As we all know, COVID-19 restrictions across England have now eased! Now that we’re regaining a semblance of normality, you probably have a few more events in your diary. This thought might fill you with joy, but for many individuals who suffer from acne, they might be left feeling downtrodden and self-conscious. There’s nothing worse than feeling as though everyone who looks at you notices your acne straight away. Despite the fact this is unlikely to be the case, it won’t stop those afflicted with acne from wishing they would much rather stay at home.
The key to coming to terms with acne is understanding exactly what it is, what causes it and what action to take. If you think you could benefit from enhancing your acne knowledge, you needn’t look any further.
When we refer to acne, for the most part, we are referring to acne vulgaris. This type of acne is the most common form of the condition and it can become more severe over time. Acne is often caused by a substance called sebum, which is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sebum helps to form the skin’s natural protective barrier and it also keeps the skin hydrated. However, you can have too much of a good thing!
The sebaceous glands can produce more sebum than the skin necessarily needs. When this happens, it can result in clogged pores. Our pores are designed to clean themselves but, on occasion, they don’t do the best job in the world. That being said, on average, the human body is home to around five million pores, so it’s understandable that a few can get clogged from time to time. When sebum mixes with skin cells and other debris, bacteria starts to multiply and our bodies do what they do best – try to control the infection. When a spot appears and you notice inflammation, it comes as a result of the body sending white blood cells to try to stop a spot in its tracks. Our bodies are incredible and complex but they often need a bit of help when it comes to acne.
Am I Asking For Acne?
You might not have asked for acne to take up residence on your face but you might be inadvertently giving it a bit of a helping hand. Several factors are out of our control when it comes to acne. It could emerge as a side effect of certain medications such as steroids, the result of a hormonal imbalance or it could even run in your family. Acne is also often mistaken for other skin conditions such as folliculitis, which is why it is always important to speak to a professional if you’re ever concerned about your skin.
If you don’t properly cleanse your skin daily, or you use comedogenic products, you’re likely to be encouraging acne to develop. If you use any products on your skin, such as makeup, it’s vital that you cleanse your skin thoroughly to ensure you’re not contributing to clogged pores. Speaking of clogged pores, the word comedogenic refers to things, specifically skincare and makeup products, that have a tendency to clog pores and encourage the formation of blackheads. Looking for products that are labelled as non-comedogenic will put you at a much lower risk of getting acne as a result of what you put on your skin. This is not a miracle cure and you might still see spots appearing on occasion but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep them at bay.
Contrary to popular belief, washing your face more than twice a day is likely to do more harm than good. Trying to fight acne by religiously washing your face will damage your skin’s natural barrier, leaving it vulnerable to further irritation and dryness. Manually exfoliating in an attempt to clean your skin, as opposed to using a chemical exfoliant won’t do you any favours either. This will leave you with even more issues than ever before.
I’m Not A Teenager Anymore – Why Do I Still Have Acne?
Although teenagers are most likely to suffer from acne, it’s common for the condition to continue into your twenties and thirties. As annoying as it is, it’s a fact of life. Most people’s sebaceous glands tend to calm down when they reach their twenties, meaning they’re less likely to suffer from acne, but it’s not all bad news!
People with oily skin often notice visible signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, much later in life than their drier-skinned counterparts. Although excess sebum production can have adverse effects, sebum does a fantastic job at keeping the skin moist, smooth and wrinkle-free… to an extent. If you have oily skin and regularly wear SPF, you’re in an even better position. Don’t forget, everyone should wear SPF regardless of their skin type every day of the year. For more information on SPF and why you should protect your skin, you can read one of our recent blog posts here. Now that we’re done with that regularly scheduled reminder, we can move on!
If you have acne that isn’t the result of medication or makeup and you’re struggling to get rid of it, there are things you can do. Apart from thoroughly cleansing your skin, using a gentle chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid can help to increase cell turnover and reduce clogged pores. Pairing that with targeted, effective spot treatments like salicylic acid can also work wonders but sometimes, there’s only so much you can do on your own. If you’re at your wit’s end, it might be time to turn to an experienced professional.