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With a little know-how, you can minimize or potentially eliminate occasional adult acne outbreaks on your face, back, shoulders, neck, chest, limbs, or elsewhere merely by changing a few small behaviors.
Check Your Hair and Skin Products: Hair conditioners, gels, pomades, shaving products, cosmetics, moisturizers, sunscreens, and other products that contain oil can clog your pores and cause a breakout. Simply switching to hair and skin products that don't clog pores, called "noncomedogenic", could make a big difference in the appearance of your skin. Check the labels on your hair and skin products to see if they are marked oil-free and noncomedogenic. Also, consider whether you truly need every product you use. Even products marked "dermatologist tested" can cause acne for some people. Minimizing the number of products you use may help further reduce outbreaks. And when you exercise, wear as little makeup as possible. Even oil-free and noncomedogenic cosmetics can clog pores if worn during heavy, sweaty exercise.
Adopt a Hands-Off Policy: Do you often rest your chin or cheeks in your hands or rub your nose? Doing so can encourage the growth of bacteria and cause infection to the areas most inflamed by adult acne. Adopt a strict hands-off policy that holds for breakouts, too. Picking or squeezing can drive acne bacteria deeper into the skin, leading to more inflammation and possibly to permanent scarring. So try to resist the temptation to touch.
Don't Let Sweat Stick Around: Rinse off as soon as possible after you work out. Physical activity heats up the body, causing perspiration to mix with surface skin oils. Together, they trap substances in your pores. If a quick rinse isn't possible, towel off and change into dry clothes as soon as you can. Sitting around in sweaty clothes, especially if they are tight-fitting, can lead to acne on your chest, back, and other parts of the body. Also, avoid wearing tight headbands or hats that rub against your skin. If you wear a helmet or any other safety gear with straps, be sure to wash the straps frequently to reduce bacteria.
Avoid Overwashing and Harsh Scrubs: Acne is not caused by dirt, so washing frequently with harsh substances such as alcohol-based products won't solve the problem. In fact, it may make the situation worse by prompting excess oil production and more blemishes. Be good to your skin by washing gently from under the jaw to the hairline with a mild soap once or twice a day.
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Wash the face with mild soap and water several times daily to prevent pore clogging and oil buildup. Avoid repeated exposure to an environment that promotes oil production and clogging of the pores. Rubbing and friction from clothing, hair, and sporting equipment may also irritate acne-prone skin. Try not to "pop" pimples or touch them, as infection may occur. Avoid skin irritants such as cosmetics or shaving with an electric razor.
Stress has been associated with occurrence of acne. Meditation, exercise, music therapy, and massage have been reported to decrease stress.
Nutritional changes along with the addition of supplements (vitamins, minerals and herbs) may be effective in preventing acne, improving immunity, decreasing stress, and in supporting general health.
Taking a multivitamin that contains the antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, the B-complex vitamins, and trace minerals such as magnesium, zinc, and selenium can help protect the body from acne.
Although still controversial, consuming less dairy products such as milk and cheese, may decrease acne. It is thought that the hormones contained in milk may be a causative factor in developing acne. Drinking soy milk or organic milk that does not contain hormones may help decrease acne. Try to avoid refined foods such as white breads, pastas, and sugar. The high glycemic index of these foods has been reported to increase acne outbreaks and symptoms. Eat antioxidant containing foods, including fruits (such as berries, grapes, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as peppers and carrots). Studies report that oxidation may be a causative factor in developing acne. Seafood, which contains high levels of iodine, has been reported to increase the incidence of getting acne. Avoiding seafood may decrease the chances of developing acne.You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.