Acne, zits, pimples or whatever you want to call them, cause havoc on our skin and then in our lives.
Acne ruins our confidence and can even cause severe depression and anxiety.
Some may think that only teenagers get acne as they battle puberty. But in actual fact, people continue breaking out well into their 20’s, and sometimes even beyond that.
Acne is the eighth most common skin disease worldwide. And the number of people who get adult acne has increased over the past two decades — especially in females.
One study found that 85 per cent of females and 15 per cent of males have adult acne.
That’s a scary statistic, but a common one. If you have adult acne, you’re not alone.
Acne emerges when a skin pore (aka hair follicle) becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Certain bacteria then feed on this excess oil and multiply.
At this stage, the clogged pore can develop into one of two categories of acne:
- Inflammatory acne. Inflamed acne includes papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts. (Moderate acne)
- Non-inflammatory acne. This type includes blackheads and whiteheads. (Mild acne, clogged pores)
If you have mild-moderate acne (see photo), then the following issues may be the cause, and making some lifestyle changes should help considerably. Mild adult acne may consist of blackheads, whiteheads, or small pustules.
In its moderate form, adult acne might also include papules or larger pimples. This is where scarring begins to occur if the pimples are extracted incorrectly (stop pimple popping with acrylic nails!).
If this form of acne is left untreated, it can lead to a vicious cycle of breakouts and scarring.
However, we can (hopefully) prevent more severe forms of acne from occurring by simply changing a few things in our everyday lives:
- Change your pillowcases, towels and sheets regularly! No, we don’t mean once a month. This means ONCE a week for sheets/towels and every SECOND DAY for pillowcases. Dirt, bacteria, and often makeup collect on a pillowcase, and we sleep on that pillowcase night after night which clogs pores and creates new breakouts! And yes, these guidelines should be implemented, even if you wash your face right before bed each night. Doctor Debra Jaliman, a New York City-based dermatologist and creator of the Sea Radiance skincare line explains it like this: “After cleansing, there will still be oil and bacteria on the skin,”. Dr Jaliman also stresses that the type of pillowcase we use is very important. She recommends 100% cotton pillowcases, such as Utopia Bedding 100% Cotton Pillowcases ($30 for a dozen; amazon.com). They come in packs of 12, so you don’t have to sit there washing pillowcases every day. If you’d like to use a Silk Pillowcase, always choose Pure Mulberry Silk. You can also try this highly rated ‘Anti-Acne Pillowcase’. This unique pillowcase is treated with natural silver, clinically proven to eliminate 99.7% of acne-causing bacteria.
- Toxins are terrible. It’s also important to remember what we use to wash our pillowcases and sheets. Always opt for a dye-free, fragrance-free formula when it comes to washing detergents. You don’t want chemicals getting into your skin when you’re sleeping at night! The best is organic, chemical, dye and fragrance-free detergents. These are some of the best.
- Wash your makeup brushes! (Ah, the hidden culprit). If you are a woman and apply makeup every day with the same unwashed brushes and sponges, chances are you’re reinfecting your skin with yesterday’s germs. There’s nothing worse than reapplying bacteria, grime and dirt onto skin you’ve spent a fortune cleansing, toning and moisturising. Yuck! Wash your brushes in tea tree oil, warm water and anti-bacterial soap EVERY DAY! To properly disinfect brushes, soak in 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol like this one. If you don’t have time to wash and disinfect your brushes every day, buy a few sets of brushes so you have a clean spare set to get you through the day. You don’t have to spend hundreds on brushes! Go to eBay and find some there.
- Shower and cleanse your face immediately after the gym! (Immediately, not 5 or 10 minutes later). Ever noticed that since you started hitting the gym more, your acne got worse? This is a huge issue, for both men and women. Working out can cause excessive sweating, as well as a build-up of oil, dirt, and bacteria on your skin — all of which can lead to acne. Fear not! You don’t have to sacrifice a toned body for a clear face. The key here is to maintain proper hygiene. Use the bathroom and shower facilities in your gym to their full advantage, just wear flip-flops! Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser, double cleanse if you’re wearing makeup and then pat dry. It’s important to get up into that hairline too, as a lot of sweat and grime build up in the scalp area. Shampoo every 2-3 days if you break a big sweat frequently. You wouldn’t want to walk into the office straight after the gym, you’d want to be fresh and clean. Well, imagine your skin is going to work, keep it fresh and clean! Happy clear skin days are ahead.
Disclaimer: the products in this article were not endorsed, and the author was not paid in any way, shape or form to recommend them.
Remember to consult a Doctor or Dermatologist for all skin-related concerns.
Despina Karp is an accredited makeup artist and beautician based in Sydney, Australia. She is currently studying Skin Health and Science and is passionate about makeovers and healing skin conditions from the inside out. Follow her here for all things skin and beauty.