The teenage years are full of self-discovery and many of us discovered the hell on Earth known as acne. Those painful pimples, cysts, zits, and boils made those awkward years even more horrifying, and even with the best of makeup application and strategically placed baseball caps, those ugly lumps and bumps still found a way to take over your face, or back, or chest. Ugh.
And just when you reached your 20s, you figured those acne-ridden days were over. Then that poorly kept secret finally came to light – acne isn't just for teens. People in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond can still get blemishes and breakouts too.
But you don't have to give in to those pus-filled perpetrators. Here are 5 reasons you're still getting acne and how to combat the issue. It's finally time for clear skin!
Hormones were obviously raging as a teen, but what gives now? For the ladies, it's their menstrual cycle that's causing breakouts. As per Self, "Fluctuation in hormones, such as before one's menstrual cycle, is the main cause. Specifically, androgens (male hormones) like testosterone. This usually rears its ugly head in the form of deep (painful) cystic acne around the chin, neck, and back."
While there's not a whole lot women can do about this cause of acne, you can talk to your OB/GYN about birth control pills that can adjust hormonal levels. Many women find that the right birth control can clear up monthly bouts of acne. Otherwise, feel relieved that this breakout will only last a few days. Aunt Flo always brings the worst presents.
We're all susceptible to stress, whether it's work-related, due to relationship woes, parenting worries, or just the day to day grind. All this stress can find its way to the skin, resulting in unsightly acne.
According to Lifescript, "While stress alone can't spark breakouts, it can exacerbate them. Stress can worsen acne by leading to a release of inflammatory chemicals called neuropeptides and hormonal changes. Stress also increases the severity of breakouts by making pore cells get thick, sticky and clogged resulting in redder, and more inflamed and painful pimples."
While we can't change many of life's ups and downs, we can change the way we react and respond to stressful situations. Take time to breathe deeply, eat and sleep well, and do your best to remain cool and collected when things aren't smooth sailing. The last thing you need on top of stress is a big bulging zit!
3. Over Cleansing
One would tend to think that the best way to get rid of and prevent acne would be to wash, wash, wash, But all that over cleansing could lead to even more breakouts! Self tells us, "Cleansing more than twice a day is too much, and can just dry out skin, "which can cause [it] to produce more oil to overcompensate." And all that oil is like a breeding ground for bacteria which causes the breakouts.
Same goes for what you clean with. Opt for gentle, hypo-allergenic cleansers designed for the skin on the face. Lifescript notes, "Switching products or adding a new one before giving it a chance to work "challenges your skin with new preservatives and active ingredients, which can be irritating and cause breakouts." So find something that you like and stick with it. With all the variety of products available, buying new products is tempting, but when you see the adverse effects on your skin, you'll wish you'd saved your money.
You may realize your sweet tooth can damage your teeth and perhaps expand your waistline too, but too much sugar, particularly refined sugars in the diet can turn your face into something far less sweet.
"More and more evidence shows that insulin may boost those oil-triggering male hormones," as per Self. And these hormones can cause breakouts. Lifescript adds, "A small 2008 Australian study found that carbohydrates with a high glycemic index (for example, soda, sugary snacks and junk food) increased the development and severity of breakouts. Those who ate low glycemic index foods seemed to have less severe acne, researchers found."
Of course, a sweet treat is okay now and then, but overindulging can wreak havoc on your complexion. Get your carbs via whole grains, veggies, fruits, and other complex carbs.
5. Cell Phone
Far too many of us are tied to our cell phones and gab, text, email, and play on them constantly. We toss them on dirty countertops, bring them to the gym, use them while eating, and drop them on the floor. Then your friend calls and that dirty phone is pressed directly onto your cheek. See where this is going?
As per Lifescript, "Throughout the day, cell phones can be exposed to many surfaces that have bacteria on them. When you're talking on it, you're putting bacteria close to your mouth, and the warmth and moisture create a great environment for bacteria to thrive and cause acne."
Can you hear me now? Clean that cell phone regularly with disinfecting wipes and don't put the phone to your skin unless it's clean. Go for the speaker function or use your earphones when in doubt.