“Acne is the most usual skin condition in the U.S, affecting over 95 percent of Americans at some point ,” says a dermatologist in New York City. In fact, 50 percent of 20-year-olds, 30 percent of 30- year-olds, and 25 percent of 40-year-old women still experience acne. The condition has become more common, there are more research studies on the various types of acne and more treatment options than ever before.
How it happens: These are deep, below-the-surface bumps that have no head and, in women, are usually located along the jawline and the chin. The condition is common in those with oily skin—a combo of oil (sebum), dirt, and dead skin gets trapped within pores (especially at that time of the month, as estrogen can cause sebum production to spike). Not only can the lesions be painful and red but they can also cause PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a.k.a. dark spots) and scars long after the breakout heals. Because of this, Experts says, treating cystic acne quickly is key.
The treatment regime:
A frequent skincare routine can help: Wash twice a day with a cleanser containing chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid, and apply a retinoid at night. But Experts warns that with this type of acne, “traditional therapies like topicals are less likely to work,” so if you’re following a routine that isn’t effective, a prescription may help.
How it happens: The root of these start with “sebum plugs” in a pore, or hair follicle, explains by a dermatologist in New York City. A blackhead is sebum plus bacteria and dead skin cells that plug the opening of the pore. When a blocked pore closes, a whitehead forms. These are more superficial than cystic spots. Blackheads are black because they’re open comedones. When the sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells are exposed to air, it all oxidizes, turning darker. With whiteheads, closed comedones, the impurities are under the skin and don’t have contact with air. Both are most commonly found in the T-zone because that area has the most sebaceous glands.
The treatment regime: Salicylic acid is a must because it can penetrate the pores and unclog them.
BOOK A FACIAL: If you notice that you’re suffering from clogged pores on a regular basis, it’s smart to enlist the help of an expert.
Quick fix: When a whitehead pops up, reach for an acne patch. These stickers are made of hydrocolloid, which turns into a fluid-absorbing gel that draws out dirt and oil, decreases inflammation, and creates a barrier to keep bacteria out.
How it happens: Even with a clear complexion, you may still struggle with body breakouts. While most people have a combo of both, there are many who suffer from just the neck down, and though the culprits are similar (dirt, oil, and dead skin), sweat is a major factor too. Many women notice that the places they break out the most are where sports bras trap sweat.
The treatment regime: Use a benzoyl peroxide cleanser, after a workout to get rid of blemish-causing bacteria.
Power tool to QUICK FIX: No shower? Use a wipe before changing clothes.
Hair removal: Your technique may be causing breakouts! For instance, dermaplaning (an exfoliating treatment done with a razor) is great for nixing the peach fuzz that grows on your face, but if you have oily skin or active breakouts, the procedure can actually lead to an overproduction of oil and further irritation, which can then lead to more breakouts. The best option: laser hair removal.
Your Pillowcase: It could be harboring bacteria— change it once a week.
Hair products: Certain ingredients are great for strands but can wreak havoc on skin around the hairline and on the shoulders and back.
Your phone: Always clean your Phone Screen. According to a study conducted at the University of Arizona, a mobile phone can carry 10 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. So each time you hold your phone up to your ear, you’re essentially exposing your skin to the germs that your device is carrying, which may cause a future breakout.
Acne-proof your lifestyle
Adjust your diet: High-glycemic foods can mess with your hormones. cut these out and see if your skin improves. If not, let your derm know.
Stress less: A boost in cortisol (a stress hormone) can send oil glands into overdrive.
Hit the hay: Skin conditions like eczema worsen with poor sleep; acne can too. Make sure to get the seven to nine hours recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.