The Cause of Your Acne Breakouts May Actually Surprise You
This is a collaborative post.
Having unexpected or uncontrolled breakouts of whiteheads, pustules or body acne? Check the label of your favourite cosmetic or skincare product for cheap filler ingredients that are known to cause clogged pores and make acne worse, not better.
Many are surprised to learn that their skincare and cosmetic products are a source of blackheads, whiteheads, and other blemishes. In order to prevent skin blemishes, we need to first understand how blackheads, whiteheads, and acne develop in the first place. So, without further ado, here’s the cause of acne breakout that may actually surprise you.
What is acne? Is acne genetic?
Acne is caused by our body’s response to clogged pores. The pores on our face normally excrete an exact amount of sebum, the oily liquid produced by sebaceous glands under our skin, and that sebum carries out dead skin cells with it. Anything which interferes with that process such as contracted or clogged pores will result in a blemish, whiteheads or pustules.
When the pore clogs, the common result is a blackhead, which is a gunk mixture of dead skin and sebum. Alternatively, the body may recognize the blockage as a foreign body and send white blood cells (pus) to clear the pore, causing a whitehead. Most commonly, acne breakouts are caused by an overproduction of hormones. While acne can be genetic, it’s usually a result of hormone surges. A good acne-preventing moisturizer can help prevent some of these breakouts.
What causes clogged pores and acne breakouts?
Pores can become clogged for a variety of reasons. Dry skin on the face tends to contract pores, making them more easily clogged. Oily forehead skin and other skin around the face and body can cause an excess of sebum and will cling to dirt and dead cells. Inflammation can also cause pores to restrict and is generally accompanied by an increase in sebaceous output as well as white cell count. In short, inflammation is very bad and can cause papules.
In addition to pore-clogging agents hidden in many cosmetics, sebaceous output and inflammation can occur when our hormones are out of balance. The best-known cause of hormonal imbalance is adolescence, which is why teenagers frequently struggle with acne and have an easier time managing it into adulthood. Another cause of hormonal upset for women is menstruation, so keeping your face clean and moisturized during your period is critical to preventing a breakout. Using a salicylic acid cleanser can help, so you may want to give that a try.
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Yet another common factor that affects our hormone balance is an adverse level of cortisol, more commonly known as the stress hormone. Increased levels of cortisol are released into the body in response to stress, often resulting in something called stress acne.
Can my diet cause body acne?
While the above paragraphs already seem fairly exhaustive, there’s still another potential reason for breakouts, and it’s your diet. As we mentioned, hormone imbalance is often the root cause of improper sebum levels and inflammation. Insulin is a hormone that’s released when we experience a blood sugar spike, so foods like white bread and sugar commonly induce a period of hormonal imbalance, leading to the possibility of developing pimples, papule acne, nodule acne and all different types of acne. Multinational studies have confirmed that a diet filled with high-glycemic foods greatly increases the likelihood that a person will experience acne.
How do cosmetics affect my acne system?
So, what about your cosmetics and other products? Well, we can also clog our pores when foreign substances fill them and remain there, keeping sebum and dead cells trapped inside. The likelihood of your pores being clogged by any given substance is measurable on what is known as the comedogenic index. The index ranks from 0, which is completely non-comedogenic, to a 5 which is highly comedogenic.
Most ingredients that are healthy for your skin, those which promote cellular generation or fight inflammation, will have some measure on the index, it’s not all perfect zero’s. It’s recommended that you should avoid products that contain ingredients at a scale 4 or 5, but don’t panic if there’s an ingredient that’s a 2 or 3, so long as it’s just part of the total composition, and they can remain part of your acne system.
What are the best skin care products for men and women? What should be avoided?
Common ingredients used in skincare that you should avoid due to their high comedogenic index rating include Cocoa Butter, unfractionated Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Soybean Oil, and Wheat Germ Oil.
Friendlier alternatives that contain beneficial acids without the clogging compounds are oils such as Shea Butter, Castor Oil, Emu Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, or Jojoba Oil.
What is the best acne treatment for teens and adults?
The best way to care for and prevent acne is to adopt a skincare regimen that keeps your pores clean, typically using a mild exfoliator such as a salicylic acid cleanser, a moisturizer rich in hyaluronic acid for acne and free of high-comedogenic agents. Look for a treatment that can prevent a breakout when you feel one starting up, or repair already inflamed and broken out skin.
The other things you might consider are supplement pills that make up for elements that are difficult to get through a normal healthy diet, such as zinc, biotin, and vitamins B3 and B5. Lastly, if you’ve already suffered scarring and damage from acne in the past you can use the AENO natural acne cream to heal and repair damaged skin. Wherever you are on your acne journey, move forward with confidence, knowing there are treatments out there that can help.
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