Hot Showers Make Acne Worse

There are few things greater in life than hot water. Think about it: Hot tubs, showers and tea all bring us joy and relaxation.

On top of that boiling water kills microbes in water and allows us to cook food. Hot water has no doubt been an essential facet of human life for thousands of years.

But did you know that hot showers make acne worse?

Do you ever notice how your skin gets itchy and red when you step out of a hot shower? And to make matters worse, it’s now winter and your skin will be even drier.

Let’s take a deeper look at why this happens

Understanding Your Skin’s Anatomy

Our bodies naturally secrete oil to thinly coat our skin. This oil has a few roles, including retaining moisture and keeping bacteria from entering the body.

Not only do soaps, topicals, pollutants etc. disturb this balance, but when we add hot water to the mix it makes matters worse. What happens is that the hot water ‘dilutes’ the oil on the skin making it more malleable. This allows the moisture that was being retained by the skin to escape, leading to dry skin. The hotter and longer your showers are, the more noticeable this will be.

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s better to be aware of the fact that hot showers make acne worse, than to continue to let your skin worsen. Not all hope is lost though, there are ways around it.

Give Cold Showers a Try

While hot showers are soothing and relaxing, cold showers are less than pleasant. Yes, these can be brutal, especially in the winter time but they’re a good choice for healthy skin and a healthy body.

One reason for this is that cold temperatures increase circulation by taking blood away from the extremities and sending it towards our vital organs. Once the cold temperatures let up the blood flows back out, and thus gets circulation going. This is good for skin because we need a healthy blood flow to get nutrients to our skin.

A second reason is that unlike hot water, cold water does not do as much damage to the surface of the skin. You’ll notice that your skin retains a lot more moisture following cold showers.

Showers in General

In all honesty, showering and washing your face every day is probably not good for your skin. Yet, we live in a world that requires us to stay squeaky clean. And you don’t want to be smelly and dirty do you?

What you need to do is strike a healthy balance with your washing. First of all, unless you’re an athlete or rolling around in mud and dirt all day there’s really no reason to shower more than once a day.

I’m not going to get in a detailed discussion of how often to shower because I’m not your father, but when it doubt shower less if you are acne prone. I realize that goes against collective thought but I think it’s truly better for skin.

The Plan

So let’s put a plan together to help keep your skin clear and healthy in regards to showering.

  1. Do you need a shower? Don’t shower for the sake of showering; shower when you actually need it.
  2. Limit hot water use as much as possible. Start out using hot (preferably lukewarm) water so that you can wash yourself, and then slowly turn down the dial until it gets cold.
  3. Limit Products On Your Face: Shampoo and soaps can wreak havoc on that precious balance of oil on your face. Do your best to avoid getting these products on your face, both directly and indirectly, when possible.
  4. Pat Dry. Better Yet air dry it. Rubbing a towel on your face is irritating to acne.

Well there you have it. Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be. You’ve been bathing since you were a child and I have faith that you can do it fine, however, it’s in your best interest to implement the aforementioned changes.

Post any comments or questions below.

Growing Facial Hair With Acne

So I realized that I haven’t shaved for the last few days. My facial hair is starting to get itchy and scraggly. If you’re a guy you know how that is.

I thought above shaving it, but my sister reminded me it’s No Shave November. If you’re not familiar with No Shave November, this month men across America will be growing out their facial hair across the country to raise awareness for cancer. Those who have had cancer and have gone through chemotherapy lose their hair, so by growing out ours, it makes us more appreciate of what we do have.

I wanted to write an article about the benefits and drawbacks of growing facial hair with acne. I’ve heard people say that bears can cause acne to worsen, but I have yet to experience that. Let’s look at the pros and cons of growing facial hair with acne a little more in depth.

Pros

Facial Hair Covers Up Acne

The most obvious benefit of growing out facial hair is that it covers up your acne. Your beard will cover up acne on your chin and jaw line, which is where acne is often prevalent.

Another added benefit of covering up your acne is that it allows you to experiment with different routines, products, medicines, diets etc. while not having to worry about your breakouts. While this is by no means a long term solution, it is something to consider if you want to buy time for a few weeks, if not a few months.

No Razors, Bumps, and Chemicals

Shaving your face brings on a lot of unwanted drawbacks. Every time you shave, you drag a sharp razor across your face, often end up with razor burns and bumps, and put chemicals on your face that probably aren’t doing you any good.

As if having acne isn’t bad enough, having increased redness and inflammation is the last thing someone without acne needs.

Balances the Skin

Some people say that growing out facial hair causes break outs. This is apparently a result of increased sebum production. I definitely disagree with this idea.

In my experience, growing out facial hair seems to actually reduce breakouts and balance the skin’s ph. levels and oil production. When you’re constantly adding products and razors to your face, it throws the skin off balance. By going “Caveman” with your facial hair, everything can take its natural course.

Cons

It Doesn’t Always Look Good

Really, the only drawback I can think of is the aesthetic standpoint of facial hair for some. On many people, facial hair does simply not look good.

This is especially true for younger guys. Unfortunately, the people with the worse acne have the hardest time growing out facial hair. If you can only grow a few whiskers, then there’s no point in letting it grow out if you think it looks bad.

The Only Way to Know is to Take Action

While I think growing out facial hair is a good idea, others may have different results. Remember, we’re all different. Our bodies react differently to different stimuli, and therefore I can’t entirely predict what will happen.

However, if you don’t try you’ll never know. And it’s not like you have much to lose anyway with growing outa beard.

I would highly recommend giving this a try. Especially now as it is No Shave November. Plus a bear keeps your face warm.

If you give this a try, let me know how it goes. Good luck!

How to Get Rid Of Oily Skin

Oily skin was never really a priority for me. In fact, in my younger years with acne I don’t think I ever suffered from oily skin, and if I did I didn’t notice: Acne was my number one priority, no oily skin.

In the last year or two, however, once my acne began to clear, I started to notice the ‘sheen’ on my face that seemed to be there every waking moment. It was still an afterthought.

I was so concerned about the few spots on my face, that I ignored that extra layer of moisture on my face. It never occurred to me that layer could be what’s actually causing my acne. We’re going to go over how to get rid of oily skin, but first, ask yourself:

Do You Actually Have Oily Skin?

Instead of my skin being oily, I believe that the sheen coming from my face was just a perpetual state of my moisturizer siting on my skin. Since I used it twice a day, morning and night, it would always be there. There was no way this was good for my skin.

Since I stopped using moisturizer so often, this sheen has ‘miraculously’ disappeared. My skin is also the best it’s ever been. Coincidence? I think not.

If this sounds like it may be you than think twice about your products you’re using.  But maybe that’s not you, maybe your skin really is excessively oily.

What Causes Oily Skin

Oily skin is common among those who suffer from acne and teenagers in general. Oily skin:

… is caused by excess skin oil (sebum). During puberty, increased androgen levels, which are male hormones present in both males and females, signal the oil glands of the skin to mature. At this time the body begins producing much more skin oil. For some people, oil glands go into overdrive and the skin takes on an oily look. This oily appearance normally subsides to some degree after puberty, but can persist into adulthood, and is often seasonal, coinciding with humid weather. (Acne.org)

So in order to get oily skin under control, you need to get your hormones under control. The best way to do this is to see a dermatologist and have them prescribe you something that will calm these hormones down. Following this, check out the quick start guide and go from there.

While that should solve the problem for many, there are a lot of other factors at play here. Here’s a few other ways to get rid of excess oil beyond hormonal imbalances:

Use Cold Water

I take what are called contrast showers. You start out with hot water, and then switch to cold. Rinse, wash, repeat.

You don’t have to punish yourself with ice cold showers, but you should know that hot water is bad for your skin. It strips away your skin’s natural oils and can irritate your skin and further inflame acne.

So while I do use hot water in m showers, I never let it touch my face or hair. Only cold water.

Eliminate Any Outside Hormones

You may have heard that steroid use is associated with acne. This is a result of excessive androgens in the body, which manifests itself as acne on the skin. As you may know, dairy may cause acne, as a result of the hormones found in dairy.

Eliminating dairy is step one, but also try to eliminate anything that may influence hormones. This includes things like plastic water bottles and BPA products.

Stop Washing Your Face So Much

You may not be familiar with the ‘No Poo’ movement, but I’ve been doing it some time. What many people notice when first undergoing this is that their hair gets super oily. This is because when people normally shampoo it washes away the oils naturally secreted by the scalp, and forces the scalp to produce excess oil because of the oil always being stripped away by shampoo.

The same thing goes for washing your face. The more you wash it, the more you’re stripping away the natural oils and throwing off the delicate balance. I rarely use my Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser, usually only post workout or pre shave.

Conclusion

Let’s recap:

  1. Find out if your skin is actually oily, and not just a buildup of acne and/or skincare products,
  2. Because hormones are the main cause of oily skin, see a dermatologist and follow my guide for additional advice,
  3. Take additional steps:
    • Use cold water, avoid hot water
    • Eliminate any additional outside/exogenous hormones
    • Stop washing your face so much

There you have it. Post any questions or comments below!