Most of us will have to deal with acne at some point in our lives. For some of us, we just experienced a few breakouts during our teen years and then didn’t have to worry about pimples anymore. Unfortunately, there are lots of people who are not so lucky. Acne comes in many forms and can last for months or even years, plaguing us well into adulthood.
If that sounds familiar, then today’s article is for you! I’m going to talk about common types of acne and recommend a few of my favorite products to help keep bad acne from taking over.
Types of Acne
The most common type of acne is referred to as “acne vulgaris.” Usually, when you think about acne, this is what comes to mind. Acne vulgaris is blackheads and whiteheads that appear on your face, chest, back or shoulders.
Blackheads and whiteheads are called comedones. Comedones are hair follicles that become blocked with oil, dirt and dead skin. Comedones that are open are called blackheads, while closed comedones are called whiteheads. In both cases, the culprit is clogged pores. While squeezing or picking at these bumps may seem like the best way to unclog the pore, this will usually lead to scarring and can even result in infection.
More severe types of acne include papules, pustules, and cystic acne. Papules and pustules are clogged pores that have become infected and inflamed. Cysts and nodules are very deep, painful and almost always lead to scarring. Often, cysts just appear to be large, swollen red bumps, but they are actually pimples that formed deep in the pore.
Why Acne Happens
Acne happens to different people for a variety of reasons. A big factor is sebum production. The oilier your skin is, the easier it is for your pores to become clogged. Another big contributor to bad acne breakouts is your hormones. Hormone fluctuations can cause your sebaceous glands to get bigger and produce far more sebum than normal. These same hormones can also stick around in your bloodstream and worsen any breakouts that may already have begun.
Other things that can trigger acne are stress, diet and medication. Stress causes all kinds of changes in our bodies, which can sometimes lead to breakouts. In addition, a sugary diet can also aggravate acne-prone skin. Even certain prescription medicines can play a role in your acne.
It is also important to note which things DON’T cause acne. A lot of people think that things like dirty skin or greasy foods are what cause acne, but it is actually much more complex than that. In fact, cleaning your skin too much can actually make your breakouts worse! Another myth is that makeup can cause acne, and this simply isn’t true. While poorly formulated cosmetics can clog your pores, oil-free makeup that is properly removed at night shouldn’t affect your acne at all.
At-Home Ways to Treat Acne
While there is no magic cure, there are plenty of things you can do at home to help prevent new breakouts and treat existing ones.
First, it is important to wash your face very thoroughly. Cleansers that scrub your face or make it feel squeaky clean are not the best choice for your skin, though. Scrubbing your acne can tear the skin or dry it out, which will leave your face susceptible to more acne and inflammation. To achieve a deep, healthy clean, try one of the gentle cleansers below instead.
If you have dry or sensitive skin, Klairs Rich Moist Foaming Cleanser is a great option. Klairs’ products are formulated to be hypoallergenic and all-natural, so they are safe and effective for any skin type. This foaming cleanser contains natural amino acids instead of detergents to help thoroughly cleanse your pores, plus it contains hyaluronic acid, ceramides and skin-friendly olive oil to help balance your face’s moisture levels. It also contains tea tree oil, which is perfect for treating skin troubles like bad acne.
For those with normal-to-oily skin, Lei Lani’s Poruji Face Soap is an alternative to the Klairs. The Lei Lani soap is a handcrafted bar soap for combination skin. It creates a rich lather that you can massage onto problem areas to help cleanse pores and manage breakouts. It contains vitamin C as well to help reduce signs of discoloration caused by acne. When you’re using this soap, it’s important to remember that you should never scrub your face with the bar itself! That’s a quick way to get bacteria all over your soap. Instead, work up a lather in your hands and wash your face with just the lather.
My favorite way to treat existing breakouts is with a power duo from Zymogen: Houttuynia Cordata Ferment Serum and Centella Ferment Cream.
The Houttuynia Cordata serum contains fermented houttuynia cordata, which is known for its purifying and skin rejuvenating properties. The serum also contains acne-fighting ingredients like tea tree oil, salicylic acid, lactic acid and azelaic acid, as well as brightening and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, rice ferment filtrate and licorice root. This serum can be used all over or as a spot treatment. You can even soak cotton pads with this serum and use them as a mask pack on active breakouts.
After the serum, I like to follow up with the Centella Ferment Cream. Its high concentration of centella asiatica will help repair skin damaged by acne while providing skin with moisture and nutrition. The cream also contains several other moisturizing ingredients such as chamomile, beeswax, propolis, willow bark and jojoba.
Finally, I like to spread a thin layer of Klairs Midnight Blue Calming Cream over any problem areas on my skin. It contains powerful soothing and skin-repairing ingredients that calm red spots while creating a protective barrier between inflamed skin and the environment. It’s even safe to wear under makeup!
There are a few minor lifestyle changes you can make to help keep your acne at bay, too. The first is adding time to de-stress in the evenings. By keeping your stress levels low, you’re helping to prevent stress-related breakouts from happening. Personally, I like to use my de-stressing time for a soothing sheet mask to help my skin out even more.
Other small changes include eating less sugar and being more active. A little sweat is good for keeping your skin healthy!
Acne is a complicated skin issue that has many contributing factors. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to eradicate it completely. However, you can follow the tips I’ve mentioned in this article to treat and manage bad acne so you can be happy and confident!