We’ve all been at the mercy of spot outbreaks during out teenage years. Infact 95% of adolescents will get acne to some degree, so you’re not alone with this cosmetic concern!

Painful, swollen and red – the tell tale signs a spot is beginning to rear its ugly head. So, what’s the story with acne?

The initial stage of spot development happens when the pores in our skin become blocked. This is often due to an excess of the skin’s natural oil, known as sebum, produced by sebaceous glands that secrete oil into the pores and onto the skin. This oil combines with dead skin cells on the surface and forms a clog.

This tends to occur more during our teenage years, but why?

Hormones play a big role in spot formation as they increase the production of oil by the skin. Puberty plays havoc with our hormones, and the increased production of androgens during our teenage years leads to an increased production of sebum. The large variation in severity of acne experienced by teenagers is due to many different factors, including how much oil is being produced as well as our genetics, which also has a part to play.

What can be done?

We always recommend using a gentle exfoliator as a preventative measure, as this removes the dead skin cells, so stops our pores from becoming blocked. The Geeks also suggest using products containing Salicylic acid (click here to find out more), a plant derived ingredient that loosens the bonds between adjacent skin cells, allowing us to shed the top layer of dry cells, again reducing the likelihood of pores becoming blocked and spots developing.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ cure for acne but we recommend using treatments containing Benzoyl peroxide (we have reviewed a product containing this ingredient here) as they help combat acne by killing the spot-forming bacteria, as well as reducing the inflammation around the spot! Tea tree, witch hazel and aloe vera are also good ingredients to look out for due to anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Another top tip would be avoid using any treatments containing high alcohol concentrations, as tempting as it is to try and remove excess oil from the skin, stripping the skin of all its natural oils will encourage the body to overcompensate by producing even more oil! Likewise, we should point out the importance of keeping your skin moisturized, to prevent it from drying out and keeping it healthy and hydrated.

If you would consider your acne to be severe, and it is not responding to any of these treatments, we would suggest seeking medical advice.

Please comment any questions you have, or you can submit them via our Q & A page. Let us know if you a product that really works for you or if you are considering investing in a new one, and would like us to review it for you.

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