This page starts with a helpful overview about how to get rid of acne. At the end it has all the detailed articles about acne on this website.
How to Get Rid of Acne: First – The Causes
Common question: I feel like I’ve tried everything to deal with my acne but nothing is working. Please help.
Acne has “surface” causes such as over-production of oil, dead skin cells, inflammation etc…. which can be summed up as unbalanced skin.
BUT – it is what causes these surface symptoms that can differ so much. We need to take one step back and figure out what is causing to the skin to produce too much oil, too many dead skin cells, etc.
Important: your acne can be helped. It’s a matter of finding out what will work for you.
The Symptoms – what you “see”
The symptoms of acne are the pimples, cysts, blackheads, oiliness, redness, etc… simple enough.
The Underlying Causes
Ok, so we know that something is happening to disrupt your skins balance and causing it to over produce oil, etc., leading to the breakouts on the surface. So what on earth is that something (or somethings)?
There are common causes of acne, from the internal reasons to the wrong products, to the environment you live in. See the details below:
Internal: Stress, Diet, Lifestyle etc.:
Stress is a common cause of breakouts, perhaps not so much a severe acne condition. If you’ve ever suffered the dreaded giant pimple the day before a big date or presentation you have experienced the stress pimple!
While it’s almost impossible to avoid daily stress (and not really ideal anyway, stress can be good!), it is the severe stress that has the most effect. This relates to hormones, which directly relate to your skin. See hormones next:
If you’re a female and have ever had the experience of stopping or starting the contraceptive pill, you might have experienced the extreme impact hormones can have on your skin.
It’s not uncommon to have perfect skin on or off these pills, only for it to completely erupt in acne after the change. Pregnancy can also bring on acne or improve skin.
Does this mean you need to have to stick with whatever contraceptive seems to work, or keep getting pregnant to avoid acne?! No! The good news is these changes are usually temporary as your hormones rebalance. See more about hormonal acne on this page.
Diet: The Food You Eat
The diet cause is tricky. For some, cutting out dairy can completely turn your skin around for the better. For others, no matter what you do eating wise you see no difference.
One of the main things to keep in mind with diet and acne is linked to hormones above. Eating sugar, for example, spikes your blood sugar levels which can cause hormones to go haywire. This directly effects your skin and you may notice this. Pay attention next time you’ve overdone the sugar: is your skin more red and inflamed? More oily?
A quick tip for diet and acne is to make sure you eat enough protein. Protein helps to keep you feeling full (which prevent sugar binges!), and it can help keep your blood sugar levels steady.
A huge bonus with eating adequate protein is how it help to “streamline” your face! Too much sugar and refined carbs can cause puffiness and almost age you overnight. Concentrate on protein and vegetables… you can’t go wrong!
Two things are important when it comes to lifestyle and acne. One is sleep, the other is exercise.
Both relate to stress and hormones above (most “internal” causes are related).
Adequate sleep (enough to keep you from feeling unusually tired during the day) can help with stress levels. And, it can be seriously anti aging for you skin! You probably know this already – just one night of bad sleep can shock you in the mirror in the morning. .
Exercise: Whether you can cure acne with exercise alone is questionable. However, it is a powerful way to improve health, that directly relates to your skin. It’s also a great way to feel better about yourself, which is super important if you suffer from acne and its effects on self esteem.
2. External Causes of Acne (Products, Environment etc.):
Skin Care Products (The Wrong Ones for Your Skin?)
A surprisingly simple cause of acne is often the wrong product for your skin.
There are some really good products out there that may simply cause your skin to react with breakouts. Often cystic breakouts!
An example is Estee Lauder moisturizing creams. These are really nice products that help a lot of people. But I simple have to use one for a few days and I start breaking out in cysts around my chin!
The good news is: once you realize this, simply stop using the product and your skin usually clears up very fast.
You may have to eliminate product one by one to figure out if there is a culprit. But as mentioned, it happens quickly, so is worth trying!
Same goes for make up. Some are just too rich and oily in general, clogging pores and putting your skin in a cycle that is very hard to break out of.
At the very least, cleanse your skin thoroughly at the end of the day to remove all makeup. Also exfoliate regularly with a good chemical exfoliant (nightly is preferable).
Sweat, “Dirt”, and Other Stuff that Touches Your Face
This is really about cleansing thoroughly as above. Especially when you exercise, it is important to cleanse your face before you begin. A quick wipe with a cleansing wipe can really help prevent pimples and blackheads.
If you wear a hat frequently, this might cause your forehead to breakout. Wash the hat as often as possible, exfoliate your skin, and possibly think about avoiding the hat for a while!
Water: How Do You Take Your Shower?
Hot water and hard water. Both can effect skin.
Hot water doesn’t cause breakouts as much as it can strip skin of oil, leaving it dry and irritated. This can also leave it vulnerable to acne as it can disrupt its natural balance.
Hard water is the bigger culprit: if you live in a place with heavily chlorinated or “hard water”, you might be surprised at how much this effects your skin. It can cause acne for some people.
The solution? If you can’t use a water softener shower head (or don’t want to), the best way to avoid it is to not wash your face with water. Micellar water is great for acne, and does not need to be rinsed off. It’s also very easy to see how clean your skin is as you can see the cotton balls. Try it!
2. The Treatments
Heavy Hitting Treatments: Peels
One of the best treatments for acne is salicylic acid peels. This acid is able to actually get into pores and dissolve oil. With consistent treatments, it can make a huge difference to acne. There is no need to spend hundreds at a skin clinic, see how to do a salicylic acid peel at home here.
Other Ingredients: Zinc
Zinc oxide for acne reduces redness and has a calming effect.
What about benzoyl peroxide? While this ingredient got famous thanks to ProActive, long term it isn’t ideal as it works by drying out your skin (often severely). See details here: Benzoyl Peroxide vs Salicylic Acid.
3. The “Internal” and Lifestyle Approach
There are certain supplements that can work to help strengthen skin, reduce stress levels, and fill in any gaps in nutrition from your diet. See details about the top 9 supplements for acne here.
4. Natural and Home Treatments for Acne
Natural treatments for acne are better as a complimentary treatment, rather than a substitute for the more sophisticated products and treatments.
Here are 45 of the top home remedies for acne – which includes all the best natural treatments, as well as the stuff you can do in your home… (For example use a humidifier, the “towel method”, etc.