Smoking

Smoking and acne

Let’s be clear: smoking does not trigger acne. That said, smokers tend to have more severe blemishes and experience more scarring than non-smokers. One of the possible reasons for this is that smoking, like the sun, thickens the skin. Some dermatologists go so far as to affirm that smoking 10 cigarettes or more per day causes acne breakouts. Although the research is sometimes conflicting, the impact of smoking on acne depends on the number of cigarettes smoked per day.

Sun

The sun and acne

The sun is most certainly not an ally for acne-prone skin. In the short term, the sun seems to dry out spots and improve the skin’s condition. But the skin becomes thicker when exposed to UV rays, further blocking the flow of sebum. Once the period of sun exposure is over and dead cells have been shed, blemishes often recur. This phenomenon related to sebum retention is known by dermatologists as the rebound effect. Lastly, many acne treatments are photo-sensitising and can trigger dark spots. So if you have acne, avoid going out in the sun!

Stress

Stress and acne

Lots of people have experienced acne flare-ups during periods of intense stress. This correlation has not yet been scientifically proven, but several studies are currently being undertaken1 on the topic. We know that the sebaceous glands are surrounded by multiple nerve cells, capable of releasing a substance called substance P that alters sebum production in response to stress. Thus, there does indeed seem to be a relationship between stress and acne. Researchers are currently working to find an agent that will block substance P and thus avoid sebum peaks related to stress.

Food

Diet and acne

Diet – sugar and cured meats in particular – has often been thought to play a role in acne. However, so far there has been a lack of evidence proving the impact of acne-causing foods. Even so, some patients have observed a significant reduction in their blemishes after eliminating dairy products or gluten, for example. It is more likely that sugar2 (high levels of which can be found in gluten-rich foods) is the main culprit. This seems to be confirmed by recent scientific studies. Stay tuned for more information!

Mobile phone

Don’t forget your mobile phone!

Why should you clean your mobile phone?
The screen of your mobile phone comes into contact with your skin several times a day. This can cause blemishes to appear on your cheeks and temples. You should therefore take care to disinfect your phone on a regular basis or use earphones when making calls to keep the screen from touching your skin.

Pills

What is the link between contraception and acne?

Directly involved in hormonal balance, the birth control pill can influence acne and the severity of blemishes. However, it all depends on the type of pill and each woman’s hormonal profile.

The balance between the female hormones progesterone and oestrogen is delicate, not to mention disruptions related to androgens such as testosterone. Put briefly, there is often acne when progesterone is the dominant hormone. With oestrogen dominance, the skin is fairly healthy, but premenstrual syndrome is more pronounced. Only a gynaecologist can assess the benefits for acne and the risks associated with the use of a given type of contraception.

All birth control pills stop ovulation and supply both progesterone and oestrogen, but at different levels. 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation contraceptive pills are each characterised by the type of progestin they contain. Some progestins in birth control have androgenic effects and can thus potentially aggravate acne, while for others, this is not the case or only minimally so. However, they pose a higher risk of thrombosis, which affects the veins and is extremely serious.

Hormonal IUDs (intrauterine devices) and contraceptive implants also contain a progestin. They can therefore increase seborrhoea and blemishes in predisposed women.

It is therefore down to doctors to assess the risks posed by each method of contraception and consider all of the possible consequences to choose the option best suited to each patient.

Shaving

Shaving and acne

Unfortunately, in adolescence, acne in boys often begins at the same time as the growth of facial hair. Shaving tends to aggravate blemishes as well as symptoms of irritation caused by acne treatments. Experts recommend using an electric instead of mechanical razor and shaving as seldom as possible. This is timely advice, since beards are all the rage!