Acne is one of the leading causes of low self-esteem and self-image among teenagers—but this condition isn’t a problem that goes away with age. In fact, millions of adults also experience the occasional acne breakout and the dread that comes along with it. Even so, we have yet to identify all of the potential causes of these blemishes, and we’re left wondering whether we can actually prevent them at all. Fortunately, we do know what physically causes flare ups to occur, making it possible to protect ourselves from some of the major triggers. This is the science behind acne breakouts and what you can do to limit your chances of future skin inflammation.

Understanding the Sebaceous Glands

In order to fully understand how acne occurs, it’s vital that you first have a fundamental knowledge of your body’s sebaceous glands. Otherwise known are oil glands, these small sacs are connected to each follicle located at the base of your hairs. They produce an oily liquid called sebum, which supplies the skin with moisture and lubrication. Sebum is crucial for keeping your skin adequately hydrated and, therefore, your skin cells healthy. It’s also important to note that sebaceous glands exist all over the body to ensure that all your cells are adequately maintained.

Contributions to Acne Breakouts

Now, this may pose the question of what this information has to do with acne breakouts. For starters, when sebaceous glands produce sebum, they do so through the pores. This makes it very easy for the oil to combine with dead skin cells along the skin’s surface and the dirt from your environment. The combination creates a substance that clogs the pore itself and eventually causes it to become infected. This infection grows until it begins to irritate the rest of the surrounding skin—resulting in the enflamed red bumps we know as acne.

Additional Risk Factors

But the science behind acne breakouts doesn’t end here. In fact, several other factors in our lives contribute to acne in some way. Genetics, hormones, stress, and even your diet can all have an effect on how your sebaceous glands produce oil. This is because they’re capable of triggering spikes in your body’s chemical makeup and promoting an increased rate of sebum production. Stress and anxiety are particularly harmful to your skin health, as they activate the production of all chemicals designed to protect the body—sebum included.

Acne Prevention Tips

Now that you’re better informed on why your body develops acne and how this process occurs, it’s important to get an idea of what you can do about it. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee you’ll never have a breakout again. However, by knowing what some of your potential breakout triggers are, you stand a better chance at slowing them down or decreasing their severity. These are some things you can do on your own to mitigate the development of acne on your skin.

Wash Your Face Correctly

Dirt and sweat are two of the primary substances that get trapped in pores along with sebum. As such, it’s crucial that you wash your face regularly and properly to prevent buildup. This means washing twice a day with a gentle, oil-free cleanser. It’s important to mention you shouldn’t be scrubbing hard at your face, as this can also irritate your skin. Instead, lather the wash over skin, and gently wash it off with water or a cloth.

It’s also crucial that the cleanser you choose isn’t too harsh on your skin. By nature, these products are meant to remove all the dirt and grime from the skin’s surface. However, this can also leave your skin dry and deprived of essential moisture—prompting your sebaceous glands to produce even more oil. Therefore, using a gentle cleanser now can save you from additional trouble later.

Avoid Products That Use Oil

You’ll also want to avoid using products that contain a lot of oil—this is especially vital for any makeup you wear. The additional oils in products can mix with the sebum already present on your skin. This leaves a residue on your face that can seep into your pores and clog them.

In the interest of limiting the amount of oil on the surface of your skin, you should also use products that dissolve the oil. Certain acne creams have specialized ingredients that eat away at sebum molecules and leave your skin a bit dryer.

Limit Sugar in Your Diet

As we mentioned, even your diet can affect how often or how bad your breakouts are. This is because specific chemicals in food can cause your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Sugar is one such substance. When you eat large quantities of processed sugar, your body’s insulin levels begin to spike. This reaction excites the sebaceous glands, which, in turn, increases the rate at which they release oil into your pores. Other chemicals incite this reaction as well, but sugar is one of the top contenders.

Reduce Your Stress

Most importantly, if you want to prevent new acne breakouts from forming, you’re going to need to cut back on stress. A prolonged feeling of distress can have a multitude of different effects on the body. However, it primarily diminishes the body’s ability to respond to infection. Since acne blemishes themselves stem from minor infections, stressed bodies have a less effective means to fight them off. This leads you to develop harsher acne than you would have otherwise and causes your breakouts to last much longer. Find some ways to incorporate relaxation into your daily life—it can have a larger impact than you’d expect.

There’s no failproof cure for acne, but we at Flawless Beauty and Skin aim to get as close as we can. Each of our skin care products for acne is backed by years of clinical trials and research. As such, they’re full of the ingredients that have shown the most promise in slowing the development of these blemishes. Some of our top formulas include salicylic acid, retinol, and various vitamins and minerals to promote the overall health of your skin. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about our products, and see your doctor for advice on your personal skin ailments.