Are you struggling with painful acne?
Acne scars are not going away?
Even after using acne treatment for a long time, you got no results?
You have been spending a lot on skincare products yet see no result?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, this article is for you. Read this article to the very end to find out where you are going wrong. I would suggest grabbing a snack or a drink because this article is going to be a long yet informative one.
Before we talk about the mistakes which you might be making, let’s understand the science behind acne.
What is acne?
What causes acne?
Can we avoid it or not?
Why does acne leave scars behind? Is acne permanent?
It is important to know about the root cause before trying to solve a problem. Let’s jump in.
What is acne?
There is a lot of fuss going around about acne. Let’s break it down. Let's understand it in the simplest way ever. It is important to understand a problem before solving it.
Just how we breathe, our skin needs to breathe as well. To keep itself fresh and clean, skin shreds a lot of dead cells. These dead cells leave the skin surface through pores. Yeah, the pores which you hate. However, pores serve an important purpose.
The skin generates an oily substance called sebum to lubricate itself naturally. It is a natural oil of skin that keeps the skin moisturized and hydrated. Now, you might think that sebum is a bad guy who causes acne. That is not true.
The dead skin cells leave the skin through pores, the medium which they use is sebum. The sebum carries the dead skin cells from the origin to the outer layer of the skin.
The problem arises when the process slows down. When the process slows down, it results in dead skin cells stuck at the opening of the pore along with sebum. This results in clogged pores. But the skin doesn’t know what’s happening at the top. It still sheds dead skin cells and sebum carries it towards the surface of the skin. And, the blockage increases over a period. This causes redness of the skin, and it swells up. This is what we call acne or pimple.
Types of acne:
What is a whitehead?
It is an inflamed follicle that is cut off from the surface.
What is a blackhead?
When a whitehead is exposed to the atmosphere it changes its color to black, that is a blackhead.
What is a pimple?
It is an inflamed follicle that has pus in it.
What is a cyst?
It is an inflamed painful follicle that has a lot of pus.
We understand what acne is and the different types of it. Now, let’s understand what factors contribute to acne.
Hormonal changes -
In early teens and early adulthood, you can face a lot of acne. It is because the hormones keep changing. This imbalance causes acne. That’s why women notice a lot of acne during menstruation. During menstruation, hormones are constantly secreting which results in acne.
If you don’t maintain proper hygiene of your face and body. Bacteria can accumulate up in a particular region. When bacteria enter the pores, it results in painful pus pimples.
Certain medicines -
Certain medications can interfere with your body’s chemicals and hormones. It can result in acne. That’s why during a particular medication phase you’ll see a lot of acne. And, as soon as you end the medication, the acne goes away.
If your parents had acne and pimples during their teens and early adulthood days. There is a good chance that you’ll have it as well. But as the phase passes you’ll see that your skin will clear up itself.
What can you do to get rid of acne?
1. Follow a basic skincare routine that includes cleansing, moisturization, and SPF.
2. Make sure all your products are free from harsh chemicals.
3. Generally, acne skin is sensitive, look for products that are safe for sensitive skin.
4. Wash your face twice a day. Especially after a workout and when you return home from a long trying day.
5. Maintaining skin hygiene by wearing cleaning clothes, changing sheets, and pillow cover regularly.
6. Avoid touching your face frequently.
7. Clean your phone and spec’s frame with rubbing alcohol to get rid of bacteria.
8. Do not experiment with a lot of products on your skin.
Note - If your acne is severe and painful, consult a dermatologist immediately.
Let’s talk about common skincare mistakes which you might be making. Which can make your acne worse.
You might be using products that are alcohol-based like tonners, setting spray, mist. Generally, acne-proven skin is oily in nature. People with oily skin love squeaky clean skin. And these alcohol-based products give the same feeling. However, these alcohol-based products do more harm than good. Avoid using any and every product which has alcohol content in it.
Who doesn’t like oil-free skin? Especially those suffering from acne generally have oily skin. They hate applying products that make their skin oily and greasy. The skincare industry saw it as a golden problem. Through which they can sell millions of products. And they came out with a new term called oil-free products and started marketing them. Trust me, even oil-free products have oil in them. Avoid such products. Instead, go for water-based or gel-based products. They will be light on the skin yet effective.
You need to understand that the products which say anti-acne, don't help with acne. Some of them cause acne, due to many active ingredients. Instead of looking at the front label, you should be checking out the back label. The back label talks about ingredients. There can be ingredients that can cause a breakout because they are not suitable for your skin. You need to keep an eye on the ingredients which go on your skin.
Washing your face twice a day is important to maintain hygiene. But do not go overboard and keep washing your face. It might give you a temporary feeling of freshness and squeaky clean skin. However, in reality, it is stripping off natural oils from your skin. Which can result in dehydrated oily skin. Yes, your skin can be dehydrated yet oily. Avoid overwashing your face.
When you have acne-prone skin, your skin goes through a lot already. You do not want to use harsh chemicals which will further irritate your skin. Irritated skin can cause redness, dryness, and painful acne. Always keep an eye on what you are applying over your skin. Make sure the products which you buy are free from Sulfates Parabens Synthetic colors and fragrances, Toluene, Talc, Lead, Formaldehyde, Alcohol, Petrolatum, etc.
Physical scrubs are good to get rid of dead skin cells and boost blood circulation in the region. However, it is no less than misery for people who are suffering from acne. Especially pimples and cystic acne. You shouldn’t use scrubs on active acne, as it can tear the acne and spread the infection to other areas of skin. It will result in more acne and infection.
Instead, you can you chemical exfoliants like AHA and BHA. They are gentle on the skin and help with acne and pimples as well.
Too many products:
You might be using too many products at the same time or frequently changing products. Let’s discuss it one by one.
If you use serum, moisturizer, spot treatment, toner, and face creams at the same time then it can lead to a reaction. The reaction can be in the form of skin rashes, redness, acne, zits, and more. Stick to basics and keep your skin regime minimal.
If you switch to different products frequently then you are not giving time to your skin to get used to a product. This can again result in acne breakouts and skin reactions.
Avoid switching between products frequently and do not use too many products at once. Stick to basics and keep it minimal.
Too many active ingredients:
The hype in the beauty industry of active ingredients is way too high. Due to which people end buy buying a lot of active ingredients products and start using them together. This needs to be avoided at all costs. Active ingredients can be beneficial only when used alone, layer active indigents on top of each other can lead to skin reactions. Avoid it at all costs.
If you are using a salicylic acid-based face wash then use aloe vera or gentle moisturizer, and top it up with SPF. If you are using a serum, skip the moisturizer or use a gentle one. Do not overuse actives, they can do more harm than good this way. Keep it minimal.
Not using sunscreen:
I have seen a lot of people who have tons and tons of excuses for not using sunscreen. It makes my skin oily, it leaves a white cast, it clogs my pore, it makes me sweaty, and an endless list of excuses. Yes, some sunscreen can make you oily and sweaty but they protect you from harmful sun rays. Yes, they might leave a white cast but they don't let your acne get tanned. Which in turn saves you from blemishes and acne scars. Nonetheless, there are a lot of sunscreens in the market which doesn’t leave a white cast. Explore and experiment.
Not using moisturizer:
There is a common myth among people that moisturizing the face can clog pores. Which results in an acne breakout. Whereas in reality moisturizing is crucial. It helps to hydrate and moisturize skin. It locks the moisture in and reduces sebum production.
When you don’t apply moisture for a long time. The skin becomes dehydrated. When skin is dehydrated it sends a signal to the skin glands to generate more sebum to moisturize the skin. Due to which sebum production increases and starts to clog pores. Ultimately it results in acne and dehydrated skin. That is why it is important to use a moisturizer. You can use gel-based or water-based moisturizer if you have extremely oily skin.
Do not follow the hype which is going around in the market. The company creates a new problem when they want to sell something. Stick to basics.
Like maintaining hygiene by using clean face towels. Use clean sheets and pillow covers. Do not touch the face, and cleaning phones and specs with rubbing alcohol. Follow a skincare routine that can be as simple as cleaning, moisturization, and SPF.
Listen to your skin, see what it needs and not what you need. If it’s dry use a little heavy moisturizer. If your skin is dull and damaged skin use serum, if you find your skin clogged use scrubs and facemasks. Listen to your skin, do what it needs.
Always check your ingredients, stay away from harsh chemicals. Stick to basics and keep it minimal. Keep it easy to follow and maintain.
After all, it’s 10-20% externally what you can do. 80-90% is internal. Eat fresh and healthy food, work out daily, and drink a lot of water. We will be back soon with another article where we talk about food and nutrition. Which can help you out with acne and breakouts.
How to remove pimples overnight?
It is not possible to get rid of pimples overnight. You don’t develop a pimple overnight. Hence it is not possible to get rid of one overnight especially if it is severe. In other cases, you can use any drugstore Benzoyl Peroxide Gel.
How to get rid of acne fast?
There is no way to get rid of acne fast, they neither come fast nor go away fast. It is a process, it takes time. You can use spot treatment if required. Also, avoid products with harsh chemicals. Do not use too many active ingredients at a time. Stick to basics and keep skincare minimal.
How to get rid of acne in 5 minutes?
It is not possible to get rid of pimples within 5 mins. You don’t develop a pimple in 5 minutes and hence it is not possible to get rid of one in 5 minutes especially if it is severe. However, you can use any drugstore Benzoyl Peroxide Gel.
What are acne scars?
Acne scars are the result of acne blemishes becoming inflamed.
What causes acne?
When dead skin cells along with sebum clog pores, it results in acne. There can be various reasons like hormonal imbalance, bacteria, overproduction of sebum, genetics