Thought acne was just a phase you'd get over after high school like your first crush? Unfortunately, sometimes those pimples aren't as forgettable as Bobby Thompson. Sadly, there's a significant amount of women who still get acne well into their 30’s and 40’s. (35% and 26% respectively). This means that if you are still being affected by acne at this point in your life, waiting it out is probably not an option. Here are some of the more well known causes and what you can do about it.
Hormonal Changes : One of the biggest offenders are the little chemical imbalances inside your body. A spike in testosterone can cause your oil producing glands to jump into overdrive. More oil means more clogged pores, and that in turn becomes a prime environment for acne bacteria to flourish. These spikes in hormones are more likely to happen around your premenstrual period.
Food: Of course what you put into your body affects the outside of your body! Here are the foods to curb or avoid when your face starts to look a little like pizza, itself.
- Simple carbs and sugars: foods like pastas, breads and sweets can trigger skin’s inflammatory response and provoke a breakout. It's probably best you avoid the never ending breadsticks .
- Dairy: While research results are mixed, certain studies have shown that dairy has been linked to an outbreak of pimples for some women.
- Chocolate: unfortunately for chocolate lovers (aka EVERYONE), a study by the Academy of Dermatology found a correlation between the amount of chocolate consumed and an increase in acne amongst their subjects. Shakes fist to sky.
Stress: When you break out, it's time to break out the lavender candles and take that deep breath. Stressing out can cause your body to produce a hormone called cortisol which can lead to an increase in pore-clogging oil on your face.
Hair and skin products: When combatting acne, the products you put on and around your face are crucial to clear pores and fair skin. Be sure to look for products that list Non-comedogenic, Non-acnegenic, and Oil free as a feature offered.
Genetics: Sometimes regardless of how clean you eat or what products you use to stave off acne, it just boils down to genetics.
Alright, enough with the doom and gloom. Here's how to kick acne to the curb.
It goes without saying, but this is a must for everyone- especially those of us with acne prone skin. Wash your face 2x day with products that are carefully selected to fight acne.
- Cleansers: when choosing cleansers on the side of the more mild and gentle as to prevent the stripping away of precious moisture from your skin.
- Over-the-counter creams and lotions: while essential to hydrating your skin and reducing wrinkles, make sure to reach for the non-comedogenic so you're not clogging your pores while lotioning up.
- Mild benzoyl peroxide: use sparingly as this can dry out your skin
“Rule of thumb: seek out products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” (won’t clog pores) or “non-acnegenic” (won’t cause acne).”
Manage your stress
- Meditation: meditation sharpens the mind by increasing your focus while also reducing anxiety through relaxation.
- Exercise: that rush you feel after your third mile or your hundredth squat? it's the release of endorphins into your system and your stress levels dropping. Endorphins act as natural painkillers and improve your ability to sleep.
- Try a sheet mask: the 20-40 minutes that it takes to allow a sheet mask absorb into your skin is the perfect time to destress and unwind.
- A study in the American Journal of Nutrition suggests that you may have fewer breakouts if you add more whole grains, beans, and veggies while cutting back on the white stuff- that is pasta, white rice, white bread, and sugar.
If all else fails, and it seems like you are at wits end with your acne, your dermatologist is probably the best bet to really beating acne.