By Carlos Perez
I’m a young adult and by default, I have my breakout moments. When they started in my teens, I was so embarrassed. I wanted nothing more than to have my youthful baby skin which was free from any obstructions. But overtime, you get used to it. And if you become dedicated, you can even develop ways of sticking to a basic skincare routine which dampens each breakout a little bit. There are even some techniques you can use which you wouldn’t expect…
The Speculated Causes:
It’s pretty difficult to determine what’s causing your acne, especially since it varies from person to person. Therefore, it’s extremely likely that you will develop acne at some stage in your life, most of the population does. Studies suggest that despite your parents telling you to avoid greasy junk food and chocolate (yes it is still terrible for your health) this may not be the cause.
Increases in acne may actually be linked to higher intakes of high GI (glycaemic index) foods and dairy products. Sweat is also generally not linked to acne, where it is actually the tendency for more oily skin amongst certain individuals which allows for the development of blackheads (or oxidized oil). While sweating isn’t a cause, a build-up of bacteria from physical activity can still have bad affects. So its advised to shower – but not to over wash since this can make skin dry and irritated.
Hormones are a big culprit to acne breakouts. It is best to speak to your doctor about what current medications you are taking and what your options are if this is a serious problem for you. Especially since some medications taken by teens can actually make the acne more an issue.
The Basic Routine
Here’s what you should be doing as your minimum:
1) Cleansing your face twice a day:
Using a soap and fragrance free cleanser which won’t block your pores (i.e. it is non-comedogenic). I do this morning and night and it allows for the skin on my face to retain needed moisture and it keeps it clean. I would recommend any cleansers from Cetaphil, where I use the gentle skin cleanser since my skin is super sensitive.
2) Moisturising your face twice a day:
I do this after I cleanse. The choice of moisturiser is yours, just make sure it is face friendly. I’ve heard that Sorbolene is a pretty good way to go since it’s cheap, can be used on your whole body and it really helps with dryness without a lot of added chemicals and ingredients.
However, I gravitate towards Nivea Men Sensitive Protective Moisturiser SPF 15. This is great because unlike other SPF moisturisers I’ve tried, this moisturiser doesn’t leave my sensitive skin irritated and still gives me added sun protection which is a necessity in Australia. It has 0% alcohol for no burning and it has a nice combination of Chamomile and Hamamelis (anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing solution).
3) Exfoliating three times a week:
Using a face scrub really helps to clean your pores and sometimes even prevent breakouts before they happen. It uses small particles to eliminate old skin cells, allowing for new ones to come through exfoliation.
My current favourite is the St Ives Blemish Control Apricot Scrub. It is a deep exfoliator which is paraben free, hypoallergenic (for my sensitive-ass skin) and non-comedogenic. When I’m consistent with this and the above, I really notice a difference.
Above and Beyond
Acne medications use a lot of chemicals and produce many unwanted side effects. A far nicer solution which over time can produce similar results, is the use of herbal teas.
It was recently recommended to me that I try drinking peppermint tea, and applying it to my face twice a day. This sounded ridiculous to me, but I gave it a go. And over time, it does make a difference. The key is in allowing the peppermint tea to brew and cool down long enough so that you can wash it over your face without dying.
Peppermint tea can be a great solution for oily skin, since it slows the production of oil. This can reduce dead skin build up which tends to block pores. The menthol in the tea can reduce cortisol (which is stress inducing), essentially acting as a muscle relaxant which can reduce stress acne or as I like to call it ‘stracne’. While the process is slower than high-grade medications, its long-term affects are undeniable. Furthermore, you don’t even need to apply it to your face if you don’t want to, a nice cup a day can have results too.
There a range of herbal teas which can help with acne. It can be a bit tedious pouring warm tea on your face twice a day on top of the above routines. Drinking even a cup a day can have tremendous benefits just within itself beyond acne reduction.
*The advice given in this blog is based on independent research and experience. We are not doctors and would seriously recommend seeing your doctor/dermatologist before using any new products/remedies.