What Causes Acne and How to Prevent It

What Causes Acne and How to Prevent It

1. What is acne?

a. What causes acne?

b. Does diet affect acne?

2. How to prevent acne

3. How to clear acne

a. The best face wash for acne

b. The best moisturizer for acne-prone skin

c. The best face mask for acne

 

Acne is that guest who shows up uninvited at the most inopportune time. Worse yet, just when you thought zits were a thing of your adolescence, they come back in full force many years later. We know these pesky spots don’t discriminate, but what causes acne? And why does it come in so many shapes, forms and sizes? If you’re looking for the root cause of acne, how to prevent acne and how to clear acne, we’ve got the answers. Take a closer look at the major triggers and factors that might be causing your breakouts and discover the best products for acne for clearer days ahead.





1. What is acne?


Acne is a catchall term for a variety of symptoms, including pimples, blackheads and cystic acne. Acne pathogenesis starts at the level of the hair follicle and oil glands, also known as sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands produce sebum (oil) to keep skin moisturized; however, when they produce excess oil and it gets trapped in pores, it can lead to pimples. In addition, other impurities from the environment, bacteria and makeup can also accumulate in pores and contribute to the appearance of pimples. All of these factors can lead to the appearance of pimples and even cystic acne.

What is cystic acne, you ask? The more common (and treatable) kinds of acne are small whiteheads and blackheads that come and go relatively quickly. Cystic acne, on the other hand, is considered to be the most severe type and causes deep, tender, painful and inflamed nodules underneath the skin.

a. What causes acne?


Unfortunately, there’s a laundry list of things that can trigger acne breakouts. It can be caused by hormones, stress, genetics, pressure or friction on the skin, poor hygiene or even something as simple as the food you eat.

b. Does diet affect acne?


If you had acne as a teenager, chances are pretty good you were told to avoid oily foods and chocolate because they can trigger a breakout. At the time, there wasn’t much science to back up the theory. So, does sugar cause acne? How about milk? Does dairy cause acne? We can now say with certainty that there’s a strong link to both. A study published in 2020 in JAMA Dermatology followed over 24,000 participants’ dietary behaviour and acne status for a period of eight months. The study found a “significant association between current acne and the consumption of fatty and sugary products.” High-glycemic foods can cause a spike in blood sugar and increase the amount of insulin in your body. There’s also a link to hormonal fluctuations and inflammation—both of which incite acne. But diet is usually not the only reason why someone has acne. While diet may play a role in causing your breakouts or worsening your acne, keeping your skin clear requires more than a diet change.

2. How to prevent acne


The best defence is a good offence. Sometimes, simply taking better care of your skin by cleansing or exfoliating regularly can be enough to prevent acne. If you have acne-prone skin, be sure you exfoliate regularly. Whether you use a chemical or physical exfoliant, this step will help prevent breakouts by keeping your pores clear and unclogged. You should also consider adding a treatment that features glycolic acid to the mix. It will dissolve the dead skin cells and oil that clog pores, which will help to clear and prevent future breakouts.

How about water? Does drinking water help acne? Staying hydrated is good for your overall health, but there’s no evidence that it can help prevent acne. However, it certainly can’t hurt! What’s more effective is wearing sunscreen every day. We know that UV exposure increases your risk for skin cancer and premature signs of aging, but sun exposure can also cause acne because it dries out the skin, leading to excess oil production in an effort to compensate. Wearing a 30+ SPF will help prevent adult acne—and protect your face.

3. How to clear acne


Each of us has a unique combo of skin type, skin tone, lifestyle and genetic factors that makes it impossible to have a one-size-fits-all fix. But one thing is for sure: Your skincare regimen matters when it comes to dealing with acne. We’ve rounded up the best acne products to get you on the path to clearer skin.

a. The best face wash for acne


Gentle, diligent cleansing, both day and evening, are important first steps to clearer skin. Scan the ingredient list for salicylic acid, which can help decrease inflammation and smooth skin. The face wash for acne is an oil-free gel cleanser that’s gentle while still having active ingredients like salicylic acid. Vichy Normaderm Anti-Acne Purifying Gel Cleanser not only targets pimples but also reinforces your skin barrier function.

b. The best moisturizer for acne-prone skin


It might be tempting to skip moisturizing all together if your skin feels oily, but that will only make your breakouts worse. The best moisturizer for acne-prone skin is a light, water-based moisturizer with active ingredients like salicylic acid, which will improve tolerability and keep your skin barrier intact. Vichy Normaderm Anti-Acne Double-Action Moisturizer ticks all the boxes, and it’s also the best product’s for acne scars; it helps fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) marks over time.

c. The best face mask for acne


Unlike your other pimple-fighting products, a good face mask can help draw out any excess oil and impurities in your skin, which will fight current breakouts and prevent future ones. The best face mask for acne is one that can multi-task, like Vichy Normaderm 3-in-1 Scrub + Cleanser + Mask. It deeply cleanses and exfoliates, reducing acne scars while fighting whiteheads and blackheads.

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