Our face often gets targeted as an active acne hotspot triggering a chain of skin problems like enlarged pores, blackheads, acne scars, painful pimples, and inflammatory lesions. Primarily, the major reason behind acne and pimples is pore blockage by dirt, dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria. When this occurs, it leads to pimples and eventual scarring and blemishing of the skin. Although acne does not indicate a serious health risk, however, it projects an unhealthy lifestyle such as diets with excessively oily and fried food, lack of personal hygiene, exercise, and application of unsuitable skin care products.
Acne breakouts can occur anywhere on the body such as the face, neck, back, and shoulders resulting in an uneven rough texture with a darkened skin tone. It may also cause-
- Hyperpigmentation and redness
- Increased tenderness and sensitivity of the skin
- Blemishes, scarring, and bumps
Your skin has pores that are connected to the oil glands under the skin via follicles. These glands produce sebum that is necessary for healthy skin. When the follicles get blocked, sebum gets trapped under the surface of the skin and clumps into a plug with dead skin cells and hair. This plug then gets infected with bacteria, which in turn, causes acne breakouts.
A variety of factors can trigger this sequence of events, and the most common ones are as follows -
- Hormonal changes (also often affected by diet)
- Certain cosmetics
- Menstruation cycle
- Clogged pores due to increased sweat, dirt, pollution, etc.
Heavy-oiled based beauty products
The pores on our skin often get clogged by heavy moisturising creams, makeup, lotions, and sunscreens that include pore-clogging elements such as sulphates, mineral oil, and silicones. Look for specific skin care products that have the following properties-
- Retains essential moisture
- Scent-free and regulates sebum production
- Oil-free and pH balanced
Diets with high glycemic index
Diets that have a high glycemic index include excessively processed foods, such as sugary snacks and beverages, and high starch foods like potatoes, white flour, rice, bread. Their high intake triggers a process called keratinocyte proliferation that causes acne breakouts and skin inflammations.
Unprotected sun exposure
When skin is overexposed to the sun, there is excessive sebum production and superficial hardening of the skin cells resulting in the development of blemishes. Due to this, sebum cannot drain from pores naturally resulting in-
- pore blockage
- acne breakouts
Other contributory factors include poor sleep cycle, smoking habits, genetics, and stress.
A well-strategized skincare regime is highly essential for an acne-prone skin type. Below is a list of potent ingredients in your everyday formulations that you pick for healing acne, acne scars, and pits.
- Citric acid- It diminishes signs of hyperpigmentation and effectively exfoliates the skin by removing dead cells and lightening dark spots and acne marks.
- Zinc PCA- It is an effective acne-fighting ingredient known to effectively reduce sebum production reducing the appearance of pimples and inflammatory acne.
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine- It is a perfect cleanser for sensitive skin types and works best to remove pollutants and oil that tend to get embedded in the skin matrix. Highly suitable for acne-prone skin as it regulates the hydration levels of the skin.
- Alpha bisabolol- Helps soothes skin and also provides anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces the appearance of red skin and additionally eradicates acne and acne scars.
- Glycerin - It is an excellent moisturiser for oily and acne-prone skin. It helps to prevent clogged pores besides soothing existing acne to prevent it from spreading further.
- Cydonia oblonga leaf extract- Owing to its anti-inflammatory properties, this ingredient helps pacify irritated/ damaged skin by strengthening the skin barrier and retaining healthy oils present in the skin matrix.
Sun exposure increases the interaction of free radicals released from UV rays with the skin matrix and worsens acne flare-ups. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is preferably oxybenzone free with SPF 50 every day is one of the most efficient ways to prevent sun-induced acne breakouts and blemishes. Owing to scientific progression, there are sunscreens best suited for acne-prone skin that regulate sebum production and contain the following properties-
- Oxybenzone and Octyl methoxycinnamate free- They are known to particularly lighten pigmentation marks on the skin and known to be most effective for acne prone skin.
- Enriched with skin-ameliorating components like Eurol Bt, Vit E, and Aloe vera extract and Caprylic Capric Triglyceride
- Work towards preventing future pigmentation and acne breakouts
How long does it take for acne to clear out?
Acne treatments take time to work, and the time your skin takes to get rid of acne scars and pimples depend on a variety of factors. Use an acne removal product consistently for at least four weeks to start seeing visible results. Old pimple marks can even take up to four to six months to completely fade. Be patient and continue following your skincare regime to repair your skin and improve its texture and appearance.
What acne treatment should I use?
Depending on the severity of your acne and the type of acne scars, the best acne treatment products for you will vary. Try over-the-counter treatment options with one or more of the following ingredients to get rid of acne scars and active acne -
- Salicylic acid - exfoliates the skin, clears pores, and helps reduce acne and pimple marks
- Zinc PCA - reduces skin inflammation and redness, controls excess sebum, and supports skin healing
- Witch hazel extract - fights skin inflammation, reduces overproduction of oil, and clears clogged pores
- Vitamin C - boosts skin’s collagen production, which in turn heals and lightens acne scars
- Vitamin E - reduces inflammation and boosts cell regeneration