Whether you’re 13 or 30, acne can be frustrating and embarrassing to deal with. Roughly 85% of people ages 12 through 24 experience acne. While outbreak frequency usually diminishes or goes away as you age, that’s not always the case.
Figuring out how to get rid of acne is a main goal for countless skincare companies. However, while you may never be able to get rid of acne altogether, there are plenty of natural remedies for reducing the frequency and severity of your breakouts. By understanding what causes acne and how things like diet, exercise, and gut health may play a role in your breakouts, you can start on a path to enjoying clearer skin.
What Causes Acne?
While the exact cause of acne isn’t fully understood, experts believe several contributing factors include too much sebum (oil) being produced, the sebum getting trapped in hair follicles, and inflammation.
Androgens, hormones more commonly in boys and men but also found in girls and women, can make the sebaceous gland produce more oil and lead to acne. When that oil gets trapped in hair follicles, the skin cells lining the follicle build up and block the pore. This can happen for many reasons relating to your hormones, oil production, and more.
Inflammation occurs when bacteria on the skin cause your immune system to respond by sending white blood cells to fight the bacteria. Other things like stress, smoking, and medications like lithium and steroids can also worsen acne.
Is There a Correlation Between Acne and Your Diet?
The American Academy of Dermatology states that a low-glycemic diet can reduce pimple frequency. Low-glycemic foods include most fresh fruits, vegetables, steel-cut oats, and beans.
A US weight-loss study put 2,258 patients on a low-glycemic diet. As a result, 87% of patients reported having less acne, and 91% said they needed less acne medication. Studies conducted in Australia, Korea, and Turkey yielded similar results.
One exception to the low-glycemic diet is cow’s milk. In another US study, 47,355 adult women who drank 2+ glasses of skim milk every day were 44% more likely to experience acne. However, there’s no evidence linking cheese or yogurt to increased acne, so why cow’s milk does, but other dairy products don’t remains a mystery.
Another study published in JAMA Dermatology, a medical journal, found other correlations between acne breakouts and what we eat. After surveying 24,000+ adults with acne, they learned that diets consisting of high-fat foods and sugar-heavy foods and beverages were 54% more likely to cause acne than adults who didn’t have these types of diets.
How to Get Rid of Acne With Exercise
The UW School of Medicine and Public Health found that exercise can reduce acne breakouts. Physical activity helps moderate your blood sugar levels, evening them out throughout your body. Here’s how these relationships correlate:
- When your blood sugar is high, your insulin increases
- When your insulin increases, it causes your androgens levels to increase
- When your androgen levels are high, they produce excess oil
- When you’re producing excess oil, it can lead to an acne breakout
Exercising also helps reduce stress, another potential contributor to acne.
When you’re exercising, what you wear matters. If you’re wearing makeup and you begin to sweat, your makeup can clog your pores, making it difficult for oils to reach your skin’s surface. Also, tight clothing can rub up against your skin, irritating your oil glands and hair follicles.
If you’re a swimmer, you may be more prone to breakouts. Chlorine strips your skin of natural oils, forcing your oil glands to work overtime to produce enough. To ease the process, wash and moisturize your skin after each swim.
Finally, don’t forget to shower. Showering washes the excess oils and sweat off your body so they don’t clog your pores.
Acne and Gut Health
Your gut health affects how your body works in countless ways, including how your skin looks and feels. When your skin is inflamed, it’s almost guaranteed that your gut is also inflamed. This is because of your gut-skin axis, which links millions of microorganisms residing in your gut and your skin and offers a direct line of communication between them.
Simply put, the healthier your gut is, the less likely you are to experience acne breakouts. When your gut is healthy, your mood is well-balanced, your skin is healthy, and your digestive system runs smoothly. When your gut is unhealthy, you may experience one or more of the following:
- Acne breakouts
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Strong sugar cravings
- Excessive bloating or gas
- Regular colds, viruses, or other illnesses
- Increased anxiety
- Food sensitivities, allergies, or intolerances
- Autoimmune diseases
Several ways to improve your gut health include dietary changes, stress management, and good oral hygiene.
Skincare Products to Avoid
Skincare products are meant to make your skin look and feel healthier, but some can do the opposite. Certain ingredients in these products can cause you to break out, including the following:
- Fragrances:Products with synthetic fragrances commonly contain alcohol, which can dry your skin out, causing irritation.
- Sulfates:Like alcohol, sulfates strip oils from your skin, making it feel dry. It can also lead to your skin overproducing sebum.
- Parabens:Parabens can potentially cause skin irritation and inflammation, especially for those with acne-prone skin.
- Denatured and Stearyl Alcohol:These are frequent ingredients used in toners and astringents and can dry and irritate your skin.
- Lanolin:While lanolin helps keep your skin soft and hydrated, it can also clog your pores and lead to breakouts.
- Mineral Oil:Mineral oil can clog your pores. If you have this issue, seek out products with almond oil or jojoba oil instead.
- Cocoa Butter:Cocoa butter is a dense, oily substance that has the potential to obstruct pores and cause breakouts. Also, many skincare products that incorporate cocoa butter frequently use acne-causing fragrances and preservatives as well.
How to Get Rid of Acne With Boston Direct Health
At Boston Direct Health, we want every patient to look and feel their very best, which includes acne treatments in Boston, MA. We’re well-known for our ability to help people struggling with moderate to severe forms of acne so that they can find relief and live their best lives. With revolutionary technology like AviClear and acne treatment services like Morpheus8 and retinol products, we’re here to help you achieve clear skin.
Are you ready to discover how to get rid of your acne?