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Real men don't get acne. Except, they do.

Real men don't get acne. Except, they do.

You’re not a teenage boy anymore. You know this because your bedroom wall has zero posters on it. And yet, when you look in the mirror, you’re greeted by acne. What’s up with that? Surely, along with paying your own rent, cooking your own meals and getting your car serviced once a year, the acne on your face should pack its bags and move onto someone a bit more appropriate?
Unfortunately, acne is caused by more than just raging hormones. So while your teenage hormones may have taken a comfortable seat and settled down years ago, there may be other factors playing a role. Let’s look at some of them…


When you’re stressed, your adrenal gland kicks into action to produce the stress hormone cortisol. When this happens, a tiny bit of testosterone leaks out with it. An excess of testosterone can result in an excess of sebum which causes acne. So while you may think you left your out of whack hormones behind in your childhood bedroom, know that stress can get them riled up all over again. 


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Because your skin is prone to breakouts, you avoid face creams. The thinking is: “If anything, I need to dry my skin out.” And so, your skin routine consists of a hard working face wash and that’s it. While you are right that overly oily skin can be a trigger for acne, you have to be careful that you’re not removing too much oil. Stripping your skin of essential oils and not replacing them, can result in your skin glands overproducing oil in an attempt to restore your skin’s oil level back to normal. Overproduction of oil = acne.


Another potential acne causing suspect is sugar. In the same way that stress raises your cortisol levels which in turn raises your testosterone levels, sugar raises your insulin levels which in turn raises your testosterone levels. An excess of testosterone = an excess of sebum = acne. So next time you’re stressed at work and find yourself headed for the vending machine for a break in the form of a Kit Kat, remember that your cortisol levels are already raised and that buying that Kit Kat will only raise them further. Sorry.


You’re packing in the calories to increase your body weight but what you don’t realise is that an increased calorie intake will again increase your body’s production of testosterone. So if the number on the scale is going up along with the amount of zits on your face, you know why.


You knew this one was coming. Late night beers with the boys and a diet of hamburgers and pizza, while fun, aren’t actually helping. Acne loves simple carbs. But if you don’t love acne back, stick to low-glycemic foods which break down slower in the body and cause less of an insulin spike. Insulin spike = increased testosterone = acne.


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Sure thing! Improving your lifestyle by addressing stress, reducing alcohol and deleting the Uber Eats app will all help a lot. But, in the meantime, let’s look at the hard working ingredients that are known to arrest acne on the spot. Excuse the pun.

  1. Salicylic acid works wonders on acne. It's also called a beta-hydroxy acid. Salicylic acid unclogs the pores by gently exfoliating the skin. You’ll find this ingredient in loads of over-the-counter cleansers and spot treatments, and it's gentle enough to use on your whole face. If you don’t know where to start looking, ask your pharmacist, they’ll know.
  2. Benzoyl peroxide works by killing the acne bacteria. It's not as gentle as salicylic acid and can make the skin really dry and irritated, so don’t use this one on the whole face. Instead, dab it on the culprits and leave the innocent skin alone. 
  3. Glycolic Acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid that targets both acne and wrinkles at the same time. SCORE! It does this by removing dead cells on the skin’s surface. Basically, it exfoliates the problem away, leaving you with baby soft skin.

Any product that contains any of the above three ingredients, will be a good start in your fight against adult acne. So what are you waiting for? Head to your nearest Clicks after work and grab yourself a tube of the good stuff. Alternatively, head to Cardies and buy a poster for your bedroom wall ;)

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