6 Simple Habits to Help You Clear Up Your Acne!

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Acne Skin Care: The Definitive Guide

Acne sufferers know well enough that this is one of the most stubborn, annoying, and unsightly problem. If you are also one of us “lucky” ones, I imagine you have tried countless different products, tips, and tricks. But, somehow, nothing really seems to work.

Acne skin care is a tricky and delicate process which requires a lot of patience. You need a product that's gentle enough while at the same time effective. This can be tricky, and it takes some time until we actually find the product that works for us.

No skin type is the same, so what worked for your friend might not work for you. Getting rid of acne has a lot of ups and downs and wrongs and rights.

Is there a definitive way to get rid of acne? Sure! But it’s more of a total sum of multiple different approaches.

In this ultimate guide of acne skin care, we will help you attack acne from all different sides. Many times, acne can appear because of another underlying problem. While other times, it appears out of nowhere.

This guide will help you learn and educate yourself on the topic of acne skin care so that you can learn what your type of acne is and what the best way to treat them is.

If you want learn more about your skin and go deeply into and how you can take care of your face to prevent acne then check out Acne No More. Its an eBook with over 200 pages! I suggest you read it if you're serious about your skin and getting rid of acne.

Chapter 1: Acne, What Exactly Are They?

When tiny hairs, sebum, and dead skin cells all get stuck in one of your pores, bacteria start forming, and we experience a swelling which turns into acne. Even though acne vulgaris might not be a serious and life-threatening condition, it can cause scars and marks on your skin. Plus, let’s be real, it’s extremely annoying!

Sebum is the oily substance produced by the oil glands we all have under the skin. Sometimes, we experience an overproduction of this sebum, which is the main reason for the appearance of acne. 

As a condition, acne affects most of us at one point in our lives. Whether as a teen or as an adult, you have probably experienced this annoyance.

Even though the underlying cause of acne might be different in teens versus adults, the way in which acne form is still the same.

Chapter 2: The 6 Common Types of Acne

When we talk about acne, we usually refer to acne vulgaris – the name of the condition itself, which includes all the different types of acne that can appear on your skin.

In this chapter, we will go through all acne types and explain to you what is what and how they are different.

This will allow you to diagnose your specific condition and learn what to do.

Generally speaking, there are two types of acne: non-inflammatory and inflammatory.

Non-inflammatory acne includes:

  • Blackheads: Open comedones which are not infected or inflamed. These are just clogged follicles that look like dark/black dots on the skin, especially visible around the nose. This color appears dark because the substance that is stuck inside reacts with oxygen.

This type of acne is not dangerous and can be safely removed with the help of facial steaming or regular exfoliation.

  • Whiteheads: closed comedones which are actually clogged glands and appear as white pimples on the skin. These occur when the oil is not able to penetrate the skin layers.

Inflammatory acne includes:

  • Papules: similar to whiteheads, only inflamed, papules will look like red bumps on the skin which will usually be painful or sensitive.

It is recommended not to touch or pick on papules because improper handling can cause scarring.

  • Pustules: an inflamed type of acne which can cause severe scarring if you try to get rid of it. Pustules are hard to the touch, and they often appear in body regions where you usually sweat.

  • Nodules: larger than papules or pustules, nodules are also sensitive and hard pus-filled bumps. To get rid of nodules, dermatologists recommend using salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, because these products are able to remove the clogged pus and oil.

  • Cysts: the most severe of them all, cysts can vary in size and can actually become pretty large. They are inflamed lumps which can contain a lot of pus. Additionally, they can go very deep down into the skin layers and be very big. No matter how it looks like, never try to remove cysts on your own. These have to be clinically removed by a professional who is specialized in this field. Aside from causing scars, cysts can sometimes be checked for cancerous cells, which is why they must be seen by a doctor!

Chapter 3: Prevention Is Better Than Cure!

As the saying goes;

Prevention is better than cure

Better to prevent an acne forming than curing it after it has formed, right?

So, how do you prevent an acne?

Here are a few tips that will help you:

  • Wash your face daily. Not once, and not three times, but twice. Although it is very important to wash off the dirt from the day and always have a clean face, over-washing your face can also be a problem if you suffer from acne. Over-washing can lead to dry skin, and even though this sounds like a good idea to the acne sufferer, it’s not! When you have dry skin, your body will actually produce more sebum to compensate, which, in turn, will cause more acne.
    Twice a day is an ideal number. Once in the morning, and another time in the evening before you go to bed. Plus, try to use a special acne face wash because this will give you additional acne-fighting properties.
  • Find the right moisturizer. When you have acne, it doesn't mean that you should stop moisturizing your skin altogether. Instead, look for a non-comedogenic, perfume-free and natural moisturizer that fits your skin type.
  • Drink enough water. If your body thinks you are dehydrated, it will produce more sebum (oil) by default. Plus, you might have noticed how dull and lifeless your skin looks when you don't drink enough water. So, in order to help your skin condition, drink at least 8 glasses of pure water per day.
  • Avoid touching your face. This is a rule you have to learn to respect! Whether it's your own hands or your phone or maybe the pen you write with. All of these things bring bacteria to your face and increase the chances of a pore getting inflamed.
  • Choose the right makeup. Going heave on the makeup to cover the acne is our go-to idea. However, this is a huge mistake! Unless you use light, non-comedogenic foundation or medical formulas, other makeup products (especially foundation) will significantly clog your pores and cause acne.  Be especially careful if you have open-wound acne on your face. Whenever you can, try to leave the house with a pure face.
  • Don't pop your pimples! This is probably the most cliche sentence ever, but - it's so true! Popping your zits or pimples can cause permanent scarring, discoloration or mark on your skin. I know how tempting it must be, but it should definitely be avoided at any cost. Or, if you can't resist the temptation, you can get yourself an acne patch or learn the right way to pop your pimples.
  • Consider some dietary changes. What we eat reflects on each and every body part and organ. And your skin is no exception from the rule! Multiple studies have shown that dairy should be the first thing to dismiss if you suffer from acne. Next, try to lower your intake of baked goods, junk food, sweets, cookies, white bread, etc. These are simple carbs which have a high glycemic index and can worsen your acne.
  • Avoid direct sun rays. Even though tanning might make your skin look better at the moment, in the long run, sunrays do more damage than good. Yes, the Sun can temporarily dry out some tiny pimples or make your skin darker so that your marks are less visible. But, over time, sun rays can cause a lot of skin damage and dehydration which will make your acne worse than before.
  • Learn your skin type. Using the wrong products for your skin type is a mistake that I think we have all done way too often. There is a reason why a moisturizer for oily skin is not effective for someone with dry skin. When you learn your skin type, you will be able to purchase the right type of products.
  • Lower your stress levels. Stress is our worst enemy. It is said that stress is the root of every condition or disease. And the same seems to be true when it comes to acne. Pay attention to your stress levels and try to notice if your acne get worse on days when you are stressing out more. Join a relaxing yoga class or meditate. Do whatever is best for you to relax and destress!
  • Start exercising. Exercising flushes out toxins, extra hormones, and all other bad stuff that’s stuck in your body. Knowing this, it is also logical that working out can improve your skin and lessen the appearance of acne. However, make sure that you don’t wear tight gym clothes that can cause pimples. And finally, NEVER touch your face in the gym, and take a shower right after! 

  • Use over-the-counter acne solutions. If your acne is not severe but still annoying, try finding an over-the-counter product that works for you and use it as a way to prevent future pimples. These products don’t need a prescription, and they usually contain one of the following ingredients: benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or glycolic acid.

Chapter 4: Adult vs. Teen Acne? What's The Difference?

Even though adult acne and teen acne are formed the same, in most cases, they have different causes.

Teen acne is caused by the chaos that occurs in your body when you enter puberty.

All the different hormones plus the over-production of sebum by the oil glands during your teenage years is what causes a perfectly crystal clean face to become all red and inflamed within some days.

Adult acne is most commonly caused by:

  • Hormonal variations throughout period cycles

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

  • Pregnancy

  • Steroids

  • Lithium

  • Stress

  • Poor diet

While teen acne eventually goes away on its own, adult acne usually has a larger, underlying problem that is the cause of the acne appearance.

By treating or curing the underlying problem, the acne will also disappear. For this reason, it’s important to do the following tests in order to find the deeper cause and root for acne in your adulthood:

  • Hormonal blood test

  • Gynecological exam

  • General blood picture

  • Blood sugar levels

  • Food sensitivity test

By checking the above-mentioned things, you will be able to find out if you suffer from a condition that causes acne as a side effect. This will allow you to treat your underlying condition and cure acne as a result.

Chapter 5: 6 Most Common Causes of Acne

Genetics

Even though environmental and lifestyle factors can also be blamed for the appearance of acne, a number of studies show that genetics also play a big role in whether or not you develop acne.

So, for example, if one of your parents had troubles with acne or had oily skin, the chances of you having acne are higher.

There is not much that we can do against genetics, except try to control the condition as much as possible and develop a routine that works for us.

PCOS

PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a common disease in women. In women with PCOS, hormones are out of balance, and the body produces higher levels of male hormones. These hormones, such as testosterone, cause an increased sebum production which results in acne, male pattern hair growth, thinning of the hair, weight gain, skipping ovulations and periods, difficulties getting pregnant, etc.

Usually, women with acne caused by PCOS are treated with oral contraceptives or androgen-blocking medication.

Stress

As with all other conditions, stress is a factor for acne as well. Even though scientists haven’t exactly figured out why this is true, they suppose that sebum-producing cells might be sensitive to stress because they have stress receptors.

Decreasing stress levels is crucial if you wish to improve your acne. For this purpose, you can try some meditation exercises, yoga or Pilates. Actually, whatever makes you feel better and decreases your stress is good.

Overactive Oil Glands

If for any reason you have overactive oil glands, you might notice an oily scalp, skin or hair. Overactive oil glands produce more sebum than normal glands, which means that the extra sebum can get stuck and clog your pores much easier.

Regular exfoliation and products that have drying properties might help you control this condition up to some extent. Another thing that can improve this problem is to make some dietary changes.

Bad Diet

Just as with stress, diet also affects each function and process in your body. They say that we are what we eat, so basically, if you want good skin, you have to eat good food.

In order to improve your acne, stay away from dairy products, especially milk, refined carbs, white flour products, sugar and sugary drinks, pastries, cakes, etc.

Instead, focus more on eating fresh vegetables, low-glycemic fruits, healthy carbs, lean proteins, whole-grain products, etc.

All foods with a high glycemic index can spike insulin in your body and worsen your acne condition.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones are also a huge culprit for acne, especially in women. As women go through their monthly period cycle, their hormones start changing and go out of balance, which results in the appearance of acne.

Other sufferers from hormonal acne are teenagers, who also experience an increased hormone production and fluctuation. In teens, hormones overwhelm the body and cause all types of changes, including acne (unfortunately). Teenage acne can be treated with different products to decrease them until the body adjusts to the hormonal changes and they eventually go away on their own.

Chapter 6: 9 Natural Ingredients Acne's Hate!

In an urge to get rid of a pimple as fast as possible, we all reach to cosmetic and harsh products without knowing that we might already have the cure in our pantry. Many people have found relief from acne with the help of natural remedies, so why not try?

You’d be surprised how much some simple things such as green tea bags or honey can help.

In this chapter, I will give you some simple, natural ingredients that you can use to diminish the appearance of acne:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar has the ability to restore the skin’s natural balance, remove all your skin impurities as well as destroy bacteria that inflames your acne. For this reason, it makes a perfect acne-fighting toner when you dilute it with some clean water.
  • Green Tea can be helpful both as a beverage as well as a topical help with acne. Its anti-inflammatory properties decrease body inflammation from the inside, and acne inflammation from the outside
  • Honey is a mild cure which can greatly improve your complexion and acne. Its natural antibacterial properties and moisturizing powers can do wonders for your condition.
  • Witch Hazel contains tannins which are astringents and are able to clean out your skin by absorbing all the extra sebum and oil from your pores.
  • Tea Tree Oil is a well-known acne killer. This essential oil has natural anti-bacterial properties which prevent acne from inflaming. Make sure that the product you choose has enough tea tree oil to have an effect, but not too much because it will be too harsh for your skin.
  • Lemon has tons of antibacterial properties that can help you cure your acne. As an additional plus, lemons can brighten and tone your skin complexion.
  • Cinnamon will boost the blood circulation in your skin, thus promoting a healthier looking skin. Plus, it has many bacteria-fighting properties which will decrease your acne inflammation.
  • Aloe Vera is famous for its healing properties, especially for your skin. If you have marks or scars that you want to diminish, Aloe Vera is the right product for you. The best way to use Aloe Vera topically is to take out the gel straight out of its leaves and apply it on your face to sit for about half an hour.
  • Coconut Oil is usually not recommended for people with skin that is too oily. However, it contains lauric acid which is known to destroy bacteria. Plus, coconut oil is an incredible moisturizer. So, if your skin is not too oily, but you still suffer from acne, try coconut oil and see if you experience its benefits.

Chapter 7: Cosmetic Ingredients for Treating Acne

Over-the-counter help

  • Benzoyl Peroxide – an ingredient used for mild to moderate acne. Benzoyl peroxide destroys the bacteria which causes acne, and it also dries out your skin and reduces the sebum.
  • Salicylic Acid – with the power to dissolve sebum and other pus clogged in the pores, salicylic acid is an incredible acne-fighting ingredient, especially when it comes to blackheads and whiteheads.
  • Lactic Acid – an exfoliator that can also diminish acne appearance as well as give you a deep moisturizing
  • Glycolic Acid – a bit harsher than lactic acid, glycolic acid is best for fading marks, sun damage spots, and acne scars.

Prescription medicine

  • Antibiotics – to kill the bacteria in the acne and prevent bacteria from growing
  • Oral contraceptives – to control the hormonal imbalance in women
  • Anti-androgen medicine – to block the production of androgens that cause acne such as testosterone

Aside from the above-mentioned ingredients and products, a dermatologist can also perform clinical extractions of large cysts as well as inject corticosteroids directly into the root of the acne. These are more radical solutions, and they will only be performed to extremely severe cases of acne that don't react to any other solution.

If this is the case for you, visit a dermatologist as soon as possible because such deep and large cysts can cause permanent scarring and marks which will be very difficult to fade or remove.

Chapter 8: Acne Diet?​​

One of the longest debates when it comes to acne is its connection to food. Can your diet affect your skin condition?

Can you get rid of acne by eating better?

A study from 2012 suggests that foods with a high glycemic index might worsen your acne. This study showcases the benefits of eating high protein, low carbohydrate foods to the skin.

According to studies, high glycemic foods can cause insulin spikes. Insulin, in turn, increases the production of sebum from your oil glands. Thus, low glycemic foods seem to be the better option for people who are fighting acne.

What You Should Be Eating

  • Vegetables
  • Lean Proteins
  • Low Glycemic Fruits
  • Fish
  • Complex Carbs

What You Should Be Avoiding

  • Milk
  • Dairy Products
  • Refined Carbs
  • Junk Food
  • White Flour Products

So, as you can see, the general idea is that you eat a wholesome and healthy diet, especially acne-fighting foods and foods rich in Zinc, Omega 3, Vitamins A, E, and antioxidants.

Chapter 9: How to Treat Acne With Your Daily Routine?

Suffering from acne doesn’t mean that you have to be afraid of using a moisturizer or a foundation. In fact, skipping your moisturizer can dry out your skin which in turn will cause your oil glands to produce more sebum.

Keeping your acne under control means finding the right products and keeping up with your daily routine.

No matter how your usual acne routine looks like, there are a couple of features that all your products should possess if you are trying to get rid of acne:

  • Non-comedogenic

  • Oil-free

  • Light and sheer

  • Fragrance-free

  • Acne-fighting agent

Feel free to follow the steps you usually would:

Step 1: Cleanse – A face wash or a cleanser is crucial for your acne skin care routine. Choose one that contains benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in order to get the maximum benefits each time you clean your face.

Step 2: Exfoliate – Even though exfoliation is important in order to get rid of the dead skin cells and the sebum stuck in your pores, never use harsh exfoliators when you have acne. This is especially important if you have open acne wounds!

Step 3: Tone – A ton er which contains calming and anti-inflammatory agents is also a great option for diminishing acne.

Step 4: Moisturize – As we have mentioned before, do not skip moisturizers just because you have acne. There are special moisturizers for acne, as well as special formulas for oily skin that you can use.

Step 5: Serum – Specialized acne-fighting serums are a good option if you are suffering from acne. Alternatively, you can try using Vitamin C serums because they also have acne-fighting properties.

Step 6: Spot treatment – Spot treatment is a must for everyone who suffers from acne. You can try out different products to see what works for you, and when you find your favorite apply it immediately when you spot a pimple coming out.

If you are starting to use a new product for the first time and want to see if it helps your condition or not, be patient and do not try out multiple new products at the same time. This is the only way to know if a product fits you or not.

Chapter 10: When To Visit A Dermatologist?

Hopefully, you will manage to find relief from acne with some of the suggestions I have given you above.

However, in situations when you suffer from severe acne or cysts that do not go away with any of the conventional treatments or over-the-counter products, it’s time to visit a dermatologist.

Usually, when acne is severe, over-the-counter products will not be strong enough to help you. In this case, a dermatologist can take a look at your condition and prescribe you a stronger product.

Depending on the underlying condition for your acne, a dermatologist can prescribe you a topical retinoid, topical or oral antibiotics, isotretinoin, or even inject corticosteroids directly into the cyst.

If the problem you have is hormonal such as PCOS, you might need to go to a gynecologist that will prescribe you oral contraceptives to regulate your hormones and block the production of androgens.

Make sure to visit a dermatologist when…

  • you have tried everything, but nothing helped.

  • you have other symptoms that associate with an underlying condition.

  • acne appears for the first time.

  • you have cysts or large and deep acne that look like cysts.

  • the products that worked for a while have stopped working.

Conclusion

This guide is meant to help you discover what you’re doing wrong and give you different solutions that can help your individual acne case.

Do not compare yourself with other people's situations because each case is individual. For example, if your friend's acne got better by using antibiotics and yours didn't, the problem might be that you have a hormonal imbalance. In this case, antibiotics will not help, and you will need to take birth control pills. 

For this reason, we created this guide so that you can figure out how to solve your case of acne and finally see some relief.

I hope that you found this content useful and that it will help you improve your life and skin. Acne skin care done the right way is crucial if you wish to achieve clearer skin and avoid further complications such as acne marks or scars.

Finally, the conclusion I would like you to draw out of this whole guide is that getting rid of acne is a multi-approach strategy instead of just one single cure. Developing your own routine that works and sticking to it is necessary if you wish to see results. And don’t expect something to work within a week.

When you try a new product, give it enough time to work.

This, plus eating healthy, exercising, and decreasing stress is the winning combination for acne relief!

And finally, do not let acne affect your self-image and self-esteem. None of us are perfect, and acne is just a normal part of everyone’s life. Try some of my tips and let me know what works for you!

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