Common Causes of Acne
Whether we like it or not, acne and pimples are common for many people. It doesn't just stop after your teenage years are over and many people are affected by acne right through to adulthood. There are different treatments available on the market for acne but sometimes it can be quite persistent.
What causes acne? There are several different reasons why you may be experiencing prolonged acne. But there are a few common reasons why you may be experiencing breakouts.
This is one of the main causes of acne breakouts, especially in teenagers. The main cause is thought to be a rise in androgen levels which is a type of hormone that increases when adolescence begins. Androgen is then converted into estrogen in women. When your androgen levels increase, this can cause oil glands under the skin to increase as well. The enlarged gland causes excessive sebum, which can break down into the pores which cause bacteria. This bacteria is what causes these pimples and blackheads to occur.
Certain items of clothing
If you're constantly wearing a headband or you have some kind of clothing item on your face for a prolonged period (any ideas?), this can place pressure on the skin which leads to breakouts. For areas on the body, it may be a backpack or tight undergarments. For the face, it could be the introduction of using face masks which can cause pimples aka "mascne". For many people, face masks have caused an increase in oily skin and pimples, especially where the mask sits on the face. Although face masks have been helpful for other reasons, mask-wearing, added pressure on the skin and hot air from your breath can make for the perfect breeding ground for pimples and bacteria.
Think about your pillowcase
When was the last time you changed your pillowcase? When you go to bed at night your daily dirt, makeup and grime that has built up on the skin are now found on the surface of your pillowcase. If you're not changing your pillowcase regularly, this dirt on your pillow is then transferring back to your face. It's thought that the rubbing of the pillowcase against your skin at night can also produce acne breakouts and inflammation.
Try and change your pillowcases as often as possible. You may also want to switch to a silk pillowcase which can help reduce friction. They have the added benefit of being quite good for your hair as well. Plus silk is known to be antibacterial!
Stress and not enough sleep
If you're not getting enough sleep, that means you're not getting enough time to repair and for your cortisol levels to decrease. Being tired means that your body is more exposed to higher levels of cortisol, which can trigger breakouts in some people. It's also a particular hormone that can increase during stress.
If you're not giving yourself time to relax and replenish at night, your skin isn't getting the time to repair itself from acne. The easiest way around this is to try and get more sleep and perhaps look at introducing relaxation techniques into your daily routine. Having trouble getting to sleep at night? Assess your sleep hygiene habits, stop looking at your smartphone before bed, keep your bedroom cool and dark and make sure to get to bed earlier.
You’re using the wrong ingredients
Have you read the back of the label of any of the products that you're putting on your skin lately? Plenty of skincare products have ingredients that just aren't going to work well for your skin, no matter what state your skin is in. A common ingredient call sodium lauryl sulphate is an oil stripping surfactant, which is found in many products (especially acne products). This can trigger acne breakouts, even if it's a product that is meant to help acne. The first thing you need to do is check the labels of your products that you're using and perhaps make the switch to an organic skincare product (here is our detailed article on why you should always read the label). Organic skincare does not use any parabens and irritants in the product to provide your skin with a cleaner and safer product to help your pores recover and repair.
If you've made some changes to the products that you've been using, have tried to relax a little more and work on your sleep patterns but you're still experiencing acne, it may be a good idea to have a chat with your doctor. Your doctor or a visit to a dermatologist may be an ideal way to determine what is happening with your skin and whether you may be allergic to other products which could be causing breakouts.