Acne Has Ruined My Life. What Should I Do?
Almost everyone struggles with acne at some point, whether it be bouts of breakouts in adolescence or later in life. But for many, acne is more than just a nuisance. This skin condition can become quite severe, affecting one’s self esteem, social activities, and quality of life. If you’re suffering from severe or ongoing acne, here are some measures you can take to treat it and prevent it and get your life back.
Hormonal and Bacterial Causes of Acne
The most common cause of acne is changes in hormone levels. This is why teenage skin can often see breakouts pop up almost overnight. But acne doesn’t stop in adolescence. It can occur during pregnancy, menopause, menstrual cycles, or any other time. It can appear throughout one’s 30s, 40s, and 50s… and beyond!
Imbalances and fluctuations in hormones are a common culprit, because when hormones are out of balance, individuals are more likely to experience excess oil production. This oil – known as sebum – can mix with dead skin cells to clog hair follicles, which often turns into acne. This causes further inflammation and an ongoing pH imbalance.
Besides hormones, a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes can grow on the skin. Over time, this bacteria builds up and causes acne breakouts. Unfortunately, it’s often present underneath the top layer of skin, so you may not be able to eliminate it by simply washing your face.
Other Causes of Acne
Besides bacterial issues or hormonal changes leading to clogged pores, there are indeed other causes of acne. Constant stress – which is a very common issue in our on-the-go world – can cause the body to produce excess sebum as well. This is true for emotional stress triggered by relationships, work, finances, etc., as well as physical stressors like a lack of sleep, dehydration, and illness.
Additionally, certain chemicals can cause reactions that erupt in acne. These are often found in cosmetics and personal care products, as well as medications.
How to Get Rid of Acne
While the exact cause of your acne may not be clear, working with a dermatologist is the best way to get answers. Dermatologists have the knowledge and experience to help find the root cause of the acne. They can also recommend ways to prevent your specific type of condition. Some treatments include skin care regimens for acne-prone skin. Others may include topical creams. And for some patients, they may need something a bit stronger – like a prescription medication.
Taking good care of your skin is the first way to start combatting your acne. This means using a high-quality, non-comedogenic skin care line that won’t clog your pores or further irritate your skin. Regular exfoliation is also important, including treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells and bacteria that can lead to breakouts.
A dermatologist can also help guide you on alternative treatment options like laser and light therapies, which acne may respond well to. Of course, using gentle personal care products, washing your hair and pillow cases regularly, and managing your stress levels are important lifestyle factors.
Contact Vanguard Dermatology
Need help treating your ongoing acne? If you’re located in the greater New York City area, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists who can make recommendations appropriate for your skin.