Face map: What do your spots mean?

What causes blemishes on different parts of your face, and how to get rid of them.
Photo | Getty
Photo | Getty

As adult acne becomes increasingly common, many of our brides suffer from it. But what do your spots really mean? And how do you get rid of them? We asked Dr Nick Lowe to shed light on the skincare problem.

Spots on forehead, nose, central cheeks and chin

These spots occur in places where you have the most sebaceous glands. The oil glands react more to your circulating androgen hormones, everyone has them. The other hormones like the oestrogen balance the androgen to stop producing the oil, and at certain times of the month like just before your period, you get out of balance, causing more oil production and spots.

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Spots on your forehead


If you're an exerciser, wearing bands and caps can cause friction, leading to irritation and spots. Also things like pomades and hair products because they can be comedogenic, which is acne forming.

Spots on your lower face


This tends to be the place where acne occurs more in women over 25.

Sore under skin spots


What we call late onset acne, this is when women have fewer black heads and white heads but more sore spots under the skin. Why does it occur? We don't know. We don't know for sure, but one of the things we are looking at is that some women, who've been on a contraceptive pill since they were a teenager, don't get acne until they come off that pill. It appears the acne is getting delayed by the hormones in the pill.

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Blackheads


It occurs more in younger people, whereas spots under the skin occur more in 25+ women.

Whiteheads


Blackheads and whiteheads are the same thing, except whiteheads have a little closed comadone (a roof of skin) so that the air doesn't get to them. If the air gets to them, they turn black.

Milia


The classical whitehead that lasts a long time until they're drained are the enclosed mini cysts called milia.

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Do dairy and chocolate cause spots?

Yes. For dairy, the hormones in cow's milk can trigger acne by having an androgen-like effect. Interestingly, skimmed milk seems to trigger acne more.

Any foods with a high glycemic index (sugars, desserts, candies, chocolate) trigger acne by having the body product insulin to combat the high glucose you're eating. That insulin also has an androgen-like effect.

Any other causes?

Stress releases hormones that can produce acne. In the run-up to weddings, it's not uncommon for women to get spots.

Dr Nick and Dr Philippa Lowe's new range for spots and blemishes, acclenz, is available to buy now.

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