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Acne is a pore that is clogged. When our skin produces too much sebum, an oily substance that keeps moisture in the skin, pores can get blocked with dead skin cells and bacteria. The result can be mild to moderate acne – blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples – to severe acne, where large, hard bumps become infected under the skin surface. (Severe acne is best treated by a dermatologist.)
Genes play a role in acne, but hormonal changes (puberty, menopause) often send our oil glands into overdrive. Stress and diet can cause acne, regardless of age or gender. Ingredients in beauty products can also serve as triggers for acne.
Tips for acne-prone skin:
- Look for products labeled “non-comedogenic”, “non-acnegenic” and “oil-free.”
- Avoid products with lanolin, petrolatum or mineral oil, which can clog pores.
- Pick a cleanser that contains salicylic acid, which both treats and prevents new breakouts.
- Exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead cells that can clog pores.
- Wash your face every night before bed, even if you don’t wear makeup. Oil and grime from the day can clog pores while you sleep.
- Moisturize with lotion rather a cream. If your skin is very oily, try gel formulas or hydrating serums.
- Change your pillow case regularly since oil and bacteria can get trapped there while you sleep.
- Don’t pick at your skin. Squeezing pimples or cysts can make infections spread and lead to scarring.
- Avoid greasy hair products like waxes and pomades.