If you’ve noticed acne symptoms on your skin for any amount of time you probably have a routine for dealing with the damage, but are you aware of some common factors that may be contributing to your condition?
What Is Acne?
Acne is the most common skin condition and can affect anyone regardless of age, race, or sex. Acne is attributed to a hormonal imbalance, which can affect the function of the sebaceous glands, whose job is it to create sebum, or oil, which travels along the pore to hydrate and protect the skin on the surface. When too much sebum becomes produced it can become clogged within a pore, and when paired with dead skin cells from the surface forms bacteria known a P. acnes, which triggers an inflammatory response from the body. The result of that response usually appears as red, swollen bumps such as pimples or cysts, although symptoms of this condition can come in many forms, including whiteheads, blackheads, comedones, or even just oily skin.
Many people look only toward topical washes to help treat their acne, not realizing that since acne is an external manifestation of an internal issue, the core issue has to be addressed internally. Yes of course an effective acne skin care regimen is important, but there are several additional factors that may keep acne coming back to your complexion if left unaddressed.
5 Things That May be Contributing to Your Acne
Excessively flaky skin. Implementing a gentle exfoliation routine is recommended, as is keeping showers short and on the cooler side. If you can’t stand to turn down the heater, try adding a humidifier to your room while you sleep to replenish lost moisture to the skin.
Harsh chemicals. Keeping oil under control is important for anyone with acne, but combating it with a harsh topical once it’s already reached the surface of the skin may actually do more damage than good. When necessary oils are stripped from our bodies, the sebaceous glands become triggered to create more oil to make up for what was just lost, which can possibly exacerbate acne symptoms. We may have said it before but it’s always worth saying again - acne is in most cases the result of a hormonal imbalance, and if this source of the condition isn’t addressed, you can pretty much guarantee a return of symptoms, even if you’ve found a way to experience temporary relief. Depending on who and where you are in life, you may be able to attribute your hormonal fluctuation to menstruation, puberty, pregnancy, or even just stress or lack of sleep.
Dry, flaky skin. While the hormonal imbalance that sends our sebaceous glands haywire, triggering the production of too much oil, is partially to blame, there’s another step involved in the formation of acne, and that involves dry, dead skin cells. The cooler fall and winter months typically tend to zap moisture from the skin, as will the forced heat that comes with those times, long, hot showers, or sunburns during the warmer months. Avoid using too many salicylic acid-based acne treatments, as well as alcohol-based cosmetics, and formulas containing sulfates.
Dirt, grime, and residue. Those dead skin cells responsible for the formation of bacteria can live on items our faces come into contact with every day, including pillow cases, towels, and even scarves. Throwing these items in with the wash once a week will go a long way in the prevention of acne symptoms, and always remember to clean any skin-touching items that may come in contact with sweat, such as workout gear.
An undiagnosed health issue. We don’t say this to alarm anyone because for the most part, many with acne don't have an undiagnosed health issue. Sometimes we can make minor adjustments to help alleviate or even prevent our acne symptoms, while other contributors are medical in nature, such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS. If your acne is chronic in nature, be sure to mention it to your physician, and stay on top of annual physical examinations and blood work. In some cases, there may be a reason for your acne that requires additional resources.
While addressing contributing factors can go a long way in helping keep your skin clear, treating the source of the problem is the only way anyone with acne will enjoy a real change. The only long-term solution that will keep your skin looking and feeling its best is to prevent acne before it starts, which means breaking the acne cycle.
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