fcfWe’ve all had it, hated it and tried to beat it. It seems to flare up at the worst of times. Acne – the bane of teenage skin that, for some of us, persists well into adulthood. At Advanced Skin Care, we have all the tools to fight acne, which is great, but what can you do to prevent it from starting in the first place? The cause of acne is complicated since many factors play a role in a break out including hormones, lifestyle, age and skin care regimens. Let’s break it down though and try to understand more about this pesky and even traumatic issue.
What causes acne?
The very first thing that happens when a new pimple starts is the clogging of a pore in our skin. Normally, dead skin cells are shed and don’t stick to our pores. But unfortunately, when our oil glands produce sebum (oil), the dead skin cells stick to the pore like glue. In turn, this is the perfect setup to lead to overgrowth of a bacteria called p. acnes that normally lives on our skin.
When the pore is clogged, the bacteria have the perfect little house to multiply in. This, of course, causes inflammation and the formation of a pimple.
Don’t fret though! We have lots of tools up our sleeves to treat acne. In many cases, we are able to treat it with skin care products alone. Our Ultimate Acne Solutions Skin Care Kit gets winning results and includes the Foaming Acne Treatment Cleanser (2% Glycolic acid and 2% Salicylic acid foaming cleanser), Salicylic and Glycolic Acid Acne Treatment Pads (medicated pads containing 2% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid) and the Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Treatment Cream 2.5% (alcohol free 2.5% benzoyl peroxide).
So, what can YOU do to prevent acne from flaring in the first place? Here are 5 villains, a.k.a., triggers, of acne that may help you prevent it from rearing its ugly head.
1. Your beauty routine
There is a type of acne called “acne cosmetica.” This is a result of pore-clogging substances in your cosmetics such as oils and silicons. It’s important to use products that specifically say they are “non-comedogenic.” It’s also very important to wash your makeup brushes on a regular basis.
“Male hormones” called androgens are present in both men and women. These hormones overstimulate the oil glands which, as mentioned earlier, causes dead skin to get stuck into our pores. During a woman’s menstrual cycle, testosterone is relatively higher in proportion to other female hormones like estrogen and progesterone. This accounts for why women’s acne tends to flare up before and during their menstrual cycle. Of course, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent this from happening. However, it’s sometimes helpful for women to understand that taking extra special care of their skin right before and during their menstrual cycles can make a difference. There are also ways to combat “hormonal acne” with medications. Call us today to ask our board-certified dermatologists how.
There have been many studies on what foods cause acne. In the past, dermatologists thought that food did not play a role in acne, though our patient’s thought otherwise. Well, the patients were right! Recent studies suggest that there are some foods that make acne worse. One of these types of foods have a high “glycemic index,” meaning they spike your blood sugar. So, sugary foods may make acne worse. Dairy-based foods also seem to make acne worse as do bad fats like those found in “junk foods.”
The key is to eat foods that keep your blood sugar at a steady state and that are not full of dairy and bad fats. Of course, eating a healthy diet is always a good idea. For more information on how to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, be sure to check out Dr. Bailey’s free e-book “How to Eat Your Way to Beauty and Health.” This guide details what you need to know to have healthy and beautiful skin. It also provides a diet plan and 14 days of recipes to help get you started on the right track. Remember, this way of eating is a good way to keep your blood sugar even and combat inflammation.
Stress in our lives is never a good thing. This is also true when it comes to our skin. Stress leads to the release of a substance called cortisol, which is a steroid hormone that works kind of like testosterone hormones do as far as increasing the production of sebum.
The other thing that can happen under stress is people may pick at their pimples more. This may result in a condition called “acne excoriee” or “picker’s acne.” This is a condition where people feel compelled to pick and squeeze even at the slightest sign of a pimple. But, this picking can lead to scarring. Some people that feel compelled to do this may have underlying depression.
There are certainly medications that are known to trigger acne. Medications like lithium (used to treat bipolar disorder and depression), steroids like prednisone or anabolic steroids used for body building, among others, can trigger acne. If you started a new medication and developed or experienced worsened acne, ask your doctor if the medication may be the cause.
As I said before, we’ve all had (or still have!) acne. It’s not fun, but fortunately, many of the villains that cause it can be stopped. And if they can’t, we can help you address it, so you can comfortably enjoy life!
Have you found any other “villains” that seem to trigger acne for you? Let us know in the comments!
Dr. Hayes – Board Certified Dermatologist
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