Acne is such a pain in the ass!! Today, it’s under control and you have clear skin; tomorrow, you can’t flaunt a big smile or even open your mouth wide enough to take meat because every inch of your face hurts like hell and your acne is back with a vengeance. The struggle is wild!
Acne is a chronic condition, as you know, meaning that it continues over extended periods of time. It therefore takes its precious time to heal. To stop pimples from coming back, you’ll have to continue with your acne medications even after your skin is clear. Such an affliction! even though this one arises more than one time, clearly. The only notable exception would be if you plan to use Isotretinoin. Isotretinoin is the closest thing we have to an actual acne cure. You’ll only use isotretinoin for a specific amount of time and once the acne goes, it’ll stay gone. Most people only need one or two courses of treatment with this medication.
I’ve heard people say they think the ice cream they had last week triggered their breakouts, others said that they had lots of alcohol at their sister’s wedding over the weekend and by midweek, there had already been a takeover on their face. Someone has even told me that sex with a particular person triggers their acne. Personally, I remember obsessing over trying to figure out whether my acne got worse with my dorm water or home water. I diligently change my bedcovers weekly, still, sometimes, pimple wey go show face go still show face. I’ve now decided to check and see how certain things can affect acne, if they do affect it at all. I’ll be looking at alcohol consumption, smoking (vaping and edibles inclusive), contraception and sex.
First off, acne is a skin condition caused by clogged pores, bacteria and inflammation. The culprits are all linked.
So, if a hair follicle /skin pore becomes clogged with oil and dead skin cells, boom, acne. Sometimes, bacteria that feed off this oil get on board and you know how it is with microbes: they gon’ spread for sure. The plugging of the pores by oil can be as a result of a variety of reasons including poor hygiene and hormonal fluctuation (yes, PMS, stress, e.t.c). This doesn’t insinuate in anyway that anyone who has acne (or bacne) is dirty or lazy with their skin care routine. It’s most times in fact, the opposite.
What follows this clash of the titans? Inflammation. Yup. Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, bumps, cysts, scars. You guessed right. While it’s most common among teenagers experiencing puberty, acne can affect anybody of any age.
Acne and alcohol consumption.
So, certain habits can trigger acne more than others. If you have acne-prone skin on top of that, another problem.
Alcohol on its own and the consumption of it thereof do not cause acne but they can influence acne development. Alcohol can alter hormone levels in the body, it can also affect the flow of oxygen and other nutrients in the body. This type of oxidative stress can worsen acne. Alcohol lowers testosterone levels in men and increases them in women. Although, since we are talking medicine and body functions, you should note that alcohol can also increase testosterone levels in men.
Alcohol consumption also ups estradiol (estrogen) levels in women and this can trigger the oil glands to produce more oil/sebum, which will resultantly clog the pores and bring on an acne crisis. Inflammation too can occur, since the human body metabolizes alcohol to produce sugar. Sugar in high amounts in the bloodstream can trigger inflammation. A study done in 2014 observed that participants experienced improvement in their condition when they ran on a low GI (glycemic index) diet for 10 weeks.
It is important to note that the extent to which your acne will be triggered by the alcohol you are consuming depends on the type of alcohol you are consuming. Clear liquor like vodka are low in calories so when taken moderately, there’s usually no inflammation. Beer has a high content of fermentation by-products so it can contribute to inflammation. Red wine dilates the blood vessels and inflames the skin. White wine isn’t as bad as red wine, but it can dehydrate the skin and thereby cause/trigger a breakout. What does this mean? It means that if you can’t consume in moderation, stick to clean clear water.
Acne and Cannabis (edibles and vaping too)
Smoking cigarettes does in fact influence your skin negatively, but how about Cannabis consumption?
Truth is, there is no evidence supporting the myth that smoking marijuana can cause acne. Marijuana consumption can however affect appetite. First off, smoking, ordinarily, can bring about inflammation of the pores around the cheeks and jawline. Then, the THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) constituent in marijuana affects the endocrine system, which is supposed to be the system in charge of the hormones. And any changes in hormonal levels induce an overreaction of the sebaceous glands (the oil-producing glands). They’ll swell up and produce more sebum which can get trapped in hair follicles and cause acne.
Also, every stoner (even the occasional Marijuana user) knows that after smoking, your appetite quadruples. You’d literally want to eat a house and you’d most likely chase sweet foods high in fat and carbs. All of these can raise blood sugar and result in inflammation. In addition, the fear of getting caught smoking can trigger your stress levels and trigger pimples. Wait o, what fear?
As for vaping, there have been reports that when smokers switched to vape pens, their acne reduced. Less scarring, less discoloration. To be honest, more research needs to be done to gather more data that can certify the link between acne and any of the lifestyle practices listed. This is because there are so many conflicting reports concerning how acne is affected by what. Some people account that smoking Marijuana held off their sebum production while others said it worsened their inflammation. But, one study found that Cannabinoids have potential anti-inflammatory effects.
There’s also no evidence showing that second-hand smoking of Marijuana is a cause of acne.
Acne and contraception.
Birth control pills have been used to treat acne in women for decades, although, only three pills have actually been approved by the FDA for treating acne. Some women report that their acne improves whilst taking the combined oral contraceptive pill while some women report severe breakouts on their face and back. This article suggests that the best response occurs if a pill is more estrogenic- this is because the estrogen in the pill causes raised levels of sex-hormone-binding globulin, which in turn binds with excess free androgen. Androgens, a group of hormones that include testosterone, stimulate your skin to produce sebum. A woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands normally produce a low level of androgens. Higher levels of androgens can lead to excess sebum. Taking birth control pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone lowers the amount of androgens in your body. This results in less sebum and less severe acne.
There’s also a thing called ‘post-pill acne’, describing acne that appears when you come off birth-control pills. This is because hormonal birth-control works by suppressing sebum production and coming off it usually triggers the skin to increase sebum production.
Acne and sex
Stress is of the devil, as you know. Worse still, the stress hormone released during stress is one of the foremost triggers for skin problems. I’m sure you are wondering, “ahn, but why is she starting with stress?”. Well it’s because that pleasure that comes from masturbation or active sex really has other benefits. Certain hormones such as prolactin, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine are released (along with the post-coital glow, hehehe) by the body and they are the perfect antidote to the poison of Cortisol- the stress hormone. They create such a deep sense of relaxation and this is the reason they are also called the feel-good hormones.
So, can sex still trigger acne?
The answer is both a yes and a no. The truth is, sexual hormones also increase the production of sebum. If bacteria-causing acne are present together with sebum (oil), it can trigger acne development. It is possible that this is the only link that can be established between sex and acne. So, sex might not be the sole cause of acne but it can contribute to its development in a circuitous way.
How about your sexual partners? How is your acne affected by who you fuck?
Nothing ruins that blissful afterglow of sex like discovering a whole ass pimple from nowhere. How did it get there?
I had a roommate who used to say that whenever she fucked one particular guy, her acne bounced back. I used to think she was a lil crazy. And then I found out she was onto something. Indeed, there might be a link here. There’s a whole ass range of reasons why one person can be triggering your acne. It could be the secretions from their skin, such as their sweat and pheromones, their skin or hair products especially facial hair care products and makeup, the bedsheets that suffer while the elephants are fighting, the kind of detergent used to wash those sheets, massage oils (if you are into that kinda thing) and lubes used during the sesh (once again, heyo). Anything!
This is why it’s best to shower before and after (during too, heyy).
Finally, “there’s no concrete evidence that sexual activity can aggravate acne,” says Kseniya Golubets, MD, a dermatology specialist in Pittsburgh. “But we know that acne is multifactorial.”
The Take Away
Acne is caused, in general, by an overabundance of oil, dead skin cells, and acne-causing bacteria within the pore. Also, your skin can get excessively dried out by too many products and this triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil and this in turn triggers acne. Acne treatments work by reducing oil and bacteria and helping to keep pores cleared of dead skin cells.
But acne medications don’t change the way your skin behaves. If treatment and care stop, the pores become impacted again and breakouts return.
The following steps might help you…
Devise a long-term treatment plan
To keep acne away, a long-term treatment plan is what you need. If your acne is not severe and you have gotten good results with over-the-counter acne-treatment products, then you should continue to use those products as part of your daily skincare routine.
If you’ve been using prescription acne medications, your dermatologist will help map out a treatment plan that will help maintain your hard-earned results. Don’t change how you use your prescription medications without first consulting your dermatologist. Wait, tell me you’ve been seeing a dermatologist.. Yes? No? Nooooo???
Get a massage every once in a while
If you enjoy a good massage, here’s one more reason to get one: a massage can boost all four of your happy hormones.
According to a 2004 research, a massage can increase both serotonin and dopamine levels. Massages are also famous for boosting endorphins and oxytocin. You can get these benefits from a massage by a licensed massage therapist, but you can also get a massage from a partner, yunno, for some extra oxytocin!
Also, you might want to consider switching to non-comedogenic makeup, like mineral foundation, which won’t clog pores, as well as non-comedogenic hair products.
To avoid breakouts caused by your bedding, change your sheets and pillowcases once a week. You could even change your pillow cases once or twice during the week. In addition to changing your bedding often, you may want to consider using a hypoallergenic laundry detergent that contains neither dye nor fragrance.
Ensure that you consume more vegetables, fruits and water rather than sugary drinks, carbs, fatty food and dairy.
Additionally, go easy with your rapid weight-loss and weight-gain plans. They can trigger acne as well.
Check this link out for other ways to prevent acne.