Many people struggle with acne starting in their early teens, but it doesn’t always end after puberty. In fact, almost 20% of acne occurs in adults. Fortunately, there are many treatment options to improve mild to moderate acne. Some are medical, while others are simple lifestyle choices and habits that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
Acne happens when your pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Bacteria gets trapped in the pore, and the process triggers your immune system to react with redness and swelling that shows up as a “pimple.” Acne is non-discriminate, affecting both women and men, and can show up on the face, neck, chest, shoulders, back or even upper arms.
If you’re dealing with acne, try these five easy ways to become acne-free.
#1: Hands Off!
One of the worst things you can do for acne is to pick at blemishes or “pop” pimples with your fingers. If you have acne — or if you want to remain acne free — avoid touching your face with your hands. Your hands are covered in dirt, oil, and bacteria that can easily transfer to your face when you touch it.
Likewise, pimples are filled with bacteria, so when you pop them, you spread the bacteria to other pores on your face, ultimately making your acne worse. Popping pimples can also inflame the surrounding skin, causing redness and discomfort.
#2: Wash Your Face… But Not Too Much
To keep your face clean and your pores free of dirt and oil, you should wash your face twice daily — but twice is enough! Excessive washing can dry out your skin, which actually causes pores to produce more oil. More oil leads to more acne.
After washing, it is important to use a moisturizer and toner, even if your skin is naturally oily. Choose a moisturizer that is designed to not clog your pores. For oily skin, gel-based moisturizers are better than cream-based options.
Oily skin also benefits from a daily toner, which helps shrink pores as it cleans your skin. Avoid alcohol-based toners, which can be too harsh, stripping your face of natural oils and triggering the overproduction of pore-clogging oil.
#3: What’s in Your Makeup?
Foundation can clog pores and lead to inflammation and acne. Make-up, when mixed with the dirt, sweat and oil on your face, can cause acne to worsen. Finding a brand that works for your specific skin type can reduce breakouts and is better for your skin overall. Choose a non-comedogenic liquid foundation that does not block pores rather than a powder one, and use as little as possible.
Going make-up free — even if it’s just on the weekends — can provide your skin with a much-needed chance to breathe. Giving your skin a break from pore-clogging products is a great way to improve your acne. While you’re on your break from make-up, continue washing your face normally and applying moisturizer daily.
Also, don’t forget to wash your make up brushes! You can read up on the many reasons why we recommend regularly cleaning your makeup brushes here.
#4: Benzoyl Peroxide Is Your Friend
Benzoyl peroxide is a medication used to treat mild to moderate acne. It can be used together with salicylic acid to kill the bacteria that cause acne and help shed dead skin cells to reveal fresh, rejuvenated skin. Benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can be applied to affected areas of your skin after washing your face and left to work on blemishes overnight.
Benzoyl peroxide is available over the counter and comes in many different concentrations. Studies have shown, however, that products with a concentration of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide are just as effective on acne blemishes as products with concentrations of 5% and even 10%, so always use the lowest concentration you can find. High concentrations of benzoyl peroxide can irritate your skin and cause moisture loss.
#5: Clean Up Your Diet
Simple lifestyle changes can play a big role in improving the quality and clarity of your skin. Foods that are high in sugar such as soda, juice, candy, and sweets cause a spike in insulin, which triggers the body to produce hormones that cause acne. Dairy that is rich in hormones can also trigger or worsen acne.
Eating a balanced diet with fewer sweets and processed foods and more fruits and vegetables — as well as foods with omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, leafy greens, seeds, and nuts — can reduce inflammation and promote healthy cell growth.
In addition to better nutrition, it is also important to drink plenty of water (roughly 13 cups a day for men and nine cups for women) and get plenty of sleep. Stress can also lead to acne by causing the skin to produce an excess of sebum.
If you have persistent acne that is not responding to these basic treatments, see your dermatologist. Antibiotics, other prescription medications, chemical peels, and other treatment options are available to help clear up your acne.
Looking to Visit a Dermatologist for Acne Treatment?
To learn more about your treatment options for becoming acne free, contact a dermatologist at U.S. Dermatology Partners today. We have multiple locations throughout the country, so fill out our simple online form to get in touch with us. One of our local team members will reach out to you shortly to answer your questions or schedule an appointment for you to visit us soon.
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