Acne: Everything you need to know
By Advanced Nutrition Programme
Let’s be honest, no one likes acne but it’s one of the most common skin concerns throughout puberty and can also linger for longer in adult life, often during times of hormonal changes e.g. menopause. It affects 80% of people between the ages of 11- 30 years¹, which can lead to low self-esteem and poor self-confidence. Advanced Nutrition Programme’s skin research team highlights some of the factors that can contribute to acne and explain the ones we cannot control and the ones we can.
What can impact acne?
Changes during puberty
Every teenager goes through various changes during puberty but not everyone’s the same. One of the changes involve the oil glands in the skin increasing in size, creating more sebum, and leading to blocked pores ³. This oil may feed bacteria, which is when spots can start to appear.
Hyperkeratosis is a skin condition that occurs when an individual’s skin becomes thicker than usual in specific areas. Keratin is a protein found in the skin and sometimes the body may produce extra keratin because of inflammation, this can be due to a protective response to pressure, or it can be hereditary⁴ . This type of skin makes it difficult for sebum to get through and when your skin produces a lot of sebum, this makes it an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, which can sometimes lead to breakouts.
Stress can impact you in many ways, but research shows that it can have a negative impact on your skin health. It can trigger your immune system, which leads to inflammation of the skin and cause excess oil production⁵. It can also stimulate the nervous system, which may trigger skin itchiness. This may worsen acne if you begin picking at your spots, causing redness, swelling and possible infection⁴
Diet and Lifestyle
Some of the factors we’ve touched on are things outside our control. However, there are elements which we can control, such as the types of food we consume. Studies have confirmed that high sugar diets including sweets, chocolate and fizzy drinks can be linked to acne. This is because increased sugar intake can lead to the rise in blood glucose and produce large amounts of insulin which leads to an increase in sebum⁶. We all know that having good quality of sleep is important for overall wellbeing. However, evidence shows, individuals that achieve the recommended 7- 9 hours’ sleep a night have improved skin barrier recovery. When the skin barrier is compromised, the skins’ defence system against external stimuli is weakened, which may lead to skin diseases, including acne⁶. Environmental factors may also have an impact on the skin. If we think about it, the skin is the organ that is exposed directly to the environment. It’s also possible that humidity in different seasons may impact our skin and the severity level of acne⁶.
When trying to sooth acne, it may be a natural reaction to scrub your face. However, overly scrubbing your skin can also irritate your skin, causing acne to flare up⁷. It’s important to read the labels on skincare and make up products you’re using. Make sure the products you’re using are oil-free, non-acnegenic, noncomedogenic and won’t clog your pores⁸. To help manage problem skin, it’s always useful to understand the some of the factors that can affect acne first. This will help determine some of the lifestyle habits you can adopt to address some of the concerns and support your skincare journey.
Address problematic skin from the inside: Advanced Nutrition Skin Accumax
1. Dermatological problems of the puberty. National Library of Medicine. June 2020. 2. Acne. Mayo Clinic. August 2020. 3. Who gets acne and causes. American Academy of Dermatology Association 4. What you should know about hyperkeratosis. Medical News. August 2017. 5. 5 factors that could be contributing to your acne. Dermatology Center of North West Houston. 6. A Review of Advancement on Influencing Factors of Acne: An Emphasis on Environment Characteristics. National Library of Medicine. September 2020. 7. 10 skincare habits that can worsen acne. American Academy of Dermatology Association. 8. Adult acne. American Academy of Dermatology Associatio