What Causes Acne Breakouts

Acne is a very common, and very annoying, skin disorder that affects about 50 million Americans. In order to prevent acne, you may look for what causes acne breakouts in the first place. Although the root cause is mostly the overproduction of oil, resulting in clogged pores and bacterial growth, there are other factors that may contribute to acne. Here are some triggers that you can help control.

Avoid Spicy Foods

Tomatoes and peppers are very acidic and contain lycopene. These are often present in spicy foods and are a common irritant. The acidity in lycopene can change the pH levels of the skin, which will trigger a breakout.

While spicy foods are one culprit, other foods can irritate your skin as well. Each person’s own genetic make-up will determine the reaction to certain foods. Aversions to gluten, dairy, or other foods can also cause breakouts. To see if foods are triggering your acne, cut out anything that may be an allergen for about a month to see if your face clears up.

Don’t Use Products with Pore-Clogging Ingredients

As previously mentioned, a huge factor in what causes acne breakouts is the over-production of sebum, which results in a clogged pore. When bacteria grows inside the hair follicles (which are called P. acne), it creates a blemish. Mineral oil is on pore-clogging moisturizing agent that is found in some lotions, and is a major culprit for breakouts. Silicones that are found in cosmetics are also known to clog your pores. It is important to look for skin care products that are labeled as noncomedogenic, meaning it does not clog pores.

Don’t Use Too Much Topical Medication

Overusing over-the-counter facial products such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or sulphur treatments can lead to dry skin. This causes the skin to over-produce sebum to make up for the loss. The active ingredients in these over-the-counter medications works by producing a small burn to the top layer of the skin, which can end up making blemishes look worse, because they will look more red. It is best to leave existing blemishes alone.

Avoid Smoking

When you smoke, you decrease the oxygen in your blood, which means there is less oxygen going to your face. Along with other health risks, and the destruction of collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles and large pores, the carcinogens in cigarette smoke also dry out your skin as well as irritate it. This causes your skin to over-produce sebum. You are much more likely to have clear, beautiful skin if you avoid smoking.

Do Not Over-Scrub

Oftentimes, people believe acne is caused by dirt. This leads people to over-cleanse and use rough exfoliants or cleansing brushes, thinking it will smooth the skin. The truth is, these products only make acne worse. When you use harsh exfoliants, you scrub around the active acne, which spreads the blemish bacteria across the skin. This will make the condition worse. Instead, gently clean and moisturize your face with a cleanser, toner, and non-comedogenic moisturizer. Use products with pore-clearing ingredients, such as alpha hydroxy, glycolic, and lactic acids. This will keep you from being too harsh with your skin.

Do Not Pick At Your Blemishes

It may be tempting to pick at your acne, but this can lead to scarring or causing an even bigger blemish. When you pick a clogged pore, you may push the bacteria deeper into your skin or spread it around, which can end up multiplying your pimples. Do not touch your face if it is not necessary. This is an easy way to transfer bacteria onto your skin from your hands. Keeping your hands off of your face is a great way to help keep your complexion clear and allowing your acne to heal on its own, leaving your skin without scars.