When I met with Dr Nyla Raja, I was having a huge breakout, possibly the worst skin scenario when meeting a successful cosmetic dermatologist, but at least I was in the presence of someone who could help. As soon as I sat down with Dr Nyla, I told her about my unexpected pimple problem and quizzed her on cheek spots to figure out what was happening.
Spots on the cheeks can occur for many reasons, and they're very different to acne. There are some things you should absolutely not do to clear them (*cough* toothpaste *cough*). But here is what you can do, straight from the expert.
What Causes Spots on Cheeks?
Spots on the cheeks can occur for a number of reasons. Pollution is a big issue, particularly for those who live in cities, as there are a myriad of contaminants in the air. Diet can also be a factor, and a diet that contains too much sugar, meat, and dairy can affect the skin (I found dairy to be a huge factor in keeping my cheeks clear). Finally, hormonal changes, medications, stress, and anxiety can also contribute to cheek spots, and these can cause blemishes in other areas too. A big factor for changes in women's skin is the contraceptive pill, causing hormone level fluctuations.
Do Spots and Pore Size Have a Correlation?
No. Increased oil production can sometimes correlate with enlarged pores but does not mean you will develop spots.
Can Spots Be Symptomatic of a Deeper Issue?
Dr Nyla says spots on the cheeks can certainly be symptomatic of a deeper issue, such as endocrine (hormone) issues such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) and hyperthyroidism. If you suspect your spots may be an inclination of a deeper issue, see your GP.
How to Get Rid of Them
In terms of diet, reducing your intake of sugar, meat, and dairy can be helpful in reducing recurrence of cheek spots. As a treatment, Dr Nyla recommends a facial for professional extractions whilst hydrating and maintaining skin health. LED light therapy and antimicrobial face masks can also be helpful to kill bacteria. For skin care, I would recommend products that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, such as the Obagi Clenziderm range. If your budget is limited, consider The Ordinary acid products.
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