Why Athletes + Students Are More Prone To Getting Acne, And Not Just On The Face

A dermatologist weighs in.
by Mylene Mendoza   |  May 19, 2020
Image: pixabay.com, BeautyMNL
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On a scale of one to “’yoko na,” do you remember how annoyed you get when your old friend acne pops up just when you were about to play a big game or as soon as you got home from a tiring commute from school? And they always appear on the same exact spots, too. Para bang ex mo na binabalikan ka pa kahit ayaw mo na.   

Apparently, there’s an explanation behind this kind of acne problem, as well as why students, athletes, and other physically active people are more prone to getting them. Dr. Anna Liza Yalung, a dermatologist, explains that this might be due to a specific type of acne called acne mechanica. “This is a type of acne that is triggered when the skin is rubbed or pressed against heavy clothing or protective gear,” Dr. Yalung explains. “The lesions look like those occurring on the face but are found in areas of friction, pinching, or occlusion.”

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If you often engage in physical activities that make you sweat and cause your clothing or other materials to constantly rub on your skin—like athletes with their sports equipment or students who commute wearing bags or backpacks—this may irritate your pores and cause acne to flare up. Dr. Yalung also notes that this type of skin problem may occur even in individuals without pre-existing acne. 

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Aside from heat and friction, Dr. Yalung also warns against other causes of acne. Consumption of food with high glycemic index (like white bread, cakes, breakfast cereals) may increase incidence of acne. “These kinds of food cause a spike in the body’s blood sugar, which researchers have found to cause inflammation and an increase in sebum production,” Dr. Yalung shares. Acne caused by consumption of cow’s milk has also been backed by research. “Although it is still not clear how this happens, scientists believe that hormones found in cow’s milk cause inflammation inside the body which could lead to acne,” Says Dr. Yalung. “However, more research is needed to be certain.”

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How to address your acne problem

Dr. Yalung left some tips for people battling with this type of acne:

  • Wash your face twice a day, and no more. Washing is also allowed after an activity that made you sweat ( workouts, any type of sport, etc.)
  • Use acne medications diligently. Make sure to apply as well on areas without lesions.
  • Use light-weight, oil-free moisturizers skincare products
  • Makeup and hair care products should be labeled non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic to prevent breakouts
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Change bed sheets and pillowcases frequently as oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria might have accumulated on it. These can clog pores and lead to breakouts.

How to lighten up your acne scars

Now that you’re gradually addressing your acne struggle, all you’ll need to do is to get rid of the scars and marks they leave. If you want to get rid of those dark marks faster, Dr. Yalung suggests visiting your dermatologist. “To hasten the lightening of dark marks, the patient may visit the dermatologist who can do chemical peels or laser treatment.”

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But if you’re on a budget, Dr. Yalung recommends the following: “Topical retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids have also been found to help lighten or fade out dark marks caused by acne.  The use of sunscreen (lightweight, oil-free) is also encouraged.”

Try these products:

Oxecure Acne Clear Potion, P349

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Celeteque Brightening Facial Wash, P150, beautymnl.com

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CosRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner, P680, beautymnl.com

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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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