The acne epi­demic

Tricks for clear, fab­u­lous skin

Glamour (South Africa) - - Contents -

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.

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