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I’m not a teenager – why do I still have acne?

Acne is most common among teenagers, although it affects people of all ages.

These factors can trigger or aggravate acne:

1. Unbalanced hormones. Androgens are hormones that cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and make more sebum. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy and the use of oral contraceptives also can affect sebum production.

2. Stress can also be a factor in adult acne, as stress can cause havoc with your hormones too.

3. Over cleansing your skin or using the incorrect products. Use a gentle, purifying cleanser and do not over-cleanse by scrubbing or using harsh products that dry the skin out.  This will only make the skin produce more sebum to compensate! Using a cleansing brush or face cloths are better than your fingertips, but always make sure these are clean each time. Always tone after cleansing.  Toners help to close the pores and prevent open pores, which are common with oily, acne prone skin. Finally, use a treatment product all over the affected area. If your skin feels dry, you may also want to use a light moisturiser.

4. Pollution can be another factor, so keep your skin scrupulously clean, as outlined above. In between morning and evening cleansing routines, if your skin feels oily use a cotton pad and some gentle floral water or witch-hazel and gentle sweep this over your face. Alternatively, use a specialist toner.

5. A high sugar and/or high fat diet can increase sebum production, one of the main causes of acne. The correct diet can definitely make a difference. Probiotics may help, as can leafy green vegetables, plenty of fruit (or do some juicing) and ‘clean’ proteins such as fish, walnuts and flaxseed.  Basically you want to eat Omega 3 proteins and avoid Omega 6. Avoid sugar, junk and fast food.  Also consider restricting high glycaemic-index foods which break down quickly in the body, triggering an insulin spike and raising blood sugar levels. They trigger hormonal fluctuations and inflammation, both of which encourage acne. For example: white bread, processed breakfast cereals, white rice, crisps, biscuits and cakes. Choose low glycaemic-index foods instead, like vegetables and whole grains.

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