If your skin feels greasy and frequently breaks out, you may be prone to acne. The flare-ups associated with acne-prone skin can be frustrating. Sometimes, they even affect one’s self-esteem. But relief from breakouts is within reach, for acne (even severe acne) is manageable. Just monitor your skin closely and give it some love. We show you how!
Is your skin prone to acne?
Most people experience their first pimples around puberty. While a lucky few throw off their teenage acne as adults, many others find no such respite. Acne (medically termed ‘acne vulgaris’) is a long-term skin condition. It shows up in the form of spots and inflamed bumps on the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and back.
To treat acne, you must first understand how it develops. Here is a quick look:
- Micro-inflammation: Hormonal fluctuations, bacterial changes, and shifts in the composition of an oily substance called sebum on the skin sometimes give rise to non-visible inflammation.
- Excess sebum: Hormones may trigger the overproduction of sebum. In normal quantities, sebum keeps the skin and hair supple. However, excess sebum may hamper the natural process by which the skin sheds dead cells.
- Clogged pores: Dead skin cells and excess sebum block the hair follicles. The walls of the follicles bulge as sebum builds up, leading to the appearance of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).
- Bacteria growth: Although the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes exists normally on the skin’s surface, excess sebum causes the bacteria to multiply within the blocked follicles. This leads to inflammation and the appearance of pimples (papules and pustules). In severe cases, nodules and pus-filled cysts may form.
What’s causing your acne?
If you have acne-prone skin, one or several factors may be at play. Let’s look at some of the primary causes:
- Genetics: Did one or both of your parents have acne? Your issue with oily skin and acne flare-ups may be genetic.
- Hormones: Acne often results from hormone fluctuations. That is why acne is so common through the teen years. Women also experience acne due to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
- Medication: Certain medications may cause acne. Overuse of steroids and antibiotics, for example, may lead to breakouts.
Sometimes little things could aggravate your symptoms. Watch out for these common acne triggers:
- Stress: Being stressed out can cause hormone fluctuations which increase sebum production. This is a flare-up just waiting to happen.
- Diet: Processed foods, candy, and some dairy products may be correlated with acne flares. However, further research is needed to confirm the link between diet and acne.
- Over-cleansing: Acne is not a hygiene issue! So, avoid washing your face too often. Frequent washing could affect the skin’s natural balance and worsen your symptoms.
Keep your skin acne-free
Ready to escape the cycle of acne breakouts? Get proactive about your skin with this two-step process:
Step 1: Gather the right tools
Begin by waving goodbye to harsh soaps. They strip your skin of natural oils, which may send the sebaceous glands into overdrive and land you with excess sebum levels. When selecting products for your acne-prone skin, keep these tips in mind:
- Invest in products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic. This means they won’t clog your pores.
- Steer clear of products that contain potential irritants like alcohol and fragrance.
- Your basic skincare toolkit should contain a mild cleanser, a toner, and a moisturiser. Each of these should suit your skin type.
Step 2: Build a skincare routine
If you are new to skincare, work in an easy cleansing, toning, and moisturising routine. The standard advice is to cleanse your face twice a day: once when you wake and again before going to bed. Don’t wash your face too often unless you have been perspiring a lot.
Acne-prone skin needs extra attention. Add a gentle product like Clearica Anti-Acne Cream to your skincare regimen. Its targeted formula reduces inflammation, clarifies the pores, and combats the spread of acne-causing bacteria. When used consistently, it reveals healthy, acne-free skin.
For another boost, use an exfoliating scrub once or twice a week to clear out grime and dead skin. You could also use face masks to rejuvenate the skin every now and then.
The bottom line
Once you start a skincare regimen, give it three to four weeks to work. Resist the urge to hop from product to product, as that could irritate your skin. If you stay consistent and patient, your skin should improve gradually.
Whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples usually respond well to home treatment. However, severe acne may require intervention by a dermatologist.