Once again, our face is our calling card, putting our best face forward helps us feel more confident. I have 3 daughters, one of which struggled with severe acne in her youth and now in her late 20’s still has the emotional and physical scars to show for it. My middle daughter has also struggled with it after a combination of home remodeling dust and poor pre-teen personal hygiene. Boy, do I wish I knew then what I know now. Like most everything else, we’ve come a long way with treatments for acne and it is only getting better.
Acne is often thought to be a minor problem; however, a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology found that acne affected the patients’ social, psychological, and emotional condition at the same level of those with chronic health problems, such as epilepsy, diabetes, and arthritis. Acne sufferers are more
likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than non-acne sufferers. Also, those with mild acne have similar levels of distress to those with more severe cases.
Adults are more negatively impacted than teens-- regardless of how severe their acne is. It may be that there is a greater social stigma for adults with acne, they have been dealing with it longer or have been resistant to treatment. Because our society places enormous value on appearance, acne sufferers often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. Some acne sufferers even feel a sense of guilt or shame, as if they are somehow responsible for their acne.
Acne can influence many daily decisions. A teen may be so self-conscious of her appearance that she won't pose in family pictures. Or refuse an invitation to go swimming with friends because she is embarrassed by her “back-ne”. Some sufferers have trouble looking others in the eye, while others completely avoid all social situations. Needless to say, preventative treatment is optimum; before damage to the self-esteem has begun.
If you are a parent of a preteen who does not yet have trouble with their skin or you get just an occasional breakout the below suggestions are great preventative measures. If you or someone you love already has severe acne, call your dermatologist immediately and make an appointment. Then read the rest of the article for more tips for you to start trying today. Treatment itself can help bring about a more positive attitude, even if you've struggled with acne for years. Taking control and nurturing yourself can help boost your self-image and self-esteem. Also remember to have patience with yourself, your doctor and the prescriptions Oftentimes it takes several months of trying a few different products before you find the right combination that works for you.
Since everyone has different body chemistry, what triggers and cures your breakouts may not be the same thing that works for your best friend. There are hundreds of things we come in contact with on a daily basis that could be the culprits behind your blemishes. Below are a number of factors and solutions that
could improve your particular issues. Try them one at a time to find out which ones work best for you.
Steroids, hormone replacements including oral contraceptives are key offenders, whether taken internally or topically. If you're taking any kind of medication,
check it out and see if acne is listed in the adverse effects column. Keep in mind that when starting or stopping the pill, it could take up to six months for related acne to appear!
# 2 Your Beauty Routine
If your acne is present mostly on the face, neck, hairline, and scalp then it may be your beauty routine to blame. If you are acne prone, make sure your products are non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic and not left over from the 20th century. If
a makeup formula starts to crack or separate, or the color seems muddy or uneven on your skin, toss it. Expired makeup often harbors bacteria that can lead to eye infections or skin breakouts. Another reason not to spend a fortune on
cosmetics, but buy the best quality you can, but won’t feel bad when it’s time
to toss it.
- Creams (including shadows, blushes, concealers, and foundations) and glosses: These formulas all contain a lot of water, which makes them magnets for germs. Replace every six months.
- Powders and sealed, unopened makeup: Powder makeup can trek on for up to two years, thanks to low moisture levels. Ditto for unopened makeup that's been stored in a cool, dry place.
- Lipstick: Is good for up to a year. If the formula feels dry or hard, it's time to toss it.
- Makeup brushes are constantly collecting leftover makeup and gathering bacteria and yeast, which can lead to a type of acne known as Folliculitis. If your skin is oily or combination, clean your most-often-used brushes once a week, and twice a month if skin is dry. You can spray with rubbing alcohol if they are synthetic brushes and if they are natural bristles you can make your own solution of cleanser and water. Good quality makeup brushes can take a weekly cleansing.
- Mascara: It has the shortest shelf life, because the wand carries bacteria back into the tube with every use. Replace it every three months.
I have been telling my kids and clients for years to change their pillow cases every other day, and flip it over on the days you don’t change it. Our faces are in direct contact with our pillows for 8 hours every day, they need to be clean. We lose skin cells while we sleep and they collect on your pillow, then microbes get on your pillow to consume the dead skin cells. These microbes carry bacteria which transfer to your skin as you sleep. Also, if you have a tendency to
pick at your acne before bed, the bacteria in the blemish is released, gets on
your pillow and transfers to other areas of your face when you toss and turn to
create more blemishes somewhere else.
Hair Products –
If you are getting blemishes around your hairline, you may be allergic to the
harsh chemicals in your shampoo, conditioner or hair gel. Make sure the last thing you do before you step out of the shower is wash your face, so that you can wash off all of the shampoo and/or conditioner. Greasy or heavy treatments like pomades, oils, and hairspray, can be pore clogging. Even though you aren't putting them directly on the face, they can still contribute to a form of acne breakouts called acne cosmetica. Avoid getting your hair care products on your
face by applying them at least 1 inch away from the hairline.
For those with longer hair, you may find blemishes on the neck, around the ears, and jaw line as well. Keeping your hair pulled back as much as you can, especially while you are healing, it will do much to help.
You may want to shampoo your hair every night before bed as well to help keep products and hair oil from touching your face and clogging pores.
#3 Your Cell Phone
Cell phones gather all kinds of dirt and bacteria throughout the day, and are a big cause of acne on the chin and around the mouth. Wiping down your Smartphone daily with alcohol or Clorox wipes will keep your phone—and your face—clean.
Contrary to the popular belief that toothpaste can help heal a pimple- If you have blemishes on the lower third of your face this may be your problem. Certain toothpastes can actually cause you to develop acne or an acne-like eruption called perioral dermatitis. Fluoride and other whitening and anti-cavity ingredients,
especially sodium pyrophosphate, are quite harsh on our delicate skin.
#5 Your Workout Gear
It's best to put a towel over your yoga mat when working out—even if it's your personal yoga mat. Your face may be on the side that someone else's feet or perspiration has touched. Workout gear or clothing that constantly rubs
in a certain area can cause frictional acne. Constant rubbing ends up making
you sweat, become irritated, and eventually develop tiny little red bumps. Showering right after a workout and putting on fresh clothing is a must if you have “Back-ne” Headbands are also trying to make a comeback – make
sure you wear it in your hair and not on your forehead, if you are acne prone.
#6 Touching Your Face
Touching, even after you wash your hands is a no-no. Touching can inflame the skin, and if you're touching the same area (such as putting your head in your hands while listening to your teacher), you might get an increase in oil production, so it's three-pronged: it's the bacteria, the inflammation, and the increased
production in oil that causes the reaction.
Squeezing a pimple can make the skin red for days afterward, and even cause a scar. Instead, put ice in a paper towel, hold it on the spot for several minutes,
then remove for one minute; repeat this a few more times. This should shrink
the cyst and shorten its duration. Then, dab on an acne treatment containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
Over-the Counter Helpful Active Ingredients:
Below are the active ingredients found in over-the-counter medications and what they actually do. Careful using all of them at the same time as some of them do similar things and can cause your skin to become overly sensitive and exacerbate the situation you are trying to remedy. One of the reasons health and beauty
professionals recommend staying with a particular product line is because their
products are meant to work together and won’t negatively react with one
Alcohol and acetone
Found together in some over-the-counter medications used to treat acne, acetone
works as a degreasing agent and alcohol has mild antimicrobial properties.
When used alone, acetone tends to have no effect.
Benzoyl peroxide 10%
Works to clear up acne by reducing P. acnes and removing dead cells from the
skin to prevent pimples. It was one of the first agents found to be effective in
treating mild acne and has been used in acne treatment for decades. The
principal side effect is excessive dryness of the skin, so be sure to follow
directions and not use more than stated unless otherwise instructed by a
physician. Care should also be taken when applying it to avoid the bleaching
effect. Benzoyl peroxide has been known to bleach hair, sheets, towels and
clothing. For this reason, an old shirt should be worn after applying benzoyl
peroxide to acne on the back or chest. Benzoyl peroxide is available
over-the-counter as a lotion or gel. Use of benzoyl peroxide should continue even after acne clears to prevent new lesions from forming.
“Herbal,” “organic” and "natural" products
Over-the-counter products labeled “herbal,” "organic" or "natural" are marketed as acne treatments but their effectiveness has rarely been tested in clinical trials. The value of such treatments is generally unknown.
A popular ingredient in over-the-counter acne medications, resorcinol controls
small acne lesions and is frequently combined with sulfur in over-the-counter
Salicylic acid 2%
Effective in treating non-inflammatory acne lesions, salicylic acid helps correct the abnormal shedding of skin cells and unclog pores to resolve and prevent lesions. Salicylic acid does not have any effect on oil production or P. acnes. Like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid must be used continuously. Once stopped, pores clog and acne returns. Salicylic acid is found in many over-the-counter acne
products, including lotions, creams and pads. It may be irritating to the skin.
Sulfur has been used for more than 50 years in combination with other agents,
such as alcohol, salicylic acid and resorcinol and is found in many
over-the-counter acne medications. While long used to treat acne, it is not
known how sulfur works to clear acne. Due to its unpleasant odor, sulfur is not
frequently used alone as an acne treatment.
I hope you find this information helpful and put you on the right track to a perfect complexion. If you feel that your blemishes have hurt your self-esteem, there are many acne support groups and forums available online; your doctor may be able to refer you to a local group, too. Even having a friend with whom you can talk can make a difference. Again, be gentle with yourself and be patient.
Thanks again in advance for your comments; I look forward to reading them!