Acne

What is acne? (click to close)

Acne Vulgaris (or simply acne ) is a common skin disease that develops in the pores around hair follicles and oil producing glands.

It is characterised by the appearance of pimples, blackheads and whiteheads on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders. It mainly occurs in adolescence, affecting approximately 80% of teenagers but can affect people in their 20’s and 30’s too.

Acne results from blockages in the hair follicles caused by too much sebum ( oil ) being produced in the sebaceous glands, usually triggered by hormonal changes.

What are the symptoms of acne? (click to close)

Typical features of acne include:

  • seborrhoea ( increased oil-sebum production )
  • pimples
  • blackheads
  • whiteheads
  • pustules and possibly scarring.

Stress may increase the severity of an attack but there does not appear to be a definitive link between high sugar foods such as chocolate and the appearance of acne. Due to the hormonal changes , acne may be more evident around the time just before a woman’s period.

What is the treatment for acne ? (click to close)

The right treatment can reduce the risk that your skin will be damaged or scarred. Treatment products work by opening blocked pores, removing excess grease and bacteria, the three factors that lead to the development of acne.

  • Medicated washes used twice daily can help to control excessive oil build up as well as killing the bacteria.
  • Local treatments including Benzoyl Peroxide can help decrease excessive oiliness by clearing excess skin and also reduce the presence of bacteria.
  • Antibiotic treatments prescribed by your doctor include both oral medicines and topical preparations.
  • Your Haven pharmacist can advise you on the particular medication you have been prescribed in terms of optimal usage of the medication and precautions to be aware of.

How do you prevent acne? (click to close)

  • Cleanse the area morning and night with a mild cleanser
  • Use water based moisturisers (ideally keep make up off your face)
  • Keep hair clean and off the face
  • Good diet, regular exercise and plenty of water are essential
  • Aim to reduce stress
  • Try to keep your hands off the face. Hands should be washed frequently.
  • Wear loose clothing if acne is affecting the torso to avoid sweating
  • Don’t pick at spots, this can lead to unnecessary scarring
  • Follow any prescribed medication for the full course

When should you see a doctor about acne? (click to close)

  • Your acne is severe
  • If a couple of months of over-the-counter (non-prescription) treatments, haven’t helped, then prescribed treatments must be considered
  • The acne appeared after starting a medication. Some medications can result in acne or similar symptoms. It is important to visit your GP if this is the case
  • If spots are becoming larger and more severe it is important to consider prescription treatments before acne begins to scar the skin
  • If your acne is affecting your self-esteem. Having clearer skin could ease embarrassment and self-consciousness related to acne.

Haven Health Tip! (click to close)

Acne is very common among younger people and with patience can be fully treated. Better to treat early and often, this too will pass.
Find out more about Acne from your local Haven Pharmacist.