One of the hardest things about acne is preventing any breakouts from happening. But how do we do it? And can we really prevent an acne breakout?
An acne breakout can make us feel ashamed of our skin or hate ourselves for having such a skin condition. We lose our self-confidence and choose to hide from other people because of this acne. What’s more annoying than having acne is not knowing what causes it. However, while managing acne don't worry it does get better and acne doesn't have to control your life.
Acne bacteria lives on the skin and its overgrowth around your oil glands can worsen inflammation and pus formation. This is what causes acne to hurt sometimes.
Acne is a common skin condition affecting both teenagers and adults alike.
WHY DO ACNE BREAKOUTS OCCUR?
Acne breakouts occur when the skin’s oil glands are overactive and pores become inflamed and they appear anywhere on the skin, mostly on the face. There are certain types of bacteria that make acne breakouts worse.
In order to prevent or treat acne breakouts, we need to know the underlying causes of this skin condition.
Causes of acne breakouts are the following:
- Hormonal imbalance
- High GI Diet
- Certain medications (e.g. steroids, hormonal pills, anticonvulsants, Lithium)
- Excess sebum production
- Not getting enough sleep
- Dirty pillowcases
- Comedogenic makeup & skin care products
- Over cleansing
Hormonal imbalance - Hormonal fluctuations can lead to acne in pregnancy and around the time of menopause. Researchers note that women who experience acne around menopause usually have androgen levels within the normal range, but falling estrogen levels.
It may be this imbalance that gives rise to acne flares. As hormones reach a “tipping point,” the new hormonal ratios lead to additional stimulation of the glands that produce sebum triggering new acne breakouts.
Stress – “Excessive mental stress during exams or job interviews or even nearing your own wedding date or an illness can lead to sudden breakouts and popping of pimples.” – Dr. Smriti Naswa Singh, Consultant Dermatologist
Stress can cause increase in hormones called cortisol. I know life gets hard sometimes but you should not get to the point where everything stresses you out. When you are stressed it causes inflammation throughout the body, causing acne to come about. Find activities that will make you less stressed such as exercising or reading to stay stress free. For me personally, I exercise to keep my stress level down. Whatever makes you happy will keep you from stressing about life and will reduce your acne.
High GI diet– Another cause of an acne breakout would be a diet that isn't right for you. It can be something like not enough nutrients, or a high glycemic index diet. For others, certain foods like dairy is an issue that causes acne. If you need to get to the root of your breakouts, then your diet is one of the first things to assess. It might be that your skin is responding negatively to certain foods, like carbohydrates. This is often genetic, though, as every person has different levels of tolerance to these things.
Unhealthy foods and acne are often linked, but the reasons behind why junk food causes acne are not often explored. More research is needed, and the results of studies on blood sugar’s role in acne is debated among professionals. The leading theory is that this spike in blood sugar contributes to inflammation throughout the body and can cause sebum production to increase.
Certain medications – Certain medications can also be a cause of acne breakouts. Drugs or medicines such as corticosteroids, lithium, anticonvulsants, barbiturates, androgenic steroids, DHEA and other types of them can cause acne breakouts to occur. You should not discontinue taking a medication without consulting your doctor first to see what workaround is safe.
Excess sebum production – “25% of adults get acne because of excess sebum production” – Dr. Rahul Sharma
When your glands are producing just the right amount of sebum, your skin looks healthy, but not shiny. Too little sebum can lead to dry, cracking skin. Too much sebum in a follicle can cause a hardened plug to form, which can then lead to various forms of acne. Many issues like the ones mentioned above can lead to excess sebum production.
Not getting enough sleep – When you’re the type of person who’s fond of all-nighters or staying up too late rather than getting enough sleep, chances are you’re likely prone to suffering from acne breakouts. A full night of Z’s addresses a couple other major causes of acne—stress and overactive hormones: It lowers your stress levels, preventing the overproduction of cortisol, a hormone that in turn causes the body to produce excess sebum. All that to say, by resting up, you keep your pores clear and your mind calm.
Acne tends to flare up when you’re lacking that good quality sleep your body needs. In fact, sleep deprivation is considered one of the three main acne triggers, along with stress and sweating. Studies have borne this out. It's possible that by disrupting your hormones, sleeplessness also unsettles the chemical balance in your skin that wards off pimples.
Dirty pillowcases – Pillowcases can cause or contribute to acne breakouts if they are not regularly washed. Acne mechanica is any type of acne that is the result of material or objects touching your face. When your pillowcase isn't washed regularly, it can hold onto dirt and oils. This gets transferred onto our skin when we sleep for hours at a time in contact with our pillow which can lead to more breakouts.
To remedy this, wash your pillowcases every week at the very least, and be sure to wash your face and rinse your hair of all products before you pass out on your bed.
Dehydration – Our body needs 75% of water to stay hydrated. If you’re dehydrated, your body may signal your skin’s oil glands to produce more oil. Dehydration also gives your skin a dull appearance and promotes inflammation and redness.
A lack of water supply impairs your body’s ability to self-regulate. That means your body could produce excess sebum—more than it already would to keep the skin hydrated—and could in turn clog pores. Oftentimes, dehydration also leads to an accumulation of dead skin cells that can plug up a pore.
Comedogenic makeup or skin care products - Certain ingredients in your skin care products—moisturizer, toner and sunscreen—are notorious for clogging your pores and causing you to break out. Mineral oil, lanolin and wax are the usual offenders, which dermatologists call “comedogenic” meaning it's ability to clog the pores.
Cleansing Too Much – Getting so obsessed with clearing your face to the point of overdoing it can also lead to acne breakouts. Cleansing your face is the first and one of the most important steps of not only Korean but every skin routine. We repeat it over and over again, cleansing eliminates impurities, dirt and excessive sebum. It is a first step in the process of creating a radiant skin. However, there can be a dark side to everything if you overdo it or use
When your skin is being over-cleansed, it means it is being stripped of all the natural oils that keep your skin healthy.
HOW TO PREVENT ACNE BREAKOUTS
Everyone deals with acne, but the steps we take to improve acne breakouts may just help with it.
You may follow these tips to help prevent any further acne breakouts:
- Properly wash your face
- Know your skin type
- Moisturize skin
- Stay hydrated
- Limit comedogenic makeup
- Don’t touch your face
- Apply a clay masque
- Avoid certain foods
- Stress less
- Exercise regularly
Properly wash face
One of the most important steps in preventing acne breakouts is washing your face properly, but not to the point of overdoing it. Use a gentle cleanser as well.
To keep your face clean and clear, wash it once in the morning and right before bed. If your face feels oily during the day, you can use blotting paper to remove the excess oil rather than washing it again - or select a cream cleanser which is more hydrating.
For me personally, I like to wash my face more thoroughly at night with a double cleanse. When I wash my face at night, it seems to be rejuvenated in the morning and sometimes I can go without washing my face in the morning. It depends on your skin, if you're on the oilier then it may be more beneficial to wash your face in the morning too.
Know your skin type
Whether you have normal skin, dry skin, oily skin or a combination of any of these three, you’re not exempted from experiencing an acne breakout but no worries since you can prevent them. Knowing your skin type will help you choose the right skin care products. For example, if your skin is oily, choose noncomedogenic products that are formulated to not block pores and you may choose more water based products instead of ones that contain higher amounts of oils.
Moisturize your skin
Moisturizers help keep your skin hydrated, but be careful with the type of moisturizers you pick out as some of them may contain ingredients that may harm your skin including mineral oil, synthetic fragrance or unnecessary dyes. To help prevent pimples, use fragrance-free, non comedogenic moisturizers after you wash your face or when your skin feels dry.
Skin dehydration can also lead to acne breakouts, so in order to prevent them from occurring, keep your body re-hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day.
Limit comedogenic makeup
It’s okay to wear makeup once in a while or occasionally, but wearing it everyday even when you’re just at home isn't necessary when you want to keep your skin acne free and. Go au naturel when you can to prevent acne. Instead of wearing heavy foundations, try a tinted moisturizer or opt for a light layer of powder foundation instead. Avoid greasy formulas and try to wear as little makeup as you can to achieve the desired effect.
Don’t touch your face
Even if you wash your hands fairly often, your fingers are still home to myriad germs and bacteria that could be transferred to your skin if you touch your face. Every time you touch your face, you could be transferring impurities to your skin which could clog your pores and trigger a breakout.
Popping pimples is a big no-no. When you pop pimples or pick at them this will cause them to more likely scar! At all cost try not to do this as acne scars can take a lot longer to treat compared to acne. Also when you pop them, it will cause an open wound, therefore, bacteria will be able to get in a pimple and cause it to take even longer to heal.
Apply a clay mask
French green clay is said to help draw out any impurities, reduce inflammation and absorb any excess oil that may lead to acne breakouts. It’s available in power form mixed with water or other soothing ingredients like yogurt or honey.
Avoid certain foods
Believe it or not, your diet has something to do with acne breakouts as well. It can either make you or break you. High glycemic foods and beverages such as chips, baked goods made with white flour, and soft drinks spike blood sugar levels. Try to balance between eating large amounts of high sugar foods, moderate amounts are likely not to affect you but it depends on how sensitive you are to the foods.
Stressing a lot about certain events or things you have no control of can only worsen acne breakouts. The more you stress out, the more oil your body produces or secretes which leads to acne pimples. It's easy said than done, but with practice you can effectively manage stress.
Some options to help you manage stress are:
When you exercise this can relieve stress, which is a big cause of breakouts. Also, doing a physical activity can increase your blood circulation; this sends more oxygen to your skin and carries away the waste in your cells. However, if you do sweat while exercising, be sure to wash your face afterward so it does not irritate your skin and cause breakouts.
Preventing acne breakouts may seem like a hopeless case for everyone. Don’t be harsh on yourself and your skin when you don’t see any immediate results. They may take time for your skin to improve so be patient and give your skin the time it needs to fully recover.