June is Acne Awareness Month—the perfect time for a refresher on thoes pesky blemishes that always seem to pop up (or stubbornly remain) at the worst times. Let’s dive in to learn the most important tips to help prevent or minimize the appearance of blemishes.
Acne affects millions of people all over the world. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acne affects 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 in some severity. It can even continue to affect people well into their 40s and 50s. Although acne is generally a harmless skin condition (at least physically), it can severely affect a person’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
Raising awareness about acne can help reduce misinformation and also help people understand the consequences of dealing with acne. Though there is no cure for acne, there are a variety of both over-the-counter and prescription products that can help mitigate it. Taking excellent care of your skin is a good first step in helping to reduce acne lesions. Here are some Acne Awareness Month tips for dealing with acne.
Beware of Acne Myths
Acne is not caused by poor hygiene. Acne occurs when a hair follicle (pore) gets clogged with excess oil produced by hormones. Bacteria that live on the skin can then enter the clogged pore and cause inflammation.
Moreover, blackheads (a type of acne) are not dark colored because of “dirt.” They develop this color through oxidation of the oil in the pore. If you have acne, whether mild or severe, don’t think it’s because you don’t wash your face enough, or anything like that.
Use the Right Products
That all said, it is important to use the right products to help reduce lesions. You can do so with a cleanser that reduces excess sebum (oil) on the skin’s surface without over-drying. Ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can also be helpful. For example, Image Skincare’s Clear Cell Salicylic Gel Cleanser is an excellent choice because it includes salicylic acid as a key ingredient. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that has been shown to help reduce acne lesions. It works by helping to accelerate cell turnover so that dead skin cells shed more readily and don’t go on to clog pores. With this cleanser, skin becomes soft and clean without the dry, tight feeling that can sometimes accompany acne cleansers.
Follow up the cleanser with the Clear Cell Salicylic Clarifying Tonic, which contains a combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acids to help unclog pores. Alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid is one, for example) are also good at unclogging pores by improving cell turnover.
This tonic may cause dryness, so start out using it once a week and gradually increase usage as your skin adjusts. You can then follow up with the Clear Cell Medicated Lotion. It also features salicylic acid as a key ingredient. The lotion will help target existing lesions while helping to prevent new ones. Regular use can help you be more in control of your acne, as opposed to letting the breakouts run their course. This is a spot treatment so apply it directly onto the lesion.
Don’t Pick at Your Skin
It’s easier said than done, because it can be so tempting and satisfying to pop a pimple or pick at a blackhead. However, most of the time, if not all the time, picking at your breakouts and acne can make them worse. In really bad cases, you can also cause acne scarring, which can be very difficult to get rid of later.
Don’t Forget SPF
Sunscreen should always be the last step in your skincare routine. It protects from damaging UV rays and keeps skin from not only getting sunburned, but also developing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles earlier than it should.
When it comes to acne, sun exposure can worsen acne scars by making them darker. Applying sunscreen regularly will help prevent this from happening. Some people believe sunscreen can cause pimples, but if you choose a non-comedogenic one, you should be perfectly fine. Non-comedogenic means it won’t clog pores. Opt for Image Skincare’s Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturizer to keep skin safe from the sun. This is an oil-free formula that helps reduce shine and gives skin a lovely finish.