The Truth About Acne: What You Should & Shouldn’t Do
As some of our readers may know (especially those who had acne as a teenager) acne usually occurs some time after puberty. Although acne breakouts typically begin around the time you’re in the middle of high school, it’s rather difficult to predict when the breakouts will stop recurring.
However, for some people, acne isn’t just a ‘side effect’ of puberty...it can also occur well into adulthood. Although acne is a common skin condition, it can have a negative impact on self-confidence, often leaving a person feeling frustrated and depressed.
Acne breakouts can also result in facial scars or lesions that may stay behind as unpleasant reminders of earlier breakouts... especially if they’ve been squeezed or picked at. If left untreated, these scars can take a long time to heal, if at all.
How Do Acne Breakouts Occur?
There are many reasons why acne occurs...usually it’s when excess oil and dirt clog up hair follicles and skin pores. There are oil glands (technically referred to as ‘sebaceous glands’) located close to the skin’s surface. These sebaceous glands are responsible for keeping your skin hydrated and they produce ‘sebum’, a type of oil that lubricates the hair follicles and surface of the skin.
Sebaceous glands become overactive after or just before puberty as a result of an increase in hormone levels. This excess oil blocks the hair follicles and skin pores resulting in unsightly whiteheads. If the follicles are open to the surface of the skin, dirt can enter forming blackheads.
The accumulation of dead skin cells, oil and trapped dirt then becomes a hotbed for bacteria. The whiteheads or blackheads then become infected and inflamed, leading to the formation of cysts, nodules, papules or pustules.
Oily and carbohydrate-rich food and poor personal hygiene may trigger bouts of acne. More uncommon causes include medication (like steroids) and oral contraceptives. Stress on its own is not a trigger, however stress can contribute to a bout of acne that has already developed. Genetic predisposition to acne is also a significant contributing factor.
How Are Your Hormones Responsible For Causing Acne
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the main cause of acne breakouts is due to the excess presence of testosterone frequently referred to as an ‘androgen hormone’. Although testosterone is predominantly associated with men, it’s also present in women in a smaller amount.
Testosterone stimulates the activity level of the sebaceous glands, causing them to produce excess oil that in turn triggers acne breakouts. There is a spurt in testosterone production during the teenage years which explains why acne is most common at this time. In addition to affecting the sebaceous glands, testosterone can also alter the formation of skin cells holding the hair follicles.
Adult women also experience a small increase in testosterone which is why they may experience acne during their late twenties or even early thirties. Teenage women often experience acne breakouts just before the onset of their period. This can also be attributed to hormonal spikes that occur at this time.
What You Should Do
Here are some simple but effective tips and product recommendations to help you improve the health and appearance of your skin:
Wash your face gently (avoid rubbing at your face vigorously) with warm water and a mild cleanser on a daily basis. Pat your face dry. This will keep dirt, dust and grime at bay and prevent them from clogging up your pores. Xtend-Life’s Foaming Facial Cleanser contains a nourishing mix of honey and kiwifruit to gently cleanse your skin while keeping it hydrated.
Remember to exercise regularly. Brisk walking or jogging three to four times a week helps reduce stress levels. Exercising also helps you work up a good sweat. Sweating helps eliminate dead skin cells and clears up clogged hair follicles and pores.
It's important to eat a healthy diet with lots of dark color vegetables and fruit, especially those which are rich in beta-carotene such as pumpkin, squash and carrots, as well as tomatoes which are excellent sources of lycopene…a powerful antioxidant that may help your body combat free radicals that contribute to acne outbreaks.
It's also recommended that you take Xtend-Life's Omega 3 / DHA Plus. In addition to its omega 3 fatty acids like DHA which may help support skin heath, this supplement also contains lycopene. Lycopene is not just an excellent antioxidant, it may also help:
- Support our skin's ability to withstand moderate doses of harmful UVA and UVB rays from the sun which have been shown to age the skin prematurely.
- Support the production and growth of skin cells resulting in younger looking skin.
- Support the production collagen, giving the skin a fuller smoother appearance.
Don't forget to always stay hydrated by drinking lots of water…at least two liters daily. Staying hydrated ensures your skin is nourished from the inside out and helps balance the texture of your skin.
It's important to ensure that your digestive system is also nourished and free from toxins and excess waste which can affect the health and appearance of your skin. By taking Xtend-Life's Kiwi-Klenz, you'll be helping your body get rid of excess waste…cleansing your system from the inside out, improving your body's ability to absorb nutrients from your healthy diet and supplement regimen, as well as supporting a better immune system, all which support your body to fight against acne.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Firstly, avoid squeezing or picking at pimples. This may lead to scarring and in extreme cases, can also lead to the development of secondary bacterial infections. Remember, the pimple will eventually disappear but the scar will remain.
Avoid over-cleansing your face. It may be tempting to wash your face in a constant attempt to remove excess oil and dirt but it could result in a vicious cycle. Washing your face too many times or using a harsh soap can cause the skin to dry out. This will over-stimulate the sebaceous glands and lead to the production of excess oil.
Avoid opting for hormone therapy unless you are aware of everything about the treatment process including costs, duration and possible side-effects. Also, get second-opinions on strong prescription drugs that some dermatologists recommend. Some drugs can have serious side effects especially for pregnant women and people who suffer from depression.
It's also very important to avoid processed junk food and refined sugar. Processed foods contain toxins such as additives, preservatives, and synthetic colors which over a period of time can put excess strain on the liver which as a result could trigger acne breakouts.
Refined sugars spike your blood sugar levels causing your body to produce insulin and male hormones to try and cope with the excess sugar. The result is inflammation and blocked pores due to excess sebum production on the skin's surface, increasing the risk of an acne outbreak.
An acne breakout can be more than just an unsightly skin condition...it can also have a negative impact on a person’s self-esteem and emotional wellbeing. Hormonal imbalance in the body is one of the biggest causes of acne.
It’s best to consult your doctor and have yourself checked for hormonal imbalances as well as for severe cases of acne outbreaks. High-quality health products such as our Total Balance range of supplements may also help support your body’s hormone levels while following a daily skincare regimen using the Xtend-Life range of skin products.
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