How To Deal With Stress Acne (Without Stressing Out)
When you’re stressed, breakouts are the last thing you want to deal with. Unfortunately, for women in particular, the two go hand in hand.
Here’s a little science lesson for you: “When your brain perceives stress, it sends a messenger to your adrenal gland that makes it secrete a hormone called cortisol,” says New York-based dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz. When cortisol is created, he explains, “a tiny bit of testosterone leaks out of the adrenal gland as well. [This produces] a major increase in a woman’s blood testosterone level which causes glands to create excess oil.” And, as you know, excess oil equals acne.
So what can you do about it? Says Dr. Schultz, stress-related breakouts tend to take the form of inflammatory acne, meaning red, rashy pimples, pus-filled pimples and cysts—not blackheads or whiteheads. It’s best then, to treat accordingly. Dr. Schultz recommends using a chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid or a cleanser with a mild dosage of salicylic acid. (To avoid further irritating the skin, start with one percent, he says). Drying creams and masks, tea tree oil and hydrocolloid bandages are also excellent options for combating flare-ups.
Keeping up with good daily habits is essential as well. When you’re under pressure, it’s all too easy to skimp on sleep and make poor eating choices. Unconsciously, you might even be touching or picking at your face more frequently. All of these factors stand between you and a clear complexion.
Of course, there’s no better way to treat stress acne than to simply (or not so simply) chill out. Mediate, exercise, embark on a weekend getaway…remember: It’s just a pimple.
Does SPF 30 Really Protect You All Day?
There’s a lot of confusion about what SPF really means. So let’s just clear something up: It is not an indicator of how long you can stay out in the sun.
“Studies have shown that SPF’s efficacy stays steady for about an hour, and then begins to drop after an hour because UV rays break down many sunscreen ingredients,” says Jill Weinstein, a dermatologist and instructor of clinical dermatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. It’s why you should reapply sunscreen every two hours or after you sweat or swim (whichever comes first).
Here’s what SPF really means: It’s the percentage of UVB rays—which are the sun’s burning rays—that the sunscreen blocks. It’s not indicative of the percentage of skin-aging UVA rays that the formula protects against, which is another reason to reapply often and choose a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection. To get really specific about what SPF means, the percent breakdown is this: SPF 15 protects against 93 percent of UVB rays; SPF 30 guards against 97 percent, and SPF 50 is about 98 percent. The difference sounds negligible, but not so much when you reverse it (because, duh, two percent of UVB rays get by SPF 50, while seven percent can get by SPF 15). And this next part is really key: Almost no one puts on enough SPF 30 (half a teaspoon for your face) to get the full SPF. “It’s impossible to get the SPF on the label without really caking it on,” says Darrell S. Rigel, a dermatologist in New York City. And since that’s not happening, go with SPF 50 or higher. We like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 55, because it’s light and sheer for such a high SPF. “Be careful not to miss frequently overlooked spots, like between the eyebrows and around the nostrils and eyes,” says Vivian Bucay, a dermatologist in San Antonio.
The Clear Skin Solution
Let’s face it: acne is no fun and it doesn’t discriminate. Over 85% of people between the ages of 12-25 suffer from this unsightly skin condition which can leave them feeling self conscious and depressed.
While there are many causes and factors to consider, luckily there are also a variety of solutions:
1. Choose Breathable Makeup
If you insist on wearing makeup to conceal your acne, it is essential that you use the proper cover-up to ensure you aren’t perpetuating the state of your skin.
Look for products that are non-comedogenic and breathable. At Q Esthetics, we recommend Lycogel Breathable Camouflage. This hypoallergenic makeup promotes skin repair, while disguising your blemishes.
2. Clean your screen
Living in the age of technology means we are constantly attached to our smart phones. With all the texting, tweeting and tagging, our phones are the one thing we incessantly touch before and after contact with germ-infested door handles, buzzers, bathrooms and common objects.
It’s no wonder that a simple act like answering the phone can cause major damage to an already acne-prone face.
Keep your screen clean, use Bluetooth or speakerphone where possible and practice holding your phone slightly away from your face. It could make all the difference for your skin.
3. Quality over Quantity
If you’re suffering from acne, chances are you’ve tried everything. It’s easy to spend a small fortune on drugstore brands that just don’t get to the source.
Make sure to consult with a skincare professional to help get you started on an acne system. Many skin care clinics carry medical grade products that are considerably more active then anything you can purchase at your local drugstore.
Although these skin care systems can be more costly, they are sure to be more effective in their delivery of active ingredients – thus saving you money in the long run.
4. Be Consistent
Everyone wants instant gratification; however, good things come to those who wait! Eliminating acne takes time and consistency.
It’s important that you develop a strict skincare regimen if you want to reap all the benefits. Results won’t be optimal until after a full cycle of skin-cell turnover occurs. This can take between 6-8 weeks, so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t getting the results you want over night. Consistency is the key to clear skin.
5. Seek Treatment
So you’ve tried everything and now you’re ready to pull out the big guns? Laser acne treatments are a highly effective way of targeting the active acne by eliminating blemish-causing bacteria and slowing down overactive sebaceous glands. Many clients start to see improvement in as little as a single session. Laser treatments are a powerful way to terminate your acne issues altogether, with no downtime.
Remember: Nothing lasts forever and there is no reason your acne has to!
I’ve never had this shiny and smooth skin
“I’ve been suffering from pimples for almost a year. Ever since we moved here to Canada. I’ve tried every single possible acne treatment (over the counter or those expensive ones) nothing really made my skin better. Possibly, it only made my face worse until I tried visiting Q Esthetics. Marcela O. recommended me to use Obagi Clenziderm Acne Treatment System. She also advised me to eat “real” foods (fish, veggies, fruits) plus my healthy living routines and voila! In just 1 week (I swear) it looks so so much better than the first day/time we met. I should have took a photo to prove it to you. Nevertheless, I am very much grateful for this. I’ve never had this shiny and smooth skin. I hope to maintain it in the future by the help of my specialist and Q Esthetics :)”
Trizia Erica Casimiro – Toronto – Acne Treatment
July 19, 2014
How to Prevent Acne Scars
The Proactive Guide to Keeping a Fresh Face
While having acne can be a harrowing time in any teenager’s life, having acne scars results in lifelong embarrassment and self-consciousness. And while there are treatments available for getting rid of acne scars, they can be costly and a hassle to go through. A better option for eliminating acne scars is learning how to prevent them altogether. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure.
How to Prevent Acne Scars from Forming with Existing Acne
If you already have a breakout, here are some great tips that will help keep it a temporary nuisance by preventing acne scars from ever developing:
- At the first sign of a breakout, start treating your acne right away. Cleanse the area daily with a mild, oil-free soap and use over-the-counter treatments or prescriptions from your doctor. Never ignore pimples and zits, waiting for them to go away on their own.
- Of course, treating your pimples, zits and whiteheads doesn’t mean squeezing or popping – this process is to be left to the professionals! When performed by a skilled skin specialist, acne extractions can do wonders to clear up a breakout. Home extractions on the other hand, will usually have the opposite effect. When you pop or squeeze a pimple, the bacteria inside (often in the form of pus) can be forced deeper down into the follicle. This can create inflammation, a bigger pimple, infection and ultimately, scarring.
- Likewise, don’t pick at scabs either. This should be common sense since virtually any scab you pick at—not just acne scabs—will cause scarring.
- Further, don’t scrub the skin excessively, use harsh skin care products or do anything that will worsen the inflammation around your acne. Inflamed pimples and zits are more likely than non-inflamed breakouts to cause scarring.
- Finally, if you’ve experienced acne scarring before, always consult your doctor during breakouts. This is especially true for larger, more serious breakouts such as cysts or deep nodules. These are the most dangerous types of acne when it comes to leaving scars since any infection will kill all the skin tissue around the acne. Doctors can easily help prevent this, but only if you go see them.
Taking it One Step Further—How to Avoid Acne Altogether
Of course, learning how to prevent acne scars wouldn’t be a big deal if you didn’t have to deal with the underlying cause of scarring: the acne itself. To take the preventative method one level deeper, try these simple ways you can prevent pimples, zits and breakouts from ever occurring:
- Wash your face regularly with an anti-bacterial, oil-free soap. The soap should be mild and gentle on your skin, and not contain any scents or artificial coloring.
- Avoid greasy foods, not only because touching your skin with greasy fingers can clog your pores, but the unhealthy side-effects of these food work on your body from the inside, creating an environment that is ripe for acne growth.
- Avoid oil-based sunscreen, but do apply sunscreen regularly to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
- Get enough sleep at night and exercise during the day. Sleep helps your body deal with bacterial infections while exercise will help you sweat, unclogging your pores.
As long as you are diligent, acne scars should be a thing of the past—not your future. To find out how you can get rid of existing acne scars, click here right now and don’t suffer from embarrassing blemishes and scarring for one more day.