The major cause of spots on the skin is acne. There are some glands called sebaceous glands that are beneath the skin’s surface that produces oil (sebum) which keeps the skin smooth and soft. The pores on the skin gives access for the oil to come to the surface of the skin and hair grow through these pores. Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands beneath your skin produces excess oil (sebum). Excess oil is produced when you approached puberty and throughout your teenage years. This happens due to the hormonal changes of puberty, which quicken the sebaceous glands. Hence, the more oil your skin produces, the greasier your skin feels and your acne might likely get worse. Some people produce more sebum than others. Acne affects the face often but it may also affect the chest, neck and back. Acne is often mild but it is estimated that three in ten people get acne severe enough to get treatment to prevent scars. When acne is not treated, it lasts about four to five years before it settles, but it can also last for more years in some cases.
Please note the following facts about acne:
- Poor hygiene is not the cause of acne. Truth is, excessive washing could make it worse.
- Stress is not the cause of acne.
- Acne is not contagious. It is not transferable through touching. It is not just a simple skin infection.
- You cannot cure acne by drinking lots of water.
- Sunbeds or sunbathing will not help clear acne. There is no evidence to support that fact.
- Some people believe that medical treatment cannot aid acne. This is fact is false. If used correctly, medical treatments usually work.
What are the things that worsen acne?
1. Contraceptive pills
Contraceptive pills could make acne worse. Pills that contains progestogen hormone might increase the acne on your face. It is listed as one of the side effect you might experience, when you take these pills.
Greasy or thick makeup, possibly, could make acne worse. You can use oil free makeups as they are helpful for skins that are vulnerable to acne.
3. Squeezing and picking
Squeezing and picking pimples on your skin can cause scarring and further inflammation. It delays the healing time and the pimple can get pushed deeper into the skin which will lead to more redness and swelling.
4. Warm environments
Warm environments or sweating heavily may worsen acne. When you get involved in hot work in kitchens regularly, for instance, the excess sweat could contribute to clogging the pores.
5. Tight Clothing
Wearing of tight clothes, for instance, tight collars, tight bra straps, tight underwear, under headbands and others, can worsen acne due to the friction and excess sweating caused by these tight outfits.
Some medications can worsen acne. Phenytoin, for instance, which some people take for epilepsy, ointments used for eczema, and steroid creams and anabolic steroids, which is taken illegally by bodybuilders, can worsen acne. Tell your doctor if you suspect your medication is making your acne to get worse. There may an alternative for you.
7. Using too many products
Trying too many products at once can worsen acne. When you self-treat your acne, you may accidentally put your skin to distress. As a result, you make the acne scars bigger and delay your skin from healing quickly.
8. Harsh products
Strong and harsh skin cleansers, alcohol based products, alkaline bar soaps can worsen acne. If your skin is prone to acne, it is advisable to use ‘noncomedogenic’ products for your skin. These products do not contain ingredients that tend to block pores and they are safer for you.
There are certain pore clogging ingredients you should look out for in your moisturizers, sunscreen and other general cosmetics. These are; isopropyl myristate, butyl stearate, isopropyl palmitate, decyl oleate, isopropyl isostearate, D &C red dyes, cocoa butter, acetylated lanolin, myristle myristate isostearyl neopentanoate. These products can block pores and encourage breakouts on the skin.
9. Immediate stop of acne medication
When you stop using prescribed medication once it clears up, the acne might come back. It is best if you reduce the use of medication gradually. If you have been using it twice a day, for instance, get to use it once a day for some time then gradually, reduce it to once every other day, then later twice a week, then stop. Usually, it takes four to six weeks for acne to return. To keep a spot free skin, you’ll need to use at least an acne product continuously. However, it is possible to reduce it to few times a week if you are using an OTC medication.
Acne breakouts usually happen because of changes you have made to your daily routine. Maybe you started using a different face cream, soap, shampoo, or laundry detergent.
Here are some best practices to get rid of acne
- Keep a clean face whether you have acne or not.
- Do not scrub your skin too hard, wash it gently instead.
- Moisturize your skin regularly to prevent your skin from drying, when using an acne product.
- Use less makeup when you have acne and wash it off the end of the day. Do not use powder, blush or foundation during an acne breakout.
- Avoid using oils, gels, pomades, fragrances on your hair because if they get to your face, they can clog your pores.
- Avoid the sun when using acne medication. Some acne medications make your skin sensitive to sun. Wear protective cloths. Apply a ‘noncomedogenic’ sunscreen whenever you go out.
- Avoid junk food and feed your skin well. Eat more of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Avoid dairy products and foods that are high in sugar as they may trigger acne.
- Exercise often. This is good for your skin. Do not wear clothes or use exercise equipment that may cause irritation on your skin. Bathe or shower immediately after exercise.
If acne persists after proper care, see a dermatologist for medication to prevent or stop acne.