When pesky blemishes get a whole lot nastier and become the dreaded A word (yep, that's acne to you and me), you need to find a foundation with quality coverage minus the pore-clogging.
Not sure if you've got acne or what to do if you have?
Jess Lacey answers the question of what causes acne in the first of instalment of our Acne Diaries...
The Acne Diaries: Volume One - What Actually Is it?
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 acne and what actually causes it? In our first instalment of The Acne Diaries, we push an expert for some answers.
Read more: 10 Spot Treatments To Banish The Blemish
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.
There’s also 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?
‘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.’
Read more: How to get rid of acne and clean up your beauty bag for good
Is all acne cystic?
‘Not all acne is cystic,’ says Smith. ‘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 from time to time, in line with their menstrual cycle, this is just fluctuating hormones and not real 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.
Still interested? Read on for our edit of the best foundation for acne, or find out what happened when we asked four experts for their top acne treatment recommendations...
Our Beauty Editors are over on Powder to help you find a foundation that's chosen specifically to treat and cover blemish prone skin AND suit your budget. Score.