How Basic Hygiene, Cosmetics, Dark Skin, and Diet Effect Acne

Health & FitnessBeauty

  • Author Stephen Seabrook
  • Published March 14, 2008
  • Word count 1,287

Acne and Basic Hygiene:

Dirt does not cause acne. That is one of the very basic concepts that most acne sufferers need to accept and understand. Keeping your face clean will greatly help to make acne outbreaks occur less frequently and with less severity. The fact that your face gets dirty is not the cause of acne.

Facial cleansing is particularly important for those who are generally prone to acne, like teenagers. The facial cleansing for the prevention of acne outbreaks and while an outbreak is occurring needs to be a specific and recurring 7 step process as defined below.

  1. Wash your hands first. Is that surprising? It shouldn't be. Your hands are about to come in contact with your face. The first thing you need to do is scrub your hands and be sure that your nails are clean as well.

  2. The next thing that you need to do is to secure your hair either in a hairnet, a shower cap or a headband. Pull your hair away from your face and firmly secure it.

  3. Wet your face with warm (not hot) water and apply the soap or facial cleansing product as directed on the packaging. Never use more or less of the product than is recommended.

  4. Using only your fingertips (NOT a washcloth), gently massage the cleanser into your face. Use a circular motion and be sure that you go all the way to the hairline. Pay particular attention to the areas of your face where you most often see pimples. Hard scrubbing is counterproductive. Be very gentle.

  5. Rinse your face thoroughly by splashing it with warm water. Don't take a shortcut here. Rinse your face until all traces of the cleanser are gone.

  6. Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel. Don't rub your face and never use the same towel more than once.

  7. Allow your face to air dry for at least 15 minutes before you apply acne medications or moisturizers.

Acne and Cosmetics:

Acne! The very word strikes fear and thoughts of never having a steady boy friend into every teenage girl across America and the world! Is there a teenage girl who has NOT been affected by acne.....No!

It doesn't matter much that it affects anywhere from 95 of girls, when it happens to any one of them, you would think that they were the only girl who had ever had a zit.

Teenage boys hate acne just as much as teenage girls hate it. Boys just suffer through it but girls turn to cosmetics to try to hide it.

There is nothing wrong with a teenage girl or a young woman trying to make an acne outbreak appear less noticeable. It is a perfectly natural thing to do.

Girls use cosmetics to enhance their appearances...make their lips redder or fuller, to give their cheeks a healthy glow, and make their eyelashes appear beautiful, so covering up an acne blemish is the next logical step.

The cosmetic industry knows that covering blemishes ranks right up there with rosy cheeks so they have developed products like a concealer that is designed specifically for covering up blemishes.

Concealer's come in many forms. Some of them are in tubes like lipstick while some of them are in bottles like other liquid make up base products. Still others are in cake form like pressed face powder.

The one thing that all teenage girls and young women do need to remember when they use these products is that they need to be thoroughly cleaned off their face before going to bed. If left on the face, these products will contribute to clogging pores and intensify the acne outbreak.

The bottom line here is that using concealer products is just fine. If it makes you feel better about yourself, then go for it but before you go to bed, use your facial wash. Clean your face completely, pat it dry with a clean towel and apply your acne fighting medications.

Acne and Dark Skin:

People of African, Latino or Indian decent have skin pigmentation that is darker than those who are of European decent. The treatment of any skin disease is often based on the color of the skin.

Some cosmetic procedures, for example, cannot be used on skin with dark pigmentation because it will leave light spots.

In actuality, acne is an equal opportunity disease. The color of one's skin has no bearing whatsoever on whether a person will have acne. Treating acne is based upon the type of acne it is and what the most effective treatment options are for the particular type of acne that is present in each patient.

Many acne medications make the skin sensitive to excessive sun exposure. This has nothing to do with the color of the skin. The sensitivity is simply a side effect of the medications.

People with darker skin complexions are not usually as prone to sunburn as those with lighter complexions but these medications make dark skin as susceptible to sun damage as their lighter skin friends.

A sun blocking product with an SPF factor of at least 25 is recommended when there will be prolonged sunlight exposure.

There is one type of acne that often afflicts only those who are of African heritage. This type of acne is called Pomade Acne.

Pomade acne is caused by a hair care product that is designed to straighten very curly hair. The product has a very heavy oil base and should be kept off of the skin as much as is possible.

The pigmentation in very dark skin can get darker after an inflammation is cleared up. This is called 'post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation'....which means increased pigmentation following inflammation.

The spots will gradually return to their normal color over time but a dermatologist can prescribe medication which will hasten the process.

Acne and Diet:

The general medical consensus is that diet does not cause acne; but, there are those who disagree with this assessment and assert that diet has everything to do with acne.

For many years it was generally accepted everywhere by everyone that consumption of chocolate and junk food was what actually caused acne or had a positive effect on the severity of acne.

That theory has been proven to not be true by modern research; but, there are those who claim that the research is faulty and that acne is, in fact, if not caused by diet is at least exacerbated by diet.

Refined sugar is believed to be one of the major contributing factors of how severe a case of acne will become by those who adhere to the belief that food and acne are related.

These sources say that you should reduce your intake of refined sugars and substitute artificial sweeteners or natural sweeteners like honey for all refined sugar in your diet to help reduce the severity of acne out-breaks.

Another dietary culprit is believed to be nuts, or rather the oil that is found in nuts and especially peanuts. Those who have acne, says the proponents of the diet/acne connection should avoid peanuts in all forms including peanut butter.

Another recommendation is that milk should be used only in very small amounts and intake should be greatly restricted. Milk comes from cows, usually pregnant cows and contains large amounts of hormones that are believed to actually be one of the causes of acne.

The anti-acne diet that is recommended is high in salmon, halibut, tuna, sardines, fresh organically grown vegetables, and whole grains. The fish that are recommended are all very high in omega-3 which is known to promote healthy skin. This diet is a very healthy one and whether it actually prevents acne or not, it is a good one.


Stephen M. Seabrook, MBA

President, Nice Specialty Gifts, L.L.C.

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