We love Lily Allen's honesty about having adult acne

We love Lily Allen's honesty about having adult acne

When Lily Allen posted on Instagram last month that she still struggles with acne at age 30, we were all for her honesty – go Lily!  But she’s not the only one trying to combat it, there are tens of thousands of women in their twenties and thirties trying to manage their problematic skin. So how do you know when you’ve got it, and what actually causes acne? In our first installment of The Acne Diaries, we push an expert for some answers.

What is acne anyway?
‘Acne comes in two forms. Non-inflammatory blackheads and whiteheads where pores become blocked and sebum is trapped under skin,' explains Vicki Smith, Aesthetics Director and Skin Practitioner at Absolute Aesthetics. 'These are what you'd call spots or blemishes.' Nothing too remarkable there.

Then there’s the inflammatory kind. ‘This is when the bacteria blockage ruptures onto the surface of the skin and the contents become hot and infected.’ Cue the scary words like cysts and nodules, pustules and the tell-tale intense red heat under skin.

Why me? Why now?
What causes acne? ‘You can develop acne at any stage,’ says Smith. ‘Teenage years being the most common with excess production of sebum in the skin but adult acne is also prevalent. Adult acne might look the same as teenage acne but the triggers are entirely different. Reasons are widespread  – diet, stress, hormones, there’s a long list so it’s crucial to probe into your lifestyle, diet and emotional state.’

How is it fair that I get acne at 30? #1stworldproblems - (Lily Allen's Instagram post about her adult acne)

Read more: InStyle asks four experts for their top acne treatment tips

Find out: How to get rid of acne

Is all acne cystic?
‘Not all acne is cystic,’ Smith says. ‘Cystic acne is more readily spread and scabs over. It often starts as hard bumps, like a red lump under the skin and there’s nothing to squeeze.’

Is it to do with my cycle?
Although women do get breakouts in line with their menstrual cycle, this is just fluctuating hormones and not actual acne. ‘Acne is when you are constantly having the condition and papules and pustules that are consistently occurring.’

Er, so what can I do about the cause of my acne, like right now?
Up your hygiene stat. The first step when you have acne is to your change bedding, use only clean towels and flannels and make sure there’s not a trace of make-up on your skin come bedtime.

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(01483477189, www. absoluteaesthetics.co.uk)