What Makes Acne Worse?

One of the important questions when it comes to people with acne besides, “Why me?”, “What is Acne?”, “Does chocolate cause this? Potato chips? Salt, sugar, what does this???” is the question, “What makes acne worse?” We feel that if we knew at least what makes acne worse we can suffer through the “teen blues” with some blemishes.

The good news is there are studies done and being done daily to help us better understand acne. It is something that needs to be considered important since in severe cases young people can spiral into low self-esteem, depression and thoughts of suicide. The following items are known triggers that worsen the incidence and/or severity of acne.

Do Cosmetics Make Acne Worse?

Perhaps some of you are wondering if cosmetics could play a key roll in the aggravation of acne. To date there is no concrete answer for this question. However, it is known that some cosmetics do make acne worse, whereas other cosmetics are formulated with an oil free compound that is less likely to contribute to clogging the pores. Yet again, both the oil-free and the original compounds for cosmetics could still contribute not only to the aggravation of acne, but even the spreading of acne as well. Not a lot of scientific research has been done on cosmetics being a trigger. Some women I have talked with that had mild acne said “some cosmetics showed signs of temporary inflammation as well as irritation of their skin” In all instances, no cosmetic caused long term side affects.

Does Poor Hygiene Affect the Inflammation of Acne?

Although poor hygiene is does pose a number of health risks there are no studies to validate that it has an effect with aggravating the acne and making it worse. Your skin should kept clean by lightly washing with a mild soap twice a day. However, since the infection is deep within the skin, washing has no effect. As a matter of fact many people will scrub the skin harder in desperation to make it go away. This is a mistake, Do Not attempt to scrub hard because that will worsen the acne condition and cause the acne to spread. Lightly washing your face twice a day will help to clear the surface bacterium from your skin. The proper way to dry skin with acne is to lightly pat your face with a soft towel until the facial skin is completely dry.

Should I use an Acne Scrub?

Since some people with mild to severe acne tend to over wash their faces in hopes of ridding themselves of the excess oil seepage, the damaging effects of excessive scrubbing and over washing have been researched. The first vital bit of information we need to remember is that the oil production is deep within our skin’s hair follicles and not in the superficial layers of the skin. Extreme scrubbing and excessive washing acne skin will result in the spreading of acne. This is because excessive washing of the skin will dry out because we have washed away “sebum”, the skin’s natural moisturizer. Too little oil can be just as bad as too much oil. Wash only two or three times a day with warm water and an acne soap. Do not scrub the skin as that will damage the skin and ultimately result in aggravating and then encouraging the acne to spread.

What is the Truth About Sweat and Pimples?

In approximately 15% of all acne cases, perspiration did contribute to the aggravation of acne and pimples. As the sweat glands suddenly open up allowing the skin to become extremely moist it causes flair ups. Excessive perspiration attracts dirt and grime further “plugging” the pores causing more dreadful acne.
Avoid tightly fighting clothing as this causes moisture to be retained next to our skin which needs to breathe and keep cool.

How About Hormones and Pimples?

The high levels of Androgens, hormones like testosterone that both boys and girls have when they are entering puberty create conditions for acne flare ups. Even though estrogen is administered to help control these high levels of Androgens like testosterone, the presence of progesterone could more than likely make the acne worse.

Does Menstruation Make Acne Worse?

The hormonal changes that are taking place during a woman’s menstruation can precipitate a bout with acne.

Should You Squeeze Pimples?

Do not squeeze pimples! You must avoid it all costs. Squeezing pimples, either whiteheads or blackheads until they are relieved of the sebum will cause scarring on the skin and will spread the current acne. We know how tempting it is but it must not be done.

Does Pregnancy Effect Acne Breakouts?

Like menstruation, pregnancy creates a number of changes in the normal cycle of the hormone levels. With this shift in hormone levels acne may flare up.

Are there Medications that Exacerbate Acne Flare Ups?

There are a number of medications that are linked to an increased likeliness of an acne flare up or breakout.

  1. Birth Control – The “pill” is designed to manipulate hormone levels so conception is not likely to occur. This manipulation of hormone levels can cause acne breakouts.
  2. Corticosteroids
  3. Lithium
  4. Barbituates

Does Stress Affect Acne Breakouts?

Since acne is primarily influenced by hormones stress does play a role in acne breakouts. That is because stress alters our hormone levels.

In conclusion the main items that we addressed in response to the question, “What Makes Acne Worse?” are the improper use of the wrong cosmetics, poor hygiene, improper washing of acne skin (scrubbing too hard), sweating, Androgen (testosterone) and picking at and “popping” or squeezing pimples.

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