Sounds alarming, and it kinda is. Not so much due to what your trigger might be, but the process of discovering what it might be, and how you will now manage and live your life after finding out, can be depressing. No more chocolate? EVER?! Oh my God, please no…
Luckily, things are looking up! Honestly, they are. I’ll explain why in a moment, but first, let’s just get this ‘acne trigger’ terminology sorted out. What the heck am I even talking about?
“An acne trigger is something in our environment, lifestyle, diet, products and/or treatments that reacts with our bodies in a negative way, causing acne” – Jess Bunty
Okay, so that’s my personal definition, and it pretty much covers all bases.
So then, why do I think things are looking up if the whole world is apparently against us? To understand that, let’s break down some of these key acne triggers:
ACNE TRIGGER 1 – FOOD!
Food, glorious food. Oh yes, we need it to survive… unless you’re a breatharian. In which case, all you need is a fan. But for the majority of us, food is a vital part of existing. However, there are a few types of food that can set off our spots. The first big culprit is dairy! Smooth, creamy milk… soft, gooey cheeses… sweet, fluffy cream! OH PLEASE, NOT DAIRY, I hear you cry. Yes, I’m afraid so. I’ve quizzed people on this one before, and apparently the main culprit is hormones. Either the hormones in milk, or our hormones not getting along with milk… something like that. I’m sorry I am not very technical about this point, but I am yet to properly investigate it. Watch this space!
The next type of food is gluten. Gluten is present in wheat, and helps to bind wheat-based products. Some people are legitimately gluten-intolerant, and have what’s called ‘Celiac Disease’, but many people have cut gluten out of their diet simply because they can. Look, I don’t personally recommend cutting it out unless you absolutely need to – so try going on a gluten-free diet for a month to see if it changes your life. If it does, hey presto, a better life magically appears for you! But don’t get too hung up on going gluten-free if you don’t need to.
Another type of ‘food’ which isn’t a food, really, is alcohol. Alcohol can cause acne due to the high sugar content. Also, sometimes when people drink alcohol, they are on a bit of a bender. If you binge on alcohol, your body can retaliate, and not just in epic chunder and hangovers. Your body can become extremely dehydrated, which is not good for the skin, so remember to drink plenty of water while you dance into the early hours of the morning to Will.I.Am.
And lastly, junk food/fatty food. All the delicious things! Foods that are heavily processed, are cooked in or contain fat, and have additives/flavours/preservatives/colours included, can be detrimental to your skin and your body. Why? Well, the processing for one thing – over-processing food can remove the nutrients and vitamins it contains. Adding them back in through synthetic means to try and fix this problem fixes very little. The damage has been done. Fatty foods are also often subjected to oil in some way – either through the cooking process or having it as an actual ingredient. Some oils are good for us, but clearly I am not talking about those! I’m talking about saturated and trans fats, which can cause us oodles of health problems, including acne.
So what can you do about this? You can change your diet! It is that simple, and that complicated. This isn’t necessarily an easy task. We have different budgets, we have different living situations, and we have different backgrounds. What I would say to you is: make a conscious decision to change at least some element of your diet, in order to help yourself become a healthier, happier and better equipped individual.You absolutely do have a choice, and the power, to do something about your diet in some way. You can do an entire over-haul if you wish, but even just making some small changes might be all you need! Don’t be discouraged, or talk yourself down – give yourself a chance for better skin, and a better life.
ACNE TRIGGER 2 – LIFESTYLE!
I mentioned earlier about how going on a bit of a bender can cause more problems than just an epic hangover, and it’s unfortunately true: regular drinking sessions can cause serious skin problems.
But it’s not just a party lifestyle that can give you long-term grief. There are a few different lifestyle elements that can cause us problems:
– Sleeping too much. Now, I do love a sleep in. Oh, how glorious it is to be all rugged up under the covers on a cold morning! I don’t dare even stick out a pinky toe. But spending too much time sleeping and snuggling under the covers can be detrimental to your skin health. Bacteria from pillows and sheets can run rampant, and as your body becomes lazier with each late morning wake-up, it begins to retaliate with more spots.
– Sleeping too little. Well great, you can’t win can you. But seriously now, sleep is important, and we should absolutely all be getting our 7-8 hours every single night. I think that these days, it’s incredibly easy to slip into a routine of going to bed at midnight or 1am, before having to get up again at 7am for work. Yes, you will feel you can manage things, but at what cost? You may be up and running, but your skin health will start to lag behind, wishing you would give it a break. Try and get to sleep by 10:30pm every night, which will allow your skin to regenerate, and give any overnight treatments plenty of time to sink in and work their magic!
– A sedentary life. I’m not sure how similar you are to me, but something I personally struggle with is getting up and getting physical. It’s not as if moving around is a challenge, but I have never been a fan of exercise! I used to take golf as a school sport, just so I could run away and hide under a tree for two hours. I guess now-days, I wish I had more motivation and interest in getting my body moving – exercise is an incredible way to get acne under control, and generally be a healthy individual. Even standing up instead of sitting down when using the computer can help your cause, so try and inject as much activity and movement into your life as possible. We can work on this one together!
I am really interested to know your take on acne triggers. Do you know what yours are? And if so, how did you deal with it? Also, if you know more about how dairy affects our skin, let me know! Link me to some articles or information, I’d love to read about it.