June: Acne Awareness Month

Dermatologist recommended tips for treating acne

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions affecting over 9% of the global population, including people of all ages and skin types. This month, we are shedding light on the causes, treatments, and ways to prevent acne, helping you understand your skin better. Here’s a quick low down!


What Causes Acne?

Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. This can result in whiteheads, blackheads, pimples (papules/pustules), and nodules/cysts. Key factors include:

  • Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during puberty, menstruation, or pregnancy, can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to clogged pores and breakouts.
  • Diet: Some studies suggest that certain foods, such as excessive dairy products and those with a high glycaemic index, can worsen acne. Paying attention to your diet and identifying any personal triggers can be helpful in managing acne. We must note however that diet alone does not cause acne.
  • Stress: Stress increases cortisol levels in the body, which can exacerbate acne. Finding ways to manage stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, or hobbies can positively impact your skin.
  • Skincare Products: Using the wrong skincare products can contribute to acne. It is essential to use non-comedogenic products, which are specially formulated to not clog pores, thus reducing the risk of breakouts.

Tips for Managing Acne

Anyone who has acne knows how difficult it can be to heal their skin. While treating existing pimples/spots, you can also prevent new ones from emerging, interrupting the frequently vicious breakout cycle.

Here are 8 skincare habits we recommend to help you get the best results from your acne treatment:

  1. Keep your face clean: Wash your face once or twice a day with an over-the-counter foaming cleanser for those who suffer with very oily skin or a creamy cleanser (oil-free) for those with acne prone skin which may also be sensitive (often more suitable for adults with acne).  Use your hands to clean your face for up to 60 seconds, and pat your skin dry with a clean towel instead of rubbing it dry. Scrubbing can actually promote more acne by stimulating the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. We recommend the EltaMD Oil-in-Gel Cleanser, a gentle formula that cleanses without stripping moisture or clogging pores.
  2. Keep a healthy diet: Keep a food diary to determine if a specific food triggers your breakouts. Eating an overall healthy diet is always good advice, and it may also help your skin stay clearer, but diet alone is not the cause of one’s acne. Diets which contain lean protein and plenty of fruit/vegetables have been shown to promote healthier skin and those who consume a high GI diet/excessive sugar may report an increase in the number of acne breakouts.
  3. Don't ignore your hair: If you have oily hair, you may need to wash it more often than people who have dry hair. Keeping your hair clean — and off your face (fringe clipped back) — will help prevent breakouts on the forehead and face. Some hair products, including pomades and gels, may worsen acne. So if you have acne on your forehead and tend to use a lot of hair product, consider avoiding it.
  4. Use moisturisers and sunscreens specifically made for the face: Lotions designed for the body are heavier and can clog your pores. Look for products with glycerine and hyaluronic acid, which hold moisture in the skin, and products labeled "non-comedogenic" — which means they don't cause formation of blackheads/comedones which are the primary lesion of acne. No matter what, however, always wear sunscreen.
  5. Use water-based, oil-free makeup: Makeup has long been the go-to for covering up blemishes. But be careful — you might be making your breakouts worse. Heavy, greasy products with cocoa butter, mineral oil or cold cream can aggravate acne. As with lotion and sunscreen, your makeup should be water-based, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic and oil-free. Mineral-based products with silica, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide help absorb oil and minimise redness. Physical sunscreens are also preferable for those who suffer with acne as they contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  6. Avoid touching your face: Every time your fingers meet your face, they transfer dirt (bacteria) and oils. It's a hard habit to break, but an important one. And wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently — to keep them clean.
  7. Don't pick or pop your pimples. Ever! It only increases your chances for inflammation and can lead to scarring.
  8. Change your sheets at least weekly. If there's dirt and oil on your sheets, it will rub off on your skin while you sleep. This is especially important for your pillowcase because it's where you rest your face.


Dermatologist recommended acne products

EltaMD AM Restore Moisturiser is a light-weight, oil-free moisturiser which contains both hyaluronic acid and niacinamide (suitable for all skin types)

EltaMD PM Therapy Facial Moisturiser may also be suitable for those using prescription therapies to treat acne which may dry the skin (such as topical/oral retinoids). This moisturiser works overnight to moisturise, restore and repair the skin while you sleep. (Also oil-free, non-comedogenic, containing niacinamide)

EltaMD UV Clear SPF (tinted/untinted versions) is a light-weight silky SPF which can be worn alone or sits perfectly under makeup. It contains niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and lactic acid to promote healthy, glowing skin and is suitable for those who suffer with acne or rosacea.

EltaMD Oil-in-Gel Cleanser is a gentle formula, enriched with antioxidants, that protects the skin's barrier without stripping moisture or clogging pores.



Cosmetic Treatments for Acne

Here at the Institute of Dermatologists, we offer a range of treatments that can reduce acne scarring. To find the best solution for you, book in for a procedure consultation with a nurse or consultant.