10 Things That Won't Prevent Acne
By Rob Hardwicke, President and Product Master
You may be asking yourself the perfectly logical question "Why would I want to learn how to NOT stop my acne breakouts?" And I can't blame you. Most people out there are looking for ways to stop acne breakouts, not keep 'em coming. Don't worry: I'm on your side. In fact, Awakening's products (particularly MUDFACE Dead Sea Mud Masque) have helped acne sufferers both young and old(er) to find a natural acne treatment that really works. In some cases, our customers have thrown away their acne medication entirely, and moved on to clearer skin without it.
The "10 Things" referred to in this article are actually myths about causes of acne, so read on and learn about the things you can stop NOT doing - because they don't do a darn thing to control acne breakouts.
1. Better Hygiene Won't Stop Acne Breakouts
Contrary to popular belief, pores don't get dirty and cause your skin to "react," breaking out in acne pimples. Acne breakouts happen because increased hormonal activity creates more oil from the sebaceous glands beneath your skin. The same hormonal activity also increases the rate your skin sheds dead cells. Oil + dead skin cells = clogged pores ("plugs") = acne. So go ahead and get filthy. You may find that your chances of getting a date decrease, but it won't make your acne any worse. Of course, you can definitely do some things to help keep your pores clear of oil and dead skin cells, including using a Dead Sea mud masque. More on that below.
2. Getting Rid of Dirt Won't Stop Blackheads
This is somewhat counter intuitive, I know. I mean, blackheads sure look like dirt, right? Actually, blackheads are basically the same thing as whiteheads, but in a different "location." A blackhead is an inflamed plug that has made it to the surface, whereas whiteheads are just plugs that are stuck below the skin. For blackheads, try using a Dead Sea mud masque (such as our MUDFACE, hint, hint). this will pull out plugs from your pores AND naturally fight the bacteria in your skin (a.k.a. P. acnes) that can in some cases make acne much worse.
3. Cutting out Greasy Foods Won't Control Acne Breakouts
All you repentant pizza eaters out there, rejoice! Greasy food does not, I repeat DOES NOT cause acne. I mean, if you eat too much spinach, do you turn green? Of course not! Hey, pizza and fries and extra thick shakes might not be on the American Heart Society's Top 5 Heart Health foods list (and, believe me, these foods in excess truly do NOT make for a healthy heart), but the idea that fat in your digestive tract is going to somehow migrate up to your face is ridiculous. Now, does that mean go out and gorge yourself on cheeseburgers and corn dogs? Of course not. But just don't expect abstaining from them to clear up your acne. Sorry.
Nonetheless, diet can actually have an impact on your acne. Since we know that A) hormonal activity is one of the primary drivers of acne, and B) certain foods have a huge effect on your hormones, it follows that C) watching what you eat can in fact help control acne breakouts. For example: what are the beverages of choice among teenagers these days? Red Bull, Mountain Dew MDX, Spike Shooter, and the like. These drinks are full of caffeine, sugar and other stimulants that will wreak havoc on your already overactive hormones. Try eliminating this stuff for a couple of weeks and I'll bet your skin will clear up.
4. Getting a Suntan Won't Clear up Acne
Yeah, I know. That was like, your ace in the hole, right? Oh well. Although sun-induced skin color might make pimples less visible, there's nothing like a nice sunburn to totally irritate your skin. Additionally, one of the body's natural healing mechanisms for sunburn is to INCREASE oil production in the sebaceous glands, which leads to... guess what?
However, some kinds of light can actually help clear up acne. For example, the Dead Sea region hosts tens of thousands of people each year who come with difficult skin problems, because the low-UV sunlight there is effective at clearing them up. There are even light treatments for acne that mimic the light you would be exposed to at the Dead Sea. The down side of these treatments are that they're very expensive, not covered by insurance in most countries, and not guaranteed to work. You're definitely better off cleansing your face twice a day with a gentle, all-natural soap, and using a Dead Sea mud masque three times a week.
5. Popping Pimples Won't Make Them Go Away Faster
Not only will this time-honored tradition not make your pimples go away faster, in most cases it will make them worse. Just say no. When popping zits, you often push bacteria further down into your pores, which makes it even harder for acne to clear up naturally. And if you squeeze your pimples over and over, you can end up with scarring. It can be really hard to resist when you've got a face full of pimples, but there are alternatives. Gentle washing with a natural soap, plus using a Dead Sea mud masque a few times a week will help pull impurities out of your pores, not push them in even deeper. If that big night is on the horizon and you want some hard-core clearing, sure - see a dermatologist and get some professional advice. But if you're in it for the long term, just be patient and don't succumb to the squeeze!
6. Makeup Won't Cause Acne Breakouts
Well, Hallelujah! Yes, there are certain makeup formulas that are pretty rough on your skin (and contain dangerous ingredients), but as we've already seen, the causes of acne are mostly internal. Makeup/no makeup - no difference for acne. However (there's always a "however"), you can do your skin a big favor and switch to a high-quality mineral cosmetic company. We here at Awakening Skin Care don't make them (yet), but there are a number of great companies out there. The advantages are many: mineral cosmetics are hypoallergenic, they won't irritate your skin, it tends to be very long-lasting, and it doesn't clog pores. The other huge bonus is an average SPF rating of 20, so mineral makeup usually makes a great sunblock.
7. Just be Patient - Adults Don't Get Acne
Be as patient as a yogi. Watch the paint dry with perfect interest. It won't stop acne. In fact, between 25% and 50% of adults experience acne (a.k.a. "adult acne") between the ages of 23 and 47. Also, many menopausal women have the wonderful treat of "re-experiencing their youth" with a bout or two of acne, as late as 60! (And, men, don't snicker. You, too, can be menopausal!)
The simple fact of the matter is that if you're going to get an acne breakout, it's probably going to be tied to hormonal imbalance - not your age. And unfortunately, we tend to be at the mercy of our hormones. You can take excellent care of your skin, but you may still experience some breakouts. The best approach is to keep your hormones in balance. And for that, eat well, get enough rest, and exercise. Your face will thank you.
8. Oily Skin Won't Cause Acne
Not only does oily skin NOT cause acne, oily skin ages better, usually with fewer wrinkles, because reduced oil production is a big factor in wrinkling. So if you've got oily skin, that's great! You'll be looking young for a nice long time.
Which is not to say that oily skin can't CONTRIBUTE to acne. Remember, oil + dead skin cells = acne. And what often happens is that the oil and dead skin cells create a breeding ground for the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). This is a naturally occurring bacteria that's in everyone's skin, but if the conditions are right, it can multiply and make acne a lot worse. That's why antibiotics are one of the main pharmaceutical approaches to acne treatment. But for mild acne or moderate breakouts, the risks and side effects of antibiotics outweigh the benefits. Before getting a prescription for Tetracycline or Erythromycin, try a natural approach to acne treatment using a gentle soap and a Dead Sea mud masque. These products will usually bring P. acnes under control and your skin will clear up significantly.
9. Benzoyl Peroxide Won't Stop Your Acne Breakouts
Okay, I lied. Benzoyl peroxide actually DOES help control acne outbreaks. It's been around forever, and it's by far the most popular over-the-counter acne medication. However... (there's that word again), there's something you might want to know about benzoyl peroxide. It's bleach. Right, I said bleach. Don't believe it? Okay - put some Oxy10 on your favorite jeans or best towels and just see what happens. The marketing folks like to call benzoyl peroxide a "peeling agent," which it is (sort of). It helps to speed up the process of skin cell replacement, which clears out a lot of extra dead skin cells. This brings down P. acnes levels, which can in some cases reduce acne.
But how does this peeling occur, exactly? Well, benzoyl peroxide is literally a "free radical generator." You know, those things that just might cause cancer? The things all those "antioxidant" drinks are supposed to help fight? Well, free radicals "oxidize" the skin, just like prolonged sun exposure. Except a lot more intensely. How about applying a lovely dose of those... three times a day? Fact: benzoyl peroxide has been proven to cause skin tumors on hamsters and mice. Use with caution.
But take heart: benzoyl peroxide is not the only game in town. In fact, you can get all the benefits of benzoyl peroxide without the risks by using a quality Dead Sea mud masque. It will pull impurities out of your pores and fight P. acnes with naturally occurring organic antibacterial agents that are already there in the mud.
10. Stronger Medication Won't Clear up Acne any Faster
More is better, right? Wrong. As you know, I'm opposed to using benzoyl peroxide, but for goodness sake, if you're going to use the stuff, stick to a low percentage dose. Did you know that major studies have shown that the effectiveness of a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide solution is the SAME as that of a 10% solution? Of course you didn't. Then there would be no such thing as Oxy10, or Oxy15, or Oxy459. Which isn't to say the stronger solution won't do more of SOMETHING. It will. It will destroy your skin more. And that's about it.