Health Check

What causes acne?

Find out whether junk food is to blame.

Written by Bonnie Palmer
A young boy squeezing pimple in front of bathroom mirror.

Acne usually makes its first appearance during your teenage years, and whilst it doesn’t usually last beyond your late teens, it’s not unheard of to persist throughout adulthood.

What causes acne in adults?

Acne occurs when hair follicles in the skin become blocked with oil and dead skin cells, resulting in inflammation and infection. Acne most often appears on your forehead, chin, back and chest – the areas of the skin with the most oil glands. You might be more prone to acne breakouts due to:

  • your genetics
  • hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy
  • certain medications
  • increased stress.

Does junk food cause acne?

Many people believe that eating chocolate or junk food can cause acne, but there isn’t any solid evidence to back this up.

However, it is thought that eating a healthy diet is good for your skin (and we know it’s good for the rest of your body) so aim to eat a balanced diet full of fruit, vegetables, wholegrains and lean protein.

MORE: Healthy recipe ideas

Ways to prevent acne

If you have acne-prone skin, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a breakout. Sticking to a simple but consistent skincare routine is the best place to start:

  • Use a mild, or soap-free liquid cleanser without abrasives, detergents and alcohol
  • Cleanse your face once to twice a day, but no more
  • Choose water-based, oil-free make-up
  • Always wash your make-up off before bed.

What helps treat acne?

There are several non-prescription acne treatments available at your local chemist. But you should always chat to the pharmacist first before choosing a product.

If you’re suffering from severe acne visit your GP, or get a referral to a dermatologist, and they’ll be able to set you on the right path.

Find out more about what causes other common health conditions like dandruff, muscle cramps and migraines.

Written by Bonnie Palmer

My passions in life are writing, raising awareness for cancer research, exercising, spending time with my amazing friends and drinking good wine (the last two usually go together).

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