According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 50 million people are affected by acne each year. Breakouts can occur anywhere from the face to the neck, back or chest. For the most part, people whom I’ve spoken to have said that facial acne causes them the most anxiety and distress. It makes sense since the face is the first thing the world usually sees.
So why do some people suffer from acne breakouts on the face? Well, here are five reasons why:
Comedogenic products clog pores. Of course, natural, toxicant-free products are best for your skin, but some dearly beloved natural oils, like coconut oil and wheat germ oil are pore clogging. Stick to products with ingredients that are noncomedogenic, oil-free and non-acnegenic.
Out of whack hormones in the teen years cause acne and out of whack hormones in the adult years can cause acne as well. Women experience hormonal imbalances during puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause and menopause. Typically during each of these stages, the body tends to experience fluctuating hormones, which can lead to acne.
For example, during puberty, an increase in androgens (male hormones) stimulates the production of sebum (skin oil) and Keratin (protein for hair production). When in excess these oils can clog hair follicles, which can result in acne. This can also happen to women in their forties and fifties. Also, during ovulation, when estrogen levels are higher some women tend to break out more.
The problem with overwashing the skin is not that act itself. Rather, it’s what over washing can do to the balance of your skin. Too much washing can strip the top layer of the skin, which can lead to bacteria penetrating the skin, and yes, inflammation and eventually acne. So though you might be tempted to rub and scrub your skin in the hopes that it will scrub the acne away, don’t.
Smoking decreases oxygen to the skin cells. It breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin causing premature lines, wrinkling and sagging of the skin. In addition, it can increase androgens and cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which can trigger an increase in the secretion of sebum, the skin’s oil. Too much sebum can lead to clogged pores and ultimately acne.
One of the most common reasons for breakouts is stress. During times of stress, the body’s androgen (set of male hormones) production increases, stimulating hair follicles, and oil glands, and that can lead to can lead to inflammation and acne.
Dixie Lincoln- Nichols is a biological science educator, certified health coach and entrepreneur. Her work has been featured in media outlets like, Oprah Mag, SELF, Yahoo, Redbook, Natural Health, Instyle, Working Woman, Huffington Post, Essence Online, Tampa Tribune and more. She is currently the Chief Self-care Connoisseur and founder of I. O. Beauty Market, where she curates products that are free of toxic, harmful ingredients.