One of the most common skin conditions in the U.S., especially among teenagers, it feels like no one is immune. While a lot of us only deal with the occasional zit, others have painful, inflammatory breakouts that deeply affect their daily social lives. So what is acne and what can you do to prevent it?
Acne occurs when the pores in your skin become clogged and oil is no longer able to naturally escape. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including overproduction of sebum (oil), accumulation of dead skin cells, and build up of bacteria. Hormones, diet, stress, genetics, and certain medications are also contributing factors. Breakouts can occur anywhere on your face, back, chest, and shoulders.
Causes and Contributors
While whiteheads and blackheads are the most common form of breakouts, inflammatory acne is more irritating and difficult to get rid of. This type of acne is made up of spots that are red and painful and while oil and dead skin cells play a part in their creation, it is bacteria that causes an infection deep below the skin’s surface that causes the inflammation. There are four different types of inflammatory acne. Papules (small, pinkish or reddish bumps) and pustules (small, red bumps that contain pus at their tips) are the more moderate types. In some cases they can be resolved with OTC treatments and in others, will need the help of a dermatologist. Nodules (large painful lumps that are deep below the skin) and cysts (larger, even more painful lumps that lay even deeper) are the most severe types of acne and will need professional treatment.
Taking care of yourself is just as important in helping to prevent breakouts as it is for anti-aging. Finding outlets for your stress, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy diet by limiting your intake of dairy, saturated and trans fats, and processed sugars is important for both your health and your skin. While exercise should also be a part of your daily routine, shower directly after workouts and avoid tight-fitting clothes whenever possible.
While it’s tempting to pick and squeeze zits, that will only spread the bacteria and make things worse. Try to avoid touching your face in general and be more cognizant of keeping the items clean that touch your face regularly i.e. makeup brushes, pillowcases, and your phone.
Researching the right products for your skin type can do wonders. If your harsh cleanser is drying out skin and ramping up oil production, it could be doing more harm than good. Once you find the right gentle cleanser, use it twice a day and be sure to thoroughly remove all makeup before bed.
Exfoliation is also an important part of your preventative routine. While harsh scrubs may feel the most gratifying, they can also strip your skin of oil starting the vicious cycle over again as well as irritating already irritated skin. Salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids are chemical exfoliants that dissolve the bonds that hold dead cells to your skin. This removal is a gentler and less irritating approach to breaking down pore blockages. Benzoyl-peroxide not only helps to remove excess dead skin cells and oil, but it also attacks the bacteria beneath the skin’s surface. This makes it a better option for those suffering from inflammatory acne. While many cleansers contain these acids, it's better to instead use a toner, moisturizer, serum, or spot treatment that will stay on your skin longer.
Be sure to apply toners right after cleansing. Alcohol-based toners, while popular for acne treatments, are harsh and will dry out your skin. Switch yours out for a gentler option.
Keeping your skin hydrated is important in slowing down oil production. Go with a lightweight oil-free moisturizer or one featuring hyaluronic acid - a humectant, it’ll pull moisture out of the air and put it back into your skin. Also, make sure to use oil-free sunscreen regularly because too much sun exposure is another path to irritated acne-prone skin.
How your NanoPen can help
Using your NanoPen with any of the above exfoliating acids or a hydrating hyaluronic serum will increase its absorption rate by 20x making it that much more effective in helping you see quick results. If you’re looking to fade scarring or discoloration caused by past breakouts, pair your NanoPen with the Deminuage Blanq Brightening Serum.
Talk to your Dermatologist
Please note that if you don’t see improvement in your skin condition or it's severe and affecting your wellbeing, consider seeing a dermatologist or doctor to help sort out a routine that best works for you.