Having clear smooth skin is a priority for many of us. But unfortunately due to a variety of reasons, acne and pimples can plague us well into adulthood, And while we believe every person is uniquely beautiful, having acne whether it be on your face or elsewhere can wreak havoc on your self-esteem and interaction with others. Many of us think these pesky blemishes are supposed to be a thing of the past, but with 50 million Americans affected by acne annually, and it being the most common skin condition in the United States, it’s clearly a problem that affects many of us. So we’re diving into the difference between acne and pimples, causes for why you may be having breakouts and 4 home remedies for acne you can use depending on what type of breakout is occurring.
What’s the difference between acne and pimples?
You’ve surely heard a lot of words thrown around when it comes to these facial blemishes: acne, pimples, zits, blackheads, and whiteheads. But do you know the difference? A pimple, or a zit, is a hard, inflamed spot on the skin that can come in many shapes and sizes. It can be a blackhead, a whitehead, a tender red bump, or a large, red inflamed nodule. A pimple is made up of debris and bacteria, which can spread to another pore, causing another pimple.
When one suddenly becomes sore, you are experiencing a breakout, and when you have multiple pimples at once that persist, you are experiencing acne. When you have acne the areas affected are often sore and inflamed.
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What causes acne and/or breakouts?
The skin is made up of an average of five million pores, with approximately 20,000 on the face alone. Every single pore is the opening to a follicle, which is made up of hair and an oil gland. The gland releases oil that travels up to the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin, keeping your skin moisturized and soft. A pimple occurs when the pore becomes blocked with oil, dead skin or bacteria.
Acne can occur during this lubrication process when too much oil is produced by your follicles; when dead skin accumulates in your pores; or when bacteria builds up in your pores. Pimples surface as a result of bacteria growing in a clogged pore and the oil not being able to escape.
Young people are most prone to acne during puberty, but for others experiencing a sudden breakout, or persistent acne, there are a lot of factors involved.
One of the most common triggers is hormonal changes. A spike in testosterone can increase oil production, for instance, which can result in a clogged pore. This most likely occurs just before a woman’s period.
Another common trigger is a poor diet. Simple carbs and sugar, such as pasta, bread and candy, can spark the skin’s inflammatory response, resulting in a breakout. Dairy is another big offender, due to the hormones present in non-organic products from hormone-fed animals.
Stressed out? There’s a pimple for that — surely. The reason you may breakout when dealing with this mental issue is the result of the release of the hormone cortisol, which tells your body to generate more oil, which ultimately builds up and clogs pores.
How can you treat each of these causes naturally?
Because skin varies from person to person, with some people having naturally dry skin, others oily, and some a combination, treatments can vary, but it’s important for all people to avoid picking blemishes, over cleaning with harsh chemicals, eating a diet high in processed foods, dehydrating yourself, and not allowing your skin to adapt to new skin care.
Though there are various prescription medications and over-the-counter options, they can be ineffective, and expensive at best. What about heading into your kitchen or garden to utilize Mother Earth’s bountiful remedies?
1) Homemade Honey Face Wash
To prevent and treat the random stubborn pimple, blackhead, whitehead, or breakout, try gentle cleansing with a homemade honey face wash made of 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil and 3 tablespoons honey.
2) Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
If you have chronic acne, it could be the result of bacteria and fungi that can spread and grow on the surface of the skin. Using apple cider vinegar by applying it to a cotton ball and smoothing over the skin can help to restore the skin’s natural pH levels while also killing bacteria.
Combine 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 20 drops melaleuca essential oil, and 2 capsules of live probiotics. Simply mix all ingredients together, pour into a bottle and use as needed.
3) Yogurt and Honey Hydration Mask
If you are failing to stay hydrated, resulting in acne, hydrating the skin is the best way to heal. Make a yogurt and honey mask by mixing one tablespoon of raw honey with one tablespoon of yogurt, then apply to face, and leave on for 10 minutes. Both ingredients have been shown to not just hydrate, but diminish acne as well.
4) Aloe Vera Spot Treatment
Spot treatments are great for hormonal acne, which premenopausal women often get around their period, usually in the jawline area. Aloe vera has been shown to kill off bacteria in clogged pores, while also providing a protective layer over the skin to promote healing.
You can buy aloe vera products from the grocery store, or make your own treatment at home by removing a whole leaf from the aloe plant. Make a slit down the middle to release the latex, the yellow fluid that can cause irritation and inflammation, then cut off the jagged edges of the leaf, removing its thick skin. Scrape off any additional latex from the gel core of the leaf, then remove a piece of the gel and apply directly to the problem area.
How Can Acne Be Prevented?
It can be difficult to stop acne from occurring, but taking the proper steps to promote skin health is a good place to start. Washing your face twice a day, removing makeup and cleaning your skin before bed, showering after exercise, eating a healthy diet with minimal refined sugars, identifying and reducing problem ingredients such as dairy, and reducing stress are all beneficial. Plus, it never hurts to wash your pillow case more frequently!