There’s tons of skincare products out there. How do I know which one is right for me? Before going off to the store and hunt for the right skincare, you should first explore your daily habits, because skincare alone won't make your skin concerns go away. Here's a list of questions about your lifestyle to consider.
Are you having enough sleep?
If you don't get enough sleep, the brain releases cortisol which causes the skin to be inflamed. This increases the chance of triggering skin conditions such as acne. Speaking from personal experience, I always get a pimple on the next day if I stayed up all night — even with a prescription-strength retinoid at disposal. Sleep is not only important for your skin, but also crucial for your health and well-being.
Are you stressed out right now?
Is something big coming up? And the breakouts seem to appear around the same time you're feeling stressed? Then it is likely that stress is the trigger. Although stress doesn't directly cause acne, rather it is the hormonal shift triggered by stress that is making it worse. Stress is also a main trigger that can worsen other skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.
Are you on certain types of medication?
Although rare, certain drugs containing steroids and hormones like testosterone can cause your skin to breakout. If that's the case, DON’T switch or stop medications on your own. Use them as directed by your medical professional. But you can always ask your medical professional on your next visit and talk to them about options.
Are you below 18?
If you are, then it's likely that you're going through teenage acne, which can start as early as the beginning of puberty. Although acne can occur at any age, it can be severe especially in ages 14-16. If the acne is very severe, skincare alone may not resolve quickly and seeking help from a qualified dermatologist may speed things up.
Is your period coming soon?
And your breakouts appear just right before? Then it's likely you're going through premenstrual acne or PMS acne as they call it. They usually appear as red, swollen bumps that gradually disappears after your period. You could get birth control pills to keep the bumps from appearing, but they're not for everyone. Perhaps accepting it as part of the menstrual cycle, letting them come and go — that's perfectly fine too.
Do you put on sunscreen everyday?
If you don't, then it is very likely the root cause of your skin concern. UV radiation from the sun is very damaging to the skin. Notice your acne scars looking darker and deeper? Most probably due to direct sun exposure. In fact, the root cause of most skin concerns are usually due to the lack of protection from UV rays. Thus, it is essential to apply sunscreen whenever you're exposed to sunlight.
Well-being first, skincare second
If you don't resolve the underlying issues raised above, then it is very likely that your skincare either will not work or will take a very long time to resolve your skin issues — regardless of how good they are. There are many cause factors for your skin condition as the skin is continually exposed to different stimuli in the environment. Therefore, it is important to take care of your well-being and seek for professional help first if it's severe; before looking for ways to take care of your skin.