Acne, pimples, spots – it doesn’t really matter what you call them, skin breakouts are never a welcome addition to your face. So, what can be done about them? Lovoir Beauty explains all.
Causes of pimples
A multitude of different things can be responsible for clogged pores – the precursor to breakouts. It stands to reason, therefore, that in order to both prevent and control the skin condition, we first outline exactly what it is we’re dealing with.
- Excess oil production
- Hormonal changes – not just in teenagers, either!
- Dead skin cells
- Ingrown hairs
Due to the abundance of oil-producing glands on the forehead, nose and chin (T-Zone), breakouts are most common in these areas.
Types of acne
- Who hasn’t suffered with those pesky dark spots at one point? Caused by a combination of sebum (oil) and dead skin cells clogging pores, they get their characteristic blackness by staying open at the top.
- Differs only from blackheads in that the top of the pore closes up, resulting in small bumps protruding from the skin. Unsurprisingly, these can be more difficult to treat.
What do you get when you add bacteria to sebum and dead skin cells? That’s right, angry, red and swollen pimples, thanks to the infection embedded deep below the skin’s surface. They include:
- A breakdown of the surrounding walls around your pores, resulting in hard, clogged spots that are tender to touch.
- In case the name didn’t already give it away, these are identical to papules bar one vital difference – they are also filled with pus. The yellow and white heads are usually a giveaway.
- Embedded further into the skin so much more difficult to treat.
- Even deeper than nodules, these large red or white bumps are the largest form of acne and often painful to touch. They usually come about from a severe infection and are most likely to scar.
How to prevent pimples
Clean your face
Easy enough in theory, but sometimes the last thing you can be bothered to do first thing in the morning and before bed. Removing excess dirt and oil from the skin by washing it regularly, however, is the first line of defence, so do try and build it into your daily routine. Whilst exfoliation is beneficial, don’t be tempted to scrub aggressively – this can irritate the skin and cause inflammation. Instead, use clean hands or a soft brush intended for use on the face.
When using the right products, they should help balance the water level in your skin – not oil. As a result, your skin won’t feel the need to overcompensate with excess sebum.
Clean your products …
Makeup sponges and brushes should be cleaned regularly with soap and water to prevent a build-up of bacteria. Same goes for your face towel, too, as well as your phone screen (we don’t even want to think about how much of our day is spent attached to that thing!). Keeping alcohol wipes to hand is always a good idea.
… your hands …
Especially before touching your face or applying any products to it.
… your glasses/sunglasses …
You want to keep excess oil and dirt away from your eyes and nose.
… and your pillowcases!
Unwashed sheets can lead to cross contamination, inviting unwanted bacteria to snuggle down alongside you at night.
Wash your hair
What’s worse than greasy hair? Excess oil from your locks making its way to the skin! Kill two birds with one stone by washing your hair regularly – paying particular attention to the hairline. Use a gentle shampoo and conditioner whilst making sure that hair products, such as gel or spray, don’t cross-contaminate with your face as they can also clog pores.
Change your diet
A growing body of research suggests that certain foods may be linked to acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, sugary, high-in-carb foods may trigger breakouts – or make an existing breakout worse. Greasy foods are another big no-no, whilst dairy foods may also contribute to the problem. Increasing the amount of antioxidant-fuelled fruits, vegetables and wholegrains into your diet – as well as pumping the amount of water you’re drinking into your body – is always going to be beneficial, too. Other skin boosting superfoods include eggs, nuts and quinoa. Read more about the importance of diet on your skin here.
Exercise more – but without makeup
Sweat is released through the glands, but if makeup is in the way, it can lead to clogged pores – the perfect breeding ground for acne. Always wash your face post-workout, too.
Re-assess your vices
Don’t shoot the messenger, but too much alcohol may contribute to breakouts. There’s also a good amount of scientific evidence linking smoking with acne.
Studies have suggested that a lack of sleep could release inflammatory compounds into the body. You should aim for between seven to nine hours a night.
Wear sunscreen – and reapply regularly
You should never leave the house without protection – especially in sunny New Zealand – as sunburn may lead to an overproduction of oil which can make acne worse. We’re proud to sell sunscreen with an SPF of 30 right here at Lovoir Beauty.
Avoid oil-based skincare products
For obvious reasons. Always choose non-comedogenic products – meaning they won’t clog your pores. Water-based products are also good as they rely on gel, not oil.
Keep calm …
Stress can lead to inflammation. (Not quite as catchy as the meme but definitely more valuable!)
How to treat breakouts
But what when it’s too late for prevention and your face has already been taken over by an army of spots? It can be so, so tempting to throw money at the latest products promising to rid you off your acne in the comfort of your home. The problem with this is that using too many products at once can lead to dry skin, causing your skin to overcompensate by producing more sebum. The result? A vicious, pus-filled cycle. Treating acne also requires patience – something which may be hard to come by when you’re after a quick fix.
So, what do we recommend instead?
- A professional skin consultation service. Simply the only way to receive a full, accurate and reliable diagnosis. Luckily for you, we offer that right here, ensuring you leave us with the right routine, using only the best ingredients and supplements! Book now. If you suffer from serious acne, a visit to your doctor/dermatologist may be necessary.
- Don’t pop! Just … don’t, unless you want to inflict further trauma on your poor skin, sending even more nasties back into it.
- Ice can bring relief to painful spots and reduce swelling.
- Minimise makeup and make sure all traces are removed at the end of each day.
- Over-the-counter treatments, such as salicylic acid (to reduce inflammation and unclog pores), benzoyl peroxide (to decrease bacteria) or products containing Vitamin A, but only when advised by a professional.
- IPL, laser, peels, facials, Dermapen-led microneedling … these are all things that can help clear up breakouts – and all offered by us!
Featured image: metamorworks/Shutterstock