Acne Canada - Your Acne Treatment Guide

Causes of Acne

How does acne happen?

Hair, oil and skin cells can sometimes clump together to form a hard plug. Bacteria inside results in swelling, the plug breaks down-and poof! A pimple appears. But remember: that pimple didn't happen over night. It most likely took weeks to manifest. Before you can put an end to acne with an acne treatment plan, you've got to go back to the beginning.

What triggers acne breakouts?

For the most part, heredity and hormones determine your complexion. Dermatologists (doctors who specialize in skin disorders) have linked acne to the following combination of factors:

Genes You can change your jeans, but you can't change your genes. Heredity determines your height, hair and eye colour. Thank your parents and accept the way you are.

Hormonal changes during puberty, the female menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can increase oil production and trigger acne breakouts and require an acne treatment skin care plan.

Stress From studying for exams to juggling work and children, stress and acne go hand-in-hand. As tension builds, the body emits stress hormones, which increase the production of oil. Habitual stress can also slow the healing process, allowing blemishes to persist.

Hygiene Heat and sweat can create a breeding ground for bacteria, clogged pores and body acne. Backpacks, tight straps and non-breathable fabrics can also provoke breakouts.

Environment It's not only the sun's UV rays that are harmful to your skin. Harsh sunburns can dry out the skin's surface and aggravate your complexion. Holding a phone to your chin all day can also flare up acne.

Medications Medications such as oral contraceptives and male hormone therapy for women can have side effects that throw hormones out of whack and cause breakouts.

Cosmetics Some oil-based makeup such as foundation and cover-up can block pores and disrupt a smooth complexion, especially if you leave it on overnight. Oily sunblock and heavy body lotion can also stir up pimples.

Diet Although what you eat is not always related to a breakout, some people do have skin allergies to certain foods. Sushi, sea salt and shellfish are full of iodides, which can provoke breakouts.

Who gets acne?

Teenagers Puberty is the pits. It's all hormones, hormones, hormones. About 85% of people ages 12 to 24 show symptoms of acne, thanks to the h-word. It's tough enough being a teenager, what with raging emotions and awkward physical changes.

Girls Around the time that girls welcome a monthly cycle and curvier body, they develop blackheads and pimples around their noses. Then, depending on the individual, little red pimples and pustules may appear on the forehead, chin and cheeks.

Boys Boys develop a little later than girls. They also usually experience longer bouts of acne than girls, due to booming testosterone levels. Their voices deepen. Their hair thickens and then, out of nowhere, they've got to face blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules and sometimes worse, cysts and nodules. Boys who play a lot of sports tend to breakout on their backs and chests.

Adults Believe it or not-many adults aren't in the clear when it comes to acne. Whether you're 15 or 50, acne appears on about half of women and a quarter of men. Since hormones continue to shift, blemishes tend to show up, especially on the chin and jaw-line. And much the same as teens, adults must deal with feelings of insecurity on top of daily stress.

Men So now you know-it's not just a teenage skin disease. While many adults continue to experience acne, most men have seen their last breakout by their mid to late 20s. After puberty, skin clears up as hormones balance out. While it's more common for adult women to show signs of acne, adult men will usually have more severe acne, even deep cysts that may scar. Folliculitis (razor bumps or razor rash) is also a common occurrence on the face and neck. It's important to lather up with warm water, shave with a clean razor and finally, hydrate sensitive skin with a gentle moisturizer.


Monthly Cycle Many adult women have more oil and breakouts on their skin about a week before their cycle starts. Oral contraceptives are one option women can discuss with their physician or dermatologist. Some birth control pills have been shown to help clear up acne blemishes by stabilizing specific hormones.

Pregnancy Nausea, stress-and pimples, are you kidding? Acne breakouts frequently occur during the first trimester of pregnancy as a result of fluctuating hormones. While estrogen production increases, skin continues to clear and improve over the next two trimesters. Following childbirth estrogen levels plummet and this may cause blemishes to return, but often for short periods of time. Salicylic acid is a gentle solution that clears skin without over-drying.

Menopause Hot flashes, headaches-and great-you've got acne again! Pause. So you're not in the clear quite yet. Hormonal shifts during perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause can lead to breakouts. As estrogen decreases, testosterone increases, along with a surplus supply of oil, dead skin cells and facial hair (think teenage boy). Then, bam! A blemish-bomb. Use a gentle exfoliant on your skin and take care with a proper diet, including drinking plenty of water. Consult your physician if you're considering vitamin supplements or hormone replacement. But before you seek a solution to your skin troubles, discover your skin type.

Effects of Acne

Acne can affect you, your relationships and your daily life. Not only can it be physically painful, it can be emotionally draining. Bad skin can consume your time and your thoughts.

What's more, acne can make you feel:








Under Pressure There's an enormous amount of pressure to look fit and flawless. A lot of that is felt at home, in the office, at school and at the gym. We feel pressure from our family and peers, and of course the media.

Ever bailed on a business meeting, date or red carpet bash all because of a red bump? Everybody has, including the reigning stars of Hollywood. There's the four-eyed, spotted nerd character that's rejected in movies. There's the skinny, creamy-skinned super model advertised in fashion publications. The ideal face and body grazes the big screen, television, magazines and the Web. They boast unrealistic goals and airbrushed images. So take note, post it on your fridge or bathroom mirror: Nobody is perfect, not even celebrities.

Warning Signs If you're holding a magnifying glass to your pores morning, noon and night, perhaps it's time to look below the surface.

Observe yourself, but question your behaviours. How do you react to breakouts?

-Do you wear a hat or your hair over your face?

-Do you incessantly pick at your skin throughout the day?

-Do you excessively wash or scrub your skin?

-Do you continuously apply cover-up or foundation to your face throughout the day?

-Do you cancel personal or professional dates?

-Do you feel consistently unattractive, depressed and hopeless?

-Do you isolate yourself from family, friends and relationships?


Under Your Skin It's important to factor your whole self into your daily routine. Take care of your skin and take care of your thoughts and feelings.

Don't wait until tomorrow. Reduce your stress now:

-Step away from the mirror. Set a timer so you don't pick, prod and pop your pimples.

-Take time out to go to the spa or do a facial with friends.

-Work up a sweat at the gym and then cleanse your skin with a relaxing bath.

-Choose fresh produce over salty, grease-filled fast-food.

-Take vitamins.

-Drink lots of water.

-Get lots of sleep. Remove your makeup before bed and keep your pillowcases clean.

-Talk to a counsellor.

-Consult a dermatologist.

-Read success stories online.

-Try to be patient and positive.

-Keep a journal and make sure your list of good habits outweigh your bad habits.

-Follow a scientifically backed daily skincare regimen.

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