Healthy food and exercise for healthy skin

Acne can be a cause of stress for many teenagers, as well as those in their 20s and 30s. Find out what causes acne and how to prevent and treat it.

Happy to be acne-free!

Those damned pimples!

One skin complaint that many whine about is acne. Teenagers, especially, are victim to this — though it also affects many in their 20s, 30s and even 40s.

While treating acne may seem unimportant, studies show that treatment has value. Treating acne can prevent additional breakouts and scars. It can improve a person’s quality of life. People living with acne can suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Acne can even discourage people from pursuing their life’s dreams. When acne is under control, a person’s confidence grows. Anxiety and depression diminish.

What is acne?

Acne is one of the most common skin ailments and occurs in many forms: from blackheads and whiteheads to the deeper lumps that appear as nodules or cysts. Worse, they could leave behind scars. Although it’s most prominent on the face, acne can show up on the chest, back, buttocks, neck and arms.

What causes acne?

All types of acne develop when the pores in our skin get clogged. One of the  culprits is excessive sebum or the oil in our skin. Our bodies produce more sebum when our hormones surge, especially testosterone. This is why teens get acne around pubertal age and also why women often breakout before their periods. Since hormones fluctuate in the years leading up to menopause, many women in their 40s and 50s also get acne.

When too much oil is generated, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, dirt and debris. This blockage of pores caused by sebum is what you see as blackheads and whiteheads. The breaking of these leads to swelling and red bumps. If they are deep enough, they grow to become cysts.

Apart from hormones, genetics, certain types of medication, greasy skin/hair products, high levels of humidity and even stress can trigger this skin condition.

Preventing acne

If you are suffering from acne, here are some quick tips to prevent and treat it:

  • Wash your face twice daily with a mild, non-drying soap and rinse with warm water. You can pick up antibacterial face washes and soaps meant specifically for greasy skin. However, the skin needs a certain amount of oil to maintain its natural condition, so avoid too much washing.
  • Ensure you remove your make-up before going to bed. Use water-based products or noncomedogenic formulas, as they do not block pores.
  • In case of dandruff or oily hair, wash it every day – as they can be sure culprits for acne. Arcolane 2% shampoo is good for controlling dandruff, but it can make hair dry, so do condition your hair with a conditioner of your choice after. Make sure you keep your hair away from your face. Also, ensure you change your pillow covers every alternate day in that case.
  • Do not pop or squeeze your pimples, as this will cause the bacteria to spread and aggravate the condition. They can also cause permanent scars and pigmented spots.
  • Avoid abrasive skin products. Abrasive soaps, scrubs and masks will irritate your skin and irritated skin is more likely to break out.
  • If you have mild acne, then you could try over-the-counter gels containing benzoyl peroxide. Pick up a tube with 2.5% to 5% concentrations. You can even try antibiotics like erythromycin, clindamycin. However, it’s better to consult a dermatologist before taking to antibiotics.
  • Virtually all acne is treatable, so if your acne doesn’t clear – go see a dermatologist. And if you have massive breakouts – get help immediately.
  • As always, healthy food, plenty of water and exercise are always good for the skin.

See how aloe vera can be great for your skin.

Last but not the least, love your skin, be gentle to it and visualise it glowing and radiating – it’s known to help.

Happy clear skin!

Reviewed by Dr Bhushan Madke, Dermatologist

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