FAQ > Self-Help
Acne Facts for Clear Skin
These are some things you can do to help control your acne. Doing these do not take the place of using the right products in the right way for your acne, but they will support the process of getting clear skin.
Get enough rest and reduce your stress. Stress stimulates the adrenal gland and in the acne-prone individual, the adrenal gland promotes oil production which leads to clogged pores.
Stay away from foods, vitamin supplements and sports drinks/bars that contain iodides. Iodized salt, seafood, fish, seaweed, fast foods and dairy products (cows lick iodized salt licks) and especially kelp tablets (some people take these for thyroid support) are a part of this list. Contrary to popular notion, chocolate and greasy foods (unless they contain salt, which most do) do not aggravate acne.
Stay away from “high androgen” foods. These are found in peanuts, peanut oil, peanut butter, corn oil, wheat germ, shellfish, organ meats (i.e. liver, sweetbreads and heart). These contain hormones that exacerbate acne.
Some swimming pool disinfectants contain Iodides and Chlorine, which can remain in the water, causing skin problems for frequent swimmers. Many swimmers find that the combination of hot and humid weather, the physical exercise of swimming and the chlorinated pools, can cause major acne flare-ups.
Don’t pick. Instead of picking, rub ice on pustules and pimples for about five minutes, twice a day. Try to catch them when they are first forming and they most likely will go away. You can use Benzoyl Peroxide for this, but the surrounding tissue may get very dry.
Do not use fabric softeners and/or fabric softener sheets in the dryer, especially on pillowcases as they cause a waxy residue that can clog pores on acne-prone individuals. If you are worried about static cling, then use some anti-static cling balls that you can purchase from Bed Bath and Beyond for $5.
Avoid low-estrogen birth control pills, Norplant, Provera, and Depo-Provera. Also progesterone hormone replacement Premarin can be problematic. If you have polycystic ovaries, they will cause hormonal changes and breakout. See our article about birth control for more information. Also, the taking of birth control pills may delay the onset of acne and once off them, you may experience the acne you would’ve had before taking them.
Do not use cosmetics OR hair products that contain pore-clogging ingredients. See this article on Pore Clogging Ingredients for a list of ingredients to avoid. Retin A has the pore-clogging ingredient, isopropyl myristate as its first ingredient.
Limit sun exposure and use a sunscreen. Although sun exposure causes desirable scaling and drying, it also damages the follicle, exacerbates hyper pigmentation, causes skin cancer and premature aging and can cause “solar acne” later in life, as well as “Acne Majorca” also caused by sunlight. Warm climates with heat and humidity can exacerbate acne.
Wear a noncomedogenic sunscreen every day regardless of whether you go outside or not. This is very important especially if you are using product for your acne!
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