About Acne Treatment
WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE
If you have mild acne speak to a pharmacist about medicines to treat it.
If these do not control your acne, or it’s making you feel very unhappy, see your Dr
You should see a Doctor if you have moderate or severe acne or you develop nodules or cysts, as they need to be treated properly to avoid scarring.
Try to resist the temptation to pick or squeeze the spots, as this can lead to permanent scarring.
Treatments can take up to 3 months to work, so do not expect results overnight. Once they do start to work, the results are usually good.
ABOUT THIS TREATMENT
There are 6 main types of spot caused by acne:
Small black or yellowish bumps that develop on the skin; they’re not filled with dirt, but are black because the inner lining of the hair follicle produces colour.
Large hard lumps that build up beneath the surface of the skin and can be painful.
Whiteheads – Whiteheads papules
Small red bumps that may feel tender or sore.
The most severe type of spot caused by acne; they’re large pus-filled lumps that look similar to boils and carry the greatest risk of causing permanent scarring.
Similar to papules, but have a white tip in the centre, caused by a build-up of pus.
WHY DO I HAVE ACNE?
Acne is most commonly linked to the changes in hormone levels during puberty, but can start at any age.
Certain hormones cause the grease-producing glands next to hair follicles in the skin to produce larger amounts of oil (abnormal sebum).
This abnormal sebum changes the activity of a usually harmless skin bacterium called P. acnes, which becomes more aggressive and causes inflammation and pus.
The hormones also thicken the inner lining of the hair follicle, causing blockage of the pores. Cleaning the skin does not help to remove this blockage.
Other possible causes
Acne is known to run in families. If both your mother and father had acne, it’s likely that you’ll also have acne.
Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during the menstrual cycle or pregnancy, can also lead to episodes of acne in women.
There’s no evidence that diet, poor hygiene or sexual activity play a role in acne.
Acne is very common in teenagers and younger adults. About 95% of people aged 11 to 30 are affected by acne to some extent.
Acne is most common in girls from the ages of 14 to 17, and in boys from the ages of 16 to 19.
Most people have acne on and off for several years before their symptoms start to improve as they get older.
Acne often disappears when a person is in their mid-20s.
In some cases, acne can continue into adult life.
Teenage acne is thought to be triggered by increased levels of a hormone called testosterone, which occurs during puberty. The hormone plays an important role in stimulating the growth and development of the penis and testicles in boys, and maintaining muscle and bone strength in girls.
The sebaceous glands are particularly sensitive to hormones. It’s thought that increased levels of testosterone cause the glands to produce much more sebum than the skin needs.
ACNE IN FAMILIES
Acne can run in families. If your parents had acne, it’s likely that you’ll also develop it.
One study has found that if both your parents had acne, you’re more likely to get more severe acne at an early age. It also found that if one or both of your parents had adult acne, you’re more likely to get adult acne too.
ACNE IN WOMEN
Women are more likely to have adult acne than men. It’s thought that many cases of adult acne are caused by the changes in hormone levels that many women have at certain times.
These times include:
Periods– some women have a flare-up of acne just before their period
Pregnancy– many women have symptoms of acne at this time, usually during the first 3 months of their pregnancy
Polycystic ovary syndrome– a common condition that can cause acne, weight gain and the formation of small cysts inside the ovary