What Is Acne Prone Skin? And How To Get It Under Control!
Acne Prone Skin Explained!
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes
If you’re experiencing acne, or think you might have acne prone skin, you may be feeling fed up and annoyed at having to deal with persistent blemishes and problem scarring.
Acne prone skin can bring down the most positive of people: it is unsightly, notoriously difficult to cover up and at times, and can be sore and uncomfortable.
But, you’re not alone. Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans annually. And, adult acne is on the rise: nearly 15% of women are experiencing acne symptoms later than the age of 24!
But, what exactly is acne prone skin? And, why is it happening?
What Causes Acne?
We all get blemishes from time to time. Whether this is due to some level of excess (too much dehydrating, toxic alcohol? Too many late nights?), being a little too lax in our skincare regime, or because it’s our “time of the month” and our hormones are out to play – spots, unfortunately, are a normal part of life.
But, what causes acne prone skin? Acne is caused when sebum — an oily substance produced naturally by the body that lubricates and moisturises your hair and skin — and dead skin cells block the hair follicles on your skin (your skin is covered with hair follicles, FYI). This bacteria then becomes a spot, and if picked or kept unclean, you can trigger further inflammation and infection resulting in more severe and sore acne spots.
Those with acne prone skin, on learning that acne is essentially a buildup of oil and dead skin cells, may think that over cleaning the face is the solution. Wrong! If you’re consistently clearing the sebum from the face, your body will try to make more to replace the oil you’re stripping away!
So, what’s causing your acne prone skin? Unfortunately, it’s usually hormones and your genetics. If your parents had acne, it’s likely that’s why you’ve developed it too. Excess sebum production can be caused by increased levels of the hormone testosterone, pregnancy, your period cycle and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Acne symptoms can also be exacerbated if you smoke, certain medications particularly steroid medications, regularly wearing items that apply pressure to the skin (like headbands) and occasionally cosmetic products.
Eugh! Acne is annoying: especially when we’re told we all need to aspire to getting that ‘perfect’ looking skin!
So, how can we care for our acne prone skin? How can we keep our acne prone skin happy, healthy, and as smooth as can be?
How Do I Know If I Have Acne Prone Skin?
If you’re wondering “What is acne prone skin?”, you may also be wondering whether you’re suffering from it.
There are a couple of ways to figure out whether you have acne prone skin…
If you get large, cystic-like bumps under the skin fairly regularly (usually on the jaw, chin, nose or forehead), this can be considered as a big indicator that you have acne prone skin. A cystic bump is a large ‘under the skin’ spot with no head, and they typically hurt when touched.*
Another way to tell if you have acne prone skin is to look to your hair! If you have an oily scalp, or frequent dandruff, this can suggest you’re also an owner of acne prone skin because your body is clearly able to over-produce sebum.
*If you get cystic spots regularly, or they are causing you immense discomfort and bringing you down, seek medical support from a dermatologist. They can offer you cortisone injections, the acne fighting drug Retin-A and sometimes they might suggest surgical removal of a cyst in extreme cases.
Acne Skin Care
Due to the hormonal nature of acne prone skin, any little change can cause it to flare up. Therefore, it’s important to find a routine, both on the outside and the inside, that works for you and your acne prone skin.
Topical Acne Skin Care
Annoyingly, the best acne prone skincare routine isn’t ‘one size fits all’!
When you have sensitive acne prone skin, a lot of it will come down to trial and error, knowing what works for you and your skin. This can mean experimenting with lots of different skincare items until you get the perfect routine for you.
However, to start you off on the right track, here are some ideas of where to start when trying to combat and soothe acne prone skin:
- A Weekly “Detoxifying” Mask. These usually have ingredients tea tree and witch hazel, are typically a clay like consistency, and work as a weekly ‘clear out’. They are tailored to unclog pores and help keep any brewing acne blemishes at bay.
- A “Clarifying” Serum. This works its pore-unclogging magic during the day, and acts as a barrier between your skin and environmental aggressors.
- A Targeted Spot Treatment. Choose a product - such as blemish patches, or a ‘zit stick’ - that literally advertises on the label that that’s what it does! This means you apply the concentrated treatment on the affected areas only, which stops the drying out of the rest of the skin.
Acne Skin Care From The Inside Out
As stated previously acne prone skin is often caused by hormones and genetics, so you may notice your skin condition is exacerbated at certain times of the month, or when you’re stressed, tired, have been neglecting sleep or keeping a poor diet.
As with most functions of the body, how we feel on the inside affects how we present on the outside. Therefore taking a look at your diet, general gut health and intake of vitamins, minerals and nutrients can be extremely beneficial to preventing blemishes.
Try incorporating some of these gut-loving foods into your diet, to help boost the quality of your acne prone skin:
- Dark, Leafy Greens. It’s no secret vegetables are good for the skin (as well as the rest of the body!). Loaded with nutrients like Iron, Vitamins A & C, antioxidants, and fibre, dark and leafy greens are considered key to keeping the skin healthy and balanced.
- Citrus Fruits. Fruits such as lemons are natural astringents, which helps remove excess oil from the skin. Read up on citrus fruit Lemon and it’s benefits for skin here!
- Berries. They’re full of Vitamin C and other skin-loving antioxidants. Plus, they taste great too!
- Brown Rice, Quinoa and Other Brown Fibre. Eating fibre based dishes makes you poop more – yep, we said it! To get clinical about it though, poop helps toxins exit the body. This means poopin’ regularly will help get rid of any ‘nasties’ that might affect the skin. Upping your fibre intake will literally flush those toxins out faster!
- Water. Hydrating yourself from the inside is key for healthy skin. Water helps your skin retain moisture so it doesn’t think it has to compensate with more sebum, whilst flushing toxins out the body so will help your acne prone skin to look and feel healthier!
Our final thoughts on acne prone skin…
We all know that too much sun exposure can cause serious skin cancer. It’s also a widespread myth that the sun clears up blemishes… It’s actually doing the opposite! The sun actually dries out your skin and sets off excess oil production which, as we now know, wreaks havoc with acne prone skin.
You should be using sunscreen all year round, to protect the skin against harmful and damaging UV rays.