I've lived with acne for the last few years. It isn't the embarassing breakouts we live with in our high school years. It isn't a phase that I will grow out of. For a growing number of people like me, the stresses of modern life has caused cystic acne to flare up in their 20s, 30s and even 40s.
While you can go for prescription medication, dermatologists usually leave that as a last "nuclear" resort. Dermatologists see hormonal imbalance, genetics, diet, and topical causes such as skincare and makeup as potential causes. For most it's a combination of all the above, but hormonal imbalance seems to be a common factor among all cases.
So how do you go about rebalancing your hormones?
While topical creams, medicine, injections and laser treatments can be important treatments, so is modifying your lifestyle.
One of the biggest things you can do is to change your diet. Stop consuming dairy, if at all possible, or limit yourself to clean, organic dairy products. Skip the flavored milks and processed cheeses. Limit the amount of red meat you consume and try to find hormone and anti-biotic free poultry. Fish and seafood is a great source of protein. Try drinking alkaline water, cut out the alcohol and take a daily probiotic.
2. Clean your skin
It's surprising how much the skin on our faces is exposed to. So, it's no wonder that regular cleaning can really help reduce acne flareups. Shower immediately when you get home, especially if you've gotten all sweaty from a hot summer day. Make sure your pores remain clean and clear. Regularly wash your hair as well, especially if it is long, and allow it to dry before going to bed. You don't want to encourage bacteria with a warm wet place to breed (ew). Finally, something that a lot of people overlook is to make sure your pillow case and sheets are clean by not eating in bed and not going to sleep with makeup on.
3. Get a peel
When battling acne, make sure you team up with a skincare specialist to devise the right regime for you. The wrong regime can make it worse. Peels containing retinoids or glycolic acid can also help acne. They are like a turbo clean for your skin.
4. Take some time for yourself
This is probably my biggest problem. As I said above, hormonal imbalance is a common factor in all adult acne. Stress can have a major effect on your hormones and usually for the worse. So if you're feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, there's a reason you look worse for wear. Take some time for yourself. Without your health and wellbeing, all the money in the world can't help you, nor your skin.
Whatever you choose to do dermatologists warn not to wait until your acne becomes severe before seeing them. Often, it can be contained with early intervention, and there are techniques that can be performed to lessen scarring.
That's it for today's helpful post! If you have any other tips for managing acne, I would love to hear them below in the comments, or even try a few myself!