Acne involves the infection or inflammation of sebaceous glands in your skin, and results in painful breakouts of zits (also known as pimples). In some cases, these breakouts will merely involve little ‘whitehead’ zits, but in worse cases you can develop large, red cysts that cause a deep ache and are very difficult to conceal. Thankfully, the severity and frequency of acne can in part be controlled by some simple lifestyle changes. Read on to discover the eight main things that you can do in order to reduce your chances of developing acne, so you can go to the ball. And you won’t need to wear a mask!
1) Limit your sun exposure:
Although being out in the sun helps to make sure that you get your recommended daily intake of vitamin D, it can cause or exacerbate problems with acne. In addition, if you are using a topical acne treatment or taking a drug such as Accutane, you are also more likely to develop dangerous and painful sunburn. To keep your skin in the best condition, avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight, and when you do go outside make sure that you always wear a sunscreen designed for sensitive skin.
2) Take a closer look at your regular medications:
Scientists at the University of Maryland Medical Center have confirmed that certain medications can cause or worsen acne. The main culprits are thought to be phenobarbital (which is used to treat seizures), lithium (which is used to treat bipolar disorder), and corticosteroids (which can help to control some inflammatory disorders and adrenal gland malfunctions). Hormonal contraceptives such as the combined pill and the implant have also been implicated in certain cases of worsened acne. If you are concerned that one of your drugs is causing acne or making an existing skin problem more severe, approach your doctor about changing to a different drug (but never stop taking the drug without your doctor’s explicit permission).
3) Avoid bursting pimples:
The urge to get rid of the pain and embarrassment associated with acne can make popping zits seem tempting. However, when you burst an infected pimple you risk transferring pus and infection to other parts of your skin, leading to the development of new pimples. Dermatological studies also show that the scars left from popping zits take longer to heal than the scars that remain after zits recede naturally. If you feel that you have no choice but to burst a zit, make sure you thoroughly clean the area after you have drained the infection.
4) Wash your face gently and no more than twice a day:
Washing your face too often or scrubbing at your skin can cause excess amounts of oil that will lead to acne instead of helping to prevent it. While it is very important to keep your skin free from the bacteria that can cause zits, you should only clean your skin twice a day. The only exception to this should be when you have been sweating profusely, such as after a workout. On these occasions, it is helpful to wash your face an additional time. Once your face is clean, gently pat it dry instead of rubbing it with a towel.
5) Be selective about makeup:
Not all makeup will cause acne or make existing acne worse, but greasy cosmetics have been proven to promote painful zits. In order to avoid acne, make sure that you only buy noncomedogenic products that will not block your pores. In addition to buying noncomedogenic makeup, you should be similarly picky about the sunscreens and moisturizers that you use.
6) Do not touch your face throughout the day:
When you touch your face, you transfer bacteria from your fingers to your face, and this increases the likelihood of pores becoming blocked and zits developing. Try to break the habit of sitting with your head in your hands, and also do your best to apply any facial creams with a very light touch. When you do have to touch your face, make sure that you wash your hands first.
7) Keep your hair clean:
Greasy hair can transfer oil to your face, where it can promote the development of acne. If you want to avoid zits, wash your hair at least once a day so that it does not become problematically oily.
8) Be kind to the skin on your body as well:
When hot skin is covered by material and repeatedly rubbed, acne mechanica can develop. This condition tends to occur on the back or the forehead, striking people who carry a heavy rucksack or wear a helmet for cycling. In order to prevent acne from developing on your back and forehead, wear light, cotton clothes and shower soon after your body is exposed to heat or friction.
Written by Dr E.C. Gordon
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