Are you a man with acne? Here’s some tips for coping that don’t require medication.
Acne is a sensitive subject. It also can be embarrassing. Some guys might think that acne is a rite of passage or that it’s perfectly normal to experience breakouts long into your adult life.
That’s only partly true. Pimples are a part of life for most people, but there are several factors that determine how many breakouts you get and how severe they can be.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly 50 million people in this country alone are affected by acne each year.
A breakout can be embarrassing and lead to loss of productivity, low self-esteem, and costly medical treatments.
The AAD estimates that in 2013 the cost associated with treating acne exceeded a billion dollars. Accutane is the most typical treatment, along with over-the-counter salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide creams. However, you can improve acne without medication.
First, you need to understand what causes acne. Contrary to popular belief it’s not hereditary. Just because your parents had acne doesn’t mean you have to have it, too. It’s caused by an over-production of oil that’s triggered by a build up of the testosterone hormone and cortisol.
Also, dead skin cells that line the pores can clog up your follicles. That combination of oil and dead skin cells cause inflammation and produce the ideal conditions for the acne bacterium Propionibacterium acnes to thrive and multiply.
The best thing you can do to alleviate acne without medication is to simply stop worrying about it. In fact, there is a direct correlation between your stress levels and the severity of your breakouts.
At the AAD’s Summer Academy Meeting in 2011, dermatologist and clinical psychologist Richard G. Fried, MD, PhD, FAAD published research suggesting that chemical neuropeptides create inflammation of the skin and induce acne flareups due to stress.
These neuropeptides are meant to create a defensive barrier for the body to fight diseases and injuries, but Fried’s research found that anger, anxiety and depression cause the improper release of these chemicals.
Also, stress increases the amount of cortisol that your body produces. Cortisol produces sebum – you know that waxy, whitish, mystery gunk that comes out of your pores.
So, one way you can reduce acne without medication is to just relax, take a yoga class, or simply try to have more fun. Worrying about your acne will only make it worse.
If you have time, check out this post on stress pimples to learn more.
Change Your Diet
The foods you eat are like a double-edged sword. They can promote wellness, but they can also harm your body and create chemical imbalances. Are the foods you’re eating causing you to have more acne? The research says yes.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology found that foods with high-glycemic carbohydrates and fats cause the skin to excrete excess levels of oil.
Foods with a high glycemic index are potatoes, rice, white bread, and even honey. A similar study corroborated those findings by reducing acne in participants who went on a low-glycemic, protein-rich diet for a period of 12 weeks.
Also, if you are sensitive to iodine, eating fish that is high in iodine such as salmon and certain shellfish should be avoided.
Although there is no food cure to acne you can reduce acne without medication if you eat foods like lentils, soy products and bananas, and stay away from the processed, sugary foods that cause your skin cells to produce too much oil.
Monitor Your Skincare Products
Men need to maintain healthy skincare just as much as women, and using skincare products is not just for the ladies. You might think that because you’re using some form of skincare product that you’re improving your acne, but that’s not necessarily true.
All skincare products aren’t created equal. This is particularly true for certain types of washes and face moisturizers designed for men.
Some foundations and moisturizers contain certain parobins, lanolins and dyes. They can irritate your skin, actually clog your pores and create the conditions for acne bacteria to grow.
Also, if you’re not properly washing your face and neck every day, then your pores will get clogged.
What you want to look for in your skincare products are simple ingredients that are labeled as non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, or mineral-based.
I personally use a moisturizer from Simple. It’s a light SPF15 that doesn’t contain lanolin or any type of artificial colors, perfumes or dyes.
Get Some Rest
Sleep is like maintenance time for your body. Cells get repaired at night and you wake up feeling refreshed when you get the right amount of sleep. You can improve your acne without medication by getting better quality sleep and changing some of your night time habits.
For starters, when was the last time you changed your pillowcase?
You spend six to eight hours with your face pressed against it, and you’re exposing your skin to harmful bacteria. If you can, try to change out that pillowcase at least every other night.
Lack of sleep in of itself doesn’t cause acne, but it does cause stress. It’s a snowball effect that will ultimately lead to more breakouts.
If you have serious acne, then you might not be able to avoid using prescription Accutane or some form of over-the-counter salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide creams.
Acne is a medical condition, so be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before you begin a new health regimen or stop taking any medications. Most people have mild acne and it can be treated with changes to your lifestyle.
Lowering your stress levels, eating low-glycemic foods, using simple skincare products, and having good quality sleep will help you reduce acne without the costly medications.
Be consistent and you’ll see noticeable results in no time. Remember, if you are concerned about any aspect of your skin or something doesn’t seem right, make an appointment with a dermatologist.