Acne is one of the biggest skin care problems that teens and adults, males and females, face every day. Usually beginning around the onset of puberty, acne is defined as a skin condition which consists of blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pimples, pustules and nodular cysts. One of the reasons why acne is such a big problem is that it can appear anywhere – with the most typical areas being the face, neck, chest, shoulders, and back. Studies show that acne affects 85% of adolescents and 15% of adults.
Although acne occurs across both genders, research reveals that acne is generally more severe in males but more persistent in women. Most people who suffer from acne wait for it to develop before giving their skin any attention. This might work for some, but as the cliché goes, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Treating acne as it erupts does not stop it from coming back, nor does it prevent acne scars from occurring.
Preventing acne follows three important procedures:
(1) Reduce oil production;
(2) Speed up skin cell turnover; and
(3) Fight bacterial infection.
Start by practicing a daily skin regimen right for your skin type. A basic cleansing routine is the best starting place. Firstly, cleanse with a product that is gentle on your skin. It is also important to exfoliate (to remove dead skin cells which otherwise fuel the acne cycle), although this should not be done everytime you wash your face. Since acne mostly occurs in the face, an ideal regimen is to wash your face once in the morning, and then, right before you go to bed.
Exfoliation should follow your normal cleansing two to three times per week. Do not overdo it though, since too much washing and exfoliation can stimulate sebaceous glands to actually increase sebum production.
After cleaning your face (removing excess oil), apply a moisturizer, but preferably not the oil-based ones, to replenish your skin’s moisture levels. It is important to determine what skin type you have to ensure that your moisturizer matches your type of skin. If you can, you may wish to consult a skin specialist or dermatologist to assist in analyzing your skin. They may also be able to provide you with sample products to “try before you buy” to best determine which might suit you best.
Once you have established a cleansing routine for your skin, there are other things to keep in mind in taking care of your skin. For example, when going out of doors, it is important to apply an oil-free sunscreen to protect your skin from sun damage and irritation which can lead to acne breakout. Keeping your hair off your face, especially if you have long hair or bangs, will assist in keeping your facial skin clear. Hair naturally contains oil which can irritate your skin and lead to acne breakouts.
Remember also to wash your pillow case regularly, especially those with oily skin. Pillow cases absorb the oils from your skin and gathers dirt which can irritate your skin and cause breakouts.
Having a healthy lifestyle helps a lot too. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day to detoxify your body.. Exercising regularly de-stresses your body thus increasing blood circulation and oxygen penetration to the skin. If not necessary, do not wear makeup. All forms of makeup, and especially oil-based ones, can further clog your pores. If you must wear it, remember to remove all traces every day, and do not sleep with any makeup on.
In the event that you develop acne, do not prick, squeeze, scratch, rub, or touch pimples and blackheads. This type of attention to outbreaks only fuels infection and increases sebum production, fuelling the cycle to produce more acne. Most importantly, remember to be consistent in your regime. Following the steps of regular cleansing will ensure your skin is as clean, healthy and acne-free as possible.
If you do have a breakout, try not to let it get you down. After all, acne is something that affects almost the entire population at some point in their lives!