It's officially June, that special time we affectionately call Acne Awareness Month! As the name implies, it's all about giving those little buggers that pop up uninvited on our skin some much-needed attention.
Newsflash: If you're battling acne, join the club. Up to 85% of us Aussies will experience acne at some point in our lives (Chen, 2018). It's a global pest affecting millions and stands as one of the top-ranking skin conditions in existence. And the age thing? Pssst, acne doesn't care! It can make a grand appearance in your 30s, 40s, and beyond. You’re definitely in good company.
With that in mind, we've carefully curated this A to Z guide on acne causes, prevention, and treatment options. Not to mention the crème de la crème of skincare products, lifestyle adjustments, and vital ingredients to make your skin feel loved and cherished.
A is for Acne
That pesky condition that's all about hair follicles playing host to oil and dead skin cells. The result? Whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, or cysts popping up on areas such as the face, neck, chest, back, and shoulders. And let's not forget, there's no 'one-size-fits-all' cause. It's a cocktail of factors such as genetics, hormones, diet, stress, and your skincare routine. Cheeky, aren't they?
B is for Bacteria
A bit of science for you - meet Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), a common skin resident. Now, when this little guy decides to party and overpopulate, it causes inflammation and you guessed it - acne (Beylot et al., 2014).
C is for Cleanser
Like a city street, your skin accumulates all the sweat, dirt, and pollution of a busy day, leading to breakout city. Washing your face twice a day helps evict these pore-clogging nuisances. And speaking of which, our ‘You’ve Got This’ Charcoal Cleansing Gel is just the ticket. Its skin-loving ingredients will have your pores doing a happy dance. It suits all skin types, it’s oil-free, and it’s a knockout for those prone to breakouts.
'You've Got This' Charcoal Cleansing Gel 100ml
D is for Diet
Sure, we all fancy a packet of Tim Tams now and then, but studies have found that certain foods, like dairy, sugar, and high-glycaemic-index foods, can instigate acne (Fiedler et al., 2017). Instead, loading up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains may prevent your skin from morphing into a scale model of Mt. Everest. So, chuck foods like kale, sweet potatoes, lemon, berries, legumes, papaya, quinoa, and salmon in your shopping trolley to help keep acne flare-ups at bay and your skin looking top-notch.
E is for Exfoliation
Exfoliation is like giving your skin a good spring clean to remove dead skin cells and prevent pore blockages. The 'Spoonful of Sugar' Exfoliating Scrub works like a charm to scrub away rough skin and control breakouts, revealing a brighter, softer complexion. For a gentler approach for sensitive skin types, try our 'This Is Me' Enzyme Exfoliating Mask. This little beauty uses enzymes and fruit extracts to dissolve dead skin cells and impurities, leading to clearer, smoother skin - no scrubbing required.
'Spoonful of Sugar' Exfoliating Scrub
F is for Face Mapping
Face mapping is this really cool method borrowed from traditional Chinese Medicine, which proposes that where your acne shows up on your face could be telling you something about your overall health. For instance, pimples on the chin and jawline are usually linked to hormonal imbalances. So next time you look in the mirror, remember it's not just about fighting off acne, it's about listening to your body's acne Morse code.
G is for Glycolic Acid
One of the most effective ways to renew the skin and keep congestion at bay is to use Alpha Hydroxy Acids - the likes of Glycolic and Lactic Acids. Congested pores are a root cause of breakouts. These acids are made synthetically but they are also naturally available in fruit enzymes. ‘This Is Me’ Enzyme Exfoliating Mask uses a blend of Bilberry, Maple, Sugar Cane, Lemon and Orange (which gives you AHA’s - glycolic, lactic, citric, malic, tartaric) to promote brighter, clearer skin and hep send acne packing.
'This Is Me' Enzyme Exfoliating Mask
H is for Hormones
This is the big cheese, the Mr Numero Uno cause for adult acne and pimples. Fluctuations in hormones levels and imbalances lead to breakouts. We named it “Mr” Numero Uno because the hormones that are mostly responsible are androgens – male hormones like testosterone. Menstrual cycles, coming off the pill, falling pregnant and stress all trigger a hormone change where androgens are produced and subsequently, an acne party on your skin.
I is Inflammation
Inflammation is like your body's alarm system for acne, causing redness, swelling, and discomfort. But don’t worry, the 'FG' Serum 2 - Clear has got your back (and face, and neck...)! This marvellous concoction fast-tracks your skin’s recovery from breakouts and may help dial down redness and inflammation.
'FG' Serum 02 - Clear (blemishes + acne)
J is for Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is a natural oil with a composition closely resembles the sebum produced by our skin. It helps balance sebum production, moisturises the skin, and reduces inflammation. You can find it in our '3 Cheers' Cleansing Oil – your skin’s new BFF, helping to whip away makeup, excess oil, and daily grime while keeping your skin’s moisture levels on point.
'3 Cheers' Cleansing Oil 100ml
K is for Keratosis Pilaris
This common skin condition, which causes small, rough bumps on the skin, is often mistaken for acne. However, the culprit is actually a build-up of keratin in the hair follicles. In other words, it's acne's evil twin, but the two aren't the same - let's not mix up our villains!
L is for Lactobacillus
Lactobacillus is a probiotic that's not just great for gut health but also a skincare superstar, especially for those with irritated skin. It fortifies your skin's natural defenses, provides instant relief and over time, helps tone down redness from acne. Our 'Tickled Pink' Clarifying Tonic incorporates the restorative magic of papaya fermented with Lactobacillus. So, expect results that are more powerful and beneficial than the old school extracts!.
'Tickled Pink' Clarifying Tonic 100ml
M is for Masks
Face masks are the fairy godmothers of skincare – they work wonders in absorbing excess oil, unclogging pores, and reducing inflammation. Fancy an example? Our Pig-In-Mud Mineral Mask is here to detox, tone, revitalise, get rid of blackheads, reduce pores, balance oil production, smooth out rough skin, reduce signs of ageing, and boot out breakouts. It's all-in-one skincare magic! And let's not forget about our 'Mud About You' Pink Clay Mask, which is equally pore-fect for tightening, brightening, refining, clearing and exfoliating skin whilst tackling blemishes.
'Pig-In-Mud' Mineral Mask
N is for Natural Ingredients
Ever heard of the saying 'Mother Nature knows best'? Natural ingredients laden with plant power are often kinder on the skin than those naughty chemicals found in many conventional acne products. These natural wonders can help reduce the bacteria and inflammation that cause acne thanks to their antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It's Mother Nature's recipe for success.
O is for 'Oops, Overdid It!'
Guilty of being a little overzealous with your skincare? We've all been there. Over-cleansing and over-exfoliating are common skincare crimes. Remember, you can't scrub your troubles (or pimples) away! And excessive makeup? It's as bad for your skin as a smog-filled city day.
P is for Pillowcase
Here's a fun fact – sleeping on satin or silk is not just a luxury, it's good hygiene (for your skin). Say goodbye to cotton pillows, which can harbour bacteria, and say hello to satin and silk, which are much more skin-friendly. We suggest you try a pillowcase that boasts antibacterial silver ions (personally we’ve tried this vegan & cruetly free satin pillowcase).
Q is for Quality Skincare Products
Imagine treating your skin to a diet of low-quality products packed with fillers, synthetic fragrances, and irritants? That's a fast pass to Inflammationville and worsening acne. Give your skin what it truly deserves – high-quality, natural skincare products (like ours, nudge nudge) that are gentle, clean, and scientifically proven to nurture a healthy complexion whilst decreasing the chance of future breakouts.
R is for Retinol
You've probably heard of retinoids, vitamin A derivatives known for improving acne. But beware, they can also cause irritation and sensitivity. In our formulas, we opt for the plant-based alternative, bio-retinoids (like Moth Bean extract). These offer the benefits of traditional retinoids, such as enhancing your skin’s texture, accelerating cell regeneration, and reducing scar visibility, but without the skin-sensitising and photosensitivity side-effects. You'll find these botanical beauties in the 'Make My Day' Bio-Retinol Gel Cream and the FG Serum 02.
'Make My Day' Bio-Retinol Gel Cream
S is for Scarring
Pimples may come and go, but acne scars, much like unwanted party guests, can overstay their welcome. The antidote? Cellular renewal. Look for products with bio-retinols like the 'Make My Day' Bio-Retinol Gel Cream and FG Serum 02 (FG Serum 02 doubles up on benefits by also delivering a dose of brightening Vitamin C). Don’t forget to exfoliate (gently!) with a product like This Is Me Enzyme Exfoliating Mask to encourage skin cell turnover. Black Seed Oil is also marvellous for skin repair and reducing scars. You can alternate between moisturisers for best results.
Black Seed Oil
T is for Teenage Skin
Teenage years and perfect skin are about as compatible as oil and water. Thanks to hormonal surges (especially those pesky androgens), teens are prone to excess oil production leading to clogged pores, bacteria, inflammation, and - ugh - pimples. The solution? Teach them early how to maintain their skin health. Our 'Clear + Calm' Sample Pack is an ideal starting point for skincare savvy teens.
'Clear + Calm' Sample Pack (for Oily Skin / Acne / Teens)
U is for UV Protection
UV rays can worsen acne and cause skin damage. An SPF 30 sunscreen or above is your VIP pass to skin protection. Choose lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas, so you won't have to worry about pore-clogging ingredients sparking a breakout rebellion.
V is for Vitamin C
Vitamin C, the poster child for antioxidants, is a whizz at reducing inflammation and boosting collagen production. It also excels in improving skin texture and lessening the appearance of acne scars. Try our ‘Sunrise Over C’ Mattifying Facial Oil. It's an anti-inflammatory virtuoso for oily and blemish-prone skin, leaving no oily residue or shine, whilst reducing redness and imperfections.
'Sunrise Over C' Mattifying Facial Oil
W is for Water
Just like plants need water to thrive, so does your skin. Drinking enough water keeps your skin hydrated, banishing breakouts, and promotes overall skin health. So, get your H2O on, hydration heroes.
X is for Xerosis
Although it sounds like a creature from a sci-fi movie, Xerosis is just a fancy term for dry, itchy skin. It can exacerbate acne by causing irritation and inflammation. Regular moisturising can help fend off Xerosis and decrease the chance of breakouts.
Y is for Yoga
Turns out, yoga isn't just good for your inner peace but also for your skin! Yoga and other stress-reducing activities can help manage acne by lowering stress levels. High stress equals high cortisol levels, leading to inflammation and excess oil production. So, namaste away from stress, folks.
Z is for Zinc
This essential mineral reduces inflammation and promotes overall skin health. It's richest in non-vegan foods like oysters and beef, but you can also find it in plant-based sources like spinach and many legumes. Another option is to get your zinc fix from supplements, which have been applauded for their acne-fighting capabilities.
And that, dear readers, is your A-Z of acne! We know acne can be a stubborn foe, but armed with the right skincare arsenal and knowledge, you have what it takes to keep it under control.
If you're battling an acne storm and the regular remedies just aren't cutting it, it might be worth considering enlisting the help of a dermatologist.
But remember, amidst all the spots, blotches, and bumps, don't forget to embrace and love your unique skin. After all, your confidence is your most radiant accessory. Keep shining! 😄
- Chen, X., Cheung, S., An, X., Zhao, M., Xu, Y., Shum, H., Wang, B., Gao, H., Lee, M., & Griffiths, C. (2018). Prevalence of acne vulgaris and its impacts of life quality in adolescents and young adults in China: a community-based study of 17,345 subjects in six cities. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 98(1), 113-119.
- Beylot, C., Auffret, N., Poli, F., Claudel, J.P., Leccia, M.T., Del Giudice, P., & Dreno, B. (2014). Propionibacterium acnes: an update on its role in the pathogenesis of acne. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 28(3), 271-278.
- Fiedler, F., Stangl, G.I., Fiedler, E., & Taube, K.M. (2017). Acne and nutrition: a systematic review. Acta Dermato-Venereologica, 97(1), 7-9.