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Acne 101 – What You Should Know

Acne can strike anyone – and believe it or not, age is not a factor. While often seen as a "teenage affliction," getting acne in your 20s, 30s and yes, even your 40s can happen. So, how does acne develop? What can you do about it? Is it true that eating chocolate can cause acne? We’ll answer these questions and more.

Q. What is acne?

A. Acne is a skin condition that develops when pores (hair follicles) get plugged with excess oil (sebum), often as a result of natural hormonal changes. The oil is released from the glands into the pore and there you have it – acne.


Q. What are the most common types of Acne?

A. Acne is most common in areas with the largest number of oil glands.

Comedones also called Whiteheads and Blackheads result when pores are simply blocked:

  • Whiteheads – closed at the surface of the skin
  • Blackheads – open at the surface of the skin

Bacteria-infected blocked pores include:

  • Pimples - smaller bumps with white pus at the tip
  • Nodules / Cysts – solid painful lumps below the skins surface that can often leave scars

Q. Who gets Acne?

A. Everybody. But it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. About 80% of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point. Some people in their forties and fifties still get acne. And if your parents had severe acne, chances are you will too. It’s not something you can ‘cure’, but you can do a lot to control it.

Q. What Can I Do To Control It?

A. Be gentle with your skin. A mild, non-drying soap or cleanser can ensure you remove all dirt and make-up.

Don’t Over Wash. Wash no more than twice a day and avoid scrubbing as it can irritate your skin and make the acne worse.

Avoid Using Oily Products. Stay away form oily or greasy sunscreens, cosmetics or hairstyling products and instead look for products that are water-based, non-clogging or “non- comedogenic”.

Pull Your Hair Back. Keeping your hair clean and off your face can help.

Don’t Pick. While it may be tempting to pick or squeeze blemishes to remove them, this usually causes more problems, spreading the infected oils and causing scarring.

Ask an Expert!

The Question: “What treatment methods are available?”
- A. Balas

The Answer: Topical cleansers which can help in mild conditions. More severe cases can require the treatment of topical and oral antibiotics, and in some severe cases the use of Retinoid therapy.
Shoppers Drug Mart Associate-owner
Rami Saaloukeh, BSc. (Pharm.) BSc.(Chem.).

Q. What Types Of Products Help Clear Up Acne?

A. Life Brand Clear Action Oil Absorbing Sheets instantly remove excess oil. Other products in the Life Brand Clear Action range include washes, cleansers and moisturizers specially formulated for acne prone skin. Many contain proven acne fighting ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. These ingredients can penetrate pores, helping to clear up acne pimples and prevent new ones forming.

Be sure to follow label directions carefully and if your acne doesn’t respond to these treatments, you might want to talk to a Dermatologist.

Clearing up 7 Acne Myths

  1. Eating chocolate, nuts or greasy foods causes acne.
    Not true. A healthy diet can help you have healthier skin in general.

  2. Acne is caused by stress. 
    No direct link has been found.

  3. You get acne from not washing enough. 
    Not true. Dirty skin doesn’t cause acne.

  4. Washing more helps get rid of acne. 
    Not true. Over-washing irritates the skin and can worsen acne. If your skin gets too dry, the skin’s sebum (oil) production will go up.

  5. The sun helps clear up acne. 
    In some cases. It may help some but for others, it makes the acne worse. And, acne treatments can make your skin more sensitive to UV light.

  6. Tanning beds help clear up acne. 
    Not True. UV light does nothing to help acne and the World Health Organization has found that tanning beds are a risk factor for skin cancer.

  7. Pimples go away faster if you pop them. 
    Not true. Popping a pimple allows the bacteria in the pus to spread across the skin to other pores and possibly even deeper into your pores.

Ask an Expert!

The Question: “How long does it take to get rid of my acne?”
– H. Bellwood

The Answer: There is no single answer. Several factors that can determine the length of treatment; acne type, age, previous treatments and severity of condition.
Shoppers Drug Mart Associate-owner
Rami Saaloukeh, BSc. (Pharm.) BSc.(Chem.).

To ensure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.