DO I HAVE ACNE? the basics of who gets acne and why - acne awareness week

We are supporting Acne Awareness Month in June, taking a look at anything from breakout skincare guidance through to our communities real skin stories. Starting at the beginning, we headline the basics of acne - what it is, who gets it, and how it can impact anyone at any age.

what is acne and do i have it?

Acne is a medical condition which occurs when pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells, causing spots, blackheads, or whiteheads to form on areas such as the face, shoulders, or back. This means that many of us will have experienced acne at some point, but some peoples acne is very mild and short lived, while others experience much more severe acne which might require medical support.

Basically, if you have had spots at any point or are dealing with breakouts right now, you have experienced acne.

who gets acne?

When you are going through puberty and young adulthood, it's very likely that you will get acne at some point. In fact, the NHS advises that "About 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent". So, although you might be feeling like you are the only one, you are REALLY not.

However, it's a misconception that acne is just for teenagers. Much less often discussed is that you can experience at any age. In fact, around 3% of adults over the age of 3 have acne, and life stages such as the menopause or pregnancy can be common triggers. So, if you're wondering why spots have started appearing in your 30s or 40s, don't panic. It's more common that you think.

WHY am i getting acne?

The frustrating thing about acne is that there isn't a simple answer for why one person experiences acne and others don't.

Common causes include:

- Hormones: Fluctuations in hormones during puberty or the menopause can cause a production of excess oil in the skin. This can increase the risk of blocked pores and breakouts

- Genetics: Some experts believe that if tere is a family history of acne, there is a higher chance that you might be more likely to experience it too

- Skincare routines causing a damaged skin barrier: If you damage your skin barrier this (e.g. through over-exfoliation or sun damage) then this can cause issues such as excess oil production or sensitivity 

- Stress: When you are stressed the body releases cortisol which can cause hormonal changes. Excess oil production can follow, increasing the risk of breakouts

- Diet: Opinions are mixed on whether diet causes acne or not. Some experts believe sensitivities to dairy can trigger acne, while others believe diet has no impact. If unsure, you could test if diary is a trigger for you through controlling the amount in your diet for a period of time

- Makeup: Pore blocking makeup can be a trigger, but you can check if a product is non-comedogenic (non pore blocking) if you are want to make sure a it's right for you

how do i get rid of my acne?

Just like the causes of acne, the solution to treating acne is not always clearcut. The reality is that everyones acne journey is unique, and often acne treatments are more about progress rather than an absolute cure. The reason for this is the triggers are often internal with hormones playing a huge role, and there is a limit to how much someone can control their hormones.

That said, that doesnt mean that skincare routines can help you feel more in control of your acne.


Our top 3 tips:

  1. Introduce ingredients such as Salicylic Acid into your skincare routine. This can help to clear pores and reduce excess oil, reducing the risk of blocked pores and breakouts
  2. Simplify your skincare routine. If you are overcomplicating your routine with trial and error of lots of products, it's more likely you will impact your skin barrier, which can increase the risk of excess oil production and breakouts
  3.  Reduce stress levels. So much easier said than done, but cortisol / hormone imbalances as a result of stress can trigger excess oil and breakouts. Try and find ways to destress that work for you, whether its talking to supporting friends / online communities about how you are feeling, or increasing exercise to feel productive and good about yourself

We hope this has helped to give you the basics of what acne is, and why you might be experiencing it. Just remember, it's incredibly common, so Acne Awareness Week is a great opportunity to have open and honest conversations about a skin condition the majority of us will experience at some point in our lives.


We hope that you've found this blog helpful - if you have any questions or would like to share your skincare journey with us, we'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch via the form below or by DM on IG. 




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