As a teen I suffered from Acne and my confidence plummeted, fast forward 10 years and I am facing the same problems all over again due to a hormonal imbalance. From the get go I do want to openly state that there are far worse things in life than not having a perfect complexion, and this time around confidence is not an issue. I know it will get better in time and for now I have more than my fair share of heavy duty concealers to disguise the problem. I like to think that the majority of people are too wrapped up with their own skin concerns to really pay notice to my face. What is more intriguing for me is what are the causes of Acne, the misconceptions and are there any remedies that don't involve sitting in the doctors waiting room?

So what is Acne? Acne is of course a very common skin condition characterised by comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and pus-filled spots (pustules) and usually starts during puberty and can vary in severity. The sebaceous (oil-producing) glands of people who get acne are particularly sensitive to normal blood levels of a hormone called testosterone, which is present in both men and women. This can cause the glands to produce an excess of oil At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores are not shed properly and clog up the follicles. These two effects result in a build-up of oil producing blackheads (where a darkened plug of oil is visible) and whitehead. I don't know a single person who hasn't had some degree of Acne growing up. What some may pass of as a hormonal break out could well be Acne.

For the majority of us it will be a problem in our teens to early twenties but it can occur in later life too. Rather interestingly up to 60% of those will seek treatment for acne and more often than not it is over the counter solutions - think of all the blemish targeted skin care in the large chemists and it is easy to understand just how common the problem is. Even more interesting is that in the UK alone, acne accounts for more than 3.5 million visits to the GP every year - perhaps the aforementioned solutions aren't quite working after all? As an adult it is rather interesting to read that most adult cases to do indeed seem to be present within women - a whopping 80% no less. It is nice to know I am not alone. Oddly in later life acne is more often caused by the changes in hormone levels that many women have at certain times, such as the menstrual cycle and pregnancy. In my case it is down to the contraceptive implant - my body has somewhat rejected in, my skin has went in to overdrive as have my mood swings. Such fun...not!

The good news is that there is no proof to suggest that Chocolate will cause acne nor will it make a pre-existing bout any worse, nor will make-up or alcohol. It is just an old wives tale along with acne being caused by bad personal hygiene. Research has indicated that over cleansing may in fact make the condition worse by removing the protective oils within the skin. I can agree with this as a teen I was convinced it was dirt that was the root of the problem, I'd wash my face as much as I could along with 3-4 showers a day (nope, I'm not kidding) and if anything I made the situation worse. My skin was red raw and inflamed. I'd also say ignore those who tell you to avoid make-up, I found it to be a confidence booster but would recommend seeking out oil free products and keeping your brushes clean. It is also worth mentioning that acne is not contagious.

As I mentioned in the opening statement that once acne is treated (I do recommend going to the doctor as a hormone imbalance is not something you can correct with skin care) the out look is great. Statics have proven that those who seek treatment report at least a 50% improvement within three months. I know personally how tough and annoying it is to have what seems like an endless bad skin day, not to mention how painful some breakouts can be. What I do urge you to keep in mind is that it won't last forever, hormones change, medication works as does skin care. Once you find the right solution it does all fall in to place. As odd as it may seem sometimes I do Google celebrities with acne, it kinda makes me feel better to know that some of the world's most beautiful men and women suffer from the same problems.

Have you, or do you suffer from acne.
What has worked for you if so?
I would love to hear any tips, tricks or general pointers.
We will be using the hashtag #spotlessxmas on twitter should you want to join the conversation.

This is a sponsored post.