What causes acne and spots

Before we get into this, we just wanted to make it really clear - spots, breakouts, acne etc are normal - the NHS found that around 95% of people between the age of 11-30 are likely to experience acne at some point. Its important to remind ourselves of this as there is so much negativity towards #realskin

Because so many of us experience breakouts, you might be offered lots of tips for getting rid of spots that aren’t that helpful, and could actually be making your breakouts more severe. This advice might be well intentioned but can also be grounded in some common skincare misconceptions, and can make you feel like its your fault (FYI - it’s not).

So we wanted to share some of the most common (but inaccurate!) myths about the causes of spots and blemishes, so you can filter out the good advice from the bad?

Does makeup make spots worse?

Has anyone ever said to you that makeup doesn’t let your skin breathe so you shouldn’t be wearing it? Well, as long as the makeup you wear is non-comedogenic (non pore blocking) and oil free, then it shouldn’t really be contributing to breakouts and there are plenty of foundations out there that are designed to work with oily skin

In fact, some foundations containing Zinc can be skin soothing and support breakout-prone skin. If a breakout is making you feel more self-conscious about your skin, then just do what’s right for you and cover / conceal if that helps you feel more confident. Just make sure you check the ingredients list and product labelling to make sure the formulation is right for your skins needs. 


If you're looking to control oil, our Mattifying Barrier Moisturiser is definitely a product you should try - it helps to give you more control with sebum production whilst moisturising and protecting your skin!

Can eating chocolate cause spots?

Nope - there have been no conclusive studies that prove that sugar or chocolate directly causes breakouts. This is a definite myth, which for a few on the team, is a huge relief. However, a healthy diet and exercise is always a good thing, especially if you are struggling with your mental health and confidence as a result of breakouts.

If you want to cut back on sugar then great, but do it for bigger and better reasons that trying to reduce breakouts.

Does the sun helps to clear up spots?

Have you ever thought that your skin clears up when you are holiday in the sun? There is limited evidence to prove that sunshine helps to reduce spots, although light therapy (e.g. blue light) may help to kill certain bacteria that can cause acne. It’s more likely that a light tan might be disguising some of the usual redness or breakouts, or reduced stress may help reduce breakout frequency. It’s also really important to remember that if you are using chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid to help treat blemishes, then you need to use SPF protection to prevent long lasting sun damage like hyperpigmentation.

Your skin is dirty or unclean if you have spots

Urgh, we really don’t like this myth - it’s negative and inaccurate. The NHS advises that “most biological reactions that trigger acne occur beneath the surface of the skin, not on the surface”. Basically, spots are more likely to be caused by things like hormones than any external factors. That said, we would always advise cleansing once or twice a day (no more than that) to prevent the build up of oil, pollution and dirt which can clog pores, and for a nice, fresh skin feel 👌

Does picking or squeezing spots can help them heal quicker?

A couple of the team here at Clear Skin Days LOVE a Dr. Pimple Popper video. There is no doubt it can be weirdly satisfying, and an experienced dermatologist will be trained to treat certain blemishes in this way. However, in general squeezing spots may end up with them becoming more inflamed or infected as a result as it can lead to bacteria entering the wound. Even worse, you could increase your risk of scarring. Our advice is to leave it to the professionals.

One way to manage the healing of spots is to use a patch - our Blemish Clearing Patches use Hydrocolloid technology and are amazing at drawing out impurities and healing the area.

They also prevents picking which is one of the key causes of scarring - used overnight they are comfortable to sleep in and so discreet, you can where them in the day with or without foundation coverage.

Does toothpaste get rid of pimples?

This is a really common myth and there is no doubt that some toothpaste ingredients may help to dry out spots, like baking soda. However, your teeth are much tougher than your skin is, so if your skin is sensitive then you may end up with your blemish looking more red and angry than before with your natural skin pH levels out of balance. It’s highly recommended NOT to use toothpaste anywhere on your face.

If you're looking for a paste solution for reducing breakouts, try our Blemish Repair Paste - made with Kaolin Clay and Zinc, its a great textured product to use on a small or large area.

Are spots just for teenagers?

Its true that acne can be triggered during puberty due to an increase in hormone production, which can signal the body to make more sebum. However, about 20% of all acne cases occur in adults. Women in particular can experience acne in their 30s and beyond due to hormone fluctuations during periods, pregnancy or the menopause.

Stress can also trigger adult acne - when our stress levels go up it causes an increase in the level of acne causing-hormones called androgens, which stimulate oil production. The horrible truth is, you may also just be more genetically likely to get spots, its sucks, yes, but good to know right?

Basically, spots are definitely not just for teenagers as most of us at Clear Skin Days will confirm!




So, we hope that has helped to bust a few myths around what is and isn’t likely to cause breakouts. If you have blemish prone skin, then it’s important to do your research as it can feel like acne is your fault when it most definitely isn’t.

If you want to know more or need a bit of advice, get in touch and say hi at hello@clearskindays.com. We’d love to hear from you and help where we can.


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