How Dry Skin Causes Acne

Posted under General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Tuesday 1 February 2011

source:flickr by:patriziasoliani

With winter in full effect, the lack of moisture and humidity along with harsh winds can wreak havoc on your skin. And if acne has always been an issue for you, winter breakouts may be a common occurrence because contrary to popular belief, excessively dry skin causes acne.

How Dry Skin Causes Acne

People with oily skin usually have problems with acne because pimples are caused by excess sebum (oil) on the skin. However, when skin gets dry, it produces more oil to counterbalance the lack of moisture. That’s why people who have combination skin (e.g. dry skin with oily skin in the T-zone area) typically deal with even more breakouts in the winter.

And since acne is also a result of dead skin cells that accumulate and clog pores, dry skin causes flakiness, which can plug up the pores as they slough off. This poses a real problem for acne sufferers because their skin doesn’t have the natural ability to shed dead skin cells.

Exfoliation and Hydration Is Key

The key to preventing acne from worsening during dry, winter months is to keep your skin properly hydrated and renewed using moisturizers and exfoliators. Look for moisturizers that contain ingredients like glycerin, naturally extracted ingredients like jojoba oil or apricot kernel oil, ceramides and linoleic acid, and gentle exfoliators that slough off dead skin cells without irritating the skin.

Since physical exfoliators like facial scrubs can be too harsh on already inflamed, acneic skin, look for chemical exfoliators that contain salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids as they are more effective on acne prone skin.

Be selective about ingredients and choose products carefully, and you’ll soon be on your way to a clear, healthy, balanced complexion for all seasons.

Acne Tips for Body Acne

Posted under General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Wednesday 20 October 2010

source:flickr by:Gubatron

Whether it affects your chest, back, buttocks or thighs, body acne is an unwelcome guest. Those who suffer from facial acne are very likely to develop body acne at some point in their life, and chances of development are increased by both genetics and lifestyle. Acne breakouts on the body are very similar to those found on the face; however, because the skin of the body often has a thicker density and larger pores, blemishes can become larger and more painful than facial lesions.

Acne may be developed anywhere on the body, other than the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Body acne can get out of control easily due to its likelihood of becoming irritated by clothing, sweat, and jewelry. In addition, acne-prone skin is also more prone to ingrown hairs, which causes acne skin to look even unhealthier.

The first step in preventing body acne and ingrown hairs alike is wearing comfortably loose, breathable fabrics, such as cotton. It is also important to shower as soon as possible after sweating, making sure to re-dress in clean, dry clothing. If you notice particularly problematic areas, make yourself aware of clothing habits that may be leading to extra breakouts. As an example, wearing tight jeans everyday may be causing leg acne, or a loose bra strap could be rubbing against the skin, leading to irritated and increased back acne.

Many skin care companies offer body skin care products specially formulated to treat acne on the body. These acne treatment products generally contain higher concentrations of the acne-fighting ingredients you already know and love, such as salicylic or glycolic acids. Using these products every morning, after exercise, or even before you go to bed at night will almost certainly reduce body breakouts. To build a regimen, begin with a body acne wash, a light moisturizer, and a spot treatment if necessary.

If you’re wearing proper clothing and using adult acne treatments, and your body acne still isn’t clearing up, your breakouts may be caused by an allergic reaction to your laundry detergent of fabric softener, or even your favorite beauty perfume. Removing common irritants, such as synthetic fragrances and harsh soaps, from your lifestyle may be a necessary step for healing and preventing your acne.

As always, it is recommended that you see your dermatologist for a professional diagnosis before beginning an acne treatment regimen. Although it is likely that blemishes found on the face and body are a form of acne or ingrown hair, it is always wise to seek the counsel of a medial professional.

Acne Tips: Stop Picking Your Acne!

Posted under Acne Causes,Acne Treatments,General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Tuesday 14 September 2010

source:flickr by:G|o®g|O

How to Get Rid of Acne: Stop Picking Your Skin!

There are few things that exacerbate acne more than picking the acne blemishes and the surrounding skin. It’s a classic catch-22: you pick your acne because it’s uncomfortable, or you believe that popping the pimples will help them heal faster. Then, new blemishes are caused by picking the old ones, leading you to pick at the new blemishes, and so on.

Picking your skin causes new blemishes for a few different reasons. First off, constantly touching your face introduces bacteria, dirt, and debris from your fingertips. Think about it; your hands touch, well, everything! The computer keyboard, greasy foods, dirty faucets, your shoes…the list goes on and on. (Just thinking about it makes me want to wash my hands!)

Secondly, releasing the oil and bacteria from a pimple causes it to travel elsewhere on the face, where it can clog a different pore and cause another blemish. In addition, when one pops a pimple, some of the pus actually travels deeper into the dermis, which can either resurface in the same area or cause a new pimple nearby.

Thirdly, picking at your skin can create a sore, which often looks worse than the actual pimple. Regular blemishes that are left to heal on their own are usually able to be camouflaged with concealer. However, an open sore can ooze, hurt, and bleed, and is redder and more difficult to hide using makeup. In addition, sores appear unhealthier than a basic blemish, which is an extremely common occurrence.

In addition to the blemish-causing effects of picking at acne-prone skin, picking should be avoided due to its ability to create scars. If there’s one thing you want to avoid, it’s acne scars! While acne scars can be diminished with an acne scar treatment, you’ll never be able to fully remove them. This means that even after your skin has cleared up, you’ll still have scars to remind you of your struggle with acne.

So, how do you put this acne tip into practice and break the habit of picking at your skin? Some of these suggestions may sound too simple to work, but they’re tried-and-true solutions that promise to help you achieve clearer, healthier skin.

1) Stop Looking In The Mirror
Sounds silly, right? It’s not! One of the main habits that lead to skin picking is over-obsessing in front of the mirror. Try avoiding staring at your skin in the mirror, reserving mirror time for applying makeup, doing your hair, and other primping needs. Throw out your magnifying mirror, too — these will only lead to imagined imperfections and, of course, picking!

2) Do Something With Your Hands
A lot of skin picking happens during times of idleness, like while one is in class or watching TV. When you’re able, practice a hand-occupying hobby, like Sudoku, knitting, or drawing. These hobbies will keep your hands too busy to pick at your skin, plus they’ll prove to be beneficial in other areas of your life! (For in-class solutions, try wearing jewelry that you can fiddle with until you break the picking habit.)

3) Apply Acne Treatment Products
If your blemishes are covered by a treatment for acne, you’ll be less likely to pick at them. It’s the same concept behind applying a bad-tasting product to your fingernails to keep from biting. If you know picking your blemishes will leave you with a now-wasted acne treatment under your nails, you won’t want to mess with them.

Acne FAQs: Hormonally-Caused Acne

Posted under Acne Causes,Acne Treatments,General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Thursday 5 August 2010
Source: flickr.com user rbmay

Source: flickr.com user rbmay

For the Ladies: Acne, Period.

It’s no secret: most women experience a higher number of acne breakouts during their period, as well as during other times of hormonal imbalance. One of the most common acne FAQs is about hormonally-caused acne. How do you treat hormonal acne breakouts? Can you prevent them from occurring? Which hormones cause the breakout? The questions are endless. Thankfully, there’s a clear answer for every source of befuddlement!

An Overview
There are many hormones which contribute to the formation of acne blemishes. Anabolic steriods, corticosteroids, ACTH, testosterone, and gonadotropins can all have acne-inducing effects. These flare-ups can also be caused or exacerbated by glucocorticosteroids, a hormone that’s increased by higher stress levels. For this basic overview, I’ll stick to the main hormones that lead to a woman’s cyclical acne.

During the menstrual cycle, different hormones experience increase and decrease of production. As a basic overview, the ovaries produce both estrogen (female hormone) and testosterone (male hormone. In the beginning of the menstrual cycle, estrogen levels increase as an egg matures in the ovary. The estrogen has many functions, including masking testosterone in order to allow ovulation to occur. When the egg is released (ovulation), estrogen levels begin to drop. During this time, progesterone, which has qualities of both androgens and estrogen, levels begin to increase in order to prepare the uterine lining for the implantation of a fertilized egg. If the egg is not fertilized and/or implanted, progesterone levels drop, leading to the woman’s period.

The progesterone made during the menstrual cycle is meant to compete with androgens (the main cause of acne). If the progesterone was able to properly control androgen production, the effects of the androgens would never make an appearance in the form of acne. However, some women make too much testosterone (an androgen), making it difficult for the progesterone to win its struggle with your body’s androgens. Other women make too little estrogen, which is essential for masking the body’s testosterone. The most common cause of androgen-related acne, however, is a woman’s natural sensitivity to her body’s normal levels of androgens.

Treatment and Prevention
Hormonal acne can be controlled or prevented by women through birth control and other forms of hormonal supplementation. However, these types of acne treatments do not come without their health risks. In addition, this form of treatment does not always work, and many women cannot use hormonal supplements due health reasons or religious beliefs. If hormonal acne treatment is not an option for you, you can turn to natural acne treatments and topical acne treatment products.

Most adult acne treatments provide great results when used on hormonally-caused acne. If topical treatment doesn’t seem to clear up your monthly acne, it may be wise to up your acne treatment regimen during times of hormonal flare-ups. By adding an acne spot treatment or clarifying night mask, you may be able to get your cyclical breakouts under control without turning to hormone treatment therapy.



Acne FAQs: How to Properly Cover Acne Blemishes

Posted under Acne Treatments,General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Friday 9 July 2010

source:flickr by:incurable_hippie

How to Properly Cover Acne Blemishes

Aside from actually getting rid of acne, the most important thing to most acne-sufferers is knowing how to effectively cover acne blemishes. While concealing zits may sound simple, it can often become frustrating and time-consuming, and may even worsen acne. Thankfully, there are a few acne tips and tricks that will make covering breakouts simpler, easier and faster.

Cleanse
As with most acne tips, step one is cleansing the complexion. Use a mild, non-abrasive cleanser formulated with your favorite acne ingredient, such as salicylic or lactic acid. Be sure to cleanse your hands as well to avoid transferring dirt or bacteria from your fingers to your face. After cleansing, apply an acne spot treatment if you feel that it’s necessary.

Moisturize
Dry zits are much harder to camouflage than “fresh” zits. Using a non-greasy, non-comedogenic moisturizer before applying a concealer will help create a smoother texture and more natural appearance. If a pimple is particularly dry and flaky, you can apply a thick coating of a petroleum jelly-based skin care product and leave it on for a few minutes. Apply a warm compress to the skin for a few moments, then use the compress to wipe away the excess product to reveal a suppler and smoother skin texture.

Conceal
The number one tip to remember when applying concealer is that less is more. If too much concealer is applied, it will appear dry and cakey, making your blemish even more noticeable. Using your application tool of choice (a brush, sponge, or clean fingertips all work great), dab a small amount of concealer on and around your zit. Gently blend outward to create a natural-looking finish. After concealing, even the complexion with your favorite makeup base. A mineral makeup pressed foundation is ideal for acne-prone skin, as it sets concealer and helps control excess shine.

Remove
Cleansing your face at the end of the day is an important step on the road to achieving clearer skin. When skin care makeup is left on overnight, it’s more likely to enter the pores and interact with bacteria, causing blemishes, irritation, and unhealthy skin. Taking five minutes to remove makeup and cleanse away the dirt, debris, bacteria, and oil of the day will help clarify your skin while preparing you mentally for bed.

The Sun and Your Acne-Prone Skin

Posted under Acne Treatments,General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Wednesday 9 June 2010

source: flickr by: bass_nroll

The Sun and Your Acne-Prone Skin: How to Stay Clear During Summer
Summer is a fun, beautiful time of year. The clear, warm weather allows us to enjoy vacationing, spending time on the beach or at the lake, and adding some color to our complexions. Unfortunately, summer brings new obstacles when it comes to caring for acne-prone skin. Acne skin care during summer doesn’t have to change much; simply remember the following suggestions to help your skin stay clear while you enjoy the heat.

Clean
The heat of summer brings with it sweat, and lots of it. The combination of heat, sweat and chafing clothes can result in a form of acne all its own: acne mechanica. Acne mechanica can be prevented by wearing natural, breathable fabrics such as cotton or bamboo, and by showering as soon as possible after sweating. Use an acne treatment product containing salicylic, lactic or glycolic acid on the face and body to keep the skin clear, calm and comfortable.

Lighten
Lighten your moisturizer, that is. In the winter, more emollient skin care creams or lotions are great for keeping dryness at bay. In summer, however, a lighter moisturizing cream will suffice. Make sure to choose a formulation marked “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” to ensure blemish-free use.

As an aside, many acne sufferers don’t like using moisturizers because they feel that their skin is already to greasy or oily. Don’t let oily skin keep you from moisturizing! Not all daily moisturizers are heavy or greasy. In fact, many creams and lotions absorb quickly and completely to leave a soft yet residue-free finish.

Control
Oil-control during summer is essential for keeping your skin clear. Using an acne-indicated cleanser twice daily does a great job of keeping oil under control, though using an oil-absorbing mask once or twice a week may be helpful as well. Start with two daily cleansings to see how it effects your oil production. If you feel you need the extra boost of a mask, choose a natural acne product with antioxidants and absorbent clays, such as kaolin clay.

Moderate
Contrary to popular belief, not all sun exposure is bad. Adults should get around 15 minutes of unprotected exposure every day to absorb the proper amount of vitamin D. Too little sun exposure could result in a vitamin D deficiency, which could then lead to rickets. However, too much exposure can cause extreme damage to the skin, including skin wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and even skin cancer.

In addition, a little sun exposure can help the appearance of acne, while too much can exacerbate the condition by causing excessive oil production and increased dead skin cells — the perfect storm for clogging pores. The key is moderation; try applying your broad-spectrum skin care sunscreen 5-10 minutes before you leave the house. Since sunscreen doesn’t “kick in” for 20-30 minutes after application, this application window will allow a small amount of unprotected sun exposure, followed by 90-120 minutes of sun damage prevention.

Acne Tips: Purify Your Makeup Routine

Posted under Acne Causes,General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Tuesday 11 May 2010

source:flickr by:Scott Huber

Acne and Makeup

It’s a classic catch-22: wearing makeup causes breakouts, which makes you use more makeup. This cycle can both cause and aggravate acne, which leaves you feeling aggravated. Thankfully, there’s a simple solution. Creating a pure beauty care routine will help prevent acne cosmetica, the fancy name for acne caused by cosmetics. Building a pure cosmetic regimen is actually easier than you think. All it takes is the desire for clear skin and some diligent label-reading.

Acne Cosmetica
Before delving into what makes a makeup product pure, let’s take a look at acne cosmetica. When a makeup product is applied, it doesn’t adhere to the application area to sit for the day. It actually migrates into the low areas (the pores), just like water to a drain. If your makeup cosmetic contains comedogenic ingredients, the formulation can clog the pore, resulting in makeup-caused acne. Acne cosmetica can appear just like traditional acne blemishes, or it can simply look like a fine rash. If you experience either form, be sure to discontinue the use of the offending product immediately.

Comedogenics
Most people, especially acne sufferers, believe that all oils are comedogenic. Surprisingly, that is not the case! Many oils, including essential oils, petroleum products, sunflower oil and mineral oil, are non-comedogenic and safe for use on acne-prone skin. On the flip side, lanolin and isopropyl myristate are two common comedogenic ingredients used in beauty makeup products. If you’re unsure about a product’s ingredients, check the label for “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” markings. These two phrases indicate that the product in question is probably ok to use on acne-prone skin.

Shimmer
Many skin care makeup products add a little shimmer, glimmer or shine to your look. The ingredient that makes this happen is usually mica, a very common mineral often used in mineral makeup formulations. Although natural and gentle, mica features a jagged shape that can cause irritation or pore clogging. If your mica-infused beauty care product is causing issues, trying switching to a shimmer-free formulation, or finding a glimmering product that uses something other than mica to provide you with the glow you desire.

Red Dye
We’ve all been told that red dye is bad for our health, but it can be bad for our skin, too! Most red dyes used in cosmetic products, such as blush, eye shadows and lip products, are actually comedogenic coal derivatives. Don’t like the idea of slathering coal on your face? Try using carmine, a natural and gentle red hue that’s been used since the Aztecs.

Texture
When it comes to keeping your skin free of acne blemishes, texture matters! Cream formulations are more likely to contain comedogenic ingredients, which makes them more likely to cause acne. Even if a cream formula is non-comedogenic, the thicker, heavier texture can feel uncomfortable to some acne sufferers. If you’re trying to prevent acne, look for powder or gel formulations.

Acne Tips: Shaving

Posted under General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Thursday 29 April 2010

source:flickr by:ccarlstead

Shaving Acne-Prone Skin

Nothing aggravates adult acne like shaving. Acne-prone skin is sensitive and delicate, which makes it more likely to experience shaving irritation such as razor burn, redness and razor bumps. Razor bumps are caused by inflammation of the hair follicle, and look an awful lot like acne blemishes. When acne breakouts and shaving bumps combine, the result is an inflamed, red and uncomfortable complexion.

Thankfully, there are measures one can take to minimize shaving irritation and maximize comfort and clarity. One thing to always remember is you cannot shave off acne! Trying to do so will result in extremely painful damage that will almost certainly scar. When shaving acne-prone areas, shave gently over your blemishes and aim to reduce trauma to the skin.

1) Cleanse with warm water. Using a gentle, exfoliating acne cleanser will remove dead skin cells and soften the skin and hair, which creates a slick surface for minimum friction, and therefore minimum irritation. The warm water causes the skin to become pliable while bringing blood flow to the face. Try shaving in the shower, or just after taking a shower, for great results.

2) Lather up. Choose a non-foaming shaving cream that creates a slippery surface. Foaming, mousse-like saving creams often contain very drying ingredients that irritate the skin. Plus, these types of skin care products don’t actually protect very well against razor damage, making it twice as likely to leave your skin looking and feeling irritated. Try a cream from Whish or eShave, two companies that use nourishing, natural ingredients to provide the perfect surface for irritation-free shaving.

3) Use a new, single-blade razor. While it’s true that double- and triple-blade razors provide a closer, longer-lasting shave, single-blade razors cause less irritation to sensitive, acne-prone skin. Double- and triple-blade razors shave so deeply that the skin treats the follicle as a wound. The skin heals over the follicle, forcing the new hair growth to fight its way through, resulting in a red, inflamed bump, otherwise known as a razor bump. Single blade razors shave well, but don’t cause ingrown hairs. Electric razors are also great for acne-prone skin, plus they’re easier to use and don’t necessitate shaving cream.

4) Shave with hair growth. By shaving in the direction of hair growth, otherwise known as shaving with the grain, you’ll minimize nicks, cuts and razor bumps! If you’re not sure how to shave with the grain, run your hand along the area to be shaved. If it feels smooth and silky, you’re running your hand in the direction of hair growth. If the hair feels prickly or fuzzy, you’re going against the grain.

5) Tone, treat and moisturize. After shaving is complete, apply an alcohol-free toner to the skin. Choosing an antibacterial formulation is especially beneficial to acne-prone skin, as it will kill acne-causing bacteria before it can settle into your open pores. If you use gentle acne treatment products, it’s probably safe to use them after shaving. However, if you tend to experience product-related irritation after shaving, it’s probably best to wait until the next day to resume your acne treatment. Finally, apply a non-comedogenic moisturizer to seal in hydration and calm the skin.

Acne Tips: Stay Clear While Exercising

Posted under Acne Causes,General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Thursday 22 April 2010

source:flickr by:adria.richards

Stay Clear While Exercising

Some say that exercise will help clear out your pores and reduce acne, while others claim that exercise actually exacerbates acne. Talk about conflicting acne tips! The main thing to remember is that exercise is extremely important to your health and always necessary! Don’t let the threat of acne blemishes keep you from getting that heart pumping and staying in shape.

Overall, exercise actually helps in the fight against acne. When you exercise, your internal systems work at full power, which helps acne blemishes to heal and pores to unclog. However, there are many factors at work during exercise that can cause or worsen acne breakouts.

Go Natural
Wearing makeup, greasy skin care creams, sunscreen or even heavy acne treatments during exercise can cause or worsen acne breakouts. While working out, the pores clog easier, and comedogenic formulations will only add to the problem. If you’re exercising outside, such as jogging or doing outdoor yoga, use an oil-free, non-comedogenic sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection of at least SPF 15. This will keep your skin protected from UVA and UVB rays without leading to blemishes.

Dress for Success
Choosing breathable fabrics, such as cotton or hemp, will help keep your body cool and comfortable while simultaneously preventing breakouts. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester or spandex, lock in heat and moisture, which creates the ideal breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria. Heat and moisture can also irritate sensitive skin, leading to excess redness and discomfort. In addition, friction is not your friend when it comes to acne. Loose, comfortable clothing is always ideal.

Wash Up
After exercising, hit the showers as soon as possible. Use the correct adult acne products on the face and body to remove sweat, dirt and bacteria, returning the skin to a fresh, neutral state. (Plus, who doesn’t want a shower after a work out session, anyway?) If showering immediately is not an option, wipe down acne-prone areas with witch hazel or similarly medicated pads to help keep blemishes at bay. Cleansing pads are travel-friendly and easy to use, making them a favorite on-the-go option.

Causes of Acne: Soy

Posted under General Information on Adult Acne by swright on Wednesday 31 March 2010

source: flickr by:stuck in customs

Is My Acne Caused by Soy?

Many people believe that acne is caused or exacerbated by diet. One of the most common foods which is rumored to produce acne breakouts is soy, whether it’s in a pure or processed form. Soy and soy derivatives are found in many foods, including boxed snacks, treats and, of course, soy milk and tofu. Soy is often found in chocolate, which may be one of the reasons some believe chocolate to be an acne trigger. But, can soy actually cause breakouts, or is this belief yet another acne myth?

When researching the relationship between soy and acne, a lot of conflicting information is found. Many claim to experience worse acne when consuming soy products, while others promote soy as a natural acne treatment. Some say they made the switch from dairy to soy after experiencing acne seemingly caused by cow’s milk and other dairy products and see clearer skin while using soy as a dairy alternative. Cow’s milk is actually more likely to be an acne trigger, as most milk contains hormones and/or stimulates androgen production, both of which can lead to acne blemishes. However, the facts are easy to see; some people do find a connection between soy and acne breakouts.

While soy surely causes breakouts in some people, that does not mean it is a cause of acne for everyone. Soy is one of the most common allergens with reactions ranging from very mild to very severe, including reactions that present themselves in the form of acne. Soy-caused acne does not appear the first time one consumes soy. Because soybeans contain proteins that do not break down with regular cooking temperatures, soy often triggers the immune system to respond defensively.

The first time one eats soy, the immune system reacts badly and creates antibodies. When the immune system responds this way, the sebaceous glands become inflamed and produce too much sebum. The sebum gets trapped in the inflamed hair follicles and creates a clog, keeping bacteria and the excess oil under the skin. As the sebum and bacteria build up, the walls of the hair follicles are ruptured, creating a papule or blackhead. If the hair follicle does not rupture, a whitehead is created instead.

If you seem to break out after consuming soy products or using acne treatment products that contain soy, you may have a mild soy allergy. The only way to know for sure if soy is the root of your acne is to eliminate all soy from your diet for one to two weeks. If in that time you find that your breakouts are less severe or more infrequent, you’ve likely found the culprit. If a soy-free diet does not help to improve your acne, it is probably safe to resume the moderate use of soy products, though soy does have other health risks that should be discussed with your doctor.

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