Acne can wreak havoc on our self-esteem and mental wellness, as well as skin health, but here we reveal the secret to healthier-looking skin.
Acne can wreak havoc on our perception of skin health and sense of health—and that’s true for 90% of people globally. While 10% of people worldwide may be lucky enough to never experience breakouts, the rest of us are led to question if there really is an effective treatment to fend off breakouts for clearer, healthier-looking skin. And when that solution seems elusive, acne can often have very detrimental effects on our emotional and psychological well-being.
But First, What Causes Acne?
It’s important to understand the cause of your acne prior to treating it. As many strategists argue, knowing your enemy is the first step toward victory. You can’t conquer your acne woes unless you know where to begin! So, what causes your acne?
Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition most often recognized by its signature red bumps and pustules. Oftentimes, acne is believed to be a punishment for a lack of proper skin cleansing, but this isn’t entirely true. In some cases, not washing off makeup and comedogenic skin care products, or not exfoliating when needed, can lead to clogged pores, blackheads, breakouts, and more. However, over washing (or having overly clean skin) can also make skin more susceptible to acne breakouts, as cleansing irritates the skin, leading to further sebum (oil) production to counteract increased dryness, inflammation, and on to breakouts. In other instances, dietary, lifestyle, and/or medicinal factors can cause a ramp-up in sebum production, leading to breakouts or blackheads, while skipping out on sunscreen in fear of clogging pores can lead to dry skin and acne.
Most often, though, acne is simply a result of over-productive sebum glands responding to an influx in hormones and a higher level of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria that is naturally found in skin’s pores.
Common Acne Symptoms
Most symptoms associated with acne are physical. They include redness, tenderness, blackheads, whiteheads, red bumps, pustules, cysts, and more. While many of these symptoms may be concealed with makeup and treated effectively, treating these symptoms doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
As well, several studies have shown that acne can negatively affect quality of life, self-esteem, and mental wellness, with prominent psychological and emotional concerns, including anxiety, depression, and other debilitating illnesses, arising as a result of severe and chronic acne cases. Conversely, treating acne has been found to have a positive correlation with improved self-esteem and mental wellness, though scarring from acne remains a concern.
The Secret to Acne-Free Skin
Now that we know the major symptoms and common causes of acne, it may be easier to effectively treat both for clearer skin. So what’s the secret to healthier-looking skin? It’s a combination of the right treatment and consistency
Knowing the cause of your acne may allow you to better target the culprit and end your breakout cycle. For example, if your acne happens to be linked to your diet, cutting out common culprits like dairy—and keeping these foods out of your diet—could be your secret to acne-free, clear skin you’ll be eager to flaunt. Currently, there are several acne treatment options available on the market, from retinoids to antibacterial washes and antibiotic pills. However, not all treatments will work for everyone, so discovering the right treatment for you requires patience and, as mentioned, consistency. You won’t know if it really works if you’re not consistently using your prescribed treatment as directed by a dermatologist or aesthetics professional.
For many, however, a combination of hormonal changes and a higher level of P. acnes bacteria present in the pores is the main cause of acne vulgaris, the most common form of acne. As sebum production increases and breakouts occur, P. acnes bacteria prompts more severe breakouts and causes redness, bumps, and inflammation. To treat this common cause and even more common acne symptoms, consider the one-two punch of intense pulsed light (IPL) acne treatments. These energy-based treatments utilize a combination of blue and red light that is delivered simultaneously below the skin’s surface to both destroy acne-causing bacteria and control inflammation, promoting faster healing and a clearer complexion.