A massive 50 percent of us now suffer from some form of acne in our adult lives, but many of us don’t really know what’s causing it – or for that matter, how to combat it.
The thing is, while face mapping itself goes back thousands of years, modern day living means we are now facing multiple new situations that lead to more blemishes forming – namely because we come into contact with a number of acne-forming hotbeds, from smartphones to yoga mats (yes, even yoga mats), on a daily basis.
So here’s our guide to tackling those pesky spots modern day living leads to. In keeping with the theme, we’ve even (tube) mapped them out on the face above!
The Technology Line
Did you know that your smartphone carries 18 times more bacteria than the toilet handle in a men’s lavatory? So every time you make a call, you expose your poor complexion to 12 different types of bacteria and fungi that are living on your phone screen. Yep, pretty gross when you think about it. ‘If you are acne prone then dirt, grime and friction from something regularly placed against the face can aggravate a break out,’ explains skin pro Debbie Thomas. One thing’s for sure, we’ll be keeping our phone screens ultra clean from now on. Anti-bac at the ready.
Exfoliating your skin a few times a week will help, we love St Ives Blemish Fighting Facial Scrub, £4.29 at Boots
Next time you go to touch your face or rest your head in your hands, consider this…. Your hands transfer around 5000 germs to your complexion every time they come into contact with it, and that’s not even taking into account the bacteria and dirt that’s transferred from your keyboard, mouse, desk and other unavoidable work environments.
While this isn’t necessarily a problem unless you’re already prone to spots, if the dirt particles clog your pores blemishes can begin to form. ‘The most important thing is to thoroughly cleanse your skin twice daily and ideally double cleanse in the evening so that any dirt on the skin is removed, allowing the skin to breath and heal,’ explains Debbie.
The Stress & City Line
North Stress Lane and South Stress Lane
A constant issue in today’s world is the effect of stress on the skin. Not only can it lead to pigmentation on the upper cheek and temples, but also to breakouts. You see, your forehead and nervous systems develop at the same time when you’re in the womb, so when you get stressed, spots form on the forehead. With one in four employees in a near-constant state of stress, this is one of the main culprits – and irritatingly, one that’s hard to avoid.
For anxiety-induced breakouts, give a spot treatment that includes salicylic acid a go. We love Malin + Goetz Salicylic Gel, £16.50 at SpaceNK
New Scientist revealed last year that a staggering 9 out of 10 people living in cities are exposed to high levels of polluted air. That may not seem too surprising (especially if you live in London), but often when blemishes appear on your cheeks it’s linked to the respiratory system, so prolonged exposure to pollution could be the cause. What’s more, public transport is an absolute dream for bacteria as it’s poorly ventilated so carry some sanitizer and try to avoid touching your face or doing your make-up on-the-go.
Run Down Bridge
While eight or nine hours of sleep a night may well have once been the norm, now more than a third of us are surviving on as little as five to six hours a night. The Sleep School in London recently found that missing just two hours of sleep a week can impact our skin, and we’re guessing most of us miss more than that. The study showed that after just 5 working days of lost sleep, women found that blemishes increased by 13% and bacteria on the skin by 16%. Ergo, the more rundown we become, the more our skin pays the price.
The Life Line
How often do you wash your pillowcases? Keeping bedding clean is essential (we’re talking a weekly wash), as if it’s not changed regularly oil and dirt begins to build up and transfer back to your skin, in turn clogging pores and causing blemishes. ‘Your skin repairs at night so avoiding dirt, grime and sweat build up on your pillows will help keep your skin healthy,’ explains Debbie.
Many of us are now make-up artists in our own rights, using an assortment of brushes to apply our favourite products, from dusting on bronzer to painting on a slick of rouge lipstick But 72% of us never wash our brushes. ‘Makeup brushes absorb the oil from your skin allowing bacteria to grow on your brushes. Use natural hair brushes and clean with either a dedicated brush cleanser or a mild fragrance free shampoo, thoroughly wash and rinse then leave to air dry overnight.’ We love Japonesque Solid Brush Cleanser, £16 at SpaceNK
When food is over-processed, full of sugar or not nutritionally rich (even if it’s marked as healthy), it will adversely effect your skin. While the recent health trend for smoothies and juicing delivers a vitamin-packed punch, loading too much fruit in results in high levels of sugar. This not only aggravates conditions like acne, but speeds up skin ageing too.