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Written in collaboration with Rosana Beechum

Spots! They are often cursed as poorly-timed breakouts that ruin our party look just before an event, but they can also be a daily issue for some; affecting self-esteem to a significant extent. The photo-sharing society we now live in means that changes in appearance can have a psychological impact that lingers longer than anything else.

To give you a clearer picture of how to deal with acne issues, we have looked at potential causes and the treatment options available should it prove to be a regular problem in your life.

What is acne?

Acne skin

Acne often presents as a blemish, or oily skin, typically on the face, back, neck or chest, and occurs when hair follicles become blocked due to dead skin, oil, or other bacteria. While it is very common, with around 80% of the world population said to experience it at some point in their lives, the severity differs from person to person.

What are the causes of a breakout and how can you manage one?

The majority of acne treatments will come in the form of an over-the-counter gel or cream that is designed to counteract the inflammation that is caused by excess sebum (oil), mixing with dead skin and blocking pores on the surface of your body as old layers are shed.

These topical treatments should help further exfoliate the affected area(s) and clear the blockage so that you see an end to your breakout and get back to the look you love.

Certain cases do require you to consult with a GP for a course of treatment when areas are painfully persistent as hormones and hereditary factors are known causes for acne and could be part of an underlying issue.

Keeping a food diary may help you discover potential triggers 

Chocolates Lovers' Christmas Review

You may have heard something of a myth spread about chocolate being a cause of acne but research has yet to find a concrete link for this, and cocoa itself is not going to cause a flare-up. There are, however, suggestions that foods groups – particularly those with a high glycaemic index – such as white bread, can create an overproduction of insulin in the bloodstream and this leads to excess oil production in the glands.

Keeping an eye on your food intake is always considered part of a healthy relationship with food, but it could also be an effective way for you to spot how your body reacts to the foods you eat when it comes to acne specifically and, in turn, avoid repeated cases.

The skin is the largest organ of the body and it’s long term care is important

The skin’s primary job is to protect the skeleton so it is prudent to take care of it regularly and note any times where treatment doesn’t seem to improve issues you may experience.

Persistent cases of acne, even after consulting a doctor, are best served by seeking the advice of a dermatologist – a process that is likely to provide you with longer-term solutions to treating acne issues rather than a one-time fix.

A specialist approach can help with the effects of physical scarring and provide the right kind of management over time.

Time is a healer

While we wait to see what future studies conclude, whatever prevention plan or treatment you take will require time and consistency as there is no fool proof solution. Taking care of your skin daily is the best course of action when it comes to the potential prevalence of acne but just remember that it is perfectly normal to have the odd spot, and it is treatable too.

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