Many, if not all women experience acne, at some point in their lives. Whether you’ve dealt with outbreaks during puberty, during pregnancy or even postmenopausal, we’ve all faced the urge to pop those little bumps on our face. Did you know everything from hormones to diet to even genetics can affect your skin? We’re sharing everything you need to know about your acne and what you can do to help keep your skin clear.
What is Acne?
Acne is defined as a disorder that causes outbreaks of skin lesions, called pimples. You can commonly find these on your face, chest, neck, and back. Even though acne is not a serious health threat, some acne can lead to permanent scarring or blemishes.
Acne is most commonly caused by the skin’s oil glands making too much oil, which leads to clogged pores. As women get older, acne often gets better, but some women can experience it for many years. Other women may not get acne for the first time until they are 30 or 40 years old.
Different Types of Acne
There are four different kinds of acne that women, and men, can experience.
- Comedo or papules: Commonly known as whiteheads or blackheads, these are basic acne lesions the come from a plugged pore. If the plugged pore stays under the skin, a white bump appears, and it is called a closed comedo. Blackheads are comedos that open and appear blackish on the surface of the skin.
- Pustules or pimples: These are acne lesions that can pus and are red at the base.
- Nodules: These are a more serious type of acne lesions. Nodules lodge deeper in the skin is painful and can cause scarring.
- Cysts: Similar to nodules, cysts are deep within the skin, are painful, filled with pus and can also cause scarring.
What Your Acne is Telling you
Did you know that WHERE you breakout can tell you a lot about WHY you are breaking out? Your face has 14 primary areas – called face mapping. This shows you how different parts of your face are connected to other areas of your body i.e. liver, kidneys, and blood pressure. Let’s map out blemishes, and see what may be causing your breakouts.
Forehead: Digestive System – Try eating less processed or junk food and reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Also, start drinking more water.
Between Eyebrows: Liver – It may be time to cut back on alcohol, greasy food, and dairy. This is the primary zone where food allergies show up first, so make sure to check your ingredients. Your liver may need some rest. Trying to get a good night’s sleep every night.
Temples and Ear Lobes: Kidneys – Drink more water! Anything thing that appears around your eye, including dark circles, also indicates dehydration. Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day.
Nose: Heart – Do you have high blood pressure? If so, your nose might show it. You may also need to decrease your intake of spicy or pungent food, cut down on meat and get more fresh air. You may also need to try lowering your cholesterol.
Cheeks: Respiratory System – If you smoke or have allergies, this may be your problem area. If neither smoking nor allergies apply, try not to let your body overheat, eat more cooling foods and cut down on your sugar. More things causing acne in this area and cell-phones and pillowcases. These are the two top acne culprits, and they affect this area the most.
Laugh lines/Sides of mouth: Hormones – This is the signature zone for breakouts when it comes to stress and any hormonal changes you may be going through. Even though you can’t always avoid either, you can try getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water and eating leafy greens to decrease breakouts in this area. Breakouts in this area may also indicate when you are ovulating and on which side.
Chin: Stomach – It may be time to step up your fiber intake, reduce the toxin overload and drink herbal teas to help with digestion.
Following these area tips can be a good rule-of-thumb when it comes to your breakouts; however, you should always consult your dermatologist or doctor for a proper prognosis.
Acne During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can trigger acne or make existing acne worse. Any increase in hormones called androgens can be responsible for your pregnancy breakouts. These hormones cause the sebaceous glands in your skin to increase and boost production of sebum, an oily substance.
If you are pregnant, you may experience mild to moderate acne which can occur at any time. Your breakouts may also come and go or last throughout your pregnancy. Here are some ways to help minimize your breakouts:
- Wash your face with a mild soap or cleanser twice a day
- Use your hands to gently wash your face
- Pat your skin dry after washing
- Make sure to use an oil-free moisturizer
If your acne concerns continue, ask your doctor or midwife about medicated lotions and gels. There are some over-the-counter and prescription products that help clear up acne, but some ingredients may not be safe for pregnant women.
Choosing Your Skin Care Products
When it comes to treating acne, there are many over-the-counter products that are available, in addition to prescription and high-end products. Sometimes the options can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is research the product, including the ingredients, before buying to find what may work best for you. Here’s what you should do when finding these products:
- Know Your Skin Type: Before purchasing any products, you should know if your skin is oily, dry, a combination of both or normal. Each of these can impact how products interact with your skin.
- Create a Daily Skin Care Routine: The key to success with most skin care products is repetition. By establishing a daily routine, you will be able to see results faster. Most products take six to eight weeks before you will start to see improvements.
- Be Cautious of “miracle products”: Always use your best judgment when it comes to products that seem too good to be true.Reputable products are the best bet and are likely to be more effective and safer.
Whether you’ve had acne your entire life, or are just now experiencing it remember, every woman has been through it. At Greenville Ob/Gyn, our doctors and midwives can help you navigate your breakouts and recommend a treatment option, or refer you to a dermatologist with Physicians East.