Thursday 16 October 2014


The most common skincare questions I get asked usually involve acne. What causes acne? More do I get rid of it?

The Definition

Put simply, acne is a common skin condition (or if you want to be dramatic, disease) that is characterised by blackheads, whiteheads and pustules (aka our worst nightmares)

The Cause

What causes acne is the overproduction of sebum (oil) in the skin’s sebaceous gland. When an excessive amount of sebum is produced, it travels up the hair shaft and out through the pores. This, of course, then blocks the pores causing whiteheads and blackheads to appear. To make things worse, when pores are blocked, the (normally harmless) bacteria that lives in the skin joins the party and infects these blocked pores, leading to pus-filled papules or cysts (ewwww!).

So what causes the overproduction of sebum I hear you ask?? Well that can be a variety of things, including:

  • Hormonal imbalance 
  • Puberty 
  • Menstrual Cycle 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Stress 
  • Medications that effect hormonal levels 

Contrary to popular belief, there is actually no evidence to suggest that poor hygiene or diet causes acne.

The Solution

Unfortunately there is no miracle product or skincare ritual in existence that will guarantee we'll never suffer with acne again. However there are some useful things we can do to avoid encouraging it, such as:

  • Completely removing our make up before going to bed 
  • Making sure we’re getting enough sleep 
  • Being aware of what comes into contact with our face. Telephones, bag straps, our hair and even our hands carry harmful bacteria 
  • Avoiding the use of irritants such as oily or greasy makeup, sunscreens and hair products that can make our acne worse 
  • Not excessively washing our face as this can cause serious irritation to the skin 
  • Using skincare products that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and resorcinol 

For those of you who suffer with severe acne, I would advise you pay a visit to your doctor. There are a variety of prescription medications that can be used to treat acne such as topical treatments (gels, creams and lotions), antibiotic tablets and hormone therapies.

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