What is That Thing on My Face?
It was the morning of your first date, and as you began brushing your hair in front of the mirror, you discovered a tomato-red bump on the tip of your nose. “How did that get there?” you cried. Flushed with embarrassment, you began to panic and frantically searched for a way to make it disappear.
This scenario has happened to us all at some point in our lives. According to statistics by leading research organizations like AAD, 85% of people will have at least one encounter with acne. The most common time of facing this skin disease is amidst our most stressful years: high school. During that time, our skin produces more oil than it ever did before, and, along with the dirt we accumulate every day, it clogs our pores. Without a way to clean it, pimples soon form in the affected areas like your face. That is not to say we outgrow acne once we matured into adulthood. In fact, it is not unusual for people in their twenties and thirties, even onward to their fifties, to deal with pimples.
Here’s a cool infographic that shows the acne myths and solutions at a glance.
Why is This Happening to Me?
There are a few reasons for your body to play such havoc on your skin. Recent studies have found a link between diet and the severity of acne. Sometimes acne is an allergic reaction to a specific food by triggering the secretion of certain hormones. This, perhaps, has given rise to the myth that chocolate causes acne. The sweet delight itself has nothing in its contents that directly causes your skin to become inflamed, but perhaps your body disagrees with it. Other foods that could be triggering the reaction tend to be either food saturated in fat or fried foods. Asking your dermatologists questions could lead to discover if it is your favorite food that is plaguing your skin.
Another key factor that adds to your skin’s unhappiness is none other than stress. When you are stressed out, your mind is tired and your body feels fatigued. Your skin is the same way. Hormones that trigger the oil production of your pores intensify, and if you are not careful, they will lead to pimples. If you find yourself in a stressful environment, try to budget your time wisely to add a little time for relaxation such as reading that book that has sat on your shelf for weeks, catch up on your favorite TV show, or even calling your best friend. Any activity that can put a smile on your face can help fight acne at the same time.
As mentioned above, if oil and dirt are not regularly clean from the pores, skin is likely to become inflamed and then progress into the next stage. The natural assumption is that you should clean yourself with soap, but that is the LAST thing you should use! Soap leaves behind a residue much the same as the scum you find on your shower walls, and this puts a thick blanket over your pores, trapping any oil and dirt that may later accumulate.
If Soap Can’t Save Me, What Can?
Skin experts share with us their extensive research to answer this troublesome question in four easy ways.
1. Practice Good Hygiene
Cleansing your pores of all that grime is essential to having a healthy complexion. Washing your face with regular soap is not suggested, but investing a little more money in chemical-free soap can make all the difference. If, however, you are like most people and need to be out the door in five minutes, try facial wipes that cleans your pores and leaves your skin feeling refreshed.
2. Watch Your Foods
While we touched on the topic s of food allergies and fatty or fried foods, there are a few foods that are your best friends. Fruits have anti-oxidants, compounds that remove any bacteria that might be involved in addition to fighting free radicals. Colorful berries like strawberries and blueberries are rich in anti-oxidants, but so are green teas, beans, artichokes, and even prunes. Try adding some of these to your diet and look at your complexion in a few weeks.
3. Minimize Your Stress
As stated earlier, minimizing your stress is crucial in getting the balance of your skin under control. Unmanaged stress causes your hormones to run wild and cause chaos. To keep them in check, take a little time every day to decompress. As the song goes, “If it makes you happy, then it can’t be that bad.”
4. Do Not Touch
Perhaps the most surprising piece of advice skin experts give is to stop touching your skin as often. The same oily skin on your face surrounds your fingers, and when you touch, you leave traces of the oil on your tips. And think about when was the last time you had washed your hands before that point. Your skin can do without the added oil and dirt, so try to be mindful!
Do I Have to Buy the Creams?
For those interested in going an au naturale approach to handling your acne, there are a couple home remedies you can try.
1. First, crush up a pill or two of aspirin until it is a fine powder. Then, just before going to bed, apply it to the areas that need it most. After a good night’s sleep, wash it away with water.
2. For those allergic to aspirin or you want a different scent as you drift into Dream Land, apply lemon or lime juice to the inflamed skin. There is no need to wash it away, as it is organic, so do not feel pressured to remove it if you enjoy the smell.
3. Toothpaste is matched only by baking soda in its ability to clean, but the former is far better for your skin. With a Q-tip, apply little dabs of toothpaste to those stubborn spots, then rinse after 10 minutes. Use this approach sparingly as overuse has the potential to dry your skin out. Not recommended for those with sensitive skin.
4. If you like the smell of peppermint, then crush some mint leaves. Apply the mix to either a small spot or use it as a face mask for 15 minutes, then wash.
5. Patchouli oil is highly regarded for attacking acne and even fading scars. While fragrance oil is only for aromatherapy, essential oil can be applied to the skin without fear of disrupting the balance. Patchouli oil is different than your body’s natural oil and will not clog your pores. In fact, when you dab a cotton pad soaked with it across your skin, you will probably feel a tingling sensation. This is normal as it is cleansing your pores. However, only essential oil can be used on the body, not fragrance.
While giving the above suggestions a try, there are a couple of tips to help you with the process. When applying to a pinpoint area, try a Q-tip instead of your finger as this increases your accuracy and removes the potential added oil of your skin. If you wash your face after application, use water only and then pat dry with a towel. If you harshly scrub, you will be more likely to break the surface of the skin, begging oil and dirt to pay a visit.