Acne is a pain the backside, particularly when you’re supposedly now a “grown-up”. Here are some likely causes and their solutions.
Your morning shave doesn’t need to cause acne if you do it right — a smooth, one-pass shave shouldn’t irritate the skin and trigger a break-out. Softening your stubble with a warm, wet towel or a shower, lathering up a quality shaving cream, and using a razor-sharp blade are the keys to the kind of shave that won’t leave your face red, sore, and pimply.
Mineral oil, for example, is a heavy ingredient found in many moisturisers that clogs your pores and causes break-outs, as is silicon — so if you’re prone to ace, look for products with ‘non-comedogenic’, ‘oil-free’, or ‘water-based’ on the label so you know the lotion has been specially formulated to keep your pores clear. Consult a dermatologist if you’re having trouble finding the right product.
Remove all the dirt and bacteria and grime threatening to clog your pores with a thorough clean — face and body, to avoid the dreaded ‘back-ne’ — in the shower, especially after a sweaty workout. Be wary of scrubbing too hard, though — stripping all the natural oil off your face can force the body to overcompensate and produce too much oil in response.
Long hours at work or tension in your personal life can imbalance your hormones, forcing a spike to your testosterone and a release or cortisol that stimulates your oil glands and triggers breakouts. Anything that helps you feel more calm is a good way of fighting stress-induced pimples — exercise, meditation, more sleep, battering a punching bag with a cricket bat, whatever. Just avoid a cigarette . . .
As if you needed another reason to give up the gaspers, smoking is terrible for your skin — it decreases the amount of oxygen your face receives, it erodes the collagen and elastin that keeps your skin looking healthy and young, it causes wrinkles, it irritates your skin, and it also dries it out, which prompts your glands to produce more oil, leading to more pimples.