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Acne: Myths vs. Facts

3rd February 2014

By Tracy Butler

Tracy has been a qualified nurse for 31 years, working as an aesthetic nurse for 11 years. She joined sk:n 8 years ago and for the past 2 years has been working as sk:n’s Regional Nurse Trainer.

Acne is one of the most widespread and psychologically distressing chronic skin conditions, and one of the least understood. Acne is not just a teenage problem – we see many men and women into their 40s attending our clinics with mature acne problems. It’s important to know that people of all ages and races can get acne, and if your parents suffered with acne, you may as well.

Better understanding of acne can lead to more effective treatment; which is why we want to separate the myths from the facts!

What is the cause of acne?

The single basic cause for any one individual to develop acne is difficult to categorically identify. Acne usually is associated with a sensitivity to an androgen hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT). This leads to the skin producing too much oil and increases skin cell production, which in turn, leads to the acne causing bacteria to proliferate.

What are the signs of acne?

Acne starts with black heads, this is what we class as mild acne, and then pustules and papules which we class as moderate acne. This may then develop into severe acne which includes lesions such as nodules or cysts.

Is acne caused by food?

Individual foods cannot cause acne - however...

Lack of good nutrition will reduce the skin’s capacity to fight infection and to heal itself.

Is acne caused by too many hormones?

It is not the actual level of the hormones but a sensitivity to them which causes the condition.

Is acne contagious?

Acne cannot be transferred by touch or droplet infection from one person to another.

Is acne caused by poor hygiene?

Acne is a systemic inflammatory condition and is not due to an individual being unclean.

A good skin care regime is however important to remove surface grime, make-up and dead skin cells which can worsen the skin congestion.

An overly harsh cleansing regime will indeed have a negative effect as this will trigger further oil production, cause dehydration to the skin and increase the disturbance of the vital acid balance and barrier function of the skin against infection.

Will everyone grow out of acne?

The incidence of mature acne from the age of 25 affects a large proportion of the female population.

Only 3% of males have acne beyond the age of 40.

Is having spots and acne the same thing?

Acne is a chronic inflammatory disease of the pilo-sebaceous unit largely driven by internal, hormonal factors. Most people will suffer from comedones and occasional inflammatory breakouts but these will be contained and non-persistent.

How to help your acne

  • Wash your face with a mild cleanser just twice a day. Over washing of the skin will create more oil production.
  • Don’t squeeze or pick spots as this may exacerbate condition and may cause scarring.
  • Remove all make up before bed time, this will prevent your pores clogging up even further.
  • Use an oil free make-up.
  • Shampoo your hair regularly, daily if you have oily hair.
  • Have a balanced diet and drink plenty of water.

If you are struggling with your acne - please call us on 0800 822 3300 and book in for a free consultation; or take a look at the acne treatments we offer.

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0121 641 6000