Are You Making Your Acne Worse with these Bad Skin Habits?
Guest Blog By VeganAcneSufferers
We may think we are doing everything right to clear our skin, but could our good intentions be steering us off the path? Of course none of us would intentionally exacerbate our skin condition. After all, all we really want is clear skin, why would we do anything to make it worse?
Unfortunately, a lot of people simply don't understand how the things they do to their skin can negatively affect it, and so what seems like a good idea, may not be.
For example, Korean researchers gave 136 acne patients a questionnaire to gauge the patients’ understanding of proper skin care and determine their skin care habits. They then published the results in the International Journal of Dermatology. The results are exactly what I would expect based on the questions I get asked.
The questionnaire answers highlight several problems, including:
1. Excessive face washing.
42.7% of respondents washed their face excessively, with 28.7% washing “vigorously until it feels silky,” and 14% washing “until I cannot detect sebum at all.” Physical irritation of the skin is one of the major factors that keep people stuck in a cycle of acne. Instead of washing vigorously, we should choose gentle, hydrating cleansers and cleanse only briefly.
2. Misguided self-diagnoses.
When asked what they thought caused their acne, the most common answer was stress at 27.2%. Excessive sebum production came in tied for second with diet at 14.7%, and insufficient cleansing was next at 14%. Stress can definitely be an aggravating factor for hormonal acne, but it is nowhere near as causal as underlying factors such as hormonal imbalances, poor diet, etc.
Everyone wants clear skin, and they want it yesterday. Unfortunately we don't have anything that works quite that fast, so we really need to adjust our expectations. Acne treatments can take weeks to start showing results, so be patient, and don't jump from product to product without giving them their due chance to work. It may be a bummer if your product doesn't end up helping your skin, or makes it worse, but what if you stopped using it prematurely, and it could've helped improve your skin had you given it a little more time?
4. Using too much.
Whether you're using too many different products or you're using too much of a product at once, this is a very common problem. Using too many products, especially irritating ones, is bad for your skin and your acne. Similarly, using too much of a certain product can affect its efficacy - it may not work as well, or it may work too well, and cause excessive dryness or irritation.
5. Picking and popping.
For some reason that is beyond my comprehension, there is still information circulating that suggests it is ideal to pop pimples to get rid of it faster. This couldn't be farther from the truth; popping and picking at pimples is a great way to reduce swelling (temporarily), while also increasing redness, inflammation, and spreading bacteria to surrounding unaffected pores. A surefire way to guarantee that pimple is sticking around a while longer, and it's bringing some of its friends, too.
Just keep your hands off your face. Period.
Maybe you're not making all of these mistakes, but maybe you're making a few of them. Eliminating these exacerbating factors might help to calm your skin.
Navarete-Solis J, et al. “A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial of Niacinamide 4% versus Hydroquinone 4% in the Treatment of Melasma.” Dermatology Research and Practice. 2011
I first got acne in high school, and it came back in my early adulthood. I was able to struggle through those difficult times and come out of it a stronger, wiser, healthier person as a result. I'm here to help you do the same thing!
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There are so many ways, tips, and tricks to heal or prevent acne. But one of them is to become stress-free. In fact, I have proven it. I lived my life with acne and redness that even with a bunch of make-up, the acne will eventually show on your face. I live in a tropical country where, if you wear thick makeup, it’ll melt away within an hour, leave such a horrible look on your face, and make you look like a clown!
I used every single thing to heal my acne, but there were no positive results, despite how much money had been spent. So, I asked myself, what’s the problem? I really can’t avoid unhealthy foods because I’m a student and I will never spend my money on buying expensive and healthy food; I’d prefer eating cheap food to save my money or to buy books or even to buy some cute dress to wear. Being a college student is like having to choose between a book or fried chicken – the book is informative and it lasts forever, but expensive. Meanwhile, fried chicken is expensive, but you need it right now, because you’re hungry, and fried chicken could save your life… you’d prefer the fried chicken over the book, wouldn’t you?
On one news portal site, I read one good article about being happy that successfully put a smile on my face. The key to how to live your life to the fullest is to always be happy… and I thought the key to preventing acne is to be at ease! So, why not just become a happy person? Happiness = less stress.
I was happy doing what I like, such as watching movies or surfing the internet. I did that several times a week before I slept. I would spend an hour to read a digital comic after studying for hours. I had fun after being grumpy.
And then I did that over and over again… it actually worked! Even if you have such a hectic schedule, you’ll feel happy – because, in your free time, you do what you like. I went from having a face with a lot of pimples that grow every day, to only 2 or 3 small pimples each day. Happiness causes a significant change without having to buy some expensive medicine to heal your acne. It doesn’t require money, yet it can actually heal your insecurity. Be at ease and you will see the miraculous results yourself!
Looking back through the years, it seems as though I have tried every cleanser/scrub/cream out there in hopes of finding a miracle product that would really clear my skin. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I really cleared up after a two-week hiatus from gluten and dairy products. My sensitivity to these foods definitely showed in the redness/inflammation that plagued my skin, chest, and shoulders- and upon stopping consumption I noticed a huge difference in regards to both redness and inflammation. My problem after that point was the bumpy, flesh colored bumps that still persisted on my skin.
Desperate for a solution, I looked into any possible method of exfoliation, scrub, mask etc. that would free my pores for good- but to no avail. Until I discovered a cleansing method on a blog that I felt compelled to try: the oil cleansing method.
The word oil typically sends acne sufferers running in the opposite direction, I understand. Trust me. But I had nothing to lose, so I gave it a shot. The process involves using a mix of essential/cleansing/carrier oils (typically castor oil combined with a few others) and applying it to the face to clean the pores out and replace bad oils in your pores with good ones. Your face is essentially always attempting to find a natural balance, and the idea is that harsh chemicals not only dry your skin but upset its natural pH balance, leading to irritation and a broken out complexion.
After trying the method for about a week, I noticed a significant improvement in the overall texture of my skin, AND my pores were shrinking?? I was surprised, to say the least. I strongly recommend this process to anyone looking for a solution to comedonal (bumpy) acne.
*If you are interested, the process is as follows: Wet down your face and massage oil into the skin to rub off any makeup etc. and rinse face with water- this step is only required if you wear makeup. Then, apply some more oil and repeat the massaging process. Now grab a washcloth, run it under semi-hot (not burning, that irritates the skin) water and press into the face, allowing the steam to open up the pores and let the cleanser do its thing (you can repeat this step multiple times if you wish). Now using the washcloth, gently rub the oil off of the skin. And that’s it! You can now enjoy clean, soft skin :) For moisturizer, I just use a little bit more oil (jojoba oil for me) but if you don’t feel tight or dry, you don’t really even need any extra moisturizer- just let your body produce oils naturally to hydrate the skin!
We all know the most obvious signs of aging are fine lines and wrinkles, but if you have dry, rough skin, loss of elasticity and sagging, you may also need to take precautions! After the age of 20, one percent less of collagen is produced in the skin, this is around the time where it is best to start taking these precautions as it's easier to slow the process of visual signs of aging from appearing rather than treating aging skin. People with fairer complexions are at greater risk of sun damage and so they generally appear to age faster than those with darker skin tones. Although genetics play a part in our skin tone and texture, we can also make lifestyle changes to help our aging process.
Whatever the weather and no matter what your complexion is, always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 20 SPF to protect against skin damage.
Dehydration causes dry and tighter skin, making it more prone to wrinkles. Drinking at least 2 liters of water a day is the most effective way of staying hydrated, also water is needed for essential bodily functions and removing toxins from the body. In conjunction to this, you could also introduce products with hyaluronic acid in them. It has the ability to absorb water about 1,000 times its weight, resulting in plumper skin.
Fruit and veg
Increase your intake of a variety of different fruit and vegetables to consume all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients inside to help support and protect your skin. Foods particularly high in vitamin C, such as citrusy fruits and sweet potato, are great for aging skin as it increases collagen production.
We're all guilty of having late nights occasionally, but over time lack of sleep can result in eye bags and dark circles, consequently making you appear older. Make a habit of getting an early night to ensure your body has enough time to repair and recharge.
Reduce alcohol intake
Alcohol dehydrates depletes the skin of its nutrients, resulting in duller skin and a decrease in elasticity which causes wrinkles to appear.
Being stressed happens to us all, so don't start stressing about being stressed! Instead, try and find ways to relieve yourself as excessive worrying can take its toll on our skin.
Exercise increases heart rate and gets your blood flowing, this means more oxygen and nutrients are carried around the body, including our skin cells. It can also help carry out toxins and free radicals from the body, maintaining fresh, healthy skin.
Where to begin? I can barely remember the days of not having acne prone skin. Oh, how those were the days. I thought I was invincible, but it was right around the corner ready to attack, to attack full force. Sixth grade was awful not only was I trying to find my place in this big, terrifying world they call “Middle School” I was also having to deal with this random onset of unforgiving acne.
It literally came all at once, I kid you not, and it seemed like no matter what I did it would not go away. I used to wash my face multiple times a day but no matter how clean my face was it stayed, and to make matters worse it even became more noticeable and just overall irritated it. I literally thought that me cleaning my face every time it got slightly dirty was doing it well, but it was hurting it more and more.
I did not know that there was such a thing as a skin type, pore size (follicle size), heredity, and pH balance. I simply thought that acne was dirt inside of my skin that needed to be scrubbed, scratched, and pried out. Honestly, I did not start realizing this stuff until my early twenties. I have tried and tested just about everything on my face such as harmful acids that claim to dry up acne, masks, scrubs, peels, D.I.Y remedies, exfoliators, extractors, cleansers, and medicines but still this problem of ten years would not resolve or even get better.
It is now at the age of 22 that I have started to see a breakthrough, and the main reasons that this has happened is because of personal research and my cosmetology course in school. I have learned and progressed so much in these last three months than all the years that I have struggled with middle and high school combined.
Through all the hard work I have realized that skin type is one of the first things you should consider when dealing with your skin and how to treat your underlying issues.
I have learned that acne does not mean that your face is dirty and that you need to spend every waking moment washing it or resisting to touch it. That acne prone skin can actually be hereditary and that your pH, hormones, and what you eat and drink can be a major factor to your overall look and feel of your skin. I had no idea that a positive outlook on life and daily exercise could truly make you glow and radiate inside and out, and I definitely would've never guessed that a proper SPF and moisturizer were needed every day.
If you just take the time to find out your skin type and research the best and most effective ways to treat your issues based on your skin, eat a balanced diet (knocking out fatty acids, sweets, and processed foods), drink plenty of water, try to be more positive, exercise, use daily appropriate SPF and moisturizer, and pick the right cleansers that keep your skin at a close pH of 4.5-5.5 then you will start to see the difference too. I know this sounds like a lot but there is so much more that we have to do on a daily to win this thing. Just take this one small step at a time and I promise it will get better. If you’re like me and are tired of fighting you will do just about anything to win for once! Just remember you are not alone!
If you keep having breakouts just use more acne medicine. No, do not do this. Use the proper amount for your skin and the proper amount recommended by your dermatologist. They know what they are doing! Trust me they went to twelve years of school to be what they are today, and if you have some concerns talk to them they will help! If you use more it can over dehydrate and dry out the skin, which will cause skin irritations and blemishes.
These were just some more interesting myths that so many of us think are true. After reading this let others know, spread the word. We have to stop believing these dumb myths that are branded into our minds. The more you know the closer you are to clearing up that beautiful skin.
Have you ever looked at the mirror and thought to yourself that you are probably the ugliest person to live on this planet? I know I have. Having acne, especially in your teenage years, when you are still finding out who you are and feeling the pressure to ‘fit in’, can be pretty tough. But even if you feel this way, there are ways to become more confident in yourself and the way you look. Maybe the most important thing you can do is to realize that there is much more to you than your appearance and that your acne, or any flaw you have really, doesn’t define the person that you are. This is a very broad topic and I am not going to talk about it today, but instead - give you 5 practical tips on how to boost your confidence.
Exercise - Physical exercise can massively improve your happiness, energy levels, health, strength, appearance, sleep quality and so much more! Training regularly is one of the best things you can do for yourself and seeing the progress you make can massively boost your confidence. Find a sport that you like and make a plan that you can follow. Going to the gym once a week for an hour is way better than deciding to go 3 times a week, and in reality - not going even once.
Sleep, sleep, sleep - I know you’ve heard that a lot, but trust me - sleep isn’t just for the newborn babies. There is a reason people say ‘beauty sleep’. Personally, I can see a great difference in my appearance, particularly the appearance of my skin, on the days where I got just enough sleep and the days that I slept for a few hours less. You look better, feel better and consequently - your confidence is better!
Makeup - OK girls, real talk here. A little makeup never hurt anybody. Done right, it can hide your bad breakout, highlight your strong features and overall make you feel better about yourself. If you are not very confident in your make-up applying skills - Youtube is a great place to start. There are tons of tutorials on how to cover acne, scars, dark circles and make it look as if you have flawless skin.
Work with what you have - As I like to say: You can’t have everything. We all have good and bad sides. While you can’t always change the things you don’t like about yourself, you can use the rest to your advantage. Think about what you DO like about yourself - your hair, legs, eyes, nails, arms, curves. Wear clothes that flatter your body. Take care of your hair. Paint your nails. Have a style. Improve what you can.
Smile - This is one of the most attractive traits a person can have. Smile at the other people and you will notice how they do the same. If people feel good around you, there is a great chance they will like you too.
Don’t let your Acne rule your life. There is more to you than your skin. Go out, be confident, and conquer the world!
I adhere to a strict daily skin care routine: cleanse, apply topical medication, and moisturize, once in the morning and once at night. But we all know there are some days our skin is in need of a little more. Maybe your skin is feeling dry, or flaky, or inflamed, or itchy, or it’s extremely red. I have encountered ALL of these feelings and they are not fun. Luckily, you can easily whip up some at-home face masks to help relieve some of these feelings. I will describe each of my favorites below:
Mix a few tablespoons of honey with a teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Use natural/local honey if you have it. Apply this to your entire face and leave on for 30 mins. Rinse thoroughly with cool water. Honey is an anti-bacterial and cinnamon is anti-inflammatory. This mask is great if you have a lot of active acne that is feeling very irritated. It also tastes good if you accidentally get some in your mouth.
- Oatmeal, olive oil, and egg white:
Mix an egg white with a tablespoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of group oatmeal. Apply this to your entire face and leave it on until you feel the mask get tight. When you rinse, rub the mask around your face gently. The egg white will tighten on your face and make it look more awake. Olive oil is a great natural moisturizer. Oatmeal is calming for irritated skin and can be a gentle exfoliate.
Mix ¼ of a ripe avocado with 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt. Apply this to your entire face for 15 mins. This mask is great if your skin is extremely dry as avocado and yogurt are both very hydrating. The lactic acid in yogurt is also good for killing acne bacteria. Put some cucumber slices on your eyes while you use this mask for maximum relaxation.
This isn’t a face mask per-say but it’s one of my favorite DIY beauty tricks. I use it when my skin needs some exfoliation or needs to be woken up. Wet your face and take a few fingerfulls of coffee grounds into your hands (I use used grounds – great way to reuse them!). Spread the grounds onto your entire face in a circular motion. Rub the grounds for a few minutes and then rinse with water.
When my acne is especially inflamed, itchy, or painful, I put a packaged sheet mask into the freezer for 15 mins. This makes the mask nice and chilly which soothes an irritated face. Leave on until the mask gets warm and then discard it.
Social media is such a massive part of all of our lives. I am constantly on my phone. For years I have scrolled through Instagram stalking the profiles of gorgeous girls with flawless skin and killer bodies. Every time I do this I feel envious and end up feeling rubbish about myself. I’m sure I am not the only victim of this; there are statistics to prove how social media can be causing us to hate our bodies.
I suffer from acne and it is hard not to hate the skin I am in. On my social media accounts, you will find photos that are highly edited and I wouldn’t dare post a Snapchat selfie without a filter. It is something I have always found difficult to talk about and it affects my self-confidence on a daily basis. It can also lead to anxiety and depression.
I recently came across some Instagram accounts and blogs of people who share their experiences and journeys with acne. I decided to create my own separate account to document my acne experiences, and it has helped me so much. I only follow other accounts that are based around skincare/acne, so I feel confident sharing my experiences because they are going through the exact same thing. I have even got as far posting pictures of my bare face! That’s something I didn’t ever think I would say.
It is so easy to feel alone. I find that acne isn’t something that is discussed openly, and with the power of makeup these days it is hard to tell who suffers and who doesn’t. Living in such a small town, I sometimes feel like I am the only one who has acne. All of my friends seem to have clear glowing skin and I feel like I want to hide when I am around them.
It is so refreshing to see other people expressing how they are suffering from acne and how it is affecting them. Instagram has a #acnecommunity of people who share tips and advice for coping with acne. I love being able to scroll through my Instagram feed and instead of seeing models with a flawless complexion that is more than likely the result of airbrush, I see real people showing how they suffer from real issues just like I do.
I am a strong believer in helping yourself, and by surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself and help and encourage you, is a change we all need to make.
Your skin, like everything else, is made up of millions of cells that are constantly dying and regenerating in order to function properly. The cells of the skin, like all other organelles of the body, are specialized in that they require certain vitamins and minerals to keep them happy and healthy. As important as vitamins and minerals are to the cells of the epidermis, the most important factor to the function of these cells is collagen. Collagen is found in the skin, bone and connective tissue of the body, whose role is mainly in the regeneration of skin cells and the turnover of dead ones.
With regards to your acne, collagen plays a crucial role in the healing process, both of live acne and scarring. In fact, the science behind the Banish kits utilizes this fact as it is the power of collagen in the skin cells that work to rebuild the layers of skin that are being punctured by the derma roller- healing your wounds, and your scars. Collagen also creates a protective barrier over the skin. This helps protect the skin from free radicals delivered into the body through the skin. These free radicals are everywhere, from cosmetics you actually apply to the skin, to pollution of the air from cars, machines etc.
In order to really benefit from the Banish Kit, you should have a sufficient amount of collagen to aid in this cell turnover. Collagen can be consumed in many nutrient dense foods, including dark vegetables, fish and soy. For me personally, I attempt to eat a solid amount of vegetables a day for the various benefits it has to my body, but as a college student, finding fresh fish on a college campus can be difficult and being allergic to soy eliminates that option as well.
To combat this, I have begun taking collagen in a supplemental powder, much like a protein powder, to make up for the collagen I don’t get from other sources. It is extremely potent, and gives the skin elasticity and thickness, helping as a barrier from the outside environment. I strongly recommend finding a powder online and mixing it into any drinks you have. If you are using the collagen in combination with the banish kit, you will notice your results in less time and for some, maybe even extra improvement from the system alone. For me, I drink it in my coffee daily, and since have noticed huge improvement in the quality of texture on my skin.
If you're suffering from acne, I'm sure you're familiar with Tea Tree. Yes, many people say that Tea Tree completely healed their acne, but some people just don't find Tea Tree to be the best option to heal their acne; every person's skin is different after all.
But for me, I found Tea Tree to be one of the best weapons to fight my acne. When I was almost 17, my late brother used Tea Tree as his toner. He was also suffering from acne, but it was not as severe as mine. It worked really well for my brother. His skin had gotten better ever since he used it as a toner. Surprisingly, he gave me the same Tea Tree toner for my 17th birthday. Tea Tree is, of course, from the popular store, The Body Shop.
I have small pimples and I have been very annoyed by them for weeks. My brother then told me I probably needed to follow his skincare routine as he also suffered from acne.
I used it for about 3 weeks until I got to see the significant change on my face – my pimples seemed to be healed.
I was in disbelief, of course, as I never really paid any attention to skincare before. All I did was study, and I really had no time to take care my face. I was utterly thankful to my brother. The verdict is… I really, really love Tea Tree! I have used the toner for years and I don't think I'll change it.
But do you know why are there so many acne fighters who regard Tea Tree as the best weapon for them?
Apparently, Tea Tree is antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammation – which, of course, can reduce the redness in your acne, and I can say, it is indeed very effective for me.
My friends wondered why my face was not as red as before. I thought it was because of my face wash. Probably with the help of my face wash, my skin got better, but then I did my research about Tea Tree, and found such good news about it!
But do not overuse it because it will dry out your skin. I only use it before bed, and I discovered that that is the best time for me. Don’t use it more than twice a day, so you can keep your face moisturized.