6 Tips for Preventing Acne
One of the most common misunderstandings about acne is that it’s caused by dirt. It’s not! Acne is caused by a combination of factors you have no control over, like your hormone balance and the time it takes your skin to renew or exfoliate. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can control that may help you prevent the occurrence and severity of acne.
Begin by following these simple suggestions for healthy-skin hygiene.
Since dirt is not causing your acne, excessive scrubbing and washing won’t make it go away. Limit washing your skin to twice a day. Anymore than that can leave your skin dry, and your acne-prone areas irritated. Habitual over-washing may also stimulate extra oil production, which could result in more breakouts. This scrubbing can also rupture the whiteheads and spread the bacteria filled pus to other parts of your skin and possibly spreading the acne.
Skip harsh scrubs
It’s okay to exfoliate your skin, but be sure to use a gentle formula with small, smooth grains. Avoid products with almond or apricot shell fragments; they can irritate or even tear your skin and further aggravate your acne and spread the bacteria to other parts of your skin. There are chemical exfoliates that do not require any scrubbing and these are a good option as long as they don’t dry your skin too much.
Say no to isopropyl alcohol
If you use a toner, avoid products with high concentrations of isopropyl alcohol, or common rubbing alcohol. Alcohol is a strong astringent stripping the top layer of your skin, causing your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. The result? Dry, red skin and possibly more blemishes.
Don’t squeeze or pick
Squeezing or picking your pimples with fingers, fingernails, pins or anything else can push bacteria into the deeper layers of the skin, leading to a greater inflammation and infection of the skin. You’ll also increase the damage to the surrounding skin, so the blemish is more likely to permanently scar the skin.
Propionibacterium acnes (the bacteria that causes flare-ups) are normal residents of your skin but it does not cause inflammation and acne until they get trapped in the hair follicle. Excessive touching of your face, including rubbing or even resting your chin in your hands, can drive bacteria into your pores where they begin to colonize. When the white blood cells arrive to fight them you now have an infection leading to an inflammation and an erupting whitehead.
Work out, wash off
As you exercise you generate heat and your clothing and the exercise equipment can cause friction. Until you shower off, heat and moisture are trapped against your skin, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to reproduce. So whenever you can, shower off immediately after exercising.
Find a system that works for you and stick with it. Most cases of mild acne can be improved with “over-the-counter” options, or products that don’t require a prescription. There is a wide range of acne treatments available, and there is a good chance one of them will work wonders for you. If you start treatment before your acne gets severe, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding the physical and emotional problems that severe acne can cause. If your acne gets worse or lasts more than a couple of weeks, see a dermatologist.