Sufferers know better than anyone the distress “angry” skin brings. There’s no one cause, it can be a sign that something is wrong at a deeper level. The skin produces too much sebum (natural oils secreted by the sebaceous glands), causing congestion and subsequent infection. The pores become filled with the excess sebum, which traps dead skin cells and – along with overproduction of a protein called keratin – forms a plug. This stops the sebum exiting the pore and causes a build-up of bacteria. Hormones can play a big part, such as during puberty (with the increase in testosterone) or pregnancy, if you’re taking birth control pills or if you’re suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It’s well worth having a chat with your doctor or specialist.
Increasingly we’re learning that diet is hugely important, with sugar, gluten and dairy being the main offenders. So it’s worth cutting out the potential culprits, and observing the changes through a process of elimination. There are foods that are said to fight acne- sweet potatoes, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds and red peppers – thanks to their high levels of zinc, selenium, essential fatty acids, vitamin A and beta-carotene. You also need to keep your skin cleansed and hydrated. I had bad skin as a teenager. I would take 1,000mg of time-release vitamin C supplements daily; use a gentle foaming cleanser; and dab a little skin antiseptic on the problem areas at night. What will help (but is a pain in the ass!) is using disposable towels and changing your pillowcase daily. And don’t touch you your face, as you don’t want to spread the bacteria! This advice is great for teenagers too. Manuka honey is useful for acne sufferers.