What Causes Acne and How to Treat It?

Even if you had acne-free teenage years, it’s not uncommon for unsightly pimples and painful skin bumps to strike in adulthood. Up to 85% of Australians suffer from acne at some point in their lives. 

Treating acne and regaining your clear skin can be challenging as what works for one person can make symptoms worse for another. 

But the right skincare routine and lifestyle choices can help you on your journey to clearer skin. Cosmetic treatments have also come on hugely over the last decade, and there are some clinically proven ways to clear your pores and speed up skin renewal for a blemish-free complexion.

What Are the Main Causes of Acne?

There are lots of ways to treat breakouts and stubborn acne, but it’s important to understand why it occurs in the first place.

Acne is the result of clogged pores. Each pore in your skin surrounds a tiny hair follicle and is home to a sebaceous gland which secretes sebum to keep your skin moisturised, soft and protected. 

If the pore gets clogged up by any excess oil, dead skin cells or impurities, there is a strong possibility that bacteria will find a way into your skin and cause unsightly pimples. 

The most common causes of adult acne are:

  • Fluctuation in hormones
  • Stress
  • Using the wrong skincare products
  • Certain foods
  • Genetics

Some lifestyle choices make you more prone to acne and exacerbate breakouts.

What Causes Pimples?

Pimples form when sebaceous glands are clogged, leading to painful, swollen and infected red lesions filled with pus – otherwise known as a pustule or papule. Unfortunately, pimples are part of the acne diagnosis.

Hormone fluctuation can cause the sebaceous glands to become overactive. As a result, acne is most likely to strike when the natural hormonal balance changes during teenage years, at the onset and during menstruation, and the menopause. 

What Foods Cause Acne?

There is plenty of research that shows a link between diet and acne. A diet rich in calories, fat and refined carbohydrates can make your acne worse and increase the chances of a breakout. 

A study involving over 5,000 Chinese teenagers and young adults revealed that a high-fat diet resulted in a 43% increase in the chance of acne, and regular consumption of fast food increased the risk by 17%.

How Do I Stop Acne Breakouts?

Beautifully clear skin doesn’t happen by chance. You need to pay attention to what you put on your face, such as cleansers, toners, moisturisers and makeup.

The following skincare tips are all based on glowing evidence:

  • Wash your face twice a day
  • Use a mild cleanser and toner
  • Apply a moisturiser
  • Exfoliate
  • Choose makeup that won’t clog your pores
  • Don’t pick at any sore patches on your skin
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle and diet
  • Get plenty of sleep

Clear skin doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the result of a healthy lifestyle and skincare regime. 

Does Drinking Water Help Acne?

Making sure you stay hydrated can benefit your skin and reduce the risk of acne breakouts. Various studies show that together with maintaining a good skin routine, drinking lots of water can also keep your skin hydrated, soft and smooth. 

One such study showed that in a month-long analysis of 49 women,  increased water intake improved skin hydration and clarity. 

How Do I Stop Pimples on My Face?

Whether you have acne or not, keeping your skin clean is important. 

Ensure that you wash your face twice per day to clear away dead skin cells, keep oils balanced, and remove daily grime and impurities from the surface of your skin. It’s essential to maintain your skin’s natural PH balance, so washing your skin more often than twice per day can sometimes do more harm than good. 

It’s best to avoid scrubbing your skin with a rough flannel, exfoliating pad or loofah sponge. Instead, gently wash your face with a soft cloth or your fingers. Rinse your skin well and pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

Make sure to change the towel frequently so that you don’t spread bacteria. 

Many products on the market can help acne. Look for brands that state ‘non-comedogenic’ on the label. It’s also important to choose a moisturiser that suits your skin type and apply daily to clean skin to prevent dryness and flaky skin. 

How to Clear Acne

If you’re in the middle of an angry breakout, there are several hacks you can use to soothe your skin, speed up the healing process, and reduce the appearance of unsightly pimples.

Put Ice on Your Angry Pimple

This will help reduce the swelling in a swollen spot, particularly if it is causing you pain. Wrap the ice cube in a thin piece of cloth and gently apply for three to four minutes. You can repeat this throughout the day to relieve any discomfort. 

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient in creams and serums used to prevent and treat spots and acne. It’s also found in many makeup brands.

Choose a concealer containing salicylic acid to reduce swelling and aid healing while providing coverage. 

No Squeezing

Squeezing spots can cause bruising, aggravation, and spread acne-causing bacteria. Once the spot is formed, you’ll see the ‘whitehead’ poking through your skin. Rather than trying to pop the spot, apply a hot washcloth to draw out the impurities before applying your spot treatment. 

Zinc Supplements 

Zinc is one of the essential nutrients that your body needs to protect your immune system and fight off harmful cells. Many studies show that taking zinc supplements each day helps the body fight off acne symptoms, including inflammation and bacterial infections.

Try Not to Stress

It is easier said than done, but it is essential for your skin and overall wellbeing not to stress. If your skin worsens from a few bumpy spots to painful and persistent acne, then consider booking an appointment with a skin specialist at b clinic to explore your treatment options.

How Can I Get Clear Skin Fast?

A range of advanced acne treatments can help you achieve clearer skin, avoid breakouts, and keep your complexion smooth and even-toned. 

Visit b clinic for a free skin consultation, and your clinician will recommend a treatment plan to help you achieve the best results for you.

The most effective adult acne treatments:

Carbon Laser Facial

Carbon laser facials are a revolutionary non-invasive laser treatment to tackle dull skin, acne, blackheads or enlarged pores on your face and other parts of your body.

A liquid carbon mask is applied to your skin to penetrate deep into the pores and bond to any excess oil, impurities, and dead cells. A laser is then passed across the area to break up the carbon particles and impurities. 

The therapy decreases the size of unsightly cysts, papules and nodules, giving you clearer, healthier and younger-looking skin. A 2011 clinical study found that up to 90% of inflammatory acne lesions were cleared after a series of 6 carbon laser facial treatments. 

Medical-Grade Peel

A medical-grade peel removes dead skin cells, dissolves the dirt trapped deep in the pores, and breaks down keratin that produces pimples and blackheads. 

Not only does the peel provide an exceptionally deep clean, but it also promotes the production of collagen and strengthens the skin at a cellular level. The strength of a medical-grade chemical peel is tailored to best address your skin concerns.

A systematic review of clinical trials published in the British Medical Journal showed that chemical peels are an effective and well-tolerated treatment for mild to moderate acne vulgaris.

How Do You Get Rid of Acne Scars?

Acne can also leave unflattering scars on your skin in the form of indentations and pockmarks that can take anywhere between months and years to heal.

Laser Skin Rejuvenation

Laser skin rejuvenation is a safe and effective treatment to help clear acne-scarred skin. The therapy will help you achieve a smoother and younger-looking complexion by improving the skin’s texture and tone. 

Targeted laser skin rejuvenation therapies stimulate the skin cells to repair and produce new collagen. Plump, healthy new skin replaces old and damaged cells to promote glowing, healthy skin. 

In a King’s College London systematic review, data from multiple trials showed up to 83% less scar volume after laser resurfacing for acne scars. 

DermaPen Skin Needling

DermaPen skin needling is a minimally invasive skin treatment that encourages collagen production and helps acne-scarred skin rejuvenate. 

Numerous studies have shown that micro-needling is an effective treatment for acne-scarred skin.

The treatment creates fine puncture wounds in the top layers of the skin. These micro-injuries cause a natural chain reaction that stimulates the body’s healing process to improve the appearance of wrinkles, acne scars, and sun-damaged skin.