How to curb acne? Dr. Aafreen Mirza

Acne Q&A by Dr. Aafreen Mirza

An interview with our expert: Dr. Aafreen Mirza, BAMS. (Dermatologist). Mac Care Hospital. Ahmedabad, India.

Q1. Is age a concerning factor for triggering acnes?

Acne is not a serious condition at all and 2 out of 3 people are affected with this. Though it is treatable and is not very harmful, it can leave scars and that is why people are afraid to have acne. It occurs because the top layer of skin produces sebum which can clog in facial hair follicle pores resulting in bacterial inflammation and we term that as Acne. It can be triggered by age because hormones play a vital role in occurrence of acne. Age is definitely a concerning factor for triggering acne and commonly starts during puberty between the ages of 10 and 13 because that is the time when sebaceous glands are most active. But it will be wrong to assume that acne isn't caused in later stages of life. There are various triggering factors for acne like rise in hormonal levels due to some medications, oily skin, stress, greasy cosmetics, bad skin care etc.

Q2. What all lifestyle changes cause acne?

Acne is majorly triggered by hormonal imbalance- mainly androgen. Androgen is found in males and with puberty it changes to estrogen in females. Lifestyle changes can cause androgen levels in the body to rise, resulting in active sebaceous glands which can cause acne. 

  1. Stress can cause acne and we know that it’s hard to believe but it does cause hormonal imbalance in your body.
  2. Smoking not only causes imbalance but the smoke itself pollutes your face and gives the possibility of infecting facial pores. 
  3. Sleeping with makeup clogs your pores and does not allow your skin to breathe which increases the risk of acne. 
  4. Excessive cleansing can remove the protective layer of your skin, resulting in the same being vulnerable and exposed. 
  5. Alcohol Consumption and sleep deprivation are directly linked to hormonal imbalance. 
  6. Not washing your pillow case is a major cause of acne because dead skin cells which are shred daily from your face accumulate on it, increasing risk of infection.   
  7. Consumption of certain medications without a dermatologist consultation can create another risk of hormonal imbalance in your body so avoid doing that. 
  8. Lastly, not maintaining local hygiene is another risk factor which gives rise to acne because of high chances of inflammation.

Q3. Can make-up cause acne?

Our face naturally needs to breathe and the air flow should be maintained to keep it healthy. When we put moisturisers, they are absorbed into the skin and do not cover it totally. Makeup on the other hand, covers your skin’s top layer, leaving no scope for your skin to breathe. So, yes, makeup causes acne. This condition is called Acne cosmetica and it occurs due to overuse of foundations and similar cosmetic products which cover your skin completely. Acne cosmetica can lead to skin irritation and breakouts. Ingredients present in cosmetic products such as Benzaldehyde, Silicones, Sodium Chloride etc. trigger acne and therefore, one shouldn’t apply makeup very frequently or keep it on for long hours. After applying makeup, proper cleansing is a must to unclog your facial pores and to let skin breathe. To avoid breakouts, drink lots of water and try to keep your skin bare with just a moisturiser.

Q4. If someone has oily skin, can they apply moisturiser?

Every skin type needs moisturisation, even oily skin too. Oil production in skin shouldn’t be the only source of moisturisation and external nourishment should be considered essential. External factors such as pollution, UV rays, and excessive cleansing can damage skin's moisture barrier, causing loss of moisture and an increase in oil production. So, to avoid excessive oil production, make sure to keep your skin nourished and hydrated to not let your skin doesn’t trigger its oil glands to do the same because when that happens, it’s out of control. That's why you should use a moisturiser for oily, acne-prone skin after proper cleansing just as you would moisturise a dry skin.

Q5. What all should one do to get rid of acne scars, are there some natural remedies to cure it?

There are a lot of remedies available but everything depends on your skin type. Each remedy gives different results on different skin because every skin is unique in its own way. Few Natural remedies to cure acne scars are application of-

  1. Wild turmeric with curd.
  2. Licorice powder
  3. Fullers earth powder
  4. Rose water
  5. Aloe vera etc.

Q6. We all know lactose triggers acne - what all food can we avoid to reduce the situation?

Milk is a product which has high levels of oils as even butter and ghee are extracted from it. Cow’s milk and dairy products contain Casein and Whey protein and they are linked to raising levels of a certain hormone called Insulin-like growth factor-1 or IGF-1. 

High levels of IGF-1 results in increased production of sebum. Sebum is the oil which our skin secretes and its high levels increase the risks of inflammation and clogging of facial pores. So, to avoid acne possibilities, dairy product consumption should happen in a controlled and limited manner, ex- Milk, Cheese, Bread, Butter.

Q7. Sometimes hormonal imbalance causes acne breakouts, what can we do to avoid such a situation?

Hormonal imbalance is a major cause of acne. Male hormone androgen is majorly responsible for occurrence of acne and after puberty, it changes itself to estrogen in females’ bodies. A lot of lifestyle ways influence production of this hormone which triggers our sebaceous glands. When you feel your body is going through hormonal imbalance and you have breakouts on your face, in such situations, you should-

  1. Learn to manage stress.
  2. Meditate
  3. Engage in regular exercises
  4. Avoid Sugar and refined carbs
  5. Avoid overeating and under-eating
  6. Consume green tea
  7. Have a good, undisturbed sleep at the proper time for at least 8 hours.

Q8. Are there any natural lifestyle changes one can imply to get rid of the problem?

As explained above, lifestyle changes are majorly linked to hormonal imbalance which directly causes acne. There are a lot of lifestyle hacks which can help you prevent any major pathway leading to acne. For example- 

  1. Exercise
  2. Mild-exfoliation
  3. Vitamins and antioxidant rich diet
  4. Staying hydrated
  5. Use mineral based makeup
  6. Wash makeup off before bedtime
  7. Don't touch the acne
  8. Resist touching your face in general

For a rather immediate solution we have Satthwa Anti acne gel is made from natural ingredients to clear your skin of acne/pimples. Filled with goodness of pear extract, jojoba oil, aloe vera, mint, soybean seed extract and willow bark extract. This Anti Acne Gel will reduce inflammation and redness in no time. With the spot applicator tube, you avoid any hand contact and apply on affected area. Uses have seen results within 3-4 days of application.

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