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The Most Common Skin Condition: Why We Get Acne

Many of us deal with acne on a regular basis. Here's why: 

Woman looking in mirror appears to be picking or squeezing her pimples.

Acne is a pesky, sometimes downright uncomfortable skin condition that appears on the face, shoulders, chest, and upper back. Acne can present as pimples, pustules, blemishes, cysts, blackheads, and whiteheads. Many of us deal with acne regularly. But why? 

There are a handful of reasons for an acne outbreak–everything from hormones to the weather and the personal care products you use. Continue reading to get to the bottom of the acne debate. 


What is acne?

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that occurs when pores or hair follicles become clogged with an oily substance known as sebum, bacteria, or dead skin. It’s so prevalent that up to 80% of people between ages 11-30 experience acne, according to the Cleveland Clinic


What causes acne? 

While other factors may worsen acne, by in large, changes in hormones known as androgens are the main reason for acne. Throughout puberty and our teenage years, androgens increase the size of our skin glands. As the sebaceous glands grow, more oil is produced, and this oil can block pores. Isn’t puberty fun?

However, acne doesn’t only affect teenagers. Many people, particularly women, can experience acne well into adulthood. For example, women may experience acne during or around their periods due to hormonal fluctuations. 

Here are some additional factors that may trigger or worsen acne: 

  • Feeling stressed out. When the body is stressed, you produce a hormone called cortisol that can provoke an outbreak.
  • Regularly using certain kinds of oily face and hair products
  • Genetics. If your biological parents or close blood relatives experienced severe acne, the chances of you having acne increase.
  • Environment. For some, external factors like air pollution or a sharp increase in humidity can make existing acne worse.
  • Some medications. In particular, medicines or drugs containing corticosteroids, testosterone, or lithium can cause a flare-up. 
  • Other hormonal changes. Beyond puberty and periods, women also experience hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy and menopause. 

What you can do to get relief

While an outbreak can seem totally out of your control, worry not. You can take action to improve your relationship with your skin. 

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet
    Experts suggest eating a balanced diet, rich in whole fruits, veggies, lean proteins, nuts, and legumes. Eating all of these food groups in moderation will ensure you get the nutrients your body needs to function properly. 
  2. Wash your face daily
    We recommend that you find a gentle, oil-free cleanser (avoid oil-based) that both exfoliates and hydrates your skin. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells (which can clog pores), removes buildup, and minimizes the appearance of pores. Proper hydration reinvigorates your skin, and works to flush out toxins.
  3. Try a supplement like RETRO
    Formulated with Lactoferrin, Zinc, and Vitamin E, RETRO is a supplement designed to minimize the severity of acne. Numbers don’t lie; women taking this formula observed up to 94% acne reduction after just 12 weeks. 
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