Acne is a common skin condition that can lead to many forms of blemishes. Some include pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. There are also ways that acne can be avoided.
Four factors leading to acne development have been established by dermatologists:
- the skin producing too much oil, which clogs pores
- dead skin cells building up, which has the same effect
- the presence of a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) in the pores
- inflammation of the skin, which also leads to redness
A doctor or dermatologist may help determine which factor causes acne or a combination of factors. Many treatment and prevention approaches, however are similar, regardless of the cause. To protect against acne and reduce the number of breakouts, the following tips will help.
Fifteen ways to prevent pimples
To avoid pimples and other types of acne, there are many things a person can do, including:
1. Wash the face twice daily
Contrary to common opinion, acne is rarely the result of a dirty face. However by washing regularly, it is necessary to remove excess dirt and oil from the skin.
Many people like to use warm water and a mild cleanser. After washing, applying an oil-free moisturizer will prevent the skin from being too dry.
Over-washing the face can lead to dryness of the skin, which can aggravate pimples.
2. Refrain from harsh scrubbing
Some individuals clean with rough cloth pads or washcloths on the skin. This can make the skin irritated and cause inflammation, causing breakouts of acne worse.
To avoid pimples, applying a gentle cleanser with clean hands or a soft brush intended for use on the face will help.
3. Keep hair clean
It can exacerbate acne if excess oil in the hair spreads to the skin. Regular hair washing can prevent the development of acne, especially close to the hairline.
Refrain from having things like hair gel or spray on the face, as well. This can clog pores as well and lead to breakouts.
4. Refrain from popping or picking at pimples
Squeezing a pimple may be tempting, but this usually results in inflammation and scarring.
Use a topical cream instead to minimize the presence of blemishes. It can take some time for them to function, but they may also prevent the development of new pimples.
5. Apply topical treatments
Over-the-counter treatments such as creams or serums, especially when they appear to occur in certain areas, may minimize breakouts.
The following problem areas are common:
- the chin
- the nose
- the forehead
Treatments available for purchase over-the-counter often contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These products are not as effective as prescription-strength therapies, but can help prevent mild acne and decrease breakouts.
6. Consider topical retinoids
Topical retinoids are products containing vitamin A-based pharmaceutical products and are used by dermatologists to treat and prevent acne. These therapies can also eliminate excess dead skin cells and decrease inflammation.
Many topical retinoids, including tretinoin (Retin-A, Renova), and tazarotene, are only available by prescription (Tazorac).
However one retinoid drug, adapalene (Differin), is available over-the-counter for purchase.
7. Talk to a dermatologist about antibiotics
Topical antibiotics can combat the skin’s overgrowth of P. acne bacteria. Erythromycin and clindamycin, which are available by prescription, are examples of antibiotics which treat this inflammatory acne.
A person can identify inflammatory acne by its very red, irritated appearance. Also, it can be painful.
8. Talk to a doctor about hormone pills
By helping to regulate the hormones that may make acne worse, birth control pills can help to prevent acne.
These pills, however, carry risks, so before making a decision, it is essential to review the benefits and side effects.
In cases of severe acne, spironolactone, a medication often used to treat high blood pressure, may also help. There are many possible side effects of spironolactone, however, so it’s best to talk to a doctor.
9. Cut back on foods linked to acne
Doctors are not certain of the link between acne and food. A growing body of research, however, suggests that some foods in certain patients may trigger acne.
Foods with a high glycemic index may increase the risk of developing acne, or make acne worse, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
These potentially problematic foods are high in carbohydrates and high in sugar. Some instances include:
Dairy products, particularly skim milk, can also increase the risk of developing acne in a person. To see if their skin improves, a person may want to cut back on a specific food group.
10. Wear sunscreen when going outdoors
There are many damaging effects of too much sun on the skin. Sunburn can also lead to an overproduction of acne-aggravating oils.
To prevent sunburns and exacerbated acne, the use of oil-free sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15 may help.
11. Consider light or laser therapies
These therapies, which aim to reduce the presence of P. acne bacteria on the skin, can be provided by a dermatologist or esthetician.
12. Avoid skincare products that contain oil
Oil-containing skincare products can clog pores. These products are also meant to be used on skin that is dry or mature and does not have as much natural oil.
Generally, products which do not contain oil are called non-comedogenic.”
Avoiding handling household grease and cooking oils, which can also clog pores, could be a smart idea.
13. Refrain from excess exfoliation
The method of removing dead cells from the skin is exfoliation.
While some exfoliation can help improve acne, breakouts may worsen too much. This happens when an individual removes too much natural oil from the skin. By producing more oil, which clogs pores and leads to more pimples, the skin can compensate.
The skin can become irritated or feel very tight after washing if a person exfoliates too much.
14. Reduce stress
Inflammation is also caused by stress, which may make breakouts worse.
Some ways of mitigating stress that can help prevent acne are described below:
- doing yoga
- relaxing before bed by reading or taking a bath
- spending time in nature
- engaging in hobbies
15. Keep facial care products clean
To avoid the accumulation of bacteria that could lead to breakouts, makeup and facial sponges and brushes should be washed regularly with soap and water.
Before using, make sure that the brushes dry completely.
It can help to reduce acne by regularly and gently cleansing the skin, carefully selecting skincare products and avoiding contact with oil.
If none of these techniques show improvement within 6 to 8 weeks, for further recommendations, see a dermatologist.