As one of the trickiest, painful and most annoying skin issues, dealing with acne and breakouts is no easy feat. But before you go slathering on all of the spot treatments you can find, it’s important to understand how your breakouts form and what can cause them.
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To help you on your way to better skin, we’ve enlisted the help of an expert to reveal what causes breakouts and how to treat them for clearer, healthier skin. Whether it’s blind pimples, teen acne, adult acne, pregnancy-related pimples or bacne – here’s everything you need to know…
What causes blind pimples?
It may seem like those little flaming red bumps come out of nowhere, but the truth is they form deep within the skin. “A blind pimple is [caused] when comedones [small bumps under the skin] get inflamed and transition into acne – becoming red, swollen, and painful. This is because there is systemic inflammation that has lodged deeply within the skin making the pimple blind. In other words, the blockage has no opening, or head for the inflammation and pus to escape,” explains DMK Director of Education, Debbie Dickson. Ouch!
What are the best ways to treat a blind pimple?
First step, keep your fingers far, far away! “Adding pressure and additional inflammation to the area is the last thing that you need to do. Not to mention squeezing can lead to scarring and additional eruptions in the surrounding areas. I always recommend a good topical treatment that does not aim to dry the pimple or strip the skin,” explains Debbie.
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Teen acne and breakouts
What causes teen acne? What is the best way to treat it?
For teens, acne flare-ups all come down to dramatic spikes and drops in hormone levels. “In teenagers, the growth hormone and testosterone dramatically escalate (even in girls), resulting in growth spurts, muscle growth, and sexual development (AKA puberty). These hormones all can directly cause acne when they are too high in the body,” explains Debbie. “Because of these hormones, teens have a fast cell turnover, fast oil flow, plus an abnormality in the cell turnover, where they get a sticking and clumping of dead cell material and oil deep in the oil glands and hair shafts, which consequently develop into pustules and inflamed pimples.”
Throw together an unhealthy diet, school and life stress, and a carefree attitude to skin care and it’s a recipe for breakouts. So, how can they deal with this? “The most important thing to do is cleanse night and morning and try to drink lots of water. [I also recommend] exfoliating twice per week and at-home treatments,” suggests Debbie.
What causes adult acne?
Acne isn’t just for teens – it can also affect women and men in adulthood too, and there are a whole slew of potential causes. “There are a few medications [that] can cause breakouts and adult acne as well as hormonal imbalance conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Not to mention, stress, gluten/dairy intolerances, poor diet and some foundations can also generate breakouts,” says Debbie. “I also find that many people I consult for acne have a lack of essential fatty acids in their diet.” Also, it might be time to lay off the morning brew, “Interestingly, coffee can also be a trigger for adult acne, especially if they are stressed!” she says.
What are the best ways to treat adult acne?
When it comes to battling breakouts, a more holistic approach is encouraged as opposed to just relying on topical treatments. “Don’t just keep treating the symptom only (being breakouts) – look at trying to rectify the dysfunction. Find a good essential fatty acid supplement and a good cleanser that will rinse and purify your skin without stripping it (stripping cleansers can potentially cause more breakouts),” explains Debbie. “Finally, source a good spot treatment and breakout cream to address the current breakouts.”
bh product picks: DMK EFA+, SkinB5 Natural Acne Treatment Acne Control Cleanser
Why can pregnant women experience breakouts?
Fluctuating hormones during pregnancy can have a similar effect to how teen hormones can cause breakouts. “During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through so many changes including various stages of hormonal influxes,” she explains. “For this reason, breakouts are extremely common and quite hard to predict. For some women, they may just experience this during the initial stages of pregnancy, whilst others may battle with it the entire way through.”
What are the best ways to treat breakouts during pregnancy?
It’s vital to be cautious when treating breakouts during pregnancy, and be sure to seek professional advice first. “The important thing to remember is that many medications and products cannot be used during pregnancy. So always consult a professional before endeavouring to treat it. Generally, when I’m consulting someone presenting with gestational-related breakouts, I only recommend spot treatment products to get rid of the breakouts quickly.”
Treatment should be quite simple. “Basically, look after yourself, drink lots of water, and see a skin care professional that you trust.”
‘Bacne’ (back acne)
What causes bacne? What is the best way to treat it?
Bacne is very similar to breakouts on your face so treatment should be on par. “Generally, treating bacne is no different to treating acne anywhere else. You need to address the dysfunction and clear the existing inflammation and congestion. Keeping the pores clear is important, so a good body wash that addresses this is always helpful. Also, similar to treating acne on the face, taking an essential fatty acid supplement will help address the internal free water levels and inflammation.”
Do you suffer from breakouts? How do you deal with pimples?