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Dear Dish-It, Zits Are the Pits!

Dear Dish-It,

I’ve been having trouble with my skin for a couple years now. I keep breaking out especially on my forehead and chin. I hate having zits. Some of my friends have them too but I think mine are a lot worse than anyone else’s at school. I’m always afraid to go out cause I don’t want anyone to say anything about it to me but I still have to go to school everyday and I don’t know what to do. Can you help me get rid of my zits?

Zits Are the Pits

Dear ZAP,

There’s no doubt about it – zits really are the pits. If banishing acne was easy, we’d all have crystal-clear skin. However, you can get the upper hand on pimples, zits and blackheads. Here are a few tips on how to get rid of acne when it happens and how to prevent future breakouts.

Where Acne Comes From

Acne crops up when your skin produces too much oil, also known as sebum. When sebum builds up, it can clog your pores and trap bacteria inside, which can lead to inflammation.

Though it can happen almost anywhere on your skin, acne is most common on the face, back, chest and shoulders. It can appear as red pimples, and also as whiteheads and blackheads. Whiteheads are pores and hair follicles clogged close with dead skin cells, bacteria and other stuff. Blackheads are almost the same thing, except they aren't closed and they have a darker color due to the skin's pigment being exposed to the air.

What Causes Breakouts?

There are a lot of factors that contribute to oily buildup and clogged pores:

  • Stress: Stress reduces your body's ability to fight infections and ward off bacteria, which may contribute to breakouts.
  • Pressure: Tight clothes, humidity and touching your skin repeatedly can trap oil next to the skin rather than letting it evaporate.
  • Hormonal changes: This is a biggie, especially for girls. When hormone levels fluctuate, so do sebum levels.
  • Man-made dyes and oils: The chemicals in your sunscreen or makeup may clog your pores or inflame your skin. Look for skin products that are "dermatologist recommended" and "non-comedogenic."

  • Acne Treatment

    Run-of-the-mill breakouts usually respond well to over-the-counter products like benzoyl beroxide creams and lotions, which can be found at the pharmacy or drugstore. Some people find astringents helpful for getting rid of excess oil, though they should be used in moderation so the skin doesn't get too dry or irritated.

    Washing your face with a mild cleanser twice a day, along with an exfoliating scrub a few days a week, may also help get rid of acne.

    What If Over-The-Counter Acne Treatments Don’t Work?

    If you have a lot of acne and it’s painful and inflamed, you should go and see your doctor to ask about different types of treatments that may work well for you. Some common kinds of prescription acne treatments are oral antibiotics that you take to kill the bacteria trapped inside your pores, special medication that’s designed to treat severe acne and even certain injections of anti-inflammatory substances.

    What Else Can I Do To Prevent and Treat Acne?

    Alternative health practitioners often recommend that teens and others who struggle with acne assess whether they're getting enough vitamins and minerals in their diet. Increasing your levels of vitamin A and/or zinc may help zits heal more quickly.

    So, ya gotta burnin' question? Need some love directions? Thinkin' 'bout stuff like depression, sex,how ya feel 'bout YOURSELF (that's called "self-esteem"), boyfriends, girlfriends, losin' old friends, bullyin' or peer pressure, but too scared to ask the parents? Don't be scared to Dish-It here. Send all of your questions to deardish@kidzworld.com But 'member, if ya hang out in Chat with other Kidzworld members who know ya by your 'username', ya might wanna use a secret nickname when ya write in. That way no one'll ever know it's you. And, just in case ya don't know, Dish-It gets a lotta letters everyday, and she can't answer 'em all. So keep checkin' the column cuz she's prob'ly answerin' somethin' very similar to your question while you're out doin' somethin' else. K? And Thanks! Ya keep her outta trouble. Oh! And if ya've got words of wisdom you wanna share,We'll dish 'em up, too.

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    Do You Know What Causes Acne?

    • Eating too much greasy food.
    • Playing too many sports.
    • Excess skin cells getting trapped in your pores.
    • From kissing too many toads.

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