Acne affects billions of people worldwide. In fact, over 90 percent of the world has experienced acne or acne symptoms at some point during their life with 20% of adults between the ages of 25 and 44 included. Whether it’s genetic, hormonal or environmental factors, this skin condition can affect just about anybody. Although there’s little research to prove that your diet can cause acne, things like over-exposing your skin to the sun can cause breakouts as well as darken acne scars. With so many options in how to treat and cure acne, from laser to medication, seeking help can be overwhelming. As well as the physical impact that acne can cause, there’s also the psychological results that can really alter a person. Acne can make a sufferer feel embarrassed and self conscious and has also been known to increase the chances of a person suffering from depression. But, what really is acne and what can sufferers do to combat the condition? From home remedies to product recommendations, we’ve spoken to the experts to get everything you’ve asked, answered.
What is acne?
We all suffer from breakouts from time to time, but what makes that different from acne? Acne is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that can be found on the face, shoulder, back, neck, chest and upper arms. Dermatologist and Venerologist Laser Skin Specialist, Dr. Iman Fathi Mohamed Elsayed from Al Moosa Clinics and Day Surgery Center Dubai said, “Acne is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the pilosebaceous unit in the skin. It’s one of the most common diseases especially in adolescence. Typical features of acne include increased secretions of oily sebum by the skin, blocked pores leads to microcomedones, comedones, papules, nodules (large papules), pustules, and often results in scarring.”
Who is most likely to suffer from acne ?
Unfortunately, some of us are more prone to acne, whether it’s hormonal, genetic or otherwise. But, there is a possibility that sufferers may make their symptoms worse and increase their chances of a flare up. Dr. Mario Russo, Director of Medical Affairs, Aesthetica Clinic said, “People of all ages can get acne, but it's most common in teenagers. Hormonal changes are common in teenagers, women and girls, and people using certain medications, including those containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium. Genetics plays a role in acne. If both parents had acne, you're likely to develop it, too. You may develop acne where your skin comes into contact with oily lotions and creams or with grease in a work area, such as a kitchen with fry vats. This can be caused by items such as telephones, cellphones, helmets, tight collars and backpacks. Stress doesn't cause acne, but if you have acne already, it may make it worse.”
Why do people get acne?
In order to really understand what acne is, we have to get to the science behind it. Jessica Lisnyj, Skin and Laser Specialist at Nova Clinic by Aesthetics said, “People tend to get acne due to their pores becoming clogged if their skin is producing too much sebum (which is an oil that lubricates your hair and skin) and they have too many dead skin cells. Bacteria then gets trapped inside the pores and multiplies, causing swelling and redness, which is the beginning of acne. A range of factors triggers acne, but the main cause is thought to be a rise in androgen levels. These cause the oil glands under the skin to grow. The enlarged gland produces excessive sebum causing bacteria to grow."
How is acne treated most effectively?
Acne sufferers can have a hard time trying to treat it. From creams to medicines, there’s so much out there that claims to cure the condition. Jessica Lisnyj said, “The treatment really depends on how severe and persistent the acne is. For example, mild to moderate acne can be treated with topical products like Salicylic acid, Benzoyl peroxide and Retin-A. For more severe cases, the most effective professional treatments include peels and IPL lasers, such the Hollywood Facial and IPL Acne Treatment which are available at Nova. These treatments breakdown blackheads and whiteheads, while helping to reduce inflammation and swelling, as well as killing the bacteria. It’s best to visit a skin specialist or dermatologist, who can provide a treatment plan for more severe cases, which will help prevent scarring, reduce inflammation, and speed up the healing process. ”
Treating acne at home
Soothe your acne symptoms with these DIY home remedies.
• Honey mask
Honey is a natural antiseptic that can help fight the bacteria that leads to acne breakouts. Its gentle nature means that it cleans effectively, without irritating the skin with any harsh acidic properties. Open up your pores with warm water then apply pure honey to your skin. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes then rinse off with warm water, then close your pores with a splash of cold water.
• Oatmeal mask
Oatmeal has wonderful exfoliating properties which can remove dead skin cells that give your skin a flaky texture. Mix 2 teaspoons of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a few drops of water to create a paste-like texture. Gently rub the paste in circular motions onto your face. As the mask begins to harden, rinse it off with warm water and apply a moisturiser.
• Apple cider vinegar mask
If you know anything about DIY beauty tips, you’ll know that apple cider vinegar is a do-it-all product. Apple cider vinegar helps to maintain the pH balance of the skin, which, during an acne breakout, tends to go off balance. Combine 1 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar with 2 teaspoons of green tea (to soothe) 5 teaspoons of sugar (to exfoliate) and 1 teaspoon of honey. Apply the mask to your face and massage gently. Leave it for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. • Yeast and yoghurt mask Yeast contains several beneficial components like amino acid, antioxidants and vitamins which are key to great skin health. Yoghurt is soothing as it cools your skin’s temperature down. Plus, it’s rife with healthy bacteria! Mix 1 teaspoon of yeast and 3 tablespoons of yoghurt to form a thick consistency. Apply the mixture to your face and allow it to work its magic for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
• Turmeric and milk mask
Turmeric is a natural antibacterial as well as a terrific source of antioxidants. Milk is a natural, gentle cleanser that is actually used in a lot of cosmetics. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 2 teaspoons of raw milk and stir them up into a paste. Apply the paste to your face and leave it for up to 10 minutes before rinsing. Turmeric tends to stain so don’t worry if you’re looking a little yellow, it will come off after another wash!
Products that our readers use that really work.
Aisha Victoria, Social Media Manager said, “I used bea skincare’s acne treatment gel during a breakout and it was literal magic! I had a nightmare breakout that caused a lot of pain and couldn’t find anything that worked. I applied the gel directly on the red, sore areas and the next morning the swelling and redness had gone down. I was truly amazed!” Kristina Beanland, Features Editor said, “A friend of mine recommended Eucerin’s Dermopure Cleansing Gel when I was first diagnosed with adult-acne and I’ve never looked back. This stuff gives my skin that ‘clean feeling’ that I didn’t get from any other cleansers. My skin feels refreshed, moisturised and cleansed.”
Rosie Jones, Yoga Instructor said, “I generally find that products with salicylic acid in them like The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution tend to dry out my skin. But, I absolutely fell in love with this! My skin looked visibly oil-free from the first use and it hasn’t led to my skin drying out. Would totally recommend!”
Claire Hammond, mother of two said, “I found a load of reviews online where people were praising the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask and the feedback was so great that I was skeptical. With such a low price tag, I decided to give it a go anyway, why not! And I was so impressed. It tingles slightly and you can really feel it working on your skin and when you wash it off you find gorgeous, clean skin. It’s great.”