Don't worry, all of us (even Kendall) know how acne or a bad skin day can knock your confidence and make you feel less than your best. The fact is, acne is the most common skin condition, with 80% of people aged 11 to 30 being affected according to recent NHS data.
The good news is, we're getting better at being open about the issue – posting unfiltered acne photos and sharing the tips and tricks that have worked for us, in the hope it will help others. GLAMOUR columnist Diipa Khosla shared her battle with cystic acne, Riverdale actress Lili Reinhart, revealed her struggle with cystic acne as a teenager, plus, our very own Junior Social Editor, Sophie Thompson, has been sharing her Roaccutane Diaries with a candid week-by-week account of her experience on the controversial acne treatment.
The Roaccutane Diaries: I went on the controversial drug as a last resort for my acne, here's what happened month by month
The fact is, acne can occur for a multitude of reasons from genetic to hormonal. "Acne therapies and our understanding of this common condition are increasing, as are the different modalities of treatment," says leading dermatologist, Dr Anjali Mahto. "Your skin should never be the limiting factor in your life. No one should have to live with acne as there are effective treatments producing consistent, reliable end results," and there are steps we can take to help tackle the problem. Here's what Dr Mahto advises:
Cleanse twice a day
"It is important to cleanse the skin twice a day – morning and evening. This can be in the form of a rinse of cleanser or micellar water. Choose a cleanser specially formulated for blemish-prone skin. These products often contain salicylic acid, zinc, or benzoyl peroxide."
Use a non-comedogenic moisturiser
"After cleansing, use a light gel-based moisturiser that is “non-comedogenic” i.e. prevents the formation of blackheads. Even oily skin needs moisturising as oils do not equate to hydration. Moisturising the skin will maintain the barrier function of the skin and is vital for good skin health."
Exfoliate at least once a week
"Exfoliating the skin once a week is advisable as this will immediately remove dead skin cells from the skin surface resulting in brighter appearance of the skin. Longer term, it will reduce the development of blackheads. It is important not to overdo this step otherwise you will end up irritating the skin."
Retinol will help
"Use a prescribed retinoid product on the skin at night before bed. This will help unclog pores, reduce the formation of blackheads and whiteheads, and calm inflammation."
Choose your makeup carefully
"Many people are incorrectly told to avoid wearing make-up if they have acne. Acne can cause profound effects on self-esteem leading people to feel extremely embarrassed or socially anxious about their skin. There is no need to avoid make-up if you have acne and many people choose to conceal their spots as it provides self-confidence. It is, however, important to choose the right cosmetic products. If you wear make-up, then opt for oil-free foundations or BB creams that will provide the coverage you need."
Definitely don't pick!
"Do not pick, scratch, or squeeze your spots. These all lead to skin damage and can potentially result in permanent pigmentation marks or scarring of the skin. It is better to use a spot-directed treatment directly onto the area."
If your acne is severe and consistent, it's worth seeking out the help of a professional. "There are a large number of treatments that can be tried including steam facials, chemical peels, laser, oral antibiotics, hormonal agents, isotretinoin, and light therapies," says Mahto. But first it's worth trying topical creams.
If you're considering reaching for the toothpaste, let us stop you right there. It may be a cheap quick-fix that will dry the sucker out, but all that sodium and fluoride is also extremely irritating to the skin; you may end up with something worse than a spot. Instead, "salicylic acid, tea-tree oil or prescribed agents such as benzoyl peroxide or retinoid will dry up the spot and settle inflammation," Mahto advises. So, whether you suffer from cystic acne, hormonal acne, back acne, or just the occasional unwelcome breakout, check out our tried and tested roundup of the best spot-busters.