Contrary to certain myths, acne is not caused by eating chocolate or drinking sodas. Acne is caused by the production of oil by skin glands. The oil is called sebum and it can be produced in excess by hormones. The hormones that cause the physical changes of puberty are the hormones that affect the skin glands, which are called the sebaceous glands. Excess oil, along with dead skin cells, can plug the openings in the skin through which the hair shafts protrude, resulting in acne.
Although acne is not caused by dirty skin, washing helps to remove oil and dead skin cells from the skin. However, washing too much can cause skin irritation and make acne worse. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that washing twice daily with a gentle soap should be sufficient to wash away oils and dead skin cells. However, because acne is caused by a variety of biological factors, washing alone may not prevent acne breakouts.
You may have a habit of touching your face with your hands. This may be a nervous habit or it may be something you do subconsciously. You may even twirl the ends of your hair and touch your face incidentally. Because there are oils on the hands, you transfer these oils to your face. Get into the habit of keeping your hands away from your face to help prevent acne breakouts.
There are several over-the-counter treatments that can help treat acne and prevent early signs of a breakout from worsening. According to MayoClinic.com, these treatments work in different ways. Some kill bacteria that cause skin irritation; others promote new skin growth and the removal of dead skin; and others remove excess oils. Begin with a product that uses benzoyl peroxide, which is well tolerated by most people.
Makeup can work to clog skin openings which will, in turn, cause a buildup of oil and produce acne. Use makeup that does not clog pores. These cosmetics are called noncomedogenic. The makeup that doesn’t clog pores may also be called nonacnegenic. Also, exercise caution when using hairspray so that you avoid spraying product product onto your face, which can also clog pores.