Breakouts: Causes & Prevention

Breakouts: Causes and Prevention

Dermatologist Dr.Lydia Evans answers common questions

What causes acne breakouts?
Breakouts occur when dead skin cells clump together and mix with sebum (natural oil) in the pore. When these blocked secretions mix with bacteria, pimples form.

Does everyone break out?
Unfortunately, almost everyone does break out, at least occasionally. Almost everyone between the ages of 12 and 17 (and even adults) will have some sort of breakout. Hormone levels rise and cause breakouts no matter what kind of skin you have.

My mom had acne as a teenager. Does that mean I'll get it?
Heredity can play a role in whether you have acne, but fortunately there's something you can do about it. Using cleansers will help combat clogged pores and blemishes and help you keep your skin clear.

When washing my face, is it better to use a washcloth or use my hands?
Overall, hands are better, but if you prefer a washcloth, try not to use the same one more than once because bacteria from a dirty cloth can cause breakouts.

If I get a pimple, is it okay to squeeze it?
No. Never pick at an acne blemish. It can cause scarring and take the spot even longer to go away. Besides, it can spread harmful bacteria to other pores, making even more blemishes.

Is there a link between hormones and breakouts?
There is definitely a link between hormones and breakouts. Stress elevates hormone levels, which in turn may cause pimples to form. In addition, if you're stressed, you might do things like pick at blemishes or rub your face. These kinds of things could lead to even more blemishes.

Is there anything I can do to avoid breakouts?
In order to avoid breakouts, be sure to use products formulated for young skin--not the stuff your mom uses. Gently scrub the t-zone regularly to help unclog pores and, as much as possible, try to avoid touching your face. Also be on the lookout for hair touching your face: if you can, avoid bangs because the oil from your hair can sometimes cause blemishes.

At what age will I stop having breakouts?
Breakouts don't just occur between the ages of 12 and 17; they can happen even after you've reached adulthood.

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