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Your skincare routine is an important aspect of maintaining healthy skin. Acne plagues both teens and adults, and it can be difficult to manage on your own. Knowing what products to use or avoid and how often to wash your face contributes to the reduction or increase of acne. Today on the blog, find out how your skincare routine affects your acne, and what you can do to achieve soft and subtle skin.
What is acne?
Acne is a skin condition that often causes blackheads, whiteheads, papules, or pus-filled bumps under the surface of the skin, which are most commonly referred to as pimples. Acne is caused by clogged hair follicles from excess oil production, bacteria, or dead skin cells. In some cases, hormonal changes cause acne flare-ups. Once hair follicles become clogged with bacteria, inflammation begins. As the follicle begins to break down, that is when the evidence of pimples and other symptoms appear.
In addition to clogging the follicles, below are some other causes of acne:
- Hormones – Hormonal changes typically occur in males and females during adolescence. Women, however, continue to experience hormonal changes throughout their lives due to their monthly cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.
- Family History – Certain medical conditions or heredity may cause you to be more susceptible to acne. Unfortunately, if your parents experienced acne as a teen or adult, then you may also have the condition as well.
- Friction or Pressure – Objects that touch your face, such as winter clothing, headsets, or sporting gear, could cause an acne flare-up, especially if the item is not cleaned frequently.
- Stress – Stress can not only cause acne but if you already are dealing with an acne flare-up, stress could make it worse.
- Certain Medications – Corticosteroids or lithium are just two medications that can cause acne. Ask your pharmacist about the medications you are taking to see if acne is a side effect. However, do not stop taking any medication unless advised by your doctor.
- Diet – Certain foods could make acne worse. Processed foods, sugar, and junk food won’t help you battle acne. Instead, aim to eat a healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, and low in sugar and processed foods.
How often should I wash my face?
You should wash your face twice a day, in the morning when you wake up and at night before bed to remove dirt, makeup (if you wear any), and excess oil. If you sweat excessively, or your work duties cause you to get dirty, you might benefit from washing your face more than the recommended amount. However, if you aren’t sure what skincare routine and products are best for you, contact NY Skin RX for a consultation.
How does my face-washing routine affect acne?
To help you fight acne, your skincare routine is a critical step and should consist of the following:
- Choose a Quality Cleanser – Look for a cleanser that is specifically formulated for your type of skin – sensitive, normal, oily, or dry.
- Wash Correctly – Start by cleansing your hands to prevent transferring oil and bacteria to your face. Aim to wash your face twice per day, and do so gently instead of scrubbing to reduce irritation and aggravating the skin.
- Use the Right Water Temperature – Use lukewarm water when washing your face as hot water can strip your skin of the natural protective oils.
- Blot Dry, Do Not Rub – Gently blot your face dry with a clean towel and avoid rubbing it. When you rub your face with the towel, it can cause irritation and remove natural oils from your skin.
- Limit Exfoliating – Exfoliating can help clear blemishes on your skin, but too much exfoliation could cause irritation. Exfoliate twice per week for oily skin, but for dry skin, exfoliate only once per week, unless otherwise directed by your dermatologist on the Upper East Side.
There are many trusted over-the-counter products that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide that can be used to help treat and clear breakouts. However, there is nothing that magically makes acne disappear overnight. Managing acne is a long-term process, not a quick fix.
If you have severe acne, our Manhattan dermatologists, Drs. Debra Wattenberg and Ilyse Lefkowicz may prescribe medication for better results.
At NY Skin RX, we also provide a service called Isolaz, which is a proven, painless treatment that specifically targets acne and rejuvenates the skin. Isolaz combines laser treatment with a vacuum. The vacuum removes debris like excess oil, dirt, and blackheads from your pores. The laser portion destroys the bacteria that cause acne and promotes a faster healing process.
Managing acne doesn’t have to be stressful. Choose a top-rated dermatologist in Manhattan to help you achieve beautiful, glowing skin. If you are one of the millions of Americans that suffers from acne, call NY Skin RX today at (212) 288-3200 and schedule your appointment. We provide medical and cosmetic dermatological services to Manhattan, the Upper East Side, and throughout New York City.