A skin condition that is very common and usually starts at puberty, however it can also develop for the first time when you are in your twenties and thirties. It is characterised by oily skin, the eruption of pimples and pus filled spots that vary in severity, from a few spots usually on the face, back and chest to more severe cases that can result in scarring. Most adolescents will at some time get acne, majority of them tend to grow out of it by their late teens or early twenties.
Its exact cause is not known but it does seem more common in children of parents that had, or have acne.
The increased hormonal activity that occurs around puberty and genetic predisposition may also be a factor. The sebaceous glands produce an excess of oil and when dead skin cells are shed they block up the hair follicles. This results in a build up of oil producing blackheads and whiteheads. Exposure to external oils or grease can worsen the condition too (e.g. occupational use of cooking oils or cosmetic or hair products that are oil-based.
Topical treatments are usually the first choice for mild to moderate acne. These are applied directly to the skin to the affected area, not just to each individual spot. Some may irritate the skin when you start to use them. An oil-free moisturiser may help but you may also have to reduce the frequency that you apply the treatment.
A course of oral antibiotics may be recommended by your doctor, they should be taken with a suitable topical treatment and for a minimum of two months to get their maximum effect. Make sure you read the instructions for these as some should not be taken with food.
Picking or squeezing your spots aggravates them and may cause you scarring so try to avoid doing this.
Wear oil-free, water based make-up and gently remove at night with a mild soap or gentle cleanser and water.
If you think a particular food may aggravate you, it may be worth avoiding it for a while. However, no direct link has been found between diet and acne.
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