What exactly is ACNE?

Acne – What is it, who gets it, and why?

Waking up to find a brand new pimple on the middle of your forehead can be a very frustrating experience, but it is one that we can all relate to.  In fact, acne affects 40-50 million Americans and almost 90% of teens, making it the most common skin problem in the U.S.  Acne usually begins in puberty, but it can affect adults and even younger children.  So when you see that new red spot, remember you are definitely not alone. Acne is caused by oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria that can clog pores leading to blackheads and whiteheads.  Frequently there is also inflammation leading to red pus-filled pimples and larger, often painful bumps, called nodules or cysts.  Occasionally the acne bumps can heal with long-lasting red marks or permanent scars. Acne breakouts can be triggered by hormones – that’s why acne frequently begins around puberty when hormone production in your body naturally increases.  Stress can also trigger breakouts if you already have acne.  Exactly how and how much your diet affects acne is less clear.  We know that diets with lots of simple carbohydrates and sugars (think donuts and bagels) can lead to an increase in acne.  Scientists think that increased levels of insulin (the hormone that your body makes to help break down all of that sugar) can trigger acne breakouts.  That’s why many dermatologists now recommend a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats to help reduce acne risk and for its overall health benefits.  Other foods like chocolate and milk are currently being studied, but a direct link to acne has not been clearly proven yet. One thing we do know is that dirt does not cause acne.  Actually all of the scrubbing and rubbing that you may be tempted to do when you see a blackhead or new breakout, can irritate your skin and make acne worse!  Washing with a gentle cleanser like P.R.E.P. purifying daily cleanser morning and evening (and after vigorous exercise) is all that is necessary to keep your skin clean.  Makeup doesn’t cause acne either (with the possible exception of oil-based stage makeup or “grease paint”) as long as you are washing as above, but you may want to look for one that is oil-free and “non-comedogenic” which means it won’t clog pores. Although acne is incredibly common, it is not something that you have to suffer through.  Read about some treatment options and tips for treating mild acne breakouts in the How to treat acne article where you can also read all about our P.R.E.P. everyday clear acne treatment which will be ready to ship at the end of October. Stay healthy,