Somerset has been revealed as the most skin–friendly region in the UK based on six criteria points from a new analysis of official NHS data.
The research, conducted by Superdrug’s Online Doctor, investigated five areas to create a national ranking of NHS locations.
- Acne prescriptions per 1,000 of the local population.
- Acne prescriptions increased/decreased over the past seven years.
- The pollution levels in each region.
- The percentage of the population who smoke.
- Obesity prescriptions per 1,000 of the local population.
The research found that Somerset ranked number one in each acne prescription factor while also appearing in the top five best regarding having low pollution and smoking levels among the adult population.
The overall ranking is followed by Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, and Shropshire as the most ‘skin–friendly’ areas.
The ranking shows a clear correlation between those with low acne prescriptions and those with the least pollution, highlighting how poor air quality impacts residents’ skin.
On the other hand, those areas with the highest pollution levels suffered the most from acne and therefore needed more prescriptions per 1000 people.
East London was the least skin–friendly area, with 177 prescriptions per 1000 people and just a 9% decrease in acne prescriptions compared to the national average of 19%. It also had the worst pollution based on the concentration of PM2.5 (atmospheric particulate matter), with a concentration of 13.45 compared to Somerset’s 6.29.
Pollution, smoking and obesity were all chosen as factors in the ranking, as they can all contribute to acne, with Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, explaining that: ‘Pollution can affect the skin and cause acne flairs. Dust, dirt and debris from the air can collect on the skin’s surface, blocking pores and leading to acne flairs.’
‘Smoking also negatively affects every organ, including the skin – the body’s largest organ. Smokers are four times more likely to suffer from acne, causing a particular, non-inflammatory form of acne called atypical post-adolescent acne (APAA), also known as ‘smoker’s acne.’
Superdrug Online Doctor spoke to several skin experts to collate a list of top tips to look after your skin and prevent acne from developing, which can be found with the full national ranking and raw data here.
Top tips to have clear skin
Thoroughly cleanse every morning and evening
Acne occurs when the pores become clogged with excess oil, dirt, bacteria and dead skin cells, so it’s important to thoroughly cleanse the skin in the morning and evening to remove this build-up. Ensure all products are oil-free and non-comedogenic.
A great selection of products on the market help treat mild acne. These products contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide.
Exfoliate, use non-comedogenic products and make sure to moisturise
People with dry skin should use non-comedogenic products and a moisturiser for acne-prone skin. Be sure to exfoliate to help remove dead skin cells and smooth and soften the skin.
Minimise the products you use
Try to minimise the products you are using and be careful not to ‘overload’ your skin. Keep products gentle and avoid products that irritate the already sore and inflamed skin. For example, a simple change to your cleanser can dramatically reduce your need to apply moisturiser.
For good skin and general health, don’t smoke. This can worsen some types of acne and fast-tracking the skin’s ageing.
Wear SPF daily to protect the skin from UV damage, reduce premature ageing, and protect against skin cancer. Sunscreen is the cheapest and most effective anti-ageing product available.