No Experience Necessary: A Beginner's Guide to Breakouts
Whether it strikes during puberty or later on in life, that first pimple that pops up on your otherwise flawless complexion—no matter how small—can feel monumental. And you’re not alone: Acne is the most common skin concern in the United States. In fact, nearly 50 million Americans are affected annually according to the American Academy of Dermatology. If you just got your first pimple, keep reading. We’re sharing everything you need to know about breakouts, here.
WHAT CAUSES ACNE?
First things first, what caused that pimple? Our skin is studded with tiny holes called pores that are responsible for secreting the oil—or sebum—that keeps our skin naturally hydrated. However, when our sebaceous glands go into overdrive—due to factors including fluctuating hormone levels, stress, and menstruation—and produce an excess of oil, our pores can become clogged with a combination of the oil, dead skin cells, and other impurities. These blockages are responsible for blemishes ranging from whiteheads to blackheads to cystic acne.
HOW TO BEAT BREAKOUTS
While your first instinct may be to pop, squeeze, or pick at your skin to get rid of the pimple, resist that urge…or else! Picking at your skin can cause your pimple to leave its calling card in the form of a scar, which can linger for the long term. Instead, start a skin care routine that targets both the breakout and the excess oil that caused it.
When washing your face, choose a mild, non-drying cleanser—like Vichy’s Normaderm Gel Cleanser—that was designed for acne-prone skin. And, even though you may think to skip it, always follow up with an oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizer. When skin lacks hydration it can spark the sebaceous glands to compensate by over-producing oil. You’ll also want to find a spot treatment that has common acne-fighting ingredients such as with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients work to gently exfoliate the skin to help unclog pores and reduce excess oil.
If your acne doesn’t respond to topical treatments, talk to your dermatologist about devising a plan to help target your breakouts.