Everyone expects pimples in middle school, high school, and maybe even college, but no one tells you that adult acne is a very real possibility. Breakouts are caused by four main factors: oil, dead skin cells, clogged pores, and bacteria. Your hair follicles are connected to oil glands and these glands secrete an oily substance, called sebum, that lubricates your hair and skin. When your body produces too much sebum, it will build up in the hair follicles, along with dead skin cells. The two form a plug in your pore where bacteria thrive. If the clogged pore gets infected with bacteria you have a pimple!
The reason teens get acne is because changing hormones lead the body to produce excess sebum. Even though you’re no longer a hormonal teenager (thank god), sebum still exists, clogging pores and leading to those despised pimples. According to Today I Found Out, acne clears up for most adults at age 25, but 20% of adults will continue fighting the pimple battle for the rest of their lives. The big question: How do you beat it?
Certain foods can actually trigger acne. The Dr. Oz Show says processed foods and refined carbohydrates, dairy, and chocolate have a terrible effect on the skin. Refined carbs are quickly broken down into sugar causing your insulin levels to spike, which leads to increased sebum production. Dairy is also suspect.
If you think milk products are to blame, cut them out of your diet for four to six weeks and see what happens. It will take time, but food is the most natural and healthiest way to clear up your skin. As a general rule of thumb, eat foods that are good for your body if you want to see the results in the clarity of your skin.
Though now one is quite sure why, stress and acne share a definite link. WebMD says scientists know stress hormones can increase oil production, but this still doesn’t explain exactly how that translates to blemishes. What is clear? More stress often means more acne.
How do you overcome stress acne? You guessed it; you need to decrease your stress levels, which is easier said than done. For a long-term solution, you’re going to need to start altering your lifestyle. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and also get in shape. And don’t forget about how useful it can be to talk to a friend.
Take a moment to evaluate your hygiene. According to dermatologist Doris Day, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, it is important to cleanse your skin every day. Keep your skin clean but don’t be too aggressive or harsh.
Wash your face no more than twice a day with cool or warm water to avoid drying out your skin, which can lead to your body releasing an increase of sebum. Use a gentle cleanser that won’t strip your skin but will wash away dirt, grime, and pollution. You can purchase a retinoid cream or lotion that will not only unclog pores but fight wrinkles as well. If you have a more severe case of acne, products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can help. Just be careful about the amount you use to avoid drying your skin out too much.