4 Ways To Resolve And Prevent Acne
Last week we took a deep dive into the four main triggers of acne and for some of us, the main factors probably came as a bit of a shock. Understanding where your acne comes from is just the beginning though – doing something about it is the next step. In addition to booking a consultation with Clinically Clear to receive a routine tailored just for you, here are the four main ways you can prevent and resolve acne in your everyday life:
- Control Excess Oil
- Stay Hydrated
- Manage your Stress Level
Control Excess Oil
Salicylic “sal” acid is a terrific prevention and resolution ingredient for skin facing issues due to excess oil production. What is sal acid? It is a lipophilic acid, meaning it binds with and dissolves oil. It is capable of penetrating into the outer layers of the skin to dry up existing acne spots and prevent new ones from forming.
For females, there are a handful of oral contraceptives that are also FDA-approved for improving acne. They do this by managing androgen hormone levels, which we is one of the hormones responsible for producing excess sebum (oil). Of course, the decision to use oral contraceptives is highly personal. If you’re considering this step you should first see your doctor who can counsel you regarding your broader health objectives, your concerns and your individual-specific risks.
Next, we take a look at exfoliating. This part of the process ties directly into one of the initial causes of acne: excess dead skin cells (aka hyperkeratinization) that accumulate within your pores and clog them (especially in a sticky, oil-rich environment). How, you ask, does exfoliating help? Exfoliating helps to remove those dead skin cells, makeup and other debris from the surface that could potentially clog your pores. There are three main types of exfoliation: 1. mechanical (i.e., “scrubs”), 2. chemical (i.e., peels), and 3. certain ingredients in home care products that are known for managing skin cell turnover (yes, these are sort of “chemicals” too… but we needed a way to discuss these separately!) Exfoliating products include retinols (creams, gels, serums) and toners containing ingredients such as glycolic, salicylic, and mandelic acid.
Given how many options we have for exfoliating, it’s best to consult a skin care professional to make sure you’re using the right approach: too much exfoliation can be counterproductive and downright dangerous. For example, your skin care professional will likely tell you to avoid exfoliating products at home for up to a week after you undergo a chemical peel in our office. A chemical peel’s full cycle plays out over several days, and also your skin needs time to recover. The key here is to seek advice from experts and to read the ingredients labels on your products.
We cannot preach this one enough: drink that water! Use that moisturizer (we have several oil-free options)! Not only is it beneficial for your body as a whole as water flushes away any lingering toxins, but also water helps your skin cells to stay hydrated and refreshed as well. Water is the combat weapon fighting the bacteria party we previously mentioned. When your pores get that H2O, they are receiving oxygen that suffocates acne bacteria.We recommend that individuals drink half their weight in ounces of water every day.
Another way to kick pesky acne bacteria to the curb is with benzoyl peroxide. There is proof that this topical ingredient is effective at fighting bacteria. But, it can also be dehydrating to your skin. Use this carefully and in small amounts. The higher-quality benzoyl peroxide products typically contain smaller-granules of active ingredients which are capable of dissolving and penetrating deeper into your pores, instead of sitting on top of your skin and drying it out.
Manage your Stress Level
For acne-prone individuals, excess chronic stress has the equivalent effect of squirting gasoline on a fire (forgive the cliche). Left unmanaged, stress aggravates our immune system as well as normal inflammatory response and can even trigger additional sebum production by stimulating our adrenal glands. So, while managing stress alone isn’t going to resolve your acne, failure to manage your stress can make it worse.
Our advice? Make a list of the potential stress-triggers in your daily life. You’ll probably find that many of these can’t be avoided (ex: your boss, your workload) but your reactions to them can change. Find a stress management technique that works for you and embrace it, be it yoga, sports, meditation, journaling, etc. This is a “no-regrets” habit to put in place; at a minimum you’ll feel better.
And when you’re more relaxed and more self-accepting, you’re less likely to obsess over and pick at those acne spots. So you’ll avoid a prolonged healing process and scarring. You’ll probably also sleep better and practice better overall self-care (including your skin-care routine!)
Skin troubles can be bothersome and frustrating; hopefully the tools we’ve outlined help you to start taking steps in the right direction for healthy skin at home. The next step is to come visit us at Clinically Clear and receive a skincare routine tailored specifically for you, plus a series of those exfoliating peels. Always remember that taking care of your skin is more important than covering it up. We want you to be the happiest, most confident version of you!