As we grow up we hear many stories about acne, what causes it? What makes it worse and what helps. I mean does chocolate cause acne? Did putting toothpaste or windex (big fat Greek wedding style) really clear up those breakouts?
Let’s look at some real facts and give you some real science backed tips.
The Acne Facts
- 85% of Australians will develop acne at some point in their life.
- 5% of Australians will experience severe acne during their life.
- Nearly half of men and women continue to experience acne into their thirties.
- Severe acne can be painful, stressful and embarrassing and have a significant impact on a person’s self esteem.
- The medical term for Acne is Acne Vulgaris, it is classified as a disease of the skin that occurs when there are issues with oil (sebum) production in the skin and how oil (sebum) flows to the skin’s surface. Hair follicles can be blocked by dead skin cells, which can cause a build up of oil, leading to inflammation, pain, redness, and swelling. Bacteria then invades the area, resulting in pus building up in the blocked follicle.
- Acne tends to be more common on the face, neck, back and chest due to those areas having oil producing glands.
- Hormones accelerate the production of sebum. During the teen years, levels of sex hormones rise, which is why acne is very common in puberty.
- There are plenty of myths about what causes acne.
What Makes Acne Worse?
- Picking or squeezing – this spreads the oil and pushes the pus deeper into the skin, causing more inflammation, delaying healing and increasing the likelihood of scarring.
- Scrubbing or using abrasive lotions on the skin.
- Constantly stripping the skin of natural oils with harsh products.
- Poor personal hygiene, ie. not regularly washing your face, hair, towels and pillowcase!
Although the chocolate/ sugar and acne myth is considered by many to be debunked, there are recent studies that suggest that diet does in fact play a role in acne formation. Foods that cause spikes in blood sugar levels have been shown to increase the release of a hormone that blocks oil (sebaceous) glands and also increase the amount of male sex hormones circulating in the blood, which as mentioned earlier accelerates the production of sebum.
What can help Acne?
- A healthy breakfast can help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day.
- Using nourishing products that help protect the skin’s microbiome (the healthy bacteria that lives on our skin).
- Taking Omega 3 supplements (essential fatty acids) to help the quality of our oil production.
- Be consistent with skin care, we can purge when starting new routines and this can cause us to want to swap them out. But be consistent and give yourself a good 3 months to see if the product is working.
- Choose your makeup wisely. Make up is an extension of your skin care.
- Book an appointment with a skin therapist. Self-treating can do more harm than good.