Some people are blessed with perfect, zit-free skin! The rest of us, unfortunately, do not. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in America, an estimated 80 percent of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point, with more than 50 million Americans affected annually. Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and cysts… And the problem isn’t limited to hormonally-charged teenagers! People in their 50s can still get acne…
Although statistics for local cases are not yet available, a wide-ranging study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology indicates that more than 50% of women in their 20s suffer from acne, with over 35% and 26% of women in their 30s and 40s respectively, reporting the same.
What is acne?
Acne is caused by a combination of bacteria on the skin and clogged pores. When our sebaceous (oil) glands produce more sebum than normal, it combines with dead skin cells to block our pores. Partially blocked pores are called blackheads (or open comedones). Fully blocked pores are called whiteheads (or closed comedones).
Contrary to popular belief, blackheads are not caused by poor cleansing habits or dirt trapped in the skin. Rather, when sebum and other clogged materials are exposed to the air, oxidation occurs and turns them black.
Pimples on the other hand, are usually the result of poor hygiene which can cause bacteria to proliferate and result in an inflammation of a clogged pore.
Why do I have acne?
Triggered by hormones, acne can occur at any stage of our lives. While hormones are the main culprit for teenage acne, adult acne can be aggravated by internal and external factors. The primary aggravating factor leading to adult acne is chronic stress. Internally, the psychological effects of adult acne can contribute to continued flare-ups and breakouts.
Other than stress, causes of acne include genetic factors, age, certain medications and some birth control pills. Here’s a handy face map that reveals the underlying factors that might be causing your breakouts:
Are you battling acne right now? Don’t fret. Here are some helpful tips for you to get you started on the right track:
DOS AND DON’TS FOR ACNE–PRONE SKIN
1) Don’t overwash your face
Twice a day is sufficient. Over–cleansing can do more harm than good as it removes skin’s natural protective barrier and expose your skin to irritation and worsen your acne condition.
2) Don’t squeeze those zits (no matter how tempting!)
Popping zits, if not done properly, may lead to further infection or scarring.
3) Do look for makeup with the words non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic
No product can guarantee you trouble–free skin, but these are better choices because they’re less likely to irritate your skin.
4) Do choose skincare products containing salicylic acid and tea tree oil
It has been proven to reduce sebum production and improve acne condition.
5) Do maintain a balanced diet
Despite what you’ve probably heard, chocolate and greasy foods have little to do with acne. Eating a well–balanced diet and drinking lots of water will, however, help your skin look better (and it sure can’t hurt!).
6) Do maintain a hygienic environment
Sanitize your hands before touching your skin, use fresh face towels, clean your phone screens regularly, disinfect your pillow and bolster case etc. Dirty towels and pillowcases can harbor bacteria and germs that can make acne worse.
7) Facials for Acne-Prone Skin
Do go for facials specially formulated for acne-prone skin once a fortnight or monthly (depending on the severity of your acne).
Remember: it takes time for your skin to restore its balance. If you are facing some form of acne concerns, don’t be mad at the lack of progress. Be patient, tackle acne the right way and very soon, you will be on your way to achieving clear, blemish-free matte skin.
In good hands,