Healthy Living What the Health?

What the Health? Why am I breaking out?

Your alarm goes off, and it’s time to start yet another busy day. You snap out of your grogginess with an unpleasant surprise: pimples, blackheads and irritation—oh my!

“Why am I breaking out?”

We’ve all wondered or asked about this before—but what’s really going on?

“Acne can feel very devastating for those who are dealing with it,” said Dr. Christy Rainey, a dermatologist at Augusta University Health. “But with proper care and the help of a doctor, we can get to the bottom of your concerns.”

Here are a few questions to ask yourself that could help you get to the bottom of your pimple problem.

Am I cleansing thoroughly enough?

Cleaning is critical to avoiding bacteria growth, which causes acne, in the skin.

“Cleansing the skin can be as basic as using warm water and a mild cleanser, all the way to using ingredients that help to exfoliate,” said Rainey, who recommends products like scrubs or those that contain salicylic acid and glycolic acid, which kill acne-causing bacteria.

When cleansing acne-prone skin, there a number of over-the-counter products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and adapalene to help. Adapalene is a vitamin A derivative retinoid acne treatment that can be applied at night.

Am I removing my makeup completely?

“Makeup removers are OK for removing oil-based makeup,” Rainey said, “but most makeup can be removed with a cleanser.”

Rainey recommends using oil-free makeup, which is easier to remove with just a gentle cleanser. Makeup—especially that which isn’t oil-free—can clog pores, which leads to breakouts.

Am I stressed out?

When we’re stressed, the stress hormone, called cortisol, is elevated, causing a release of the hormone, leading to acne breakouts.

Managing stress can be as easy as practicing yoga, listening to music, speaking with a counselor, or even exercising,” Rainey said. “When exercising, if you choose to use a sweat towel, blot the sweat, and don’t rub.”

Are you still not sure why you’re breaking out?

You could be doing everything right and still be breaking out. If none of this helps, it’s likely something happening on the inside of your body and not what you’re doing on the outside.

“Breakouts are often caused by hormonal issues—something you can’t control on your own,” Rainey said. “It’s not your fault, and rest assured that we’re here to help you.”

Enjoy the benefits of healthy skin and a healthy body

To make an appointment with a dermatologist, call 706-721-2273 (CARE) or 1-800-736-2273 (CARE).

About the author

Augusta University Health

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.

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