Updated: Mar 27
For many adults, what causes acne and how to stop it is at the top of their minds.
You might wake up with a red bump you didn't have the night before, notice a blackhead you can't believe you missed, or, you may have had adult acne your entire life.
Whatever your reason for having questions around the causes and solutions to acne, Yellow Label Organics ™ has got you covered.
In this blog post, we'll explore what causes acne and what options you have to deal with it.
Table of Contents
What's the Cause of Acne?
Simply put, acne is considered a skin condition. For the most part, adult acne occurs when hair follicles on your body have become trapped with a combination of oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. These oils and cells are usually the culprits for blackheads, whiteheads, and the dreaded pimple.
Acne can also be caused by diet, environmental factors, housekeeping practices, your skincare routine, hormones, beauty products, or general health.
While it's hard to ping down our own individual reasons for acne, it usually just boils down to science. How our skin, gut, and bodies perform on a regular basis are huge contributors to the health of our skin.
What Foods Can Cause Acne?
Did you know that roughly 10% of the world's population has acne?
That's over 700 million people!
And while there can be many factors that contribute to the development of acne, including inflammation, clogged pores, sebum, and keratin production, there are also many foods that can compromise the quality of your diet and impact your skin.
In a nutshell, acne is an inflammatory disease and for this reason, can be caused by food sensitives. It's a condition known as delayed hypersensitivity reaction.
Food sensitivities are essentially a mild food allergy - you may not notice a food sensitivity whereas with an allergy the reaction will probably be quite noticeable.
When you have a food sensitivity your immune system mistakenly identifies the food you have consumed as some sort of threat, similar to an allergic reaction. Your immune system will then quietly attack the perceived threat resulting in high levels of pro-inflammatory molecules that will begin to circulate throughout your body.
These molecules have the potential to aggravate or create pimples and other skin issues, such as eczema.
The only true way to determine which foods might trigger this inflammatory reaction in you would be to undergo an elimination diet to isolate and identify all causes.
Always undergo an elimination diet under the direction of a medical professional.
Everyone loves a good cheese!
But the sad reality is that many studies have found a link between milk products and acne severity, especially in teenagers and younger people. It has been shown that those who consume dairy on a regular basis are up to 4x more likely to suffer from acne and aggravated skin - with milk seeming to be the biggest culprit of all the dairy options.
The IGF-1 hormone has been linked to the development of acne.
Speaking of amino acids, what do we want after a good workout?
That's right, protein!
Roughly 43% of the American population report consuming protein drinks and shakes, with whey powder being the most commonly consumed beverage of choice.
Whey protein powder is a very rich source of amino acids, leucine, and glutamine. The downside for our skin is that amino acids encourage skin cells to grow and divide at a very efficient rate, which can cause acne.
Similar to the issue with dairy, the amino acids found in whey protein can stimulate your body to produce higher levels of insulin, which as we discussed has been linked to the development of adult and teenage acne.
Refined Grains and Sugars
Studies have shown that those who have problematic acne tend to consume more refined carbohydrates than those with little to no acne.
Common foods that contain refined carbohydrates are:
Bread, potato chips, and crackers
Anything made with white flour
Natural sweeteners such as honey, cane sugar, and maple syrup
French fries, processed cereal, and white rice
In one study, it was found that people who frequently consumed added sugars in their diet had a 30% greater risk of developing acne.
Like the above, this risk might be explained by the impact that refined carbohydrates have on blood sugar and insulin levels.
How to Drain Pimples Properly
Let's say you've had some food that didn't agree with you and you woke up with a new pimple, or, you have a painful little cluster on your cheek that you just can't seem to get rid of.
The obvious advice is to leave that pimple or blackhead alone and let nature take its course.
When you drain a pimple you are interfering with your skin's natural defense mechanisms, making popping a pimple truly a last resort.
It's important to keep your hands off your face to avoid further complicating your acne, but if you must do it, there are some important steps and procedures you should follow before, during, and after draining a whitehead pimple.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before touching any tools you will use to drain your pimple. Be sure to get in-between your fingers and shut the tap off using a paper towel.
Then, wipe down all the "tools" you will be using to drain your pimple with a disinfectant and wash your hands again.
To prevent scarring it's important that you never squeeze a pimple with your fingers, so you'll need to have a sewing needle and rubbing alcohol ready.
Disinfect your sewing needle by keeping it submerged in rubbing alcohol for at least 30 seconds.
After sterilizing your hands and your tools begin by carefully inserting the pin at an angle into the widest part of your pimple's head. It shouldn't hurt and it shouldn't bleed when you do this, if it does, stop immediately.
Once the pin has gently broken the skin you can use sterilized gauze to assist you in draining your pimple.
Instead of pushing against the bacteria to force the pus out of the pimple, it's best to hold the skin taut so the other layers of your skin can drain it naturally and gently.
Sterilize the impacted area with an all-natural antimicrobial drying agent and let time allow it to heal.
The process of draining a pimple might seem simple enough, but there are plenty of reasons never to touch the irritations you have on your skin.
This is especially true when it comes to cystic acne, boils, or pimples that are very deeply rooted in the skin.
Additionally, if the pimple is not at a head yet, you probably won't be able to pop it safely.
How to Get Rid of Acne
When it comes to finding a solution to your acne there is no one size fits all option. But, there are several things you can do to assist your body.
Maintain a Proper Skincare Routine
Life is all about achieving balance, and when it comes to your skin, no exception can be made.
When we first started Yellow Label Organics ™ we were shocked at how many people we met who either used very little skincare products or didn't wash their face at all.
And while that sounds as eco-friendly and natural as it gets, it's just not practical.
Leaving excess sebum (oil) on your skin can encourage dirt and skin cells to get trapped underneath, causing a breakout. Washing (and exfoliating) your face regularly helps to reduce the dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.
Being rough on your face can cause your skin to produce even more oil than it would normally, especially if your actions are leaving it feeling beat up or dried out.
Ditch harsh soaps for natural ingredient products and find a moderate routine that suits your skin's specific needs.
For most people, washing your face twice per day, especially after sweating, is a good general rule of thumb. It's also important not to sleep with your makeup on and wear it as little as possible, especially if already have active areas of acne on your face.
Use Oil Based Products to Reduce Oil
Noncomedogenic oils, like many found in Yellow Label Organics ™ products, have the capability to help your skin balance its own natural ecosystem, resulting in better performing topical interaction.
By allowing your good bacteria to thrive with all natural ingredients, while combating "bad bacteria" with antimicrobial all natural products, your allowing your skin to find a harmonious balance of good and bad that will usually result in tremendous improvement of your topical issues.
Get to Know Witch Hazel
At the end of the day, washing your face alone just isn't enough. It's important for the pH balance of your skin that you follow up that refreshing rinse with a clarifying toner.
Many over-the-counter toners are made with drying agents such as alcohols and acids, which can further aggravate acne and oily skin. To get a deeper clean that's good for your skin use toners that have witch hazel. Because of it's high concentrations of tannins, witch hazel may help you to reduce oiliness while shrinking your pores.
Witch hazel is also alcohol-free so it usually doesn't cause skin irritation, especially if you're selecting a witch hazel toner that's specially formulated for acne-prone skin.
The best way to prevent and get rid of acne is to maintain healthy eating habits, have a regular skincare routine, use products that are free of synthetics, and stay on top of your overall health.
By allowing your skin to operate freely on its own, be it through the use of all-natural ingredients or thoughtful life practices, you have a much higher chance of improving and maintaining your skin on a daily basis.