It’s an unfair fact of life that some people have clear skin, or just a few blemishes while others are constantly battling spots.
Around 15% of adult women and 5% of men struggle with acne. Are they just unlucky or is there a reason behind it?
And most importantly, is there anything you can do to control it?
What causes acne?
Acne is caused when the small holes in your skin, known as hair follicles, become blocked. This usually happens when your glands produce too much of a substance called sebum, which is made to stop your skin drying out.
This sebum can mix with dead skin cells and block your pores, leading to a raised bump on the skin (spot) or blackhead. It can also become infected by bacteria on the skin, creating a whitehead.
For some people, their sebum glands don’t function as they should do, which is what can cause persistent acne.
Who gets acne?
There is much debate over what causes your glands to produce excess oil, but research is pretty unanimous on the following factors that often cause acne:
You may have higher hormone levels. Hormones cause your glands to produce more sebum, leading to a higher chance of acne. This is why so many people suffer with acne in their teenage years or around their period, when hormone levels are higher.
Genetic factors – if your parents or grandparent suffered with acne, it’s possible that’s a reason why you also suffer with it.
Applying certain cosmetics to the skin, especially some moisturisers and foundations. Watch out for products that contain lanolin, petrolatum, vegetable oils, butyl stearate, lauryl alcohol and oleic acid.
Smoking can cause acne (if you haven’t already found enough reasons to quit, here is another one!)
Certain medications may cause acne, so it’s worth asking your doctor if you’re taking any long-term medications.
Stress and depression can cause acne as this can affect your hormone levels as well.
What else might affect your acne?
Pressure on your skin, such as repeatedly wearing a headband or chin strap (such as for a violin) can cause irritation or a build up of bacteria, creating spots.
Diet – excessive dairy products or processed carbohydrates that increase your insulin levels rapidly may cause breakouts in acne prone skin (such as cakes, white bread and biscuits). This is because milk contains cow’s hormones and insulin can increase your hormone levels.
Bacteria on your skin – keeping your skin clean and hydrated is essential for preventing breakouts, especially for acne prone skin. Avoid harsh cleansers which dry out your skin, as this can cause your pores to produce more oil to compensate, leading to more spots. Using a hydrating cleanser which kills bacteria such as our Everyday Cleanser and following with our Anti-blemish & Scar Repair Serum is an ideal way to help prevent acne. The Silver Chitoderm naturally removes dead skin cells and bacteria, and helps heal existing blemishes, without drying out your skin.
What can you do?
With acne, sometimes you can do everything right and still end up with blemishes.
Unfortunately, acne doesn’t always behave like it should do or respond to things in the way that other people’s skin does.
Sometimes we just get acne and we don’t really know why.
Practising skin positivity, which is something we strongly believe in at 47 Skin, can also be very helpful.
This means trying to see your acne in a different, more positive way, rather than a problem that needs to be fixed, or trying to focus on the parts of your appearance that you do like, to help boost your confidence.