Beauty / 21.01.2016

7 surprising facts you didn’t know about acne

By Francesca Specter
Including the reason you don't get it on your toes...

close-up of a young woman applying moisturizer on her face

Whether it’s just a couple of spots or a series of angry breakouts, 85 per cent of us will have acne at some point in our lives, according to leading dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe.

But how much do we really know about this near universal condition? We visited Dr Lowe’s practice in London to find out some interesting facts about acne and what we can do to prevent it.

1 Trending: adult acne
While the peak incidence for acne in the 1970s was late teens, adult acne is on the rise for the 21st century, with 25 per cent of acne starting in adulthood.

2 There are entire populations that are acne-free
A population of 1200 Kitvan islanders in Papau New Guinea reported no acne at all, and it was the same case in the Aiche tribe in Paraguay. Researchers think that this may be due to their diet, which is entirely free from refined sugar and processed foods. Who else is jealous right now?

3 Diet can play a big part
High-GI foods and dairy have both been linked to acne. Consider switching to dairy-free milk alternatives and eating low GI foods if you’re trying to improve your skin, advises Dr. Lowe.

4 There are some unexpected causes
Acne can be caused by everything from diet and stress to pregnancy and friction from clothes.

5 Why you don’t get acne on your toes…
Acne occurs mostly where sebaceous glands are concentrated, explains Dr Lowe, in areas such as the nose, forehead and chin (explains a lot!).

6 Adult acne has a whole new look
Compared to teenagers, female adults with acne develop more red spots and pustules. However, they also get less blackheads and whiteheads. Guess that’s one upside…

7 It’s not about finding a single magic cure
Instead, acne treatment requires a number of different lifestyle changes, including diet changes, topical treatments, starting a course of antibiotics, and hormonal treatments, such as the contraceptive pill.

Did you find this piece useful? Tweet us @healthymag – we’d love to hear from you!

To find out more about Dr. Nick Lowe and his treatments, visit

7 surprising facts you didn't know about acne
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7 surprising facts you didn't know about acne
We talked to leading dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe to get the lowdown on acne, what causes it and how to prevent it from occuring
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