The acne epidemic
Tricks for clear, fabulous skin
Picture a place where the white, sandy beaches stretch for miles, there are more palm trees than people, and no one’s ever popped a pimple. It’s called paradise. Globally, 9.4% of the population has acne. Dr Joshua Zeichner, an acne specialist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology says, “The incidence of adult female acne is increasing every year. But no one really knows why.”
There are theories: it could be genetics; it could be the kind of milk in your coffee; it could be stress. We’re working more, sleeping less and frantically refreshing glowing screens all day because ‘why hasn’t that email come through already?’ And studies have shown (over and over) that stress ups oil production in the skin. If you develop acne in your 40s (and about 12% of women do), it could be from shifting hormone levels, says Dr Zeichner. For a generation of women prescribed oral contraceptives at 16, struggling with breakouts in their 30s and 40s could be the aftermath of going off the pill for the first time. “Or maybe it’s evolution,” says Dr Zeichner. “We think of it as something that happened thousands of years ago, but our bodies are constantly evolving.”
Currently, he’s conducting a study in collaboration with a genetic testing lab to “look for genes that are over-expressed in patients with acne,” he says. Researchers are working with an antibody that could become an acne vaccine. And that’s just the beginning. All around the world, the race is on to find the cream, shot or herbal tincture that will eradicate breakouts once and for all. While they’re figuring it out, here’s how to clear up your skin right now.