OK, let’s get it straight from the start. Acne isn’t caused by bad diet, lack of hygiene, lack of exercise or even chocolate. It’s not infectious. Acne is a medical condition that occurs around puberty and 80% of teenagers will have some form of acne by the time they’re 18. Adults get it as well, and one in five of us will have acne in our 20s, 30s or 40s.
Acne can be really distressing. Sufferers can find themselves anxious, depressed, even suicidal. It is a medical condition and it shouldn’t’ be dismissed as a bit of teenage trouble. Acne is caused by the excessive production of an oily substance called sebum. This oily substance, together with dead skin cells, block pores and sweat glands and follicles causing spots to form.Spots are most likely to appear on your face, your neck, your chest and your upper back. The good news is there are ways of treating these. The type of treatment you get depends on the type of acne you have. Mild acne, which usually are blackheads and whiteheads, can be treated by over-the-counter creams, gels or lotions. Red, angry lumpy acne which indicates inflammatory acne is most often treated by prescription medication in the form of antibiotics or for females, particular types of oral contraceptive pill. For very severe acne, Isotretinoin can be prescribed. This is a very potent drug so it’s only available from specialist skin clinics. Laser treatment is also available for acne. Studies have shown variable success rates with this and as it’s very much in its early stages it’s only presently available from private clinics.
There isn’t a quick fix for acne. Treatments take weeks if not months to become effective so be patient. In the meantime, don’t pick or squeeze your spots because this can result in scarring. And remember when your acne does clear up, which it will, you’ll want as pock-free skin as possible.
Quick Health Advice: Acne
Around 80% of teenagers will have some form of acne by the time they’re 18, and around 1 in 5 adults can also suffer in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. In this exclusive guide, Dr McKenna addresses the cause of acne and dispels many of the most popular myths about the condition. She also advises on the best treatments available, from over-the-counter creams, lotions and gels, to prescription medication and laser treatment. If spots have been the bane of your life, this video will reassure you that they’re not a permanent fixture.
For more information on the survey and study, please visit www.acnepsp.org
If you think your child may be going through early puberty, check our guide especially for parents on Embarrassing Bodies: Kids website.
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