Spotting the Difference: Things to be aware of when self-diagnosing acne

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Spot the Dog.  See what I did there?  Yeah. Great. 

We all know that we should be drinking more water (allegedly), eating more fruit, avoiding sugar and exercising regularly.  So if you look at your lifestyle and realise that you’re not quite managing to achieve these ideals, it would be quite easy to assume that that’s why your skin is playing up.  Whilst these factors are relevant, a lot of people suffer from acne – mild or moderately – because of other lifestyle elements that also important to take into account.  Everybody is different and whilst it’s important to get a firm diagnosis from a doctor or dermatologist, consider these elements before purchasing over-the-counter products:
Are you stressed/hormonal/depressed?
Hormones are very relevant when it comes to skin problems as if there’s too much of a hormonal imbalance occurring on the inside, this can often show itself on the outside.  If you break out more when you’re going through stressful times, try to bear this in mind with regards to your diet and skincare routine. 
Do you know your skin type?
Very few people have one skin type on their face.  A lot of people can have normal skin with oily parts, oily skin with dry parts or dry skin with normal parts etc.  If this is the case, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to skincare won’t work.  Try getting your skin ‘mapped’ at a Dermalogica counter.  Whilst you won’t need to purchase any Dermalogica products, the mapping will give you an idea of the different types of skin on your face. 
Where do you get spots?
If your acne only appears on certain parts of your face, this could be a sign of other problems.  For example, if you’re prone to spots on your chin and jaw line, this could be due to a hormonal imbalance so it’s worth visiting your doctor and mentioning this fact.  If you’re only getting spots on one side of your face, is this area where you mostly rest your phone handset? Or if you sit with your head in your hand, is it this side?  A lot of absent-minded activity we do can put stress and dirt on the facial skin resulting in outbreaks. 
One of the most frustrating aspects of acne is the fact that it’s so difficult to tell what’s causing it which makes it difficult to treat.  The most important thing to take note of is that acne is not always superficial; it could be a sign of other things occurring internally so it’s worth considering everything before choosing how to go about treating it.  
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