Acne is a common skin condition that affects up to 80% of people between the ages of 11 and 30. Acne causes spots and oily skin. The skin can be hot or painful to touch. It usually develops on the face, skin, back and chest. It is most commonly linked to the changes in hormone levels during puberty but can start at any age.
Acne is caused when hair follicles become blocked due to the overproduction of sebum from glands in the follicle. This excess sebum mixes with dead skin cells and forms a blockage in the hair follicle. Normally harmless bacteria that live on the skin can then contaminate and infect the plugged follicles, causing papules, pustules, nodules or cysts.
Acne is not caused by poor hygiene or diet.
Treatment for acne depends on how severe it is. It can take several months of treatment before symptoms improve.
Over the counter products containing benzoyl peroxide prevent dead skin plugging the hair follicles and also kills the bacteria on the skin that cause the follicles to become infected. They should be applied sparingly once or twice a day 20min after washing.
If your acne is severe, your doctor can prescribe topical creams and gels or oral antibiotics. Often a combination of both is used.
Some women experience acne flare-ups around the time of their period or due to hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome. Your doctor may recommend the combined oral contraceptive pill in such cases, even if you are not sexually active.
totalhealth Pharmacists Advice
Wash the area no more than twice a day with a mild soap or cleanser and lukewarm water.
Do not use scrubs as this can irritate the skin.
Some treatments cause the skin to become dry. Use water-based, fragrance-free moisturisers.
Use water-based makeup and cosmetics. Many products are described as non-comedogenic which means they are less likely to block the pores on the skin. Ask your totalhealth pharmacist for advice on which product would suit you.
Completely remove make-up before going to bed.
Do not squeeze spots as this can make them worse and cause scarring.
Wash your hair regularly and try to avoid letting your hair fall across your face.
Shower as soon as possible once you finish exercising as sweat can irritate your acne.