Acne is usually associated with moody, hormonal teenagers - everyone has a story about how they used to be a spotty school kid. But now it appears that adults are suffering too. Whatclinic.com surveyed dermatology clinics and found a 214% rise in the number of acne treatment enquiries. So what's happening?
It's when our hair follicles become blocked. Sebaceous glands release sebum (oil), which moisturisers and waterproofs the skin. Acne is the result of oily overproduction - just like Robin Thicke's last album. When sebum and skin cells block pores, infection and inflammation sets in. It can happen anywhere on your body, although the face and back are most often affected.
Our world is very focused on beauty. Celebrity culture reigns over us and we are pressured into attempting to achieve the same looks. The pressure to have perfect skin is shocking. We are so obsessed with how we look, or to put it another way, other people judge us on how we look. It's a shame, and I admit I won't leave the house without the old war paint on. What if Harrison Ford pops by the Co-op? I need to be ready.
Diet - experts believe that a diet high in sugar can increase the risk of acne. Cutting out sugar can lead to improvements, after all our skin is the largest organ we have, so it's not surprising our diet affects it.
Stress - we are under a lot of stress. If you're not, I need to know your secret. There's no hard evidence that stress cases acne, but I refuse to believe there is no correlation. Stress makes our bodies behave in odd ways. No doubt stress affects acne in ways we don't know about yet.
Pollution - our world is becoming more choked up by the minute, and adult acne is on the rise, is that just coincidence? Engine fumes smother our skin in chemicals, and air-conditioning and central heating dry skin out. Both are triggers for acne.
Medication - some medicines cause acne. Mood stabilisers, anti-epileptics and corticosteroids are blamed for acne outbreaks.
Hormones - periods can trigger acne flare-ups too. Women in particular are at risk of hormone-induced acne because they experience a lot of physical changes, from puberty to childbirth to menopause. .
There are plenty of acne treatments out there, from topical skin creams to oral antibiotics such as minocin. Medication is the way to go if you are very self-conscious or in pain. Let's not forget acne is broken skin, it can get infected and really, really hurt. Acne specialists deal with severe cases that may lead to scarring, so it's worth getting referred if this applies to you.
If you have some acne or acne scars, you may be better off letting it be. Who cares what anyone else thinks? If you are happy with your life then enjoy it, and enjoy those 'make-up free celebrities' features too. Remember, you probably look much better than them in real life :)