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Acne: What It Is, What to Look Out For and What to Do If You Have It

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the UK. In fact, almost everyone will have experienced the spots and oily skin caused by acne at some point in their lives. Like most skin conditions, symptoms can range from mild indicators like pimples to more severe cysts that come with the risk of permanent scarring.  But there’s plenty you can do at home to stop that happening.  

What is Acne? 

Acne is caused when the glands attached to the tiny hair follicles on your skin produce too much of an oily substance called sebum. Your skin produces sebum to stop the skin from drying out but an excess of this oil can mix with dead skin and block pores. This then causes whiteheads, blackheads or more troublesome cysts. All these different types of spots can appear on your face, back, shoulders and, less commonly, the chest.  

What causes this excess oil? 

Although people of all ages can get acne, it's most commonly associated with teenagers as it can be triggered by the change in hormone levels that occurs during puberty. It's thought that an increase in testosterone in particular can lead to an over production of oil. It can also be linked to the change in hormone levels that women experience just before their period.  

Certain medicines, greasy cosmetics, smoking and stress are all other possible triggers of an acne flare-up.  

What Are the Symptoms of Acne?   

The main symptoms of acne are one of the following 6 types of spots as well as skin that feels hot and inflamed: 

Blackheads – a clearly visible black bump that sits on the surface of the skin.  

Whiteheads – similar to blackheads but they remain under the skin. 

Papules – small pink or red bumps that can feel painful to the touch. 

Pustules – similar in appearance to papules but with a white top full of pus.  

Nodules – Large lumps embedded beneath the skin. Can be hard and sore to the touch.  

Cysts – painful, pus-filled lumps. These are the most worrying spot on the list as they can cause lasting scars.  


How Can You Treat Your Acne at Home? 

If you are suffering from nodules or cysts then you should see a GP about your acne as it may need to be treated with antibiotics. Other types of spots can be managed with a good skincare routine.  

The award-winning skin:genius complete acne bundle is a fabulous go-to as it has everything you need to keep your break outs at bay. Start by using the foaming facewash to cleanse your skin, making sure all traces of make-up have been removed. Then apply some of the soothing moisturiser. Do this daily but swap the moisturiser for the leave-on purifying gel when you can feel a flare-up coming on.  

In addition to this, you should try to avoid wearing your hair across your face as this can add to the build-up of oil on the skin. And although you may be tempted, do your best not to squeeze spots when they appear as it can cause infections and make your acne worse in the long run.