5 Reasons Why You May be Experiencing Acne

You have most likely clicked on this blog if you’re struggling with breakouts. Potentially suffering for weeks, months, or even years? Suffering with Acne is exhausting and perhaps the most stressful skin condition – It may feel like you’ve tried absolutely everything and understandably, this can be taking a substantial emotional toll on you. Let’s break down what’s happening within the skin to understand what could contribute to your Acne. We want to empower you to take action; to take that first step in starting your acne-clearing journey.

What is Acne?

Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin. Acne occurs when the hair follicle becomes blocked with oil, dead skin and bacteria, leading to congestion, blackheads and pimples.  While Acne doesn’t pose a severe risk to your overall health, it can be painful physically as inflammation can occur in the affected areas. There is also the emotional pain and distress that comes with Acne. Most commonly occurring on visible areas such as the face, back and chest – this can affect self-esteem and self-confidence.

90% of the population will be affected by Acne at some point in their lives – but the good news is that it is very treatable!

Why does Acne occur?

The cause of Acne for each individual is different. Research shows that, unlike other skin conditions, Acne has many contributing factors, including hormonal changes (especially for our teens), hormonal imbalances, diet & nutrition, stress, gut health, genetics and lifestyle.

Here are 5 of the most common reasons why you may be breaking out.

1. Hormones

Balancing hormones can be a real juggling act for teenagers and beyond. Hormones control and communicate many systems in our body, including our skin! Surges of hormones in the teenage years prepare our bodies for adulthood. Still, in the interim, the excess estrogen and testosterone can stimulate the sebaceous gland to produce excessive levels of oil, leading to blockages in the skin and ultimately to breakouts. It is common to see breakouts with more oil glands e.g. T-zone, chest and back. After the teenage years, we see hormonal fluctuations in women, particularly with monthly periods, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause (lucky us!) Along with conditions that affect hormones, including PCOS and endometriosis.

When you think of your hormones, imagine a seesaw. Too little of one, or too much of another will result in everything being unbalanced. If our hormonal levels are affected or unbalanced even slightly, we can see it impacting other systems in the body, such as the skin.

The skin and gut are connected via a pathway called the skin-gut axis. Sending signals from the gut to the skin can influence inflammation and oil production.

2. Gut health

Our skin is the body’s largest organ and is also an excretory organ that mirrors the gut. It can let you know how well your digestive system is functioning and if it is eliminating correctly. If our gut health needs attention, it is common to see it in our skin via inflammatory skin conditions such as Acne, Eczema, Rosacea and Dermatitis.
If you feel like this could be you, it may be helpful to explore this further with your Dietician!   


 3. Diet & Nutrition

Consuming foods that are high in GI & refined carbohydrates (such as lollies, cakes, and white bread) and saturated fats can directly impact the health of your skin. When you eat foods that rapidly convert to sugar, your blood sugar levels rise quickly and cause the body to release a hormone called insulin.

Excess insulin levels in the blood cause your oil glands to produce more oil, creating a burst of inflammation throughout the body. This adds fuel to the fire that is acne.
The best way to help your skin in this instance is to ensure you enjoy a well-balanced Mediterranean diet and always aim to drink 2-3 litres of water daily to help flush out toxins from your system.

 4. Stress

Stress is almost impossible to avoid in the hustle and bustle of the world today. Stress is not just defined by big life-changing events but by small everyday experiences that occur. Factors that contribute to stress can include:

  • Exhaustion
  • High intensive exercise training
  • Environmental factors: pollution, workplace, home, city life
  • Fast food diet: overfed but undernourished
  • Gut issues
  • Sleep deprivation: hello, new mums!
  • Times of uncertainly 

Stress can lead to the increased release of cortisol (the stress hormone) from the adrenal glands increasing inflammation, oil production and rapid cell growth. All becoming a risk factor for Acne.

When our bodies are stressed, we go into a fight-or-flight response. 

An excellent example is when we think back to the caveman days, running away from a bear. Nowadays, it may not be a bear we are running from, but the response is still the same – our body perceives all stress the same way. Blood and oxygen go to extremities (arms and legs), so we can run. Our heart beats faster, blood pressure rises, and digestion stops as this is not the priority.

Stress for long periods can impact our digestive health, lower our immune function, cause weight gain, disrupted sleep and an imbalance in women’s hormones. 

The answer to getting ourselves out of our stress response is to activate our good nervous system. A.K.A parasympathetic nervous system. The quickest and simplest way to do this is to take time during the day to breathe consciously. A great exercise is to breathe in for 4 seconds and out for 4. Repeat three times. 

5. Sleep

Getting your beauty sleep isn’t just an old cliché – it’s essential for healthy skin. Quality sleep is vital for optimum skin health, as the bulk of skin’s rest, repair, and regeneration takes place overnight. Growth hormones are created while we sleep, which helps to stimulate new skin cells and new collagen growth.

Without decent sleep, our skin cannot rebuild, and the skin’s immunity can be compromised, potentially leading to breakouts and dull and reactive skin.7-8 hours is the ideal amount of sleep to strive for, with the best quality sleep occurring between 10 pm and 1 am. Ideally, you want to go to bed at the same time each night, enabling the body to reset its’s master clock (also known as the circadian rhythm), which stabilises hormone function; this is extremely important for women in particular. 


If you are ready to take the first step in tackling your Acne, our expert skin team are here for you. Simply book in for our First Time Client Facial offer for an in-depth skin consultation and skin treatment. Lets transform your skin! Bookings can me made here.