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Tips for Acne

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Acne prevention is the key to controlling acne. We explore several different acne tips to help your skin be acne free.

Most people focus on acne removal.

They see a new bump on their face and immediately run to the drug store to find products that allow the acne to go away, or they take matters into their own hands by squeezing the pimple until it pops and appears to shrink.

These may seem like smart solutions, but the truth is that the best way to get rid of acne is with prevention. Most spot treatments are ineffective, and some can even have lasting consequences, but

Acne is growing beneath your skin weeks before it reaches the surface. If you can prevent that acne from growing, you'll prevent future breakouts. But acne prevention isn't always easy. Below are several acne tips for preventing acne from ever reaching the surface.

Tips for Acne Prevention

  • Wash Your Face

Acne cannot be cured simply by washing your face, because acne is not caused by dirt or oil. Acne is caused by bacteria, and soap cannot safely kill that bacteria.

But washing your face is still important.

Ideally, you need to avoid anything that could contribute to blocked pores, because those allow acne to grow more rapidly.

Dirt and oils that have not been washed off the skin can potentially block pores, leading to more acne. Washing your face regularly (although not more than recommended) will keep dead skin and dirt off of your face, potentially decreasing the amount of acne you experience.

  • Use Only Acne-Safe Products

Not all facial products are created equal.

Acne has nothing to do with good hygiene, nor do you have to stop using things like makeup and moisturizers simply because they go on your face.

However, you do need to make sure that you're using products that are made for those suffering from acne. These products (labeled "Non-Comedogenic"), are generally designed in such a way that they won't clog pores.

This is very important for those with acne, as clogged pores lead to more acne breakouts.

  • Don't Pop Zits

Popping acne is one of the worst things you can do for your skin.

Popping acne appears at first glance to reduce the size of the pimple because as the pus leaks out the acne gets smaller.

However, there are several issues with this belief. First, acne is caused by inflammation related to a buildup of bacteria, and while draining the acne may make it appear smaller at first glance, the bacteria are still present. Likely, the acne will simply grow back. Rather than preventing acne, you are simply delaying it.

Secondly, popping acne causes more skin irritation. That gives acne a more red and visible appearance than it had before the acne was popped.

However, the most important reason not to pop acne is that it can actually spread acne. The idea behind tips for acne prevention is to limit the number of bacteria within your pores. When a pimple is popped, the bacteria tend to spread to other areas of the skin, causing further bacterial buildup and increasing the likelihood of developing more acne in the future.

  • Preventing Acne Scars is Also Important

Most tips for acne focus on the idea that you need to prevent breakouts – and this is true.

But the point of preventing acne is to reduce the appearance of acne on your skin, and it's not just acne that creates that acne appearance.

A big part of acne is acne scarring. Acne scars left untreated can take months to heal – if they heal at all – and continue to resemble acne long after the acne has faded.

Taking care of your acne can drastically reduce scarring, and there are many creams and acne gels that help scars heal more quickly. If you want to reduce your acne, you should make sure you're reducing acne scarring and taking care of the scars you do have.

  • Watch Your Diet – Sort Of

The idea that diet affects acne has been widely debunked. The studies that most people used as evidence of the link between diet and acne were poorly performed, and based on what we now know about acne, it's unlikely diet plays much of a role – at least in terms of creating more acne.

There is a little bit of evidence that milk and high glycemic carbs (pasta, etc) may contribute to acne. This research is still preliminary, but it does appear that these two foods do represent a risk. However, while those that consume milk and carbs may be more likely to get acne breakouts, cutting them out of your diet isn't enough to prevent acne.

What we do know, however, is that some vitamins and minerals can improve acne.

The two most well-known are Zinc and Vitamin A. Both of these vitamins appear to have acne clearing and prevention benefits.

Because acne is caused by bacteria and enlarged pores, it's unlikely that foods lead to acne breakouts. Pore size increases from hormones, not food, and bacteria don't rely on your diet to survive. But it does look as though acne prevention is possible by improving your diet – something that can be highly beneficial for those fighting acne.

  • Choose Treatments for Your Skin

All skin is created differently.

That's why it's important to choose the right acne care products. There is no such thing as an acne tip that can clear up the skin for 100% of all users, simply because different skin causes different skin reactions.

When your skin is irritated by a product, or if you use the wrong type of product, it can increase your acne breakouts – even if the product itself is designed for those suffering from acne.

It's often a good idea to discuss your skin type with your dermatologist, and base what to do on their recommendation. Incorrect acne treatments may lead to further breakouts and more damaged skin.

  • Use Treatments for At Least 3 Months

Another widely forgotten aspect of acne prevention is patience.

Treatment does not come overnight. Most acne is already forming weeks before you start any new acne treatment. When you use a treatment that successfully clears acne, you should still expect acne breakouts for one or more months, simply because it's unlikely to stop acne that has already formed from creating bumps on your skin.

You will not know if an acne treatment has worked unless you give it an extended period of time. Those that stop using acne treatments when they fail to see immediate results are going to be unable to stop their acne from getting worse.

  • Wash and Watch Your Hair

Experts recommend that you be careful with your long or oily hair.

It appears to be a myth that the oils from oily hair cause breakouts. Acne is caused by bacteria, not oil, so oily hair touching your skin shouldn't have any effect on your acne. However, hair oils may clog pores, which gives bacteria a better environment to grow.

Still, it's recommended that you try to keep your hair out of your face and wash it with a shampoo and conditioner used to reduce hair oils. That's because regardless of whether or not the oils lead to acne, long hair can spread or produce acne bacteria. This, in turn, will increase acne breakouts.

So wash your hair, and do your best to keep it out of your face to help cut down on the chances of your hair affecting your acne.

  • Treat Your Whole Face

Another important acne tip is the idea that you need to treat your entire face, rather than just the areas you see acne.

Many people use spot treatments, which treat a specific area of the face that appears to have blemishes.

But as mentioned previously, acne takes weeks to form. Just because you do not see acne now, tomorrow, or even next week, doesn't mean it's not already on its way. The only way to prevent that acne from ever forming is to treat your entire face rather than focus on a specific area, to ensure that bacteria are not able to grow anywhere on your skin.

Many of the tips for acne prevention are designed to prevent all breakouts.

But in some cases, it's simply important to reduce the severity and frequency of your breakouts.

Stress doesn't cause acne, but because stress can throw off the hormone balance in your body, stress can make acne worse.

Living a calmer life will help your breakouts be less severe, and would also make them easier to treat.

  • Wash Things That Touch Your Face

Finally, most acne tips are designed to limit the bacteria on your face.

However, not all acne-causing bacteria is on your face.

Bacteria can grow in other places as well; for example, on your pillowcases, on your bed sheet, on your washcloth, and also on your fingers.

While you don't need to clean sheets and fabric every day, nor do you need to wash your hands every five minutes, it's important to wash items that touch your face more often.

The more you allow bacteria to grow on your sheets, for example, the more of that bacteria will get on your face when you sleep. Regularly cleaning these items will go a long way towards controlling your acne.

Combining Lifestyle Changes with Effective Products

Acne doesn't cure on its own, and most dermatologists recommend that you treat acne as soon as possible to avoid any long term scarring.

That means choosing effective acne treatments and following the above acne tips. Smart choices are the most important part of controlling acne and provided you give these changes time to kick in, you will often find that you can get your acne under control.



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