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Your skin is pretty incredible. It’s your body’s largest organ and also the ultimate multitasker, simultaneously protecting you and your organs from the outside world while shedding cells (30,000 to 40,000 a minute!) and regulating your body temperature.

Our skin is our first line of defence against disease with antibacterial substances preventing infection, and its sensory receptors and neurons keep our brains in touch with what’s happening in the physical world. But how much do you really know about your skin? Aside from the fact you shouldn’t bake out in the sun for hours.

About your skin

Your skin has three layers. The layer you see is called the Epidermis and consists of cells made up of keratin — the tough protein found in your hair and nails too. The second layer, called the Dermis, is where your sweat glands and hair follicles live. The deepest layer, the Subcutis, includes a layer of fat for insulation and acts as a protective cushion.

Understanding how your skin works is beneficial to not only help you look at your best but feel at your best too. Your breakouts and the overall condition of your skin can reveal a lot about your health.

While problematic skin could simply mean you need to alter your daily skincare routine, or you’re going through a stressful patch, it can also be a tell-tale sign of an underlying condition… yes, we’re talking about the complicated beast of acne.

What exactly is acne?

Acne (medically known as Acne Vulgaris) is a persistent, inflammatory skin condition caused by an overproduction of oil resulting in breakouts and pimples showing up on your face, shoulders, back, chest and upper arms.

Acne occurs when there's an excess of sebum, the oily substance produced by glands found at the base of hair follicles. When these glands overproduce sebum, the follicles become clogged with dead skin cells, debris, and bacteria, resulting in pimples and inflammation.

It’s the most common skin condition in the world, affecting around 80% of all people between 11 and 30 (Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)

Identifying the different types of acne.

Not all acne is the same. Knowledge is power, and once you figure out what you’re dealing with, it’s far easier to treat and to take it down, once and for all.


What you see: Tiny, dark pinpoint-like spots in the centre of your pores.

What’s really going on: Blackheads are blocked pores. The reason for their colour is because they have a larger surface than whiteheads, allowing air to enter and oxidise the oil inside the pore, turning it into a blackhead.


What you see: A standard, ordinary pimple with the appearance of a whitehead in the centre.

What’s really going on: Skin cells become trapped together inside your pores and end up blocking the opening. Oil trapped beneath the skin sits among bacteria, causing inflammation and the arrival of a pimple. The whitehead you see forming above the surface of the skin is the blocked pore.


What you see: patches of small (yet angry in size) red spots without a head to them.

What’s really going on: These painful guys are the sly work of bacteria. A type of inflammatory acne caused by the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), creating bumps on the surface of the skin that are red and extremely sensitive.


What you see: Angry, swollen pimples infected with a white or yellow substance.

What’s really going on: The inflammatory type, these may look similar to a whitehead but are way more aggressive and painful. They often have yellow or whiteheads on top filled with — yep, you guessed it — pus.


What you see: Similar to cystic acne (also deeply embedded within the skin) they appear as red, swollen bumps on the face and in larger areas of your skin (chest and back).

What’s really going on: Nodules happen when clogged pores endure further irritation and grow in size. Unlike pustules and papules, nodules develop deeper underneath the skin and as a result, are incredibly uncomfortable and sore.

Cystic Acne

What you see: Large red fluid-filled bumps that often resemble a boil around your chin and jawline area.

What’s really going on: Painful to the touch, these red and white bumps are the largest form of acne. Cystic acne is deeply embedded in the skin tissue, occurring from a severe infection. This type of acne is likely to do the most damage to your skin and cause scarring.

Why do I have acne?

Hormones, we’re looking at you.

Fundamentally, we have our raging hormones to thank for the unwelcome arrival of those pesky and painful breakouts. Skin conditions are mostly attributed to the different hormonal changes we go through in life with certain stages having more of an impact: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Yes, it’s more common for acne to happen during teenage puberty but it can occur at any age — many women and men can experience acne until their mid-forties.

Genetics is another factor to consider — if your parents struggled with acne, you’re more likely to go through the same. Your environment can also affect the state of your skin. If you live in humid conditions or live in a city exposed to heavily polluted air, you might find your skin becomes clogged more frequently resulting in acne breakouts.

How do I get rid of acne?

No, you don’t have to live with acne.

There are steps you can take towards clearing your skin and achieving a clear complexion.

It all begins with understanding how to treat and care for your skin with a simple daily skincare routine. At first, you might be inclined to over-exfoliate your skin, in the hope you’ll be able to scrub the acne away. Sadly, it’s not this simple, and you can end up doing more harm than good.

Acne is caused by a build-up of oil leading to your pores becoming clogged. That’s why it’s essential to cleanse your face every morning and every night to remove bacteria which causes inflammation. A daily skincare routine might seem like a significant commitment, but it really doesn't have to be complicated (and involve a hundred products). Once you get in the habit of taking only five minutes out of your morning and night to look after your skin, you’ll start to see a real difference. Listen to your skin, it won’t clear overnight but if you persevere - trust us, the results are worth it.



Acne & Spot Solution

Discover how to use a simple three-step skincare routine in your daily life here