inconvenient to follow. This is what I originally thought when I was trying to reduce my acne. However, once I got a nickel allergy on my superficial ear, I was required to change out my pillow covers every single night. After only a couple of days, my acne was half gone. I had spent years and hundreds of dollars on products, nicer makeup, etc., and I was shocked at how much a difference just changing out pillow covers could do. Especially for side-sleepers like myself, my face is constantly rubbing against and coming in contact with my pillow covers for hours every single night. Imagine the amount of dirt and oil that my pillow covers would have accumulated if the pillow covers aren't changed for months at a time. Regardless of the benefits of this habit, it can be very difficult to change pillow covers that often between busy schedules. An alternative to simply changing out pillow covers often is to put some kind of cloth on the pillow, such as an old T-shirt. This way, switching out the t-shirt every night isn't as time consuming, and are easy to clean often.