A Dermatologist Answers the Most Searched Questions About Acne

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We have a zillion questions when it comes to acne. The hunt for answers is never really over, is it?! We’ll always want to understand the science behind our skin, how best to treat our skin woes, and whether there’s a secret solution out there that might just change the game.

One thing we DO know about acne is that it ain’t predictable. We might do everything right, then — BOOM — out of nowhere, the mother of all breakouts rises up to wreak havoc. 

Often it feels like there’s no logic or justice. And at moments like these, we demand explanation (naturally), from our good friend, the internet.

Would we prefer a real human dermatologist to answer our questions? Well, obvs. Enter Dr Shammi Theesan — a MBBS, BMedSci, FACD Dermatologist (Skin, Hair and Nail Specialist) Founding Dermatologist, ODE Transformative Dermatology and Garnier Australia ambassador, so there’s no question — she knows her stuff.

We asked Dr Shammi to answer the top searched questions — and have brought her (far superior) answers to you. (You’re welcome).

Let’s start with the basics — what is acne?

Acne is like a little skin rebellion. It happens when your hair follicles — those tiny pockets in your skin — get clogged up with a mix of oil and dead skin cells,” explains Dr Shammi. 

“These clogs can lead to the formation of pesky pimples, blackheads, whiteheads, and sometimes even the mighty cysts. It’s basically your skin’s way of throwing a tantrum and dermatologists are the disciplinaries.”

What can cause skin acne?

“Acne is like a team sport. Hormonal shifts, overactive oil glands, certain medications, and the undeniable influence of your genetic code can all play a role in this skin saga. But just to clear the air, let me emphasise this: your chocolate indulgence is innocent!”

(Take that in, friends, take that in.) 

“Of course, diet does play a role when processed foods are your staples. Too many processed meals can create inflammation, which is an ingredient for acne.”

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Why does acne itch?

“The itchiness can be like a siren’s call when something’s amiss. But here’s the dermatological truth: itchy skin is a sign that there is inflammation present which is your body’s way of saying something is imbalanced.”

Why does acne look better in the morning?

“Mornings can sometimes be kind to acne — you might notice that it looks less red and angry when you wake up. That’s because your body’s natural anti-inflammatory troops are more active during the night. However, as the day unfolds, oil production increases, and exposure to pollutants can cause acne to show its true colours.”

Why does acne get worse in winter? (Soooo annoying)

“Ah, the cold, dry air of winter! It can be harsh on your skin, robbing it of precious moisture, which in turn, can make your oil glands work overtime. This extra oil can exacerbate your acne. To fend off the winter acne blues, keep your skin well hydrated and ensure you’re using skincare that is ceramide rich with a humectant to trap and attract moisture into the skin.”

How does acne spread?

“Acne doesn’t spread from person to person like a contagious flu, but it can certainly seem that way on your face. New pimples love to pop up near their buddies. To avoid a full-blown pimple party, it’s essential to treat them promptly and consistently and avoid bacteria infestations such as towels and sheets — change these regularly.” 

Garnier’s Pure Active Anti-Blemish Serum is a great product for preventing acne spreading, with its highly concentrated formula of 4% AHA+ salicylic acid, niacinamide and charcoal to stop bacteria in its tracks. 

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Does sugar cause acne?

“The sugar-acne enigma! While the connection isn’t crystal clear, it’s like a plot twist in a mystery novel,” says Dr Shammi. “Some evidence suggests that diets high in sugary delights can lead to inflammation, potentially making your acne situation worse. For your skin’s sake, aim for a balanced diet, the benefits are too plentiful to ignore.”

Can a dirty pillowcase cause acne? (GREAT question. We needed extra incentive to wash the bedsheets…)

“The infamous dirty pillowcase – it’s like a secret hideout for acne culprits! Bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells love to take up residence there. Changing your pillowcase regularly is a simple yet effective strategy to keep those blemishes at bay.” (Tonight, guys.)

Can toothpaste help acne?

“There’s a reason toothpaste brands haven’t branched into skincare. Toothpaste is not your go-to acne remedy. In fact, it may contain ingredients that can irritate your skin and make matters worse. Stick to products specifically designed for acne, like Garnier’s Pure Active Anti-Blemish Serum which is scientifically proven to reduce blemishes by 35% in just 4 weeks*.”

*Cosmeto-clinical test, 43 volunteers, twice daily application for 28 days.

Is ‘pregnancy acne’ real?

“You bet — ‘pregnancy acne’ is a genuine phenomenon. During pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations can send your oil glands into overdrive, resulting in acne. It’s a temporary companion on your journey to motherhood. To navigate it safely, consult your trusted dermatologist for guidance on skin care during this special time.”

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Does the location (chin, jaw, cheek) make a difference when treating or managing acne?

“In the whimsical world of acne, the geography of your zits doesn’t always spill the beans on their origin. However, there are a couple of rebel spots in the face map, namely, the jawline, chin, and lower cheek. If you spot trouble in these zones, it might just be a sneaky hormonal flare-up!

But don’t be fooled, skin inflammation can throw a surprise party anywhere on your face, and it’s often the mastermind behind those breakout mysteries. Apply Garnier’s Pure Active Anti-Blemish Serum, to troubled areas — it evens skin texture and is suitable for sensitive skin, too.”

More questions? Head here to find out more about Garnier’s Pure Active Anti-Blemish Serum — cruelty-free, vegan, and approved by dermatologists.

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