The 1st of September each year is National Acne Positivity Day, and we wanted to draw attention to this, as skin health is super close to our hearts.
Here we will discuss common questions about acne, how to treat it, how common it is and how it impacts people’s confidence.
How Common is Acne?
Acne is extremely common. SO common that 95% of people will experience some form of acne between the ages of 11-30. (1) If you have acne or have experienced it in your lifetime, you are absolutely not alone.
It is most common between the ages of 14 and 17 for girls and 16-19 for boys. For most people, acne disappears when they reach their 20s, but this isn’t the case for everyone. (1)
Roughly 3% of adults will continue to have acne over 35 (1), which may sound like a small percentage yet actually equates to well over a million people. Many adults also suffer from acne scarring that has occurred at some point, all of which can impact confidence for some people.
Does Acne Affect Confidence?
Some of the common google searches around acne include “will acne affect a job interview”, “does acne make you ugly”, and “will acne ever go away”, signalling that many people’s self-esteem is encroached upon by acne.
Studies show that acne affects confidence and self-esteem in many people, with women and those with severe acne being impacted the most. (2) Many find acne so embarrassing that they never actually seek medical treatment or contact a dermatologist; they just try to cover the acne and live with it.
Does having acne mean you are Dirty?
NO! acne is not a sign of being unhygienic or dirty. Actually, if you scrub your face roughly or use harsh chemicals irritating the skin to cleanse it, you can worsen the acne.
Make-up also won’t give you acne, as long as you use clean brushes/sponges, oil-free makeup, and regularly remove the makeup.
What is Acne?
Acne is essentially clogged pores - sebum (the oil that lubricates skin and hair) and dead skin cells block up the pores, causing the spots to form. Whiteheads, blackheads and pimples are the most common types of acne. (3)
These spots can become inflamed and infected if bacteria enter them. (3) Washing your skin regularly with a gentle and fragrance-free cleanser will help to limit the possibility of bacteria getting into your pores.
As well as whiteheads, blackheads and pimples, there are other types of acne:(4)
- Papules are small bumps that become inflamed and are red or pink in colour.
- Pustules are pimples containing pus. They look a lot like whiteheads but are surrounded by red rings. This type of acne is prone to causing scarring if they are picked or scratched.
- Fungal acne is caused by excess yeast developing within hair follicles and is often itchy and inflamed.
- Nodules are large, painful, solid lumps deep within the skin.
- Cysts are pus-filled pimples that are also prone to scarring.
Most commonly, acne will be located on the face (particularly the forehead), chest, shoulders and upper back, although it can appear anywhere on the body. It appears in these locations because these points of the body have the most oil glands, so they are at the most risk of becoming clogged with sebum. (4)
How can I get rid of acne?
In many cases, acne can be treated by seeking medical treatment, particularly by a dermatologist who is a professional in skin health. It can’t technically be “cured”, but symptoms can be managed so that acne is no longer a visible issue.
A retinoid is a great way to reduce white and blackheads; these are readily available, and you don’t need a prescription. Retinoids are chemical compounds derived from vitamin A and can really help to clear up acne. If you need a stronger retinoid, these can be prescribed, too. (5)
If you are struggling with acne and feel it’s impacting your self-esteem and confidence, go and see your doctor! There are many treatment options they can prescribe for you, mainly as creams and ointments, as well as in pill form.
At The Gut Co, we have created a daily probiotic supplement called Skin Health that can positively impact acne. The probiotic ingredient (live bacteria) Lactobacillus Rhamnosus SP1 has been shown the reduce the appearance of acne by sending detoxifying and anti-inflammatory signals to your skin via the gut-skin axis.
Acne is the most common skin condition and impacts many people - you aren’t alone. With so many treatment options available, it’s worth browsing your local chemist, booking a doctor’s appointment or contacting a dermatologist to see if they can help to relieve your symptoms.
It is nothing to be ashamed about - whatever age, it is entirely normal and does not reflect your hygiene levels! Remember that regularly washing your face with a fragrance-free, mild cleanser can help prevent infection and inflammation, and don’t pick at the acne to avoid scarring.