Acne is a condition that primarily affects the oil glands. It constitutes about 15 to 20% of dermatology consultations.
People with acne commonly have larger oil glands. This results in excessive oil or sebum production.
This excess oil traps dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria. As these things clog the glands and pores, an inflammatory response is triggered and acne happens.
What Causes Acne?
There are literally tons of things that can cause acne. Some are pretty obvious while others are really sneaky.
You won’t realize right away that the things you do and encounter on a daily basis are the exact things that are making your skin break out- until you read this list.
In general, however, the causes of acne can be categorized into two: genetic and environmental.
A family history of acne can increase your chances of breaking out by making you more vulnerable to acne triggers than other people. Even your hormones, such as during menstruation and pregnancy, can also trigger acne.
There are factors in the environment that can cause your pimples to flare up, too. Your diet, physical activity and even medication can affect the way your skin behaves.
Who Gets Acne?
If you think you’re the only one struggling with acne- you’re not.
Apparently, the condition affects millions of Americans. 80% of teenagers suffer from skin breakouts and 35% of adults, particularly women, experience acne.
And those numbers increase over time.
Acne isn’t always about pimples. It can also relate to other skin blemishes, like nodules, cysts, whiteheads, blackheads and papules.
These blemishes can develop anywhere in the body. However, they are more commonly found on the face, neck, shoulders, back and buttocks.
Acne is a treatable skin condition. Unfortunately, its effect can be long-lasting, particularly if not treated or addressed right away.
A person with acne can also experience the following:
- Low self-esteem
- Loss of self-confidence
Acne can leave physical marks, too. Scars and dark spots are common in people with acne and they can be a lot more difficult to address than just acne.
Skin Care Routine For Acne
There are a couple of ways to take control of the situation but the easiest and probably the most effective of them is changing your skincare routine. Or starting one, in case you don’t have an existing regimen yet.
And it all starts with…
Step 1: Cleanse
Cleansing is one of the first things you need to do if you want to completely bid goodbye to acne. As your skin has more oil that can attract bacteria, you need to make it a habit.
Plus, there are tons of sneaky causes of acne that can cause unexpected skin breakouts.
Find a cleanser that’s formulated specifically for your skin type. You can find great options in this list.
Wash your face twice- in the morning and before sleeping. This is to remove the dead skin cells and oil that accumulated as you sleep as well as the makeup residues and dirt that your skin acquired throughout the day.
Remember to wash your hands first before cleansing your face to prevent transfer of bacteria.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliation is a critical step in your skincare routine. As clogged pores typically cause skin breakouts, you need to make sure that there are no dead skin cells and other impurities that can get trapped in your pores.
Exfoliate your skin at least twice a week. Pick gentle exfoliating products, like the ones in this list, that won’t cause damage to your skin.
Products with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are great for your skin type. They can help loosen up the bond that holds dead skin cells together so they can easily be shed
As much as possible, skip abrasive scrubs as they can do more damage than harm. If you really want to add physical exfoliation to your routine, you can use microfiber cloths.
Step 3: Tone
Toners are must-haves if you have acne-prone skin. These products pick up makeup residues and dirt your cleansers may have missed.
They also work to restore your skin’s pH balance and moisture.
Choose a toner that’s oil-free and formulated with antioxidants. These ingredients are great in controlling oil, minimizing pore size and improving skin texture.
You can apply toners depending on their formulas. You can use a piece of cotton pad or you can spray it on your face.
Step 4: Using serums
Serums contain smaller particles that are meant to penetrate the deeper layers of your skin. They are formulated to deliver potent ingredients to address specific skin issues.
Basically, you need to pick a serum that’s loaded with acne-fighting ingredients, vitamins and antioxidants. You can check out this list to know our top products.
Serums are best applied after cleansing and toning. You should use them twice a day or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Step 5: Moisturize
Dry, dehydrated skin is more vulnerable to breakouts as it triggers the oil glands to produce more oil. This can happen when you don’t moisturize, you’re washing your face with harsh cleansers or you’re using topical acne medications.
For this, moisturizers are non-negotiable when you’re prone to acne.
Always use products that are fit for your skin type. In this case, choose a moisturizer formulated with acne-fighting ingredients, like salicylic acid.
Ingredients like glycolic acid are great, too.
Apply your moisturizer right after stepping out of the shower or cleansing your face. If you are also using a topical acne treatment, apply that first before your moisturizer.
Step 6: Use sunscreen
If you are using topical acne medications, keep in mind that you’ll be more vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays.
So, apply your sunscreen right before heading outdoors or even if you’ll be staying at home all day. Apply it liberally on the exposed areas of your face and body and make sure to reapply every 2 hours or as necessary.
Even if you aren’t using any topical medications, be sure to apply your sunscreen. It helps protect the skin against cancer.