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June is Acne Awareness Month

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What causes Acne (acne vulgaris)?

Acne (acne vulgaris) is caused by the occlusion of the hair follicles and pores of the face.  Areas most common for acne are those areas that have the most sebaceous glands (oil glands) that are found within hair follicles.  The follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil.  The clogged pore creates a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. If this occurs, inflammation and redness may result.

Risk factors may include:

  • Hormones
  • Family history (genetics)
  • Medications

Stress is not the main cause of acne, but stress can worsen the condition.

Does a poor diet cause acne?

There is a lot of contradictory information about this topic, but in short, doctors don’t know for sure the exact impact that diet plays on acne.  However, there are recent studies that show that diets high in processed sugars and processed carbohydrates do lead to an inflammatory state that may exacerbate acne.

5 Acne-Prone Skin Care Tips

Tip #1

Wash your face daily with lukewarm water.  Use gentle facial cleansers that contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.  Avoid using abrasive skin scrubs and hot water as it dries out the skin and may cause skin irritation.

Tip #2

Don’t skip out on moisturizer, even oily acne prone skin can be dehydrated.  Use an oil free moisturizer daily.

Tip #3

Even though we are tempted to stay in the sun for long periods of time in the summer months, it’s best to avoid the sun and never use tanning beds. UV rays not only increases your chance of skin cancer, but also increases the chance that your acne will heal with dark marks and discolouration.

Tip #4

It’s very important to stop picking on acne and popping them!  This just causes more irritation and inflammation that makes it harder for your acne to heal. This may lead to scarring and discolouration of the skin.

Tip #5

Final tip is consistency.  Stick to a skincare regimen that works and that you can stick with.  Many acne treatments may take up to a few months to begin working so patience is the best policy here.  

Acne can be a frustrating condition to treat and live with, and does significantly impact people's quality of life and self-esteem, and that is why treatment should be taken seriously.  A dermatologist can help identify the cause and prescribe an appropriate treatment.

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