The Acne Cycle: How to Interrupt It
Why Do We Get Acne?
You are familiar with terms "whitehead" and "blackhead", but acne can be a little more in depth than that. Acne is a very common skin condition, especially in teens and young adults, that appears on the skin as a variety of bumps and marks. While whiteheads and blackheads are types of acne, there are also cysts and pimples.
Acne is formed when your pores become clogged and trap oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria inside. The trapped impurities are what cause the swelling and irritation. If your pore becomes clogged, traps bacteria inside, and then bulges from your skin; a whitehead becomes visible. On the other hand, if your pore remains open; a blackhead is formed due to oxidation of the trapped oils. So, why do pores clog? Pores contain glands that produce an oily substance called sebum. For the most part, your glands know just the right amount of sebum to produce. However, if too much sebum is produced, it can thicken and your pores can clog. As you go through your maturing stages, hormones stimulate the glands to produce more sebum than they should. Therefore, acne is common in teenagers going through puberty. This is not to say, however, that an adult is immune to acne! Acne fears no age, which is why you should know how to interrupt its cycle.
What Is the Acne Cycle?
The acne cycle can seem like a long, vicious process with no end in sight. That stubborn pimple just does not want to go away for good and right when you think you have gotten rid of it for the last time, it pops right back up in the morning.
There are three main ingredients that form a pimple and acne. There must be excess amounts of oil on your skin, some type of bacteria (we all have some) living on your skin and dead skin cells. The oil traps the dead skin cells in the follicle, creating a suitable environment for the bacteria to grow. Since acne is essentially just a localized infection, swelling, redness, and pain usually follow once the bacteria is trapped and multiplying. Your unique biochemistry and how you treat your condition will determine how long it remains. The acne cycle usually starts to repeat itself because of poor treatment to the original flare up. Once acne forms, it is best to let it run its course rather than picking at it. Squeezing pimples can push bacteria deeper into your pores resulting in a pimple that is now bigger and more inflamed than it was originally.
How to Interrupt the Acne Cycle
Successfully treating acne and preventing acne are both possible. However, there are slightly different steps to accomplish each. To stop the acne cycle, start acting on both as soon as possible, especially if you are prone to breakouts.
Treating acne unfortunately means you already have a breakout, or get them frequently. If you find yourself stuck in an aggressive acne cycle, you may want to change up your routine. Mild acne can be treated by gently washing your face, and/or the affected areas, twice a day with a cleanser. To see the best results, use warm water to rinse your face before and after application of a mild cleanser.
Try massaging the cleanser deep into your pores by using a soft circular motion to both apply and remove the cleanser. Cleansers alone may not do the trick; however, you have more options! There are plenty of over-the-counter products that treat acne. Adding an acne treatment (pill, cream, or powder) to your routine can increase your chances of fighting off your breakout. If you still find yourself struggling with acne, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to get the best results possible. To prevent future breakouts after your skin is clear and glowing again, the most important part is to keep up with your daily routines. Using a face cleanser twice a day, at night after a long day especially, will help keep your skin oil and acne free. Because acne responds directly to stress, try to find your happy place at least once per day. If you are constantly stressed out during the day, chances are you are soon to have a breakout. Keeping your fingers off your face, limiting sun exposure, and having a good diet are additional ways you can stop the acne cycle on your own. Do not be a pimple popper either. Your new glowing skin, and confidence, will thank you later.