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Dealing With Acne? 5 Lifestyle Changes To Make Today

October 11, 2015
January 28, 2024

Acne is one of the toughest skin issues to deal with. The appearance of acne can damage one’s self-esteem and cause unsightly scars or dark spots on the skin.

Table of Contents

Acne, known medically as Acne Vulgaris, is broadly accepted as part of puberty but can also occur well into adulthood. For those affected with the condition, the distress goes beyond the physical. It is a huge dent in confidence.

While teenagers are most commonly affected by acne, adults can get it too. But we've got good news for you: with proper lifestyle changes and professional acne treatment, you can say hello to brighter and healthier skin!  

But first, let's get acquainted with the enemy, ACNE!

What causes acne?

Acne occurs when oil and dead skin cells clog up the pores. This combination causes swelling, leading to infection and pus. Aside from puberty, genetics, hormonal imbalance and using oil-based skin products are also factors behind its appearance. Acne typically appears on the face, chest, and back.

What Are The Different Forms Of Acne?

Acne comes in various forms, such as:

  • Non-inflammatory acne (comedones): Blackheads, whiteheads
  • Inflammatory acne: Papules, Pustules, Nodules and Cysts

They appear not just on the face but also on the back, chest, neck, shoulders, upper arms, and buttocks. And as mentioned above, anyone can get it. Anyone.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a clogged pore in the skin causes acne. The clog begins with dead skin cells that rise to the pore's surface. The body produces sebum (oil) that keeps the skin from drying out. Dead skin cells then stick together inside the pore and can be trapped inside. Bacteria, which thrive on the skin, can get inside the pore – the perfect environment to multiply quickly. This results in the skin being red and swollen. If the inflammation gets deeper, an acne cyst or nodule appears. The good news is that this can all be nipped in the bud by following some of these simple lifestyle changes.

Why is cystic acne so painful?

Cystic acne is the most severe acne type. It is so much more painful due to its inflammation and swelling as they are formed deep under the skin, close to the nerves. This acne has trapped bacteria in the pores, causing pus. There will be relief when the pus bursts, but do note that infection from the bacteria-filled pus can spread, causing more breakouts. Treating cystic acne is not as straightforward as washing your face and applying benzoyl peroxide cream.

The psychological effect of acne on adults and teenagers

Sulzberger & Zaidens reported in their study titled 'Psychogenic Factors In Dermatologic Disorders' that "there is no single disease which causes more psychic trauma, more maladjustment between parents and children, more general insecurity and feelings of inferiority and greater sums of psychic suffering than does acne vulgaris." [1]

It was also widely reported that while most acne cases occur during puberty, this skin condition may persist in adulthood [2, 3]. Acne can cause emotional distress [4]. It was reported that increased acne severity stress levels also increase, causing depression, anxiety, poor self-image and poor self-esteem [5, 6], especially in older teenagers [7]. Severe acne has also been associated with increased suicidal tendencies [7, 8, 9].

What kind of acne scars are there?

Rolling scars

Broad depressions with a sloping edge

Boxcar scars

Broad depressions with sharply defined edges

‍Atrophic scars

Flat, thin scars or depressed scars (anetoderma)

Hypertrophic or keloid scars

Thick lumpy scars. Unlike ice pick or boxcar scars, hypertrophic scars are not caused by a loss of tissue. Rather, they develop because of an overproduction of collagen.

5 Lifestyle Changes To Make Today to manage your acne better

Watch What You Eat

Certain foods can cause a spike in blood sugar, boosting insulin. The overproduction of insulin in the bloodstream allows for changes that can lead to the growth of pore-clogging cells. Stick to whole grains, beans, and vegetables, and cut down on carbohydrates such as pasta, white rice, white bread, and sugar.

Get Out And Get Active

Stress is one of the main causes of acne outbreaks! Good thing there's exercise to help cut down on stress. You are burning off unwanted fat, and exercise can also increase blood circulation, which sends oxygen to your skin cells and carries waste away. Of course, always take a nice shower after a workout as sweat can irritate skin – and lead to breakouts.

Include Some Omega-3 Fatty Acids Into Your Diet

Leukotriene B4 is a molecule that can increase sebum and cause inflammatory acne. Good ol' Omega-3 fatty acids can control its production, so include this in your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in walnuts, avocados, flaxseed oil, and salmon.

Wash Your Face Properly

Daily exposure to makeup, sweat, smog, dust, and dirt clogs the pores. If you don't wash properly, these build up on your skin and fill pores, resulting in unsightly blackheads and pimples. Double-cleanse your face thoroughly with a cleansing oil and gentle cleanser twice daily.


Each bodily process depends on how hydrated you are. Water cleanses the liver and kidneys, letting the body excrete hormones efficiently, so always drink the recommended eight glasses of water daily. Better hydration, better skin. It's a win-win.

Acne & Acne Scar Treatment at Amaris B. Clinic

Along with some lifestyle changes, taking care of the skin can be maintained with tailor-made acne and acne scar treatment by Dr Ivan Puah at Amaris B. Clinic for both men and women.

Depending on the severity of the condition, Dr Puah can address your acne concerns – non-inflammatory acne (comedones), which includes blackheads and whiteheads; inflammatory acne, such as papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts; and even acne scarring and marks. To control or treat acne spots, blemishes, scars and the reduction of post-acne pigmentation, Dr Ivan Puah can recommend oral medications or antibiotics, chemical peelPico Fractional Laser, etc.

We often recommend a "staged approach" to treat acne. We dispense treatments or medications only when they are medically necessary. With the stage approach, acne and acne scar treatment is more affordable for patients. Also, with the stage approach, you can monitor your progress and see the improvement.

No matter how severe the condition is for acne, chin up! It's comforting to know that this can be managed through a few lifestyle changes and professional treatments available at Amaris B. Clinic. Feeling positive about yourself is well within reach, so you can pop a smile (but never a pimple!), whether at the beach, gym, or just about anywhere.


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