Acne, blemishes, pimples and spots – different names for what are essentially all the same thing, but often on very different levels. I personally suffer from occasional outbreaks that often erupt at times of stress and the symptoms can disappear often as quickly as they come.


Through working with clients, skin care companies, dermatologists and indeed my own partner, I’ve come to learn a lot about blemishes and acne and although being the number one skin care concern for men, is often treated poorly.


So what causes spots? Well, we have Propionibacterium Acne bacteria or p. Acne for short, which lives in our follicles and on the surface of the skin. This bacterium alone is the main culprit in causing the skin infections we recognise as spots.


When the bacteria are on the surface of the skin, oxygen helps to keep the levels somewhat reduced to a point where the bacteria are relatively inert. When the bacteria becomes blocked in the skin, often by dead skin cells collapsing inwards, it’s cut off from oxygen and then fed with lots of juicy moisture, it breeds like rabbits. The skin then rushes blood to the infection to try and fight it off, causing redness, and as the white blood cells get to work in killing the bacteria, the white head and gloop is formed. Kinda’ cool huh?


The term Acne that we all know and love to hate, is when this infection spirals out of control and the infection becomes unmanageable by the immune system itself and is when medical intervention often needs to take place.


“This is all very well and good Thom but what can I do about it?”

Good question! There are plenty of dos and don’ts that you need to keep in mind. Firstly, for acne sufferers, change your pillowcases and facial towel every single day. Make sure hair is kept away from the face. DON’T POP SPOTS, this will only cause the infection to spread underneath the skin’s surface. Finally don’t worry, you’re not alone and it is treatable, but always go to your GP or dermatologist first.


So what can you do at home to look after spots? Well it’s all about using the right products. I will stress that if you are under treatment from a GP or Dermatologist, make sure you seek advice before using any of the products I mention, just in case they interfere with your treatment.


Cleanse, but don’t strip. Over cleansing the skin causes the moisture barrier to break down and leaves you defenceless. Make sure your facial washes are relatively free from harsh foaming agents and surfactants and Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient, as it will help to unblock your pores. My favourite is the REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser, a great and unique approach to cleansing with amazing ingredients and astounding effectiveness.

Avoid using physical scrubs with beads and grains as these can rupture the spots and cause the bacteria to spread whilst also running the risk of scarring. Gentle, daily chemical exfoliation is therefore the key, to break down the bonds of dead skin cells rather than rip them away. Aesop’s Bitter Orange Astringent Toner will do just that. Apply it with a cotton pad and sweep over the face, and never apply over the same area twice.


Although the skin can be fairly oily with blemishes, moisturisation is key, but not with oil, oh no, but with water using hydrators. Balancing the water and oil on your skin can make all the difference in the world and is almost always where acne and blemish sufferers get it wrong.


Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Skin Clearing Moisturiser is without a doubt my number one moisturiser for blemish prone skin. Formulated with the upmost care and efficiency, you will almost certainly see amazing results with this product. Only use a pea-sized amount and pat onto dry skin.


Also, a dab of their Clear Blemish Gel will keep those odd few spots under control in a heartbeat with almost instantaneous visible differences.


For more information, tonnes of reviews or if you want to get in contact, visit my website

Clare Potts

Clare Potts


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