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Seeing Spots

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Ask most adults, and they'll tell you it's a normal part of growing up. Easy for them to say. Whatever you call blemishes-spots, breakouts, pimples, zits-they can hurt, feel gross, and make you feel like everyone's staring, and not in a good way.

Ask most adults, and they'll tell you it's a normal part of growing up. Easy for them to say. Whatever you call blemishes - spots, breakouts, pimples, zits - they can hurt, feel gross, and make you feel like everyone's staring, and not in a good way. There are some things you can do to help rein in your zits!

Anatomy of a Zit

You skin is full of sebaceous glands which produce sebum, an oil that helps your skin stay soft. Changes in puberty, including the production of hormones like testosterone and other androgens, speed up sebum production. Get some dead skin cells trapped in that sebum in your pore, add a dose of bacteria to create inflammation, and you've got yourself a pimple. You've probably noticed that there are a couple different kinds of zits too. A blackhead occurs when the pore gets clogged but the top stays open and you can see the blockage. A whitehead occurs when the pore gets completely blocked; creating a visible "head" that contains white or yellowish pus. Eww!

Pimple-Killing Products that Kill Skin

The natural way to treat a breakout caused by oil and bacteria is to eliminate them, right? The acne treatments available at your drugstore contain a variety of ingredients to zap zits, including zinc, sulphur, and benzyl peroxide. Unfortunately, these products can also irritate skin and leave it dry and blotchy. These remedies can also create a rebound effect, where they strip the skin so much that it produces even more oil to counteract the chemicals you've applied.

You Are What You Eat

A trip to the food court doesn't automatically equal a breakout - chocolate and fries won't cause zits on their own. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't watch your diet to improve your skin. It's good to limit stuff like refined sugar and fatty foods. Getting vitamins and fibre from fruits and vegetables can also help. Skin-friendly vitamins include: vitamins, A, C, and E, zinc, and selenium. Last but not least, drink plenty of water - it's your body's natural source of moisture and it helps flush out toxins.

An Ounce of Prevention

To help manage breakouts and prevent future ones avoid doing things that rub more oil into your skin. Wear your hair off your face if possible and avoid heavy conditioners and hairsprays. Change your pillowcase frequently. Keep your hands off your face. Also, Don't be too harsh with your skin. Over-washing, and alcohol-based toners can upset your skin even more.

The Power of Plants

Your health food store has loads of products worth trying for oily and blemish-prone skin, including cleansers, toners, and makeup. The salespeople can recommend some good ones. They may recommend chamomile, calendula, lavender, rosemary, comfrey leaf, and nettles. Also consider tea tree oil (super antibacterial), green tea (gentle on skin), or vitamins C and E which reduce infection and inflammation.

Most importantly, remember that a blemish doesn't define you. And don't worry, nobody's staring at you - they're too busy worrying that everyone is staring at their zits!

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