Lifestyle and acne

Continuing from our previous discussion, the acne formation chain resembles a series of domino-like events. Approximately 81% of acne has a genetic origin, but lifestyle and environmental factors also contribute to flare-ups. For those with a genetic predisposition, neglecting the remaining 19% can create a 'perfect storm' for acne outbreaks.

The diet and lifestyle environment dominos involve internal factors (diet, stress, monthly hormone fluctuations) and external factors (climate, sun, heat, humidity, pollution, and skincare products).

While the link between diet and acne is debated, scientific consensus acknowledges that our diet influences hormones, impacting acne-related hormonal imbalances. Not all individuals respond equally to the same foods due to genetic variations. Keeping a diet diary can help identify food triggers and manage this 'diet domino.'

Numerous studies establish a positive correlation between stress and acne severity. Stress triggers hormone releases, including cortisol, which, when elevated, influences hormones directly related to acne. Managing stress levels, though challenging, is crucial. Incorporating stress-relief activities, even simple practices like mindful breathing, can lower cortisol levels.

Climate and Pollution:
External factors like heat and humidity can prompt increased sebum production, contributing to acne flare-ups. Studies indicate a connection between exposure to airborne pollutants and skin problems. Pollutants alter the chemical nature of sebum, triggering an inflammatory response and potentially causing acne.

Skincare Products:
Misinformation often surrounds the impact of skincare products on acne. Comedogenicity tables, widely available on the internet, oversimplify the issue. The comedogenic rating of an ingredient depends not only on the ingredient itself but also on other components in the formulation. The widely used scale originated from applying 100% concentrations of ingredients to sensitive rabbit ears, yielding results that might not apply to human skin. The claim that certain products are entirely non-comedogenic is misleading.

Topical products can affect pores by altering sebum composition, increasing skin shedding, or directly blocking pores. People prone to acne often have a weakened skin barrier, and poorly formulated products can worsen this, leading to inflammation and breakouts. Even those not genetically predisposed to acne can sensitise their skin through continuous damage to the skin barrier.

In our next discussion, we'll delve into the mechanism of acne, exploring how these dominoes fall and how you can intervene in this process.

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