Acne's reputation for being hard to treat is well earned. After all, when you consider the numerous factors that can influence when and why acne develops, its severity and how well it responds to treatment, it's easy to see why some individuals have a particularly hard time achieving a clear complexion. If you're among those with stubborn acne, ponder the following scenarios. After all, it often takes just a small tweak in your treatment approach to be rewarded with big improvement in your skin.
1. You Aren't Treating It With the Right Products
Acne products can run the gamut from gentle but ineffective, to extremely harsh and damaging. The sweet spot is products that encourage improved skin function using ingredients proven to clear skin without damaging it. Look for active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic and glycolic acids (an AHA and BHA, respectively), and sulfur, in nurturing, hydrating formulations that include pure aloe vera, antioxidants, and soothing botanical extracts.
It's also important to note that there are four main causes of acne. If the product you're using isn't formulated to treat the cause of your acne, it won't clear your skin.
2. You Haven't Given Your Current Acne Treatment Regimen Enough Time
While we all wish that acne treatments starting clearing our skin within hours of applying them, the truth is that it generally takes up to four weeks of consistent use before our skin starts improving. For many individuals, breakouts may actually worsen within the first few weeks of using a new acne treatment as your skin adjusts. Patience is key! Come to terms with the fact that it will take a bit of time to reach your skin goals.
3. You Are Overdoing Your Acne Regimen
We've all been there - so desperate for clear skin that we get a bit overzealous and start using too much product, too often. Doing so can cause inflammation, one of the four main causes of acne, which just starts the acne cycle all over again or causes it to worsen. For best results, follow the usage guidelines on the product packaging, which takes us to the next item . . .
4. You Aren't Following the Directions
We get that skin care product use is pretty intuitive. You generally either apply and wash off or massage into the skin. However, it's important to fully read the product directions before you begin using an acne treatment product. Products that you assume should be washed off sometimes must be left on the skin and vice versa, while some products must be applied to the entire face instead of just to active blemishes.
5. Your Makeup Is to Blame
You can use the world's most effective acne treatment but if you're still applying acne-causing makeup on top of it, breakouts are bound to continue. Look for makeup labeled "non-comedogenic," which signifies it is less likely to clog pores. Also be sure to apply makeup with clean hands and brushes. Makeup brushes should be washed weekly with a gentle facial cleanser.
6. You're Picking at Your Skin
It's hard not to pop pimples and pick at your skin when you have acne, but doing so can make the condition so much worse. Bacteria introduced into the pore can form an infection, which leads to inflammation, which causes a worsening of blemishes. In the end, the pimple may take longer to heal than if you wouldn't have touched it in the first place. If you absolutely can't keep your hands off your face, learn how to pop a pimple properly. (Say that three times fast!)
7. Your Pillowcases Need to Be Laundered
Think for a moment about all that accumulates on our pillow over the course of several days - hair care products, makeup (please tell us you wash your face before bed!), sweat, saliva, dirt, bacteria and skin oils. Now consider that you spend hours each night with your face pressed up against all that and you can see how it could worsen acne. Your skin will be happiest if you change your pillowcase weekly.
8. Your Diet And/Or Stress Are Factors
As mentioned earlier, there are four main causes of acne that directly lead to the development of blemishes. However, there are many secondary factors that may trigger them to occur in some individuals. Among these is the consumption of dairy, sugar and white bread. (Learn more about the acne and diet connection.) Additionally, stress activates increased sebum production, which may exacerbate breakouts. Keep calm by practicing yoga or meditation.
9. You're Actually Having an Allergic Reaction
Certain allergic reactions can cause bumps on the skin that are a dead-ringer for acne. While it can often be difficult to tell the difference, allergic reactions are often itchy. Another sign that it could be an allergy? Blemishes always appear in the same spot. The best way to know for sure if it's acne or an allergic reaction is by seeing a dermatologist.
10. There's a Larger Issue
Acne can be a symptom of a number of medical conditions, including hormonal conditions like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and adrenal hyperplasia. It can also be a side effect of taking medications, such as certain corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, and immunosuppressants. To rule out any medications you're taking as the culprit, see your dermatologist.
If you're still looking for an acne solution, learn more about the Lexli Acne Kit, which features a base of organic, pharmaceutical-grade aloe vera and is physician-formulated to treat all of the main causes of acne.
Interested in learning more? Download your free copy of the acne guide written by Lexli founder and lead product formulator, Dr. Ahmed Abdullah!