June is Acne Awareness Month and as we all know acne, unfortunately, can affect people of all ages. So why does acne affect everyone differently? What causes a pimple is pretty much the same regardless of how old you are. When you combine the skin’s oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, a pore becomes plugged and a pimple appears. Some are small and near the surface, and go away pretty quickly, where others are deeper in the skin, more painful, and tend to take a while to disappear.
Beyond the basics of what causes acne, there are two big factors that affect your odds of getting acne at any age:
► Family History: If your mom and/or dad had acne, you are very likely to develop it as well in your teens. If they suffered from acne as adults as well, your likelihood of experiencing it in adulthood also increases.
► Hormones: When hormones surge—which happens during adolescence and during pregnancy—breakouts become more likely. This is a primary reason why, for many people, acne improves after their teenage years and after pregnancy. Your hormones have leveled off and no longer fuel those bad breakouts.
Acne Prevention is Key
While genetics and hormones are contributing factors of acne, there are other factors at play – most of which are preventable. Using cosmetics that are not oil-free may clog pores. Friction caused by a hat, tight-fitting clothing, backpacks or even constant touching of your skin, can also worsen acne.
If you’re an adult dealing with acne, chances are your dry skin may be an underlying cause. As we age, our skin loses the ability to retain moisture, causing dry skin which ultimately can lead to clogged pores – a true domino effect.
Diet also plays a role in acne breakouts. To help prevent future acne breakouts, try to reduce or eliminate dairy and high glycemic foods while focusing more on fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.
Lastly, regardless of your age, if you are picking or squeezing blemishes you need to stop. Popping pimples spreads bacteria and increases inflammation often leading to more breakouts and acne scarring.
Get in a Routine
The best acne treatment for teens and adults starts with a proper skin care regimen. It is important to incorporate regular cleansing of your body, especially after sweating, and the use of oil-free products, like makeup and moisturizer, to help keep your skin oil free and moisturized.
When breakouts do happen, you have a variety of acne treatments to choose from. When looking for a product, choose ones that include the following ingredients:
- Salicylic Acid: a master exfoliator, it helps get rid of the dead skin cells
- Benzoyl Peroxide: effective at killing acne-causing bacteria
- Glycolic Acid: exfoliates the skin and helps remove oil and dirt on the skin
While it’s tempting to take a “more is better” approach by using a lot of products, doing so may likely over-dry your skin, which can make acne worse. Start with one product and allow it time to treat your acne breakouts.
Not all store bought acne cleansers and treatments work for everyone. Sometimes prescription medications and topical treatments are necessary. If you, or your child, are struggling from acne the skin health experts at Forefront Dermatology are ready to help. To find the Forefront dermatologist nearest you, visit the locations page today.