According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects 40 to 50 million Americans.
So, what causes acne? Mainly the overproduction of oil; blocked hair follicles that don’t allow oil to leave the pores, which often results in a clogged pore; and the growth of bacteria inside the hair follicles called P. acnes. However, genetics, plays a role in how your body reacts to different hormones in your body and can cause acne, there are certain patterns you could be repeating on a daily basis that can cause you to break out or can even exacerbate your already annoying issue. Here are some of the most surprising triggers.
1: You’re a makeout bandit and your boyfriend has a beard. So what gives? Well, as you and your guy hook up, your smooth face rubs against his hairy one, creating friction, which causes his prickly hair to stimulate oil production on your face, causing blemishes and even beard burn. (Tip via Jeanine Downie, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist and founder of Image Dermatology in Montclair, New Jersey.)
What you can do differently: Kindly ask him to shave his beard in the name of flawless skin. Or beg him to condition his beard with coconut oil, so it doesn’t feel like tiny swords stabbing your face every time you kiss and leave you with acne.
2: You’re eating spicy foods. Spicy foods often contain tomatoes and peppers, which contain acidic lycopene that can be an irritant to some people, throwing off their skin’s pH levels and triggering breakouts. However, it isn’t just spicy foods that can irritate your skin. Some people have an aversion to dairy, bread, or other types of foods — how your skin reacts to what you eat just depends on your own personal make-up. (Tip via Dr. Downie.)
What you can do differently: Take a break from eating spicy foods or whatever you’ve been eating that you think could be contributing to your acne for a month to see if that’s the cause of your issue.
3: You’re using products that contain pore-clogging ingredients. Mineral oil is a super-heavy moisturizing agent found in some lotions, but it’s also known to clog your pores and break you out. Silicones in skin care and cosmetics are also another ingredient on the list to watch out for that can clog your pores. (Tip via Dr. Downie.)
What you can do differently: Make sure all the skin care products you’re using are labeled “noncomedogenic,” which means your makeup or skin care has been specifically formulated not to clog your pores. If you’re using it continuously and your breakouts continue to get worse, make an appointment with your dermatologist, as you could be allergic to another ingredient in the product that is causing your issues.
4: You’re over doing spot treatments. Overusing topical salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or sulphur over-the-counter treatments can dry out your skin, causing it to produce more oil and possibly blemishes. Those ingredients can actually make the appearance of your pimples look worse, since the active ingredients can slightly burn the top layer of your skin if used too often, making the pimple appear even redder and harder to conceal than if you had just left it alone. (Tip via Samantha Wright, a licensed aesthetician and Skinovator at the Dangene Institute.)
What you can do differently: Instead of dousing your zit with a spot treatment, apply a dab of OTC 1 percent hydrocortisone cream, onto the spot two to three times during the day to take down the inflammation and redness. Then conceal it by simply covering it up with a concealer which has antibacterial ingredients to keep the formula bacteria-free and your face clear.
5: Your hair products are wreaking havoc on your skin. The sulfates (cleansing agents), heavy moisturizing agents, and silicones that your shampoo, conditioner, and stylers contain can seep into your pores, clogging them and resulting in chest acne, back acne, or pesky pimples along your hairline. (Tip via Wright.)
What you can do differently: When washing your hair in the shower, tilt your head over to the side to keep the product’s residue off your face, chest, and back as you rinse it away. And be sure to wash your face last when you’re in the shower to make sure you haven’t accidentally gotten any product on your skin that could break you out later.
6: You smoke. Every time you light up a cigarette, you decrease the amount of oxygen that goes to your face. This not only predisposes you to cancer, and causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin that leads to wrinkles and increased pore size, but the carcinogens in the smoke also irritates your skin and dries it out, triggering your skin to produce more oil and possibly more breakouts. (Tip via Dr. Downie.)
What you can do differently: Don’t smoke. It’s as simple as that.
7: You’re scrubbing your skin too hard. A lot of people with acne think that the more you scrub your skin with a washcloth, rough exfoliants (like crushed apricot seeds), or cleansing brushes, the smoother your skin will be, but in reality, the problem will only inevitably get worse. What happens when you do that is you scrub the active acne and the blemish bacteria gets spread across the skin, worsening the condition.
What you can do differently: Gently wash and moisturize your face with a gentle yet effective system (cleanser, toner, moisturizer) That way you keep the scrubbing to a minimum.
8: You can’t stop picking at your pimples. It’s tempting in the moment, but it’s never a good idea. It’s impossible to pick your own pimple and not make a red mark that could turn into a scar. Even worse, when you try to press the plug or oil or puss out of your pore, you run the risk of pushing the bacteria deeper or spreading it around underneath your skin, multiplying your pimples.
What you can do differently: Challenge yourself not to pick or even touch your face for unnecessary reasons, since you can transfer bacteria onto your skin that way. Not touching your face works wonders for your complexion and allowing your zits to heal on their own leaves your skin scar-free. (Tip via Wright.)
9: You’re not releasing pent-up stress properly. Stress triggers acne and acne results in more stress, so it’s a very vicious cycle. Basically, when you’re under pressure, your skin produces stress hormones, including cortisol, that can stimulate your oil glands to make testosterone that then increases oil production and clogs pores. (Tip via Dr. Downie.)
What you can do differently: Work out regularly, meditate, take time out of your busy schedule to focus on yourself — all of these things will help you release stress, so your body doesn’t continue to release hormones that will only harm your skin.
10: You’re using the wrong detergent. Some chemicals in laundry detergent can be too harsh for your skin, and once you slip on your clothes or lie on your pillow, your skin might react to the residue that’s left on the fabric, resulting in breakouts on your face, back, butt, chest, etc. (Tip via Dr. Downie.)
What you can do differently: Choose a detergent that’s fragrance- and dye-free and for sensitive skin.
11: You’re wearing a lot of hats or constantly touching your face. Anything that can trap sweat and bacteria against your skin and clog your pores, like the lining of a tight hat, can cause zits to crop up. Also, touching your face or resting your chin in your hand while you’re sitting at your desk can transfer bacteria from your hand onto your face and brew blemishes. (Tip via Dr. Downie.)
What you can do differently: Yes, hats are fashionable, but switch up your style and go without wearing one for a bit to see if that’s the root of your pimple problem. Also, keep your hands away from your face. Seriously.
12: You’re not washing your face/body after you work out. Skipping the shower right after working out or not washing your face, at the very least, allows the makeup, dirt, bacteria, and oil that was already on your skin mix with sweat — which will find a nice home in your pores, settling into your warm skin and causing breakouts to brew.
What you can do differently: Wipe your face, chest, and back down before you work out with facial wipes, to remove your makeup. Then, if you don’t have time to shower immediately after the gym, use another fresh facial wipe to clear away any sweat and bacteria on your skin to minimize the chance of new pimples popping up.
You’re still a sun-worshipper. You’re probably already aware that lying out in the sun and going to tanning beds cause skin cancer, but if that still hasn’t stopped you from hitting the beach without sunscreen or the proper protective gear perhaps this will. Contrary to popular belief, the sun isn’t healing your acne, it’s actually making it worse. What happens is, as your face gets red from the sun, it makes any breakouts you might already have blend in, creating the appearance of clearer skin. But what’s really going on is the sun causing your skin to dry out and triggering more oil production, which can lead to more zits.
What you can do differently: For starters, stop going to tanning beds. Period. And if you are in the sun, make sure to slather on sunscreen and wear a sun hat or ball cap to shield your facial skin from harsh rays.
Here at Skinhanted it's highly important to us to give back to the community within which we live and frankly we don't just want to write a check and walk away to leave someone else to handle it. We like to get our hands in there and help. Now through December 24th we will be accepting non-perishable food donations for our local food pantry and clean (new) adult sized socks for our homeless friends. Last year we donated almost 50 blankets and coffee gift cards to our local homeless and we're looking to top that number this year!
For those that are interested in helping, bring or mail your sock and/or food donations here to Skinchanted at:
1700 Northside Dr NW
Atlanta, GA 30318
If you have any questions or are interested in helping to distribute this year, please contact Jen (our Minion Leader) at 404-439-0994.
Don't forget we will be closing early on December 24th so be sure to bring your donations in before close! Won't you consider stepping outside the box & opening your heart to those less fortunate? There's no better feeling than knowing you're giving back (We do it every year as our family's christmas presents and can attest to it).
Minion Leader @ Skinchanted
Exfoliating and you…
Another question we get here at Skinchanted regularly is how often to exfoliate. I can’t claim the blogs below as mine (due to time) but I can say this is what we would advise you to do and will of course will answer the next time the question arises. Also, here at Skinchanted we have many scrub options but might we suggest these to begin?
Your skin's job is to protect you day and night from the elements of the outside world, and that means it can take a heavy beating from time to time. There's actually a lot that goes into keeping your skin healthy, and part of the process involves the constant regeneration of cells. You might not be aware of it, but your body produces new skin cells nonstop around the clock. It has to because an average adult can shed up to 50,000 dead skin cells every minute [source: Markey]. It's an important process, but sometimes cells don't slough off as well as they should, so they can end up clogging pores, which leads to breakouts. You can do your part to help facilitate the shedding of dead skin cells by exfoliating on a regular basis. The thing to keep in mind is the goal of exfoliation. It should leave your skin feeling softer and looking healthier -- not red and irritated. If you over-exfoliate, you could end up doing more harm than good. For some people, exfoliating scrubs might just be too harsh. Also, avoid using an exfoliating tool or cleanser near your eyes, as this skin is far too sensitive and doesn't need exfoliation. Keep reading for even more information on the best ways to exfoliate your face & body.
Exfoliation removes dead skin and dirt, keeping your skin cleaner and healthier. Doing it regularly can create glowing, smooth skin, but if you do it too much, your skin can be damaged. How often you should exfoliate depends on a number of factors, including what exfoliant you use, your skin type, where exactly you are exfoliating and your general skin health. Your skin health plays a factor in how often you should exfoliate. If you suffer from eczema or other skin conditions, you may want to ease back on your exfoliation schedule, especially if your doctor recommends the use of gentle skin care products only. If you've recently been sunburned, you should also avoid exfoliating until the sunburn starts to peel, because you don't want to pull new skin off while it is trying to heal.
As a general rule, the softer an exfoliant is, the more often you can use it. Some scrubs are so gentle that you can use them on a daily basis; many scrubs designed for the face, for example, are soft enough for daily use. Coarse scrubs which are extremely grainy should be used no more than once a week, while scrubs which fall somewhere in between can be used two to three days a week. Salt scrubs tend to be the most coarse, while sugar and plant fiber scrubs are much gentler.
If you have oily skin, you can generally exfoliate two to three days a week without any ill effects. Obviously, you should skip it if your skin feels sensitive or irritated, or if it looks red and flaky. People with more dry, delicate skin should exfoliate one to two times a week, ideally with a gentle scrub which will not irritate their skin.
If you're not sure about whether or not a particular product works for you, test it on your inner elbow, where the skin is especially tender. If the scrub causes irritation, it indicates that it may not be a good choice. If no irritation is experienced, you can safely use that product on a regular basis.
When you exfoliate, less is more. Use only a small amount of exfoliant and take the time to really scour your skin; if you take a large dollop, the product will grind against itself more than your skin, and you will not receive any benefit. After exfoliating, always apply a layer of moisturizer to keep your skin healthy, supple, and moist. When in doubt always ask your skincare professional.
Most people have heard that drinking eight glasses of water a day will help improve their complexions and keep skin hydrated. And many of us -- by toting bottled water around everywhere we go -- make a solid effort to hit that target. But experts say there's not enough hard data to prove that drinking large quantities of water has any significant effect on your skin [source: Bellenir]. This may be difficult to believe, but it's true. Drinking eight glasses of water a day may do nothing more but make you urinate excessively. Because we all love running to the bathroom every 10 minutes right?
A study done in 2002 at Dartmouth Medical School didn't find any evidence to support the idea that we should all drink eight glasses of water a day [source: Bellenir]. That doesn't mean people shouldn't drink water -- it just means that we don't necessarily need to force ourselves to drink water in excess.
As far as hydrating your skin is concerned, you'd probably be better off applying moisturizer to your skin while you're still damp from the shower. This helps lock in the moisture your skin soaked up while you were bathing [source: Mayo Clinic]. Water -- not oil -- in the skin keeps it plump and smooth, whereas dry skin loses elasticity, making it more prone to developing wrinkles. Facial moisturizers, which are usually lipid-based, lock in that water by either blocking it from escaping from the outermost layer of skin (occlusive moisturizers) or drawing water from the inner dermis toward the top the of skin (humectant moisturizers)
When it comes to drinking water, people who are generally healthy can follow a simple rule: Drink when you're thirsty. Drinking extra water won't help you get rid of toxins -- that's what your kidneys are for, and they're going to keep doing the job whether you drink eight glasses of water a day or not [source: Potter]. No one knows exactly where the theory that people need to drink eight glasses of water a day came from. What we do know is that it isn't necessarily accurate and may not do much to keep your skin hydrated. So if you're thirsty, go ahead and drink a glass of water. If you're not, don't worry about it.
I get asked many questions in a day, week, month, year, etc...
There are a few that stand out the most. Let's start with the most common.
What do you do/use? Answer(s): Everything but not everyday. Lets just take a walk through an EXAMPLE of my daily routine shall we?Read More