Acne, the stuff of nightmares. The bane of many a teenager (and quite a few much older than that!). Acne can really dent a persons self-confidence and can even lead to bullying and unwanted attention or comments.
There are a number of things you can do to tackle this common issue.
The first thing a person wants to do when they spot a new pimple is to scrub their skin and wash it more often. This is a huge mistake! The more you wash your skin, the drier it becomes. The drier and more irritated the skin becomes, the more oil it produces to compensate for this. This leads to more acne and black heads. Which in turn often leads to washing or scrubbing more. It's a very easy cycle to get into. The best thing to do is to wash no more than twice a day. Use a mild cleanser, nothing too harsh and do not exfoliate more than every other day (more on this later).
Unfortunately, diet can affect acne. The most important thing is to not stress about this as this will make matters worse! Everything in moderation is key. And to have a good selection of vitamins, from vegetables and fruits as well as from vitamin supplements. Fantastic foods for your skin are berries, nuts, seeds and probiotic yoghurt.
Food intolerances and allergies can also lead to problem skin. If you suspect you have a intolerance or allergy and are having symptoms, please visit a doctor! An elimination diet can help. Cutting out problem foods (common ones include dairy and wheat) can make your skin look dramatically better. Allergies and intolerances cause inflammation in the body which in turn makes your skin irritated and causes acne.
Exfoliation is essential to clearing problem acne and blocked pores. There are two forms of exfoliation;
Manual Exfoliation - This is using face scrubs or exfoliation pads. Be careful not to use such products too frequently as this can make skin sore and inflamed. Aim to use this method no more than every other day at most.
Chemical Exfoliation - This is a very effective way of clearing skin and improving your complexion. AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids) are found in many skin care products. The most common ones used are glycollic acid and salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is in many acne products (such as Garnier Pure A etc). You can also have a chemical skin peel at a salon which uses these acids. The AHAs slough dead skin from inside your pores, preventing new spots and breaking down the oil found in black heads. Use products with 2% Salicylic Acid and you will notice a huge improvement in your skin. You can find this in moisturisers, cleansers and makeup remover.
General Skin Care
Follow the following tips to also help fight breakouts;
- Moisturise every day! Dry skin is unhappy skin and will lead to spots.
- Use only oil free, non-comedogenic products. These will not block pores.
- Eliminate as much stress as possible. Go for a walk, relax in a bubble bath. Anything to minimise stress will lead to less acne.
- Don't touch your face. This sounds slightly daft but it is easy to get into the habit of touching your face frequently. Oils, dirt and germs transfer from your fingertips onto your skin and cause spots.
So care for your skin, stay positive and acne will become a thing of the past!