Two Lifestyle Changes That May Help Ease Acne Symptoms

Posted on: 13 July 2015

If you're suffering from acne and over-the-counter medications have not helped, seeing your dermatologist is advised because he or she can prescribe a stronger, more effective medication to help alleviate your symptoms. However, even prescription medications alone may not completely relieve you of acne. To further reduce your symptoms, you may have to also make some lifestyle changes, such as the following:

Take 20 minutes each morning to relax and meditate.

Many patients find that stress makes their acne worse. Researchers think this is because stress hormones cause your follicles to produce more sebum, and that excess sebum then clogs your pores, leading to pimples. Reducing your stress levels through meditation and relaxation may help keep your acne under control.

You do not have to study under a classically trained yogi or pay for meditation classes in order to reduce your stress, though those tactics might be helpful. Start by just setting aside 20 minutes each morning to stretch, relax, and clear your mind. Practicing deep breathing, in which you take powerful, full breaths into your abdomen, helps many people relax. Progressive muscle relaxation, which involves slowly contracting and relaxing your muscles, one at a time, is another good technique to experiment with during your 20 minutes of daily relaxation.

As you get used to relaxing and meditating, your stress levels will likely decrease -- along with your acne symptoms. You can take this strategy to the next level by setting aside several additional 5-minute relaxation sessions throughout the day. Just close your eyes and clear your mind during these 5-minute sessions; you can do them at your desk, on the train, or even in the office bathroom.

Adopt a "clean" diet.

For years, doctors and researchers denied that there was a link between diet and acne, largely because they were unable to identify specific foods that caused breakouts. Now, researchers are finding that their initial assumptions were wrong. Diet can contribute to acne breakouts, and the large amount of sugar in the standard American diet is likely to blame for many cases of acne.

Lowering the glycemic index of your diet by avoiding sugary processed foods is likely to ease your acne symptoms. Go through your kitchen and toss anything that contains added sugars. Read labels carefully. Even foods you would not think contain sugar, like frozen pizzas and TV dinners, are often laden with added sugars. Start buying mostly whole, natural foods like fresh fruits and veggies, lean and unprocessed meats, and whole grains.

Changing over to a cleaner diet is not always easy, so be patient with yourself. Experiment with new recipes to keep things interesting, and if you have a bad day and end up eating processed foods, get right back on track the next day. Over time, as your diet improves, your complexion likely will too.

For most patients, treating acne is an ongoing process. Work with a professional dermatologist, like those at American Dermatology, to find the right combination of medications and lifestyle changes to clear your skin.