What Causes Acne?
Acne occurs when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin or bacteria. It is usually caused by the overproduction of sebum (oil) from sebaceous glands within the skin which blocks the pores, however it is also associated with other factors such as hormonal changes or imbalances. Although acne regularly affects teenagers, it is not uncommon to experience breakouts in adulthood - acne can affect anyone at any stage of life!
Possible Causes and Risk Factors for Acne:
- Hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy, menopause or the menstrual cycle
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and other endocrine conditions
- Cleansers, moisturisers or other beauty products containing high oil content
- Certain medications including some types of birth control
- A family history of acne
- Poor sleep
- A poor diet
- Other lifestyle habits
Having acne can be emotionally distressing as it can affect your self-esteem and self-confidence - but rest assured that acne is very treatable!
Treatment for acne usually depends on its severity. If you have moderate or severe acne, we recommend going to a dermatologist or a healthcare professional for advice, who may be able to prescribe medications that could help reduce your symptoms and prevent scarring. However, mild acne can be treated by changing a few lifestyle habits and following a good skincare routine tailored to acne-prone skin.
The first step to battling adult acne is to maintain a daily skincare routine. Try to use skincare products that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which are great for treating acne.
Salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help loosen clogged pores. It's well-known for reducing acne by exfoliating the skin to remove dead skin cells and keeping pores clear.
Try the Salicylic Gel by Malin + Goetz to deal with breakouts and blemishes quickly and easily. Another great product for acne is Immunicologie’s Vital Clay Spot Treatment which helps extract impurities from the skin to reduce the appearance of blemishes, and contains anti-inflammatory properties to soothe irritation.
What You Can Do to Prevent Acne
Besides using cleansers and spot treatments to treat existing acne, it’s important to pay attention to the skincare products you use on a daily basis to avoid breakouts from occurring in the first place.
Make sure your cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen and other essential skincare products contain one of these terms: oil-free/ non-commedogenic/ paraben free/ fragrance free. Beauty products with high fragrance or oil content can irritate your skin and cause breakouts.
Try the Moisture Boost Vitamin C Cream by Emma Hardie which is free from parabens, sulphates, silicones, petrolatum and mineral oils.
You can also try Plenaire’s Light Weight Moisture Gel - Droplet which contains hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid. Droplet is 100% silicone-free, so it won’t block your pores and helps your skin breathe - ideal for oily skin!
5 Lifestyle Habits to Prevent Acne
If you feel like you’ve tried everything but you still experience problematic skin, here are some simple but highly effective lifestyle changes you might not have heard of which can help improve your skin.
1. Change your bedding weekly - especially pillowcases!
You might be going to bed every night with freshly cleansed skin, but if you're pressing your clean face against a dirty pillowcase where you've also been lying down with greasy hair...you're guaranteed to get a breakout! This is why it's so important to change your bedding weekly, especially your pillowcases!
2. Clean everything that touches your face
This might sound a little OCD, but just like it’s important to change your bedding weekly, it’s also important to regularly clean any other surfaces that come into contact with your face. This includes make-up brushes, pillows, towels, windows and even your phone screen. Don't forget your hands too!
3. Shower straight after exercising
We all know how important it is to exercise regularly for our overall health. Just make sure to shower as soon as possible after exercising, as sweat can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
4. Take a look at your diet
Are you getting in your 5 a day and drinking enough water? Cutting back on alcohol, processed foods and incorporating more nutrients such as nuts, fresh fruits & vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil and salmon, can massively improve your skin. And of course, don’t forget to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water every day!
5. Reduce stress, increase sleep
When we’re stressed, our bodies go into fight-or flight response and release stress hormones such as cortisol and androgens. These hormones cause your skin to produce more oil, which can make acne worse. Try making some lifestyle changes to help with stress. Yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, therapy and getting enough sleep are great ways to cope with stress.
Take a look at some of our wellness products to help you get a good night's sleep.
Finally, as much as we all wish there was, there is no magical overnight cure for acne - you have to take a combined approach and make a few lifestyle changes to see improvements in your skin, but consistency and patience is key for achieving clearer skin!